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The art of bouldering

The art of bouldering

More than 30,000 Australians are climbing at indoor climbing gyms across the country, and this number is rising every day. Bouldering is taking off in popularity, probably because it is incredibly accessible, as it doesn’t require a rope, and involves much shorter heights than other forms of climbing. You can do it indoors and outdoors, with a wide array of activities for total beginners to expert climbers. So, chalk up and hit the closest climbing wall!

Getting started

Bouldering refers to climbs that are protected by pads, rather than ropes or harnesses. Climbs are usually referred to as ‘problems’ in bouldering lingo, and don’t take you too high off the ground. Kick off your bouldering journey with some good-quality and beginner-friendly shoes, some climbing chalk and crash pads for outdoor bouldering. When bouldering for your first time, start at a gym – there are inductions, where professionals can guide you through the basics. These include how to fall, climbing techniques, tips and tricks. If bouldering outside, you won’t have any of the colour-coding so you will have to find holds for yourself. Make sure you have your crash pads ready and refer to a guidebook to help you tackle these outdoor ‘problems’.

Tricks of the trade

Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when approaching bouldering. These might make all the difference!

  • Use toes while climbing. This will allow you to pivot your foot, increase your reach and stand on small holds. Rookies often use their midsole, which is a big mistake – it can restrict the foot’s movement and even cause slipping!
  • Work out a route. Take a moment to figure out the best climbing path and decide where your hands and feet will go. Working it out along the way can waste energy and make it harder.
  • Don’t forget to rest. Many beginners make the mistake of not taking breaks, which can cause climbers to lose energy and injure themselves. The general rule of thumb is to take five-minute rests between attempts, with 30-minute rests every hour. Don’t sit down immediately after climbing – standing helps with blood flow!

For more tips and tricks on how to make the most of the outdoors, read Caravanning Australia Spring 2021!

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