The thrill of rock climbing, irrespective of the discipline, largely depends on a climber’s expertise. Building that expertise requires hours of training and climbing sessions, beginning at the most superficial level.
Read on to get an insight into our bouldering tips for beginners. Bouldering, one of the simplest forms of rock climbing, is often the first point of call for beginner rock climbers.
This can be alluded to the safety of the sports, as well as how easy bouldering ranks.
Despite being relatively easy compared to other rock climbing disciplines, bouldering still presents specific difficulties that can transform an exhilarating and enjoyable climbing session to one riddled with disappointments and, in some instances, injuries.
Bouldering Tips For Beginners
As an amateur climber seeking to attain expertise level in rock climbing, which will have a long term beneficial effect on your rock climbing skills (outdoor and indoor rock climbing).
You most likely have your climbing gear, perhaps, you may have tried out bouldering. Your first bouldering experience may have turned out to be less exciting than expected, but it’s advisable never to dwell on that experience.
In a detailed and insightful manner, we’ll review various bouldering tips for beginners.
Bouldering is a physically intensive activity that largely depends on the quick movement of body parts, such as the muscles and tendons. Before climbing a bouldering route, its recommended climber warm up by engaging in exercises such as push-ups.
Climbers can also warm up by climbing routes with easy bouldering problems. This step is essential, as a stiff muscle or tendon could result in injuries such as fractured fingers, which could keep a climber out of action for months.
It is also recommended that, before climbing, climbers should not engage in physically demanding exercise, as this would leave climbers exhausted before the climb.
After warming up, climbers should rest a bit, to lower body temperature, heart and breathing rates.
2. Observe your bouldering route
Before climbing a bouldering route, it’s recommended that the climber observe his route. This step is imperative as the climber would be able to arrive at the best way to ascend.
While it is recommended that climbers adopt this step as a routine before climbing, it’s also crucial that this step is adopted during climbing. Assuming this step can help a climber ascend faster and avoid difficult problems.
Before climbing, it’s recommended that your first five steps should be marked out.
3. Observe other climbers
Arriving at the best steps to ascend quickly can be challenging for a beginner. This is especially true if you’re without the aid of an experienced guide.
One way to make up for this shortcoming is by observing other climbers, preferably experienced climbers. This would help you arrive at the best step to move and give you a hint in overcoming challenging bouldering problems.
Beginner climbers can also do well to mirror these advanced climbers’ movement, making climbing easier.
4. Climb with advanced climbers
A great way to climb faster and learn new techniques is by observing advanced climbers and climbing with these climbers.
Advanced climbers are often eager to aid beginner climbers, and you, as a beginner, can benefit maximally from this. Observe and mirror the climbers’ steps and techniques, and you’ll be sure to climb faster.
5. Please make use of footholds
In the course of ascending a bouldering route, the climber must make use of footholds. Footholds provide a good point of support for further ascension.
This is because a climber’s entire bodyweight in climbing is heavily concentrated on his foot position.
6. Improve grip strength with hang board
A fundamental technique in climbing imperative to all climbing disciplines is climbing grip strength. In the course of climbing, a climber may have to hold on for a considerably lengthy period, especially when trying out tricky movement techniques.
In such instances, grip strength proves to be fundamental. Its recommended climber practice with a hang board is often known as a fingerboard to maximum grip strength.
Regularly practice with the hang board can improve a climber grip strength to the extent that such climber would be capable of using a single finger to ascend tricky bouldering routes.
7. Ensure hip stay close to the wall
Instinctively beginner climbers sag their hips away from the wall while climbing. However, this makes climbing difficult as the center of gravity of the body is placed farther from the wall.
This ultimately has a negative effect on balance. Placing the hip close to the wall will ensure the bulk of a climber’s body weight is transferred to the feet, making climbing easier.
8. Keep your arm straight
An effective climbing technique that aids easy ascension is keeping the arm straight and upright. This will ensure the bodyweight is evenly distributed to the feet. Bending the arms leads to easy fatigue.
In the course of climbing, it’s advisable not to grab hand holes at chest level. Doing this leads to pressure and strain on the biceps, causing it to tire out quickly.
9. Never be afraid to fail
To derive a gratifying climbing experience, beginner climbers should let go of fear, especially fear of falling. Experienced and famed British climber, Shauna Coxsey once said, “Falling and failing are as much a part of climbing as getting to the top.”
This is profoundly true, especially bouldering. Falling off the bouldering route in bouldering doesn’t present any risk to climbers as dense crash pads lay beneath the climbing route.
While beginner climbers may fail repeatedly, mistakes must be noted and avoided as much as possible.
10. Master essential techniques
As a beginner climber, the various techniques in bouldering may be completely foreign. As you climb bouldering routes regularly, you’ll come to know several of these techniques.
It would be best if you committed these techniques to your memory as it can be useful in tricky climbs.
Highlighted below are a few of such techniques.
These are suitable for sloping handholds, this technique involves exerting as much force as possible with the handhold on a sloping handhold. The center of gravity (hip) is placed below the handhold.
They are known as underlings, it involves pulling these handholds from the button to ascend.
These are small holes in the wall, which the fingers fit in. Pressure can be exerted with the fingers to advance.
These are handholds which require a climber wrapping his fist around.
These are handholds which require a climber tightly wrapping his fist around, with the thumb facing upwards.
11. Climb with various climbers
As an amateur that wants to improve his/her skills, it’s recommended that you climb with different climbers with different expertise. This will help you improve your skills, as you’ll learn from various climbers.
Feel free to ask these climbers questions, and never compare yourself with such climbers.
12. Safety first
While you’re eager to develop your climbing skill, beginner climbers must remember that safety comes first. Remembering this ensures climbers climb the route slowly without endangering other climbers.
This will also make climbers get the right gear and not to overuse them. This is especially true in the use of chalks, as overuse may lead to loss of traction.
Adhering to these tips can help beginner climbers become expert climbers.
Please let us know your thoughts on bouldering tips for beginners in the comments section below.
See 10 Best Bouldering Shoes For Beginners: Review & Buying Guide, Bouldering vs Rock Climbing: Difference and Similarities, 5 Best Bouldering Chalk Bucket: Review & Buying Guide, and Bouldering For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide.