Tips for first time bouldering

bouldering alpkit
Alpkit, 07 September 2011
Grading
If you are making the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing you will find that the grades are not a push over. One aspect that some people new to outdoor bouldering don't realise is that climbs finish on top of the boulder! If you have only ever climbed indoors that can come as a bit of a shock! No matter what grade you currently climb, or what grade you aspire to make sure you have trained and experienced climbers there to help you develop your technique.

Equipment and safety
With bouldering there is no need for ropes or expensive climbing hardware. Purists will use nothing more than a pair of sticky rubber boots, chalk bag and a beer towel, but these days most boulderers use a specialised foam pad called a bouldering mat. These pads have soft foam on the bottom and hard foam on the top. The soft foam deforms well over rocks and the hard foam spreads the force of the landing over the surface area of the mat.

October bouldering essentials
The best times for bouldering in the UK are spring and autumn. The cooler temperatures mean the rock has greater friction, which means you can use smaller holds, but it is not so cold that you stand around shivering. It is useful to have a soft brush to clean holds, finger tape, thermals and a flask. A down jacket will keep you warm between climbs and a beer towel is useful for cleaning your boots.

Performance
No matter how strong you are Grit rewards subtle technique. Sometimes you just need to watch someone else do the climb so you can see how they position their body and move over the rock. If you are strong it helps but it will only get you so far, then you really need to watch what experts are doing... Where they put their feet, their heels, and their toes and study how they are moving. If you aspire to being a technical climber you can really get a lot done.

You can only train to a certain physical level, and even if you feel strong you might not do well if you are highly strung. When you have a good session it just happens, you can't push for it. Visualising yourself on the boulder making the moves catching an edge, holding it, doing the next move, the next move, mantling the top and thinking that was a good problem is just one technique that can help you push your grade.

For a  masterclasses which will really change your perspective of what is possible, visit The Peak District and book a class with Shauna is [the British bouldering champion] and James [placed 2nd in the British lead climbing championships and first at SkyMasters].


For course details visit:
www.alpkit.com/bigshakeout/schoolofadventure


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