Where to Start When Outdoor Bouldering

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The beauty of rock climbing is it combines danger with physical activity. Those who climb have a thrill for adventure and love to push their physical limits. This article is about getting you from zero knowledge to your first outdoor bouldering climb.

I’ve been rock climbing since summer 2016 when the local Windsor Rock Gym opened up. Instantly I knew had found the perfect activity to fill that void in my life. It combined my love for physical activity, need for community, problem solving skills, and pushing my limits all at the same time.

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Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that does NOT require the use of ropes or harnesses where most routes are no more than 6 metres(20 ft.) in height. Outdoor climbs usually require you to climb on top on the boulder to complete the route, while indoor usually has you climb and touch the top boulder.

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The appeal of bouldering over other forms of climbing is the simplicity to jump right into it. When you fall, you can instantly re-try as oppose to other forms of climbing where you are harnessed in and require lots of gear to get started.

Benefits:

  1. Burn calories: 500 to 900 per hour [1]
  2. Build muscle: Arms, back, chest, shoulders, fingers/hands and core
  3. Meet new friends: It can be a very social sport
  4. Get outdoors: Outdoor climbs can be from an hour to a day
  5. Badass: Now you can’t tell me that picture below is not badass

buy zyban online specialize Starting Gear

The very minimum you need to get started to a pair of rock climbing shoes. However, to do it safely and get maximum enjoyment you will require the following items.

  • Rock Climbing Shoes ($150)- This one you cannot get around because these shoes are specially designed to grab and hold onto the rocks so you don’t slip and can do preform moves.
  • Chalk ($10)- It’s pretty cheap and worth it. Chalk is designed to absorb the sweat off so you do not slip of the rock.
  • Chalk Bag ($35)- For bouldering I recommend getting the bucket chalk bag. This is a large bucket shaped bag that can hold a lot of chalk and sit directly on the ground without falling over. For longer routes or highballs, having a standard bag to put around your waist can help you out.
  • Brushes ($20)- Brushes are used to clean of the dirt and sweat from a hold so that it becomes more sticky. To start an old toothbrush will work just fine. You should eventually get a natural brush because they work much better.
  • Crash Pads ($300)-This is the most expensive part of bouldering because you do not want to cheap out on a crash pad. This single handedly will prevent injuries to many parts of your body. Full Pads are about 3 feet(0.9 metres) by 4 feet(1.2 metres) and run at least 4 inches thick. Half pads are much smaller and are usually used at the feet. They are not to be used at vital falls.

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The Beauty of Bouldering is the ease of getting in and out. However,  you also have the option to make a day out of it or even a whole week out of it. Outdoor bouldering differs in this way. Once you’re emerged in the sport your mindset will shift to indoor bouldering is practice for when you outdoor boulder.

Time of year is very important because when it is too hot the sweat from your hands will make grabbing holds impossible. Generally speaking Spring and Fall are the best times to go, however if you’re climbing in more southern areas in the USA then even Winter can be the best time. It is best to do your research on the area where’d you like to climb.

  1. navigation (map and compass)
  2. sun protection
  3. extra clothing
  4. light- (flashlight or head light)
  5. first-aid supplies
  6. nutrition
  7. WATER

Time of year is very important because when it is too hot the sweat from your hands will make grabbing holds impossible. Generally speaking Spring and Fall are the best times to go, however if you’re climbing in more southern areas in the USA then even Winter can be the best time. It is best to do your research on the area where’d you like to climb.

3 hours trip- This is the minimum  time you can experience an out door climb. This is best for after work or getting your work out in. You will need all your basic gear plus maybe a protein shake and/or a couple snacks. The biggest downside is you need to have a nearby crag.

Day Trip- This is ideal when you have a crag within 3 hours and you can leave early and spend the day out there having fun. A relaxed Sunday or a “sick day” from work is all or need. A little more supplies are needed for this type of trip. Bring a lunch full of carbs, lots of snacks and water, and a few beers for the end of the day.

Week Trip- This is ideal trip because you can really take your time and have fun. It’s best to go with a group of 4 or 5 people and have it planned so you guys are doing 2 days climbing, break day, then 2 days climbing. So many options follow here, you can camp right at the crag if it is permitted or get a place near by. Most popular climbing destinations have a specific climbers hostel or campground. I highly recommend sleeping in these areas because it allows you to socialize with the other climbers and get some good beta of the good areas to climb.

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http://excelsior101.com/37867-antabuse-canada.html interface Spotting

Even though the crash pad will take the blunt of the fall, spotting is an essential part to the safety of the climbing experience. It is the climbers responsibility that all the proper spotting preparations are in place. However, the spotter has a large responsibility once the climber is climbing. It requires 100% attention once the the climb has begun. An acronym can be used to help memorize safe techniques: SPOT.

  • Stance- The spotter firmly stands below with his/her arms in the air aimed at the waist of the climber and nothing should interfere with the movement of the climber.
  • Preparation- The landing area has been cleared of rocks and branches and the pads placed to maximize effectiveness.
  • Observation- 100% attentiveness to the situation must occur.
  • Tactics- The spotter shell always be in the appropriate position to spot while moving the pads as the climber climbs the route.

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I’m not your father or teacher, however we must always come from the perspective of a professional adventure guide. Risk management and safety should always be in the back of our minds. The best way to think about this is too think about some of the worst situations that could happen and having a few measures in place to prevent this from happening. This is especially important when you are going out by yourself. I’m going to list a few safety measures that should be considered.

  1. Let somebody know where you are and when you will be returning
  2. Have a way to communicate with the outside world. (cell phone)
  3. First aid kit is a must
  4. Extra clothing that could protect you if you had to stay the not
  5. Extra food and water in case your stay was extended
  6. Climbing while intoxicated is extra dangerous
  7. Helmets save lives
  8. Spotters are 100% attentive while their partner is on the problem
  9. On high balls, must sure you have extra pads and spotters, or better yet a top rope
  10. Injuries do happen. Be prepared for them.

can you buy viagra online safely Useful Apps

  1. Mountain Project- A must have. This app gives you every registered route in any given area. Guides can be downloaded for offline use.
  2. MyClimb- A social climbing app that allows you to find climbers in a new area.
  3. Rakkup- Use GPS and turn by turn navigation this will get you directly to the base of the boulder.

Conclusion

In conclusion bouldering outdoors is probably one of the funnest experiences you’ll ever have; once you start you’ll be hooked. I understand it is an intimidating to get started, keep in mind you do not have to be a professional the first time you go. The best strategy is to find someone at your local gym who have been outdoors and ask to tag along next time they go. If that is not an option take a friend or go by yourself and start on easy problems so you really get the fell for it. the important lesson here is to have fun then you can start pushing you limits.

 

 

 

 

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