How to prepare for your first outdoor bouldering?
Our life has changed a lot in the past year due to the COVID pandemic. We had to get used to home-office, less social life and fewer sports activity. This has had a significant effect on our climbing life as well. In most countries, gyms are closed for shorter or longer periods, so efficient training needs more organization and preparation. We can do home training with hangboards or bodyweight exercises.
The popularity of indoor climbing has been going up really fast in the past few years, and more and more people get in touch with our beloved sport. Many indoor climbers lost the opportunity to train, so outdoor climbing caught in the limelight. In this article, we share a few basic tips for those who climbed indoor until the pandemic started and who are keen to keep climbing outdoor until the gyms are closed.
So, how you can prepare for your first boulder trip? (Even if it's just a one-day event.)
- First of all, we have to call your attention on some important safety rules! Outdoor climbing needs more foresight, as there are no endless mattress-carpets under the rocks. Bring at least one crashpad with you!
- If you are a first-time outdoor boulderer, plan your trip with friends, preferably with experienced climbers. Good spotting is indispensable! The best is if you learn how to spot on more accessible boulders, with some practice-falls :)
Check this one-minute video on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a0uS7cwdGE
Obviously, it is good to check the forecast before you go out. The best time to check is 1-2 days before the day you plan to bouldering. If it was raining the day before, the rock can be still moist, especially in woodlands. If the selected crag is out in the sun, a few hours will be enough to dry up.
And please note, never climb on wet sandstone as the holds can break off!
Our favourite websites to check the weather:
This topic seems to be obvious as well, but you can pay attention to a few tricks. Even if the weather seems to be cold, bring lighter clothes as well. If you have to trek up the hill with the crashpad, you will be happy to take off the jacket. In chilly weather, a hoody-jacket can be a big plus, as your neck can feel really cold in the wind.
And never forget the gloves! When taking a rest, it can help to protect your warmed-up fingers.
Pro-tip: warm underwear can be useful, too, even if you start your day in the sunshine. It often happens that the sun goes down, and your project is still unclimbed. :) In this case, a second layer under your trousers will make a huge difference when taking rests between tries.
And last but not least, two essential gears: the brush and the topo! For cleaning your boulder, a brush is always needed. You can use the same brush as in the gym. One important thing: please always brush the route after leaving it! We have to keep the forest and the rocks as clean as possible.
Probably you have already prepared for outdoor bouldering by watching videos and browsing topos to find and save the routes you would like to climb. In the Topo Guru app, you can save your projects to the Wish List to easily find the selected boulders on the spot.
If the mobile connection is weak in the crag, you can prepare for the trip and download the topos for offline use while you are at home and have a wifi connection. With this feature, you will always find your way to the blocks, even if there is zero mobile signal. The offline-downloaded topos are using the GPS-receiver of your phone.
On your first boulder trip, it's essential to start with easier boulders. Outdoor bouldering needs more attention, as the footholds are usually much smaller than in the gyms, so falling off happens more often. Always search for lower grades than your maximum at gyms and be very safe on the first day! You have plenty of time to climb more challenging projects.
If you have any questions, contact our team on Facebook Messenger or through e-mail, we are happy to help you!