I went bouldering for the first time this past weekend and it was everything everyone says it is. From Brooklyn Boulders in Cambridge to LA Boulders, I’ve always heard what a blast it is from friends and seen all these cool photos- but I’ve never made the effort to go. Until this weekend when some friends asked me to go to LA boulders in DTLA.
For those that don’t know what bouldering is, it’s simply a form of rock climbing performed without ropes or harness. It sounds really difficult, and it certainly is but with the existence of bouldering gyms- you can now try various levels of bouldering and know that you can fall without getting hurt. The gym is covered with mats to provide safety for even the most confident.
It was a little intimidating walking in myself without knowing what to do, or understanding how to boulder. I saw people of all ages and sizes climbing walls, holding on to dear life figuring out the next move. As I waited for my friends, I thought about trying it out myself, but was unsure where to start.
After a few hours at the bouldering gym, I had gotten the hang of it. I absorbed the culture in the gym, the unspoken rules every climber who has been there before knew. It is a very supportive environment with climbers pushing one another with encouraging words. I enjoyed the team dynamic that comes with bouldering. Even though you are the one on the wall trying to get to the last rock of that climb, friends and fellow climbers all around you are giving you advice on which pieces are around you, and guiding you through your climb. Not to mention, the experienced climbers may even teach you a technique or two.
My forearm muscles are certainly not happy with me at the moment (I can barely pull to close my car door when I get in my car) but it was a blast. I enjoyed the challenge, and yet the relaxing atmosphere. As you can tell from the photos, many climbers relax on the mats while watching other climbers on the wall.
For any first-time boulderers, I believe there’s three things you need to know to not feel as intimidated:
- There are different levels of each path to climb- labeled V0 – V10. With V0 the easiest, and V10 the hardest. I was jamming on V1s and V2s.
- Each path is color coordinated, if you start with a rock that’s green, follow the green as you climb.
- Map out your path before you start. Try to figure out which feet will go where, where your hands will move, etc. This will save you a lot of energy as you climb.
These are only a few of the many tips for bouldering, but I know if I was a first time boulderer- those are three important facts I would like to know ahead of time.
Are you a boulderer? What do you like about it?