climb up the ladder
climb (up) the ladder
To become increasingly powerful or successful. You need to climb the ladder a bit before you start taking on your own clients. I'm an artist at heart, so I have no interest in climbing up the corporate ladder.
climb up the ladderor
climb the ladder
If you climb up the ladder or climb the ladder, you become more and more successful or important. There's no need for the sort of competitive behaviour you get at companies where people are trying to climb up the ladder. He became the first man to climb the social ladder from a log cabin to the White House. Note: You can also say that someone moves up the ladder. If you think you can do more than you are doing in your present position, you owe it to yourself to make the effort to move up the ladder.