My first bouldering event
Indoor bouldering is a popular first event to chose, it's fun, takes just a couple of hours, and is a good taster of what ODL is like overall, as you'll meet a friendly bunch of people and you can make it as challenging as you want it to be.
The event will take place at an indoor bouldering/climbing centre. Whilst there is no charge to attend the event, you will need some cash or a credit card to pay the climbing centre admission on the day. If the event listing doesn't say how much this costs, check the climbing centre's own website for admission prices.
Some climbing centres allow you to pre-register online, which is a good idea as it saves time then on the event day. As part of the pre-registration there may be a safety video or information to absorb, and they will ask you to sign a form to acknowledge that you have understood and will respect the centre's rules, safety requirements etc.
If you have any questions in advance of the event, you can send the event leader a message via the link on the event page.
What to Take
As it's your first bouldering event, you probably won't have your own climbing shoes, but you'll be able to hire a pair at the climbing centre. Take some comfortable clothes to wear whilst bouldering. A t-shirt or vest, plus shorts or track pants will be ideal. And it can be surprisingly thirsty exercise so you could also bring a water bottle.
Arrive a bit earlier than stated on the event listing, so you'll have enough time to sign in, check that you've been registered correctly at the centre, pay the admission charge, hire some climbing shoes, and just familiarise yourself a bit with the surroundings. At some centres you'll get discounted prices when you mention that you are with OutdoorLads.
There will be changing facilities, lockers and probably showers at the climbing centre, and sometimes cycle storage. Check the climbing centre's website for details if you need to know for sure in advance.
The event leader will have explained in the event listing exactly where to meet. You should be easily able spot them as they'll likely be wearing an OutdoorLads t-shirt or vest.
The leader will welcome everyone, and check who is new to ODL and who is bouldering for the first time. They will make sure that everyone is comfortable and explain what's about to happen.
It's a very good idea to do some warm up exercises before starting the bouldering, you may well be using muscles that you haven't used for a while. There will be an area specifically for this, and the event leader will take the participants through some warm up exercises together.
The leader will explain how bouldering works and remind everyone what the safety requirements are, including how to make sure you're in the right place and not in the way of other people, how to climb safely, and how to fall safely.
You'll see that there are lots of colour coded climbing hand and foot holds bolted to the climbing wall. You pick a route using the colour coding system, so you can start with the easiest colour and then try something more challenging once you feel more confident.
There's plenty of time and you're not in a rush. You'll find that bouldering is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge, as you decide what route to take and how you're going to move from one climbing hold to the next.
It's certainly not a race, and if you're not sure what to do the other OutdoorLads participants, as well as the majority of other boulders at the centre, will happily take the time to give you tips and ideas.
The event typically lasts around two hours, during which time you'll get to try different sections of the climbing wall, different routes, and different levels of difficulty. It's totally up to you how much you do and how challenging you make it.
After a couple of hours, you'll almost certainly have exerted yourself more than you realise. This is normal and the leader will demonstrate some warm down exercises for everyone, which will go a long way to helping reduce any muscle aches the following day.
You may find that the group decides to go to get something to eat or drink together afterwards, and you'll be very welcome to join in. It's a good opportunity to get to know others and to find out more about bouldering or any of the other events that ODL runs.
The bouldering leader will have gone through an OutdoorLads evaluation and assessment process and have proved that they are capable of leading the event.
What are other types of OutdoorLads events like?
If there's still something you're not sure about related to attending your first bouldering event or any aspect of OutdoorLads, please do contact us.