Here are some FAQ’s that should answer most of your questions, anything extra you need to know, just give us a call or drop us an email.
What is bouldering?
In short, bouldering is doing short climbs (called problems) over huge crash pads, which means we don’t use ropes. It is very free form with many boulderers doing the same problem in different ways allowing you to express your interpretation of how a problem should be done. They are called problems because they require solving, the general aim in bouldering is not to get up everything first time (called a FLASH), but to find something on the edge of your ability and solve the problem both through perfecting the movement, but also figuring out which moves to use. Everybody brings something different to bouldering, often men are stronger which means they power their way through things, but power is rarely the sole solution, and often women, lacking brute force, use their brains instead to figure out a cunning way of going up using less energy. It is a generalisation, but it often holds true! At its core, bouldering is fun, social and hugely addictive. As a bonus it happens to be an excellent way to stay fit and toned but without the boring bits of having to do ‘exercise’!
What are the benefits?
The benefits of bouldering are unparelleled, and they are all under one roof! It has been proven that climbing positively stresses the anaerobic and aerobic systems making you holistically healthier and fitter. As well, bouldering demands that you use your body in different and create ways, therefore it naturally builds strength, muscle tone, endurance, power and stamina; whats more, the embodied movement means an increase in flexibility, balance, eye and body co-ordination. You can expect to feel amazing! If you need something to distract you from the stresses of day to day life, provide a focus of the mind and generally increase confidence, self esteem and well being- bouldering is the sport for you!
What is it going to cost?
There a few different ways to do this:
1. I’ve climbed at another centre, I feel happy to climb by myself. Entry cost (between £5 – £7) plus shoe (£3)/chalk hire (£1) if you need it – done.
2. Book an induction, get 30mins on safety, the basics of bouldering movement, all your kit hire and then your a member – £15. You can now climb unsupervised, whenever you want. (as long as we’re open)
3. Zero to hero beginners course: A four week course that is designed to take from you from green rookie to rock maestro! Each one hour session covers the essential skills in climbing movement, includes all hire and instruction. Sessions run on Mondays from 6.15-7.15 and Saturdays from 4.00 – 5.00. (£60)
3. If you’re a family – grab a family ticket and get an induction for up to three kids and two adults. Now everyone can is good to climb whenever and the kids, if under 14 can climb anytime, as long as they are supervised. Over 14’s can go through an informal assessment process so they can climb without an adult whenever they want. (£45)
4. Come with a friend who is a member, they can sign you in and show you the ropes. (same £’s as 1)
Is it safe?
Climbing sports have long sold themselves as ‘extreme,’ the truth be known, they are mainly extremely fun as opposed to extremely dangerous! Bouldering takes place on walls between 3 and 4.2 metres high over 30cm deep foam crash pads. So it is as safe as we can make it. Of course I’m not going tell you that it is 100% safe because that would be a lie, falling off is a normal part of the game, and although it is rare, sometimes people do land awkwardly and hurt something. Despite us taking every possible precaution and following best industry practice, accidents are unpreventable. For comparison, it is quite likely that driving to the facility is statistically more dangerous than bouldering, so if that scares you, we are right by a train station!
Is it suitable for beginners?
Everyone is a beginner at some point! We dedicate at least 20% of all the problems we do to total beginners so you can learn the sport and be challenged. Not only this, but we change some of the problems every week so new stuff for you to do is always coming up too. Although bouldering can be easily learnt, if you prefer instruction, you can always book a coaching session to help you find your feet.
Do you need strong arms?
No and yes! This video shows that bouldering requires a range of different skills and strengths.
We set challenges for every level, from first timers to the seasoned pro, so no matter how beefy or slender your arms are, we have something you will get up first go, and things you will have to work at! Many boulder problems require very little strength but like everyone else, you will boulder to your limit, usefully, bouldering gives you stronger arms allowing you to do more boulder problems!. It is important to know that your climbing technique governs how well you can use your strength – pull ups don’t make you a better climber only better at pull ups.
I’m scared of heights!
No problem here then as we don’t go very high and you do not even have to go to the top, the object is finding something you enjoy climbing up, the top is just where you have to stop, the rules don’t say you have to go there! Generally, you will rarely be more than 3-4ft from the crash pads. The idea here is not about how high you go, but how much you enjoy it or the level of challenge specific to you. As a bonus, more bouldering will quickly make you more comfortable off the ground and the nerves will fade away….
What should I wear/bring?
Loose comfortable clothing, leggings work too! You just need to be able to move freely. Leave jewellery at home as it is a bad idea to wear it while climbing as it can catch on things or get scratched! The centre can be a bit nippy in winter as if it is too warm, climbing holds feel greasy which makes them harder to hold, so a warm layer or two never hurts, you can always put it in your locker if you get too hot!
Bring liquid/nibbles if you like, but we have a wide range of hot drinks and tasty snacks to keep you fuelled.