Players are limited in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the first few days on their island and are unable to access certain parts of the island until they reach specific points in the game’s main story.
While the Vaulting Pole is unlocked pretty early for you to jump across rivers, the Ladder, which allows you to scale cliffs, takes a bit longer to obtain. But how exactly do you unlock it?
Getting a Ladder or more importantly, the Ladder DIY recipe takes a great deal of time, and you will need to have unlocked a lot of other things in your town over many days first before you can get that far.
From our experience, you will need to have a completed Museum that is upgraded after, as well as finished building Nook’s Cranny. When Nook’s Cranny has been built, Tom Nook will start the day off with a daily update informing you of its completion. After that, his phone will ring, signaling the beginning of new residents coming to the island.
Go straight to Resident Services to talk to Tom Nook. He will tell you more people will be joining the island and will first task you to put a new bridge on the island. After doing that and getting the resources needed to create it, go back to Tom Nook, and he will give you three plots to put down on your island somewhere.
Once you put down the second of three plots, Tom Nook will ring telling you that an item you need to craft will require you to scale the cliffs in your island, so he sends you over the DIY Recipe for the Ladder.
After getting the recipe, you can freely make the Ladder to scale cliffs finally. You’ll need 4 wood, 4 hardwood, and 4 softwood to craft it, but you’ll never need to craft one afterward ever again as it is one of the few craftable items that never breaks.