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Bouldering is… many things to many people.
For some, it's the ultimate expression of climbing. No ropes, no gear - just the joy of pure movement, in relative safety, not too high above the ground.
For some, it's a never-ending quest for technical perfection. The hardest moves will nearly always be on boulders.
For some, it's the proven method to gain power, suppleness and technique.
Bouldering makes you better at Bouldering – no surprises there!
But it's also the proven method of becoming a better sport climber, a better traditional climber and yes, a better ice climber, if that's what you want.
You apply the gains to your chosen discipline, whatever it may be.
Bouldering is as natural as breathing
Walk past any playground and you'll see a bunch of kids clambering merrily over anything they can get their hands on. Are they bouldering? You bet they are!
Bouldering is something we've always done… and always will do. It's as natural as breathing.
You can boulder on your own. You can boulder with your friends. You can boulder with other people, who then become friends.
There are boulder problems that nearly everyone can do. There are boulder problems that almost no-one can do. It's a never-ending story.
Bouldering - no ability limit, no age limit!
Fontainebleau, near Paris, is justly regarded as the premier bouldering area in Europe. It used to be known as Bleau; now it's Font. Plus ca change, huh?
At Font, you'll see toddlers making their first tentative scrambles on the rocks.
Some of them can climb almost before they can walk!
Meanwhile their parents and grandparents are cruising the classic problems.
You'll see very impressive climbers in their 50s, 60s, 70s - and even beyond.
Bouldering was Climbing's best kept secret
For many years, most climbers failed to realise the vital importance of bouldering. Hah! The elite always knew…
The best Victorian climbers, such as Owen Glynne Jones, bouldered.
In the 1930s, Colin Kirkus and John Menlove Edwards bouldered.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the legendary Joe Brown and Don Whillans bouldered.
In every decade, the best climbers bouldered. They honed their skills.
Bouldering – A secret no more
But now, the secret is out. Now bouldering is for everyone. Young and old.
Male and female. Novice to Himalayan climber.
Bouldering is something we can all share together.
And because bouldering is such a natural movement, it utilises muscle groups in a much more holistic way than many other, more artificial, types of exercise.
Intriguingly, quite a few boulder problems fail to succumb to mere brute force.
Balance, suppleness and technique also play their part. Maybe this is why so many women make good boulderers!
Bouldering is… Many Things to Many People.
It's the ultimate expression of climbing - the joy of pure movement,
It's a never-ending quest for technical perfection.
It's the proven method for improving your climbing.
It's the most climbing in the least time.
It's something you can do entirely on your own.
It's a great way of meeting other people.
It's fun (and competition?) with your friends.
It's the path of power, suppleness and technique.
It's holistic exercise.
It's a way of sharpening your wits.
It's a physical & mental discipline.
(The very best boulderers can sometimes seem like Kung Fu masters!)
And, best of all - it's a cool way to pass the time!
The possibilities are endless. Is bouldering for you? You decide...
Still need some help?? Watch the short films below to give you an idea of Bouldering and what it's all about
Our own Sam Whittaker discusses our own international competition - The CWIF: