Outdoor Bouldering - How to Start and Best Practice

Dive into outdoor bouldering with our guide. Learn essential gear, safety tips, and ways to respect nature while climbing.

I. Let's get started!

The summer heat is here, and the urge to embrace the great outdoors is upon us! Outdoor bouldering can be a fantastic way to soak up the sun while satisfying your climbing cravings. But where to begin? Let's delve into the how-tos.

Firstly, remember, both indoor and outdoor bouldering can pose risks. These can range from minor injuries to, in rare cases, deaths. This sobering reminder underscores the importance of being vigilant while enjoying this shared hobby. Now that we've tackled the safety brief, let's move onto the exciting part!

II. What Kit Do I Need?

Outdoor bouldering requires some essentials to enhance your experience and ensure safety for everyone.

  • Climbing Shoes – The first and most obvious item. The core gear in our backpacks.
  • Crash Pad – Unlike indoor climbing, there's no cushiony landing in the wild. Crash pads might seem pricey, but they're crucial for safety and enjoyment. There's no definitive answer to how many you'd need; it varies with the climb and landing. Climbing in a group, with everyone bringing their pads, can ensure sufficient coverage!
  • Chalk – While not strictly necessary, chalk can make life easier, particularly on sweltering days.
  • Guidebook – Be it a physical book or an app, a guidebook provides essential information for your day out, including directions, parking, boulder locations, and even restroom spots!
  • Brush – Clean holds can enhance your performance and also contribute to maintaining the cleanliness of our outdoor spaces.
  • Water – A no-brainer, yet often overlooked. Always bring more than you think you'll need to stay hydrated.

In addition to these essentials, other items can augment your day on the rocks:

  • Towel – A handy tool to keep your shoes clean. Clean shoes not only boost performance but also minimise rock wear.
  • First-Aid Kit – A necessary emergency backup!
  • Food – Snacks or a packed lunch can keep you fuelled throughout the day.
  • Charged Phone/Power Bank – In case of emergencies, don't be caught without a means to call for help!

Of course, the list could expand indefinitely - portable fans, fingerboards, tripods, and cameras for Instagram-worthy shots. However, the focus here is on ensuring a safe, fun first outing, while preserving our beloved outdoor spaces. With climbing's increasing popularity, it's crucial we protect these environments for future generations.

III. Honourable Mentions

  • Bin Bag – A simple addition to combat the growing litter issue, ensuring we leave our outdoor spaces as clean as we found them.
  • Toiletries – Be prepared. Toilet roll, sunscreen, or insect repellent can be game-changers!
  • Layers – Weather can be unpredictable. Pack extra layers for warmth between climbs or when the temperature drops.

As a professional climber, part of my role is to influence and educate. Indoor climbing walls are often the first point of contact for newcomers. Let's ensure that they (and we) are well-prepared and respectful of the outdoors.

I hope you've found this guide both enlightening and entertaining. I welcome your suggestions on must-have gear. Stay tuned for Part 2!

ready to climb? check out events at Social Climbing