When you come into a climbing gym there’s generally three types of climbing that’s available to you. One of them is known as bouldering. Bouldering is, basically, climbing without any ropes, and usually without the harnesses. It’s typically a shorter length climb, maybe anywhere from 10 feet up to 16, 17 feet and when you complete a boulder problem you would normally just fall back down to the floor, dropping onto a padded surface, again without using a rope or belayer. If you would like to find out more about this technique, you can visit my website at www.mountainmotion.co.uk and check out some of the greatsummer climbing courses that I run.
Because you don’t have any of those extras, it’s just the climbing that you concentrate on – which makes it great for isolating some typically shorter sequences and practicing some harder moves. Often, you can do this on a lot of steeper terrain, that’s what makes bouldering really powerful. It takes a lot of strength and a lot of technique, so its also a great way to get involved with the sport because you don’t need a rope and, as I said, you don’t need a harness. Also, you don’t need a partner to boulder, so it’s very social. That’s why a lot of folks like to boulder, simply because its kind of a great way to get introduced. You also have what’s known as top roping. Top roping is when the rope is already at the top of the climb for you so the belayer’s at one end of the rope, the climber’s at the other end and as the climber’s moving up the wall, the belayer’s taking all the slack in for them so that if the climber falls, they don’t really fall down, they just kind of fall in place, and that’s known as top roping. Another type of climbing thats popular indoors is lead climbing.
Lead climbing in a gym is also commonly known as sport climbing. Using this technique, you start with the rope tied to your harness at the bottom of the wall and, as you’re climbing up, you’re bringing the rope with you, making your clips into each of these devices known as quick draws. So, as you’re progressing up, you make the clips as you’re moving and every time you make a clip, you have the potential to fall to wherever the last clip is that you made. So, whereas in top roping the rope is already up there for you, in lead climbing you’re bringing it up as you climb. That’s why you have the potential to take bigger falls, because there’s a little bit more technique involved in how to belay for a leader as opposed to how to fall as a leader. you also need to have some general know how with how to make those clips safely. So, its a bit more advanced but a really great technique to practice in a climbing gym. So when you come in to the gym next time, consider trying all of them. Do some bouldering. Do some top roping. Try some lead climbing. They’re all great.
They’re all fun. It’s all climbing. That’s what you can expect. Three types of climbing right here in the gym.