5 tips for your first outdoor bouldering trip
The clocks have gone forward, the sun is shining and Spring is here, we’re officially starting to think about heading into the outdoors! April is the perfect time of year to grab your mates from the gym and head out to the crag for some outdoor bouldering.
Don’t get us wrong, we love indoor bouldering (we may be biased), but there is a certain charm about being sat at the crag for the day with good company, good views, and good snacks, working together to solve the problem in front of you. It’s a great day out; if you’re properly prepared… here are our top 5 tips to help you prepare for your first trip.
Firstly, make sure you plan your trip and do some research on the destination. Check out the location's rules and regulations, weather conditions, and if any permits or fees are needed. It's always better to be safe than sorry! Certain types of rock can only be climbed at certain times of year/ day, so it’s essential to plan ahead before packing up all your stuff and heading to the crag.
Guidebooks are a must for any properly planned trip, we’ve got a wide selection in our retail areas at The Hangar. We’d recommend chatting with our crew to get advice on which ones are the best for your local area. There are also a few handy websites available such as UKC.
Bring the right gear
You don't need a lot of equipment for bouldering, but it's essential to have the right gear to keep you safe and comfortable. You need largely the same stuff you do for indoor bouldering - climbing shoes with good grip and comfort for traction and control on the rock, chalk and a chalk bag to help keep your hands dry and improve your grip.
Additionally, a crash pad is a must-have to cushion any falls outdoors. If you’re not quite ready to buy your own or need a few more for a particular crag, you can hire pads from your local Hangar, ask the crew at reception for details.
And of course, pack plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your climb.
We know we know… the excitement of getting on the climb can be too much, but warming up is such an important step before you start climbing, especially outdoors, to prevent injury. Do some light cardio and dynamic stretching exercises to get your blood flowing and loosen up your joints. Stretch your arms, legs, and core to prepare for the specific movements required for bouldering. This will help you perform better and reduce your risk of injury.
Know how to stay safe
When climbing, practice safe techniques, especially for outdoor bouldering, which can be more challenging and dangerous. Always climb with a partner who can spot you and help guide your movements. Keep your body close to the rock and use your legs to push yourself up, rather than relying on your upper body strength. Be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards, such as loose rocks or uneven terrain.
Respect the environment
Lastly, respect the environment! Outdoor bouldering takes place in beautiful natural settings, so it's crucial to leave no trace. Stick to designated trails and avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife. Try not to use chalk on rock that isn't already covered in it, and brush off any excess chalk before leaving. Pack up all your rubbish and leave the area cleaner than you found it. By respecting the environment, you can help preserve the beauty of the area for future climbers.
Bouldering outdoors can be an amazing experience, but it's crucial to be prepared and practice safe techniques. With these tips, you'll be ready for an exciting and enjoyable outdoor bouldering trip.
We regularly put on group away days from The Hangar so come and join us for the next one! Find your local Hangar here.