[en] This paper considers population transfer between eigenstates of a finite quantum ladder controlled by a classical electric field. Using an appropriate change of variables, we show that this setting can be set in the framework of adiabatic passage, which is known to facilitate ensemble control of quantum systems. Building on this insight, we present a mathematical proof of robustness for a control protocol—chirped pulse—practised by experimentalists to drive an ensemble of quantum systems from the ground state to the most excited state. We then propose new adiabatic control protocols using a single chirped and amplitude-shaped pulse, to robustly perform any permutation of eigenstate populations, on an ensemble of systems with unknown coupling strengths. These adiabatic control protocols are illustrated by simulations on a four-level ladder.