Bouldering has come a long way since those days, evolving into not only what is arguably the most popular type of climbing, but it’s also a “gateway discipline” that gets thousands of people into the sport of climbing every year. You don’t need ropes, quickdraws, cams, or any of the other equipment required for sport or trad climbing. These days, there are bouldering-specific competitions, bouldering-only climbing gyms, and thousands of people, pro’s and new climbers alike who “just boulder” and never tie into a rope. With very little gear or technical systems required, bouldering is “the simplest, most distilled version of movement over rock,” Glassberg says. “There are no distractions from movement and difficulty. You can push yourself to your physical maximum on powerful short bursts of strength.” Even though bouldering is unique because of its simplicity, there are still plenty of ways to get injured. In the following article, Glassberg walks through how to get started safely, as well as tips and tricks for how to improve at bouldering.
For spotting, the goal is to help the climber fall on the pads no matter what (not to catch the climber). Stand behind the climber in an athletic stance (legs strong, knees and hips slightly bent) with arms up and elbows slightly bent, following her hips with your hands. If she comes off, try to put your hands on her hips to guide her onto the pads feet-first. That will take some force. Adjust your position in relation to the climber as she moves up and across the rock. Be prepared for a fall at any time, up until the moment she’s standing on top. “Don’t be afraid to touch a flying butt to re-center an off-balance fall,” Glassberg says. “And spoons, not forks! Keep those fingers and thumbs together.” This will help prevent an injury to the spotter.
When it comes to a specific project, I like to watch videos and beta that people have used that worked for them. I talk to people that are my size and have done the problem to get micro-beta. I then try to complete every move with the least effort possible, not wasting time on bad beta or redoing moves I have done already. Once I have done all the moves and have the beta dialed, I like to do certain sections or overlap sections to dial it in further. Then I wait for the perfect temps, good wind, no sun, and cold, sticky conditions to give it a proper go with the intention of sending. If it doesn’t go, and I start to epic over days and weeks of trying, I analyze my weaknesses and train those moves and holds specifically in the gym. Then again with great conditions, I try again. If you can do all the moves, you will do it eventually.