climb up the ladder

climb up the ladder

or

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.
See also: climb, ladder, up