Aiders/Etriers are standard equipment for aid climbing, what qualities should I look for when purchasing a pair?
I have used them before, but they were always borrowed from other people and I am looking to get my own.
Aiders are the key differentiator between aid climbing and free climbing. When free climbing, the gear is just for protection. In aid climbing, you place protection, clip an aider to it, walk up the aider, reach up and place another piece of protection, repeat.
Key points are length and number of steps, types, comfort and easy to use for the type of climb you’re doing.
I think the key point is the length as I’d hae to get half way up and discover that my bulk Aider is catching everywhere and disturbing my climb. If you are doing a wall with lots of free climbing, you want a shorter aider that will be less bulky when clipped to the side of your harness. If you are doing an aid-intensive route, you want a longer aider that will give you more bounce-testing options.
You can find further details here