If you knew me before I started working at Climb So iLL, you would probably think of me as a sport climber. For the first four years of my climbing career, I rarely even touched a boulder. I would often ask myself, “What is the point of climbing ten feet?” “Where is the excitement in that?” This is until I started working at the gym.
Over the past year, most of my time climbing has been spent on the bouldering wall. Contrary to my initial belief, bouldering is an essential tool that every climber should utilize. It is also an incredibly fun pursuit in and of itself. Plenty of great climbers spend most – if not all – of their climbing careers bouldering – think Jimmy Webb, Daniel Woods, and Dave Graham.
Ultimately, I would summarize the benefits of bouldering into three statements. Bouldering is accessible. Bouldering is social. Bouldering is intense.
Bouldering is Accessible
Bouldering is the easiest discipline of climbing to get into. In terms of gear, you don’t need much at all. Grab your shoes, some chalk, and get to business.
Furthermore, unlike sport climbing, you don’t need to learn how to belay or find a partner. Simply show up to the climbing gym and hop on the wall. However, this is not to say that bouldering is not a social endeavor. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Bouldering is Social
At first glance, bouldering can seem like a more individualistic pursuit than sport climbing. After all, you don’t need a partner to boulder. However, bouldering – more often than not – is the most social form of climbing.
Because the intensity of bouldering is so high, it’s important for climbers to rest between climbs. This typically means that climbers rest for a longer period of time than they are actually on the wall. In short, there is a lot of downtime. In this downtime, you can chat with friends, meet new people, share beta, or plan your next trip outdoors.
The intensity of bouldering does more than allow time to socialize. It can also greatly improve your climbing performance.
Bouldering is Intense
Due to the short length of boulder problems, climbers are capable of trying much harder moves than is possible on a taller sport climb. This shorter and more intense style of climbing allows climbers to practice a move or sequence many times – working to master a specific set of skills. This level of focus and attention to specific moves is crucial to advancing your technical skills as a rock climber.
If you are new to climbing and want to learn more about bouldering, check out my <a href=”/class”>Bouldering Fundamentals</a> class. I teach this class every Monday at 6:30pm. You can expect to learn climbing strategies and technical skills that will help you succeed on the bouldering wall.