Updated: Jul 18, 2021
Bouldering is a form of climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses. When you boulder, you only need a pair of climbing shoes for better grip on the footholds and a bag of climbing chalk to keep your hands dry. Without the need for much gear, it is easy for anyone to start the sport of bouldering.
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Surrounding the climbing walls are landing mats that help mitigate the risk of falling and protect you from injuries. On average, bouldering walls are around 4 metres high, and the landing mats are very thick at 30 centimetres. As a result, the climbs are high enough to be exciting but not so high that it's too intimidating. The landing mats keep you safe, leaving you free to concentrate on the climb.
You will find an array of boulder problems set on the wall. A single boulder problem customarily uses the same coloured holds, in which there is a start point and an endpoint. However, the positions of the holds in-between the start point and the endpoint will vary from problem to problem. This variation adds complexity to the sequence of moves you need to perform to "solve" the problem, i.e. reach the endpoint.
Route Setters are the people who set boulder problems. They assign numerical difficulty ratings to the boulder problems. The grading of the boulder problem is affected by various factors such as the required strength, flexibility, technique and mobility to complete the climbs. Therefore, each boulder problem has its solution, and you need to work it out with what you have.
Bouldering is an easy sport to pick up since you do not need a lot of gear to get started. You do not need to worry about not having enough strength as bouldering hinges more on movement ability than sheer muscle power. You can get a workout without feeling like you're on a treadmill at the gym since each boulder problem differs from the other.
It is also a very social sport. You will often see people working on a tricky boulder problem together, taking turns to try different solutions.
History of Bouldering
In the past, bouldering was not a distinct discipline, but rather it is a playful form of training for higher outdoor climbs. However, over time, with further development in the rock climbing scene, bouldering eventually distinguished itself as a separate discipline. In addition, influences from other sports like gymnastics helped in the evolution of bouldering. This influence shifted the focus from completing large ascents to navigating movements on either natural forming boulders or artificial boulders indoors. Today, bouldering has grown in popularity, and more people are participating in bouldering competitions.
For those who love the outdoors, you may someday find yourself bouldering on natural boulders. For those who are a little more competitive, you may eventually join and train for climbing competitions.
Start Bouldering Today
At Boulder Planet, we try to take the best elements of bouldering and make them accessible to all. Our boulder problems are set with varying levels of difficulty so that you can work on the problems at your level and enjoy climbing. We also regularly set new boulder problems, which means there will always be a new challenge waiting for you.