escalade CI codecov

A tiny (183B to 210B) and fast utility to ascend parent directories

With escalade, you can scale parent directories until you've found what you're looking for.
Given an input file or directory, escalade will continue executing your callback function until either:

1) the callback returns a truthy value 2) escalade has reached the system root directory (eg, /)

Please note that escalade only deals with direct ancestry – it will not dive into parents' sibling directories.

Notice: As of v3.1.0, escalade now includes Deno support! Please see Deno Usage below.


$ npm install --save escalade


There are two "versions" of escalade available:


Node.js: >= 8.x
Size (gzip): 210 bytes
Availability: CommonJS, ES Module

This is the primary/default mode. It makes use of async/await and util.promisify.


Node.js: >= 6.x
Size (gzip): 183 bytes
Availability: CommonJS, ES Module

This is the opt-in mode, ideal for scenarios where async usage cannot be supported.


Example Structure

  └── oss
    ├── license
    └── escalade
      ├── package.json
      └── test
        └── fixtures
          ├── index.js
          └── foobar
            └── demo.js

Example Usage

//~> demo.js
import { join } from 'path';
import escalade from 'escalade';

const input = join(__dirname, 'demo.js');
// or: const input = __dirname;

const pkg = await escalade(input, (dir, names) => {
  console.log('~> dir:', dir);
  console.log('~> names:', names);

  if (names.includes('package.json')) {
    // will be resolved into absolute
    return 'package.json';

//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/test/fixtures/foobar
//~> names: ['demo.js']
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/test/fixtures
//~> names: ['index.js', 'foobar']
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/test
//~> names: ['fixtures']
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade
//~> names: ['package.json', 'test']

//=> /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/package.json

// Now search for "missing123.txt"
// (Assume it doesn't exist anywhere!)
const missing = await escalade(input, (dir, names) => {
  console.log('~> dir:', dir);
  return names.includes('missing123.txt') && 'missing123.txt';

//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/test/fixtures/foobar
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/test/fixtures
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade/test
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss/escalade
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed/oss
//~> dir: /Users/lukeed
//~> dir: /Users
//~> dir: /

//=> undefined

Note: To run the above example with "sync" mode, import from escalade/sync and remove the await keyword.


escalade(input, callback)

Returns: string|void or Promise<string|void>

When your callback locates a file, escalade will resolve/return with an absolute path.
If your callback was never satisfied, then escalade will resolve/return with nothing (undefined).

The sync and async versions share the same API.
The only difference is that sync is not Promise-based.


Type: string

The path from which to start ascending.

This may be a file or a directory path.
However, when input is a file, escalade will begin with its parent directory.

Important: Unless given an absolute path, input will be resolved from process.cwd() location.


Type: Function

The callback to execute for each ancestry level. It always is given two arguments:

1) dir - an absolute path of the current parent directory 2) names - a list (string[]) of contents relative to the dir parent

Note: The names list can contain names of files and directories.

When your callback returns a falsey value, then escalade will continue with dir's parent directory, re-invoking your callback with new argument values.

When your callback returns a string, then escalade stops iteration immediately.
If the string is an absolute path, then it's left as is. Otherwise, the string is resolved into an absolute path from the dir that housed the satisfying condition.

Important: Your callback can be a Promise/AsyncFunction when using the "async" version of escalade.


Running on Node.js v10.13.0

# Load Time
  find-up         3.891ms
  escalade        0.485ms
  escalade/sync   0.309ms

# Levels: 6 (target = "foo.txt"):
  find-up          x 24,856 ops/sec ±6.46% (55 runs sampled)
  escalade         x 73,084 ops/sec ±4.23% (73 runs sampled)
  find-up.sync     x  3,663 ops/sec ±1.12% (83 runs sampled)
  escalade/sync    x  9,360 ops/sec ±0.62% (88 runs sampled)

# Levels: 12 (target = "package.json"):
  find-up          x 29,300 ops/sec ±10.68% (70 runs sampled)
  escalade         x 73,685 ops/sec ± 5.66% (66 runs sampled)
  find-up.sync     x  1,707 ops/sec ± 0.58% (91 runs sampled)
  escalade/sync    x  4,667 ops/sec ± 0.68% (94 runs sampled)

# Levels: 18 (target = "missing123.txt"):
  find-up          x 21,818 ops/sec ±17.37% (14 runs sampled)
  escalade         x 67,101 ops/sec ±21.60% (20 runs sampled)
  find-up.sync     x  1,037 ops/sec ± 2.86% (88 runs sampled)
  escalade/sync    x  1,248 ops/sec ± 0.50% (93 runs sampled)


As of v3.1.0, escalade is available on the Deno registry.

Please note that the API is identical and that there are still two modes from which to choose:

// Choose "async" mode
import escalade from '';

// Choose "sync" mode
import escalade from '';

Important: The allow-read permission is required!


  • premove - A tiny (247B) utility to remove items recursively
  • totalist - A tiny (195B to 224B) utility to recursively list all (total) files in a directory
  • mk-dirs - A tiny (420B) utility to make a directory and its parents, recursively


MIT © Luke Edwards