This study investigated the ergonomics of three simulated 120 m vertical ladder ascents and differences between novice (NC) and experienced climbers (EC). Seven EC and 10 NC undertook three 120 m climbs; comprising of four 30 m climbs. Ascending 120 m was reported as a high physical demand, supported by high peak HRs (~173 b.min−1 across the three climbs) and VO2 (~3.1 L.min−1 across the three climbs). Grip strength and endurance were significantly (p < 0.05) impaired by ascents. With multiple ascents, toe clearance was reduced (Climb 1 – 0.0515 m; Climb 3 – 0.046 m), and participants reached higher with their arms (shoulder angle: Climb 1 – 117°; Climb 3 – 136°). NC demonstrated less range of movement through the hips (NC – 46°; EC – 58°), and higher muscle activation in the upper body (NC – 60%; EC – 49%). Experience reduced cumulative climbing times (exercise + rest), whilst maintaining the same physiological demand as NC and maintained optimised movement patterns for longer.