What is Bouldering – Ultimate Guide in 2020 for Everyone

What is Bouldering & How to Get Started

Bouldering comes as one of the most modern forms of climbing. It does not require high walls or the knowledge of complicated maneuvers, and it is fun. Bouldering is becoming the most common form of climbing, as it’s a great way to train, learn, or just have fun.

However, bouldering also requires some know-how to get the most out of it. If you are diving into the vast world of bouldering, below is an explanation of what it is and how to get started.

What is bouldering climbing?

Bouldering is a type of physical activity in which you climb in a hall or nature at jump height without a rope. The difficulty levels of the routes often marked with different colours, show you the way. Are you climbing without a rope? Do not worry, the climbing of walls in this discipline are not high since bouldering is much more about skill and technical movements than about mastering the height.

The floor is also padded with thick mats to cushion falls.

Bouldering is becoming increasingly popular, especially for beginners in climbing. In recent years there has been a real boom in new bouldering halls and almost all climbing halls; there is also a bouldering area; so it’s incredibly easy to quickly improve your level of climbing there in a safe environment.

What sets bouldering apart from climbing is the fall protection system. In climbing, we have a rope tied to the harness and secured to the anchors on the wall. In bouldering, on the other hand, special mattresses must be placed at the foot of the boulder/wall. These mattresses, called crash pads, are used to cushion the eventual fall of the climber.

Protection System

This protection system is made effective by the height of bouldering problems. On average, they do not exceed 3 or 4 meters, but there are boulders called “highball” that go beyond 5 meters. Here the line between bouldering and the free solo is subtle.

Bouldering problems are relatively short and intense sequences of movements. If we wanted to simplify a lot, we could say that to close a boulder; you will need more strength and more technique than a cliff. The resistance component goes into the background.

It does not mean that bouldering is simpler. If faced with the utmost commitment, even bouldering problems will leave you breathless. And just like climbing routes, bouldering problems also have varying degrees of difficulty. The bouldering grades also vary between indoor and outdoor. 

Your first time with indoor bouldering: how to get started

Like all new things, even entering a bouldering gym for the first time can make you feel lost. Each gym is different, but there are constant elements. Let’s see them together:

Degrees of difficulty: In indoor bouldering, there is an agreement whereby the blocks’ problem is indicated with color. Unfortunately, there is no identical color scale used by all gyms, but near the walls, you will undoubtedly find an indication of the degree of difficulty corresponding to the color. For example, WHITE beginner BLUE, easy GREEN medium, etc.

Usually, the environment is divided into four distinct areas:

Zone for dry training

With beams in resin and wood and other infernal tools such as Moon board, System wall, etc. stay away from them! All these will be useful to you in a few months or years, for now, focus on fun as a beginner.

Heating area

With one or more walls where paths have been traced. Here, the sockets have different colors, and to follow the way, you will have to rely on the color of the adhesive tape applied to each socket and follow the sequence of numbers. Foot sockets are free, enjoy!

What is Bouldering & How to Get Started

Rope area

Where you can find relatively high walls equipped with bolts. If you want to practice bouldering as a beginner, this area is not for you. 

Bouldering area with low walls, no bolts, 50 cm mattresses all over the floor. Here we are! This is what you need as a beginner.

Furthermore, when bouldering indoor, the following are also obtainable:

Each block is traced with sockets of only one color, to make the sequence of movements clear. Do not confuse the color of the sockets with the degree of difficulty. It is indicated with the colored tape positioned at the starting points for the hands (always) and for the feet (it would be better). For example, you may find a block with green sockets and a white ribbon. The degree of difficulty is white.

For a valid departure, you have to start with hands and feet on the market outlets. To say that you have completed the block, you must pair the last trick for at least 3 seconds. Do not think badly! Pairing means that you must be able to hold the previous method with both hands. 

In some cases, there is no last grip, but a square or an X is traced directly on the panel with the usual adhesive tape. These are known as alternative closures. Finally, you may be asked to tip over. What’s this stuff? Simply reach the top of the wall and then stand on top of the structure that carries the panels. When a blockade like this is planned, there is always a ladder to go down, don’t worry!

rock climbing rules

Your first time with outdoor bouldering

If, on the other hand, you are in the midst of Mother Nature, you will probably need to use your brain a little more. Here, you will not find the adhesive tape to signal the sockets. You will have to find yourself the starting position for hands and feet, as well as all the other holds, took in sequence up to the top. Here, you can follow those who preceded you as a beginner or if you want to get better at bouldering then click here to read the full guide. The right sockets are often dirty with chalk. On the other hand, it’s best not to get too tied up by the marks left by others because the method used by one may not be the best for another.

To identify the boulders, their degree of difficulty, and the starting points, you will need a paper guide. In the most touristic places, you may find some free in the hall, but to avoid finding yourself wandering in the woods without knowing where to go is recommended that you buy a complete guide or use the appropriate mobile apps.

With outdoor bouldering, extra care is needed, as you are not in a gym where everything is designed to entertain you safely. Outdoor, you have to use your brain. Virtually all problems have a way out from above, which, especially for beginners, can be the hardest part of climbing.

bouldering grades

Bouldering benefits 

Bouldering is an underestimated, very intensive, but highly rewarding strength-training activity. With a long climbing session, you can work on your endurance, and with short ones, the maximum power is trained. You will also quickly notice that it is an extreme workout for the whole body because the arms, legs, and trunk are strained.”

The bouldering benefits also extend to the head. You need to focus while climbing and figure out which route solutions might work best. With this, 

Problem-solving thinking is automatically encouraged. The risk involved in bouldering makes for a rewarding experience with significantly more endorphin release than when lifting weights in the gym.

Bouldering benefits

Bouldering equipment

What makes bouldering so attractive for climbers is also the need for very little bouldering equipment to practice. To face your first bouldering challenge, you just need a pair of shoes that you can also rent. While exercising outdoors, you will need a chalk bag, chalk (obviously), and maybe a crash pad.

Cohabitation tips when bouldering for beginners

Like all communities, bouldering also has its rules and conventions. To avoid missteps, here are a few tips on bouldering for beginners to follow:

Share the wall

 When you are the only one climbing, there is no problem if you monopolize the block. But if there are other people around you, be sure to leave the space once you’ve fallen. You will notice that the natural rhythm of test shifts is created, which will allow you to catch your breath after the attempt. If your problem has stepped in common with other boulders, make sure no one is doing them.

rock climbing techniques

Avoid giving advice that isn’t required

 Many climbers love the physical and mental process that leads to solving the problem. And they want to do it alone. Thus, before giving advice, make sure it is appreciated.

Keep an eye on your stuff

 Whether in the gym or outside, keep your stuff away from the crash pad and landing zone. Shoes, bottles, backpacks could be very dangerous and annoying in case of a fall.

Be polite

If someone has just cleaned the block, let him make the first attempt. It would be very impolite to walk past him. Also, if you are about to attempt a movement that could cause you to swing and hit other people, notify them by asking them to make room for you.

Moderate music and noise

If you are in the gym and use earphones, make sure that these do not prevent you from hearing others asking you to move so as not to fall on your neck. When outdoors, keep it low while enjoying nature and don’t annoy other climbers with loud music.

If you need directions or advice, ask

Many climbers know how to be very friendly and helpful. Thus, it’s best to ask for directions or advice from others when needed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, those who start bouldering are often quickly captivated by the sport. With bouldering, fun, and unusual movements are also combined with holistic training. If you want to climb despite a fear of heights or improve your technical skills, bouldering could be just the thing for you, as highlighted above.

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