The Big Clamber-Fantastic: Bouldering Beginner Session
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This event is part of The Big Clamber-Fantastic! - our weekend celebrating indoor climbing and bouldering. To take part in this session, you’ll need to have signed yourself into the bouldering centre as part of the main event. For more information on all the other exciting things that that we’ll have going on, why not check out the main event page!
So you've seen the posts of people scaling the walls in tiny shoes, videos of acrobatic manoeuvres and moving as if gravity doesn't exist and thought 'I want to try some of that'? Well you've come to the right place!
So what is bouldering exactly? Bouldering is a form of climbing where instead of long high routes, the 'problems' as they are referred to tend to be shorter and focus on technique, balance, body positioning and sometimes power. Because of this different emphasis, bouldering doesn't have the hassle of climbing with ropes, harnesses and belaying and for this reason it is often regarded as the 'purest' form of climbing.
But I've got no upper body strength!?
Yes, we've heard that many a time as it's probably the most common mis-conception about bouldering and climbing.
If you're a seasoned climber you won't need convincing about the benefits of bouldering, but for those who've never climbed more than a staircase, the benefits are wide ranging: from the obviously physical - improved strength, tone, balance, and coordination; the mental - problem solving, focus, concentration and body awareness; but also the emotional - control, confidence, relaxation, a sense of achievement and a feeling that mind and body are working together perfectly ('feeling psyched'). On top of all this, bouldering tends to be a very social sport where you can hang out with mates and each have a go as you feel regardless of what level you climb at.
Though strength can obviously help in all this, the bigger focus of climbing is learning how to use it sparingly so that you can climb for longer. We can do that through learning correct technique so that we try to use our stronger muscles - generally in our legs - rather than hanging on our arms.
So what will we do?
One of our leaders will run through the bouldering basics - everything from how the climbs work, warming up, and staying safe whilst you're climbing to start off with. You'll get an introduction to the various types of walls (overhangs, slabs, verticals, traverses) and some of the basic techniques to get you started. Once we're done, you'll be free to join everyone else for the rest of the session, or to join in with some of the other activities on offer.
What will it cost?
As this event is organised by Outdoorlads volunteers, it is free to take part. You will need to pay for entry to the bouldering centre though, see details below.
Please note that every person participating should be aware of (and accept) that those members perceived as ‘in charge’ or leading the event are not necessarily qualified, do not need to be qualified, and are not regarded by OutdoorLads, or themselves as ‘technical experts’ but are amateur climbers with some experience and who are happy to impart their knowledge. Any advice given should be considered with this in mind by the recipient.
All those attending the event must also be aware of the centre's own terms and conditions of participation and abide by them, along with any instructions given by the centre’s staff. Everyone must also take responsibility for their own safety while participating in Indoor climbing events.
What to bring
You don't need much equipment for bouldering at all. The only specialist kit you will need are rock climbing shoes which can be hired from the centre if you haven't got your own - for this event only, it's included for free in your entry fee.
There are cubby holes for your bags and optional secure lockers for valuables which require you to bring your own padlock.
What to Wear
We usually advise people to wear either shorts, combats or tracksuit bottoms with a t-shirt or vest. No jeans or any form of trouser which hampers movement. Please try and wear any OutdoorLads branded clothing as this will give the group a good level of visibility.
Any jewellery such as rings, watches, chains or bangles should be removed before beginning the session to prevent injury.
Food & drink
There won't be a planned break, but we encourage everyone to take a rest for a snack and to rehydrate during the session. There is a cafe area at the centre where hot and cold drinks along with snacks and cake can be purchased. Water fountains are available to refill your water bottles.