Well Marlingardener, that was a long time ago when I was younger, thinner and in much better physical shape than I'm now in. That ladder was one of the Aerial Ladders I worked on and those are some of the easiest ladders to climb to be honest. They are built very strong, have great footing on the rungs and have rails that come about 18 inches up on both sides of the ladder so you can climb in a more comfortable position. The only caveat is you have to leave them about a foot or so away from the building on their top end and as you climb the ladder, the top moves closer to the building as you make your way up the ladder. They will bend toward the building as you get higher due to your weight. Once up to the top you get off it and as your weight leaves the ladder, it moves out away from the building. You can then radio to the guy operating the ladder and let them know they need to allow it to come closer in case you have to use it to come back down.
That was a piece of cake when compared to the couple days I worked 3-5 stories up the side of a building on a "Boson's Chair" installing some heavy gauge steel venting for a commercial restaurant kitchen hood back in the late 70's. Nothing like being on something that is basically a backyard swing with a rope hooked to a large pulley system on the roof and being raised and lowered by one of your fellow workers. Talk about trust. The pucker factor was working overtime till I was back on the ground.