A Beginners Guide to Bouldering

Boulder Hut Cave
Boulder Hut Cave

A Beginners Guide to Bouldering

Hello out there, I'm Sophie and I've recently taken on the Marketing Manager role here at Boulder Hut. 

For those of you who don't know me and actually, for those of you who do. Before 2020 I had never considered climbing or bouldering as a sport, activity or hobby. It was only that I was invited here by a friend that I began to make it part of my regular routine. Even now, approaching the end of 2021, I still consider myself a beginner. 

So, to kick off my first blog post at Boulder Hut I thought it would be good to create a beginners guide to bouldering. 

First things first...

I have a confession. I am absolutely TERRIFIED of heights. I get jelly legs when I'm at height, I can't STAND bridges (especially ones that rock), and quite frankly, how I cope with bouldering is a mystery to me. But as they say, stranger things have happened at sea. 

My absolute WORST experience with height is that Runcorn bridge, just around the corner. Thank goodness they've created the bypass, it means I no longer have to endure the sheer terror that driving over it causes. Phew. 

Preparing to climb...

I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I had so many questions. What do I wear? How do I warm up? Do I need some money to get a drink? Should I take a towel to mop up the sweat? Will I even sweat? 

The list goes on. And on. And on. 

In the end, I decided I'd wear a warm jumper (it was January), my comfy leggings, and take a bottle of water. Oh and of course some change to buy cake (more on that later).

I hired my shoes from the front desk. And borrowed my friends chalk to climb. The first ascent was so scary. I started on the easiest routes (bumble bee I call them, because you know, black and yellow), and had to top out. Oh dear. Jelly legs, a cold sweat and a rather sheepish crawl to the slide, holding on to anything I could for dear life (and stability), and off I went down the slide feeling accomplished, proud, motivated, and slightly shaky. 

I couldn't wait to attempt my next route. I felt so motivated to do well, and by the end of the 2 hour session, I was climbing routes well above the starting grade. I was still on a high when I got home, and had already booked my next session.

You mentioned cake...

Yes, yes I know. But I felt like this topic needed it's own heading. So, after your climb, you'll be feeling AWESOME, and also hungry. But you've got tea in the slow cooker at home, and you don't want to over do it. Boulder Hut has the solution. The best vegan cakes ever to have graced planet earth. Well, definitely planet bouldering anyway. 

The perfect after climb snack. And don't forget to wash it down with a latte. Extra special if Ed makes it for you. He is the god of coffee art.

Hydration...

As with any kind of exercise, keeping hydrated is mega important. The great thing about climbing is, that a lot of the time, it doesn't feel like exercise. So it would be really easy to forget about drinking water (guilty). Get into the habit of taking a sip here and there, maybe between routes. 

Ask questions...

It's going to be one of those experiences. You probably haven't been before, you probably won't know where to start, and you probably arent going to want to be that person who asks for help (guilty again). 

I've learned that asking questions is so important. I think that if I hadn't metaphorically chewed Greg and Chris' ears off on more than one occasion, I'd have gotten frustrated and given up. 

The ultimate pass...

After around 2 or 3 weeks of climbing I realised how much I was spending each time I went to climb. I signed up for my first Ultimate Pass. I saved myself a fortune. 16 quid here, and 16 quid there, it adds up. So it made perfect sense to sign up. I made my money back within a week. 

I also didn't have any climbing shoes of my own at the time. I got free shoe hire with the pass, and when the time came 15% off climbing shoes in the shop. 

It was a no brainer. 

Climb as much as you want...

I climbed, and climbed and climbed. Every opportunity I had, I was climbing. I caught the bug, and I'm glad to say that the bug is still as strong as it was. FINALLY I found a sport that I could do on my own. No goals to score, no angry parents screaming from the side line, and best of all, no expectations. I knew I wasn't the most proficient climber, but that didn't and still doesn't matter. I'm having fun. I'm problem solving. I'm feeling elated when I complete that one route. My mental health is also benefitting. 

Bring a friend...FOR FREE...

As an ultimate pass member, I was able to bring my friends along. Some of them were slightly apprehensive about having a go. But onced I'd forced (I mean talked them into politely, with no bribe of cake AT ALL) they loved it. I mean, I think it's a given that anyone who tries climbing once, will instantly be addicted. 

 

So, preparing to climb. My top tips

  1. Wear something comfortable
  2. Hire shoes
  3. Bring a bottle of water
  4. Ask questions
  5. Drink coffee
  6. Eat cake
  7. Buy an ultimate pass
  8. Climb every day for the rest of your life
  9. Bring a friend
  10. HAVE FUN!

Do you need anymore convincing? I didn't think so. See you soon then! Don't forget to share your experience too. 

Sophie

About the author

Located just off Junction 7 of the M53, in Ellesmere Port, just 10 minutes from Chester