Bouldering is awesome because it requires the least amount of gear and can also be done independently! If you can’t seem to find a partner or aren’t sure about committing to rock climbing, bouldering is for you. Let’s learn how to boulder while keeping climbing safety a top priority.
Bouldering requires more strength because the moves are more explosive and you don’t have a rope to rely on to catch your fall. It also tends to be made up of more balanced moves and can be seen as more daunting, because the higher you get, the farther from the ground you are, and the more risk of injuring yourself. All in all, it’s a great intro into the rock climbing world because you can try out as many routes as you want, climb up as high as you’re comfortable going and requires little to no prior knowledge of gear.
The only gear associated with indoor bouldering is the sticky, awesome, rubber rock climbing shoes, and a chalk bag. Rock climbing shoes make you feel invincible like you could stick to any surface and scale massive walls, and the chalk dries out your hands giving them extra ability to hold onto the artificial rock holds.
Rock climbing shoes come in all shapes designed for particular levels. The flatter a rock shoe is, the better it is for beginners. As the rock shoe gets more aggressive, it will be easier for you to scale an overhung wall and is therefore, a graduated version of the flat rock shoe. Rock climbing shoes are available for rent at most climbing facilities, and chalk bags are cheap, you might as well buy your own.
When it comes to style, you will notice at all rock gyms, half of the climbers are dressed straight out of an REI catalog, and half of the climbers are in jeans. Wear whatever you want, but beware, jeans can rip when you’re pulling a starfish move on the wall. My personal recommendation? For both men and women, get some Prana pants (they make awesome stretchy pants that are also stylish), and wear whatever you would when you’re working out. I would also recommend a polyester blend shirt, because climbing is hard, and you will sweat.
When you’re bouldering, make sure to wait your turn on a route, and look up before you start your climb. Bouldering is a social sport, so climbers tend to get distracted and end up walking underneath a climber who is already on a route. If you don’t want someone to fall on you, look up before you get on a climb and be spatially aware. When you do get the courage to try a route, only climb up as high as you’re comfortable with and downclimb whenever possible. Learn how to fall. Picture a cat jumping from a tree and landing as softly as possible and absorbing the fall. Be cat-like: absorb the fall, and roll out of it whenever necessary.