(Or, you can also boulder inside)
Scott Barkemeyer // Wears shorts in the winter
Sooner or later, it’s going to get “cold”, forcing us to change the activities that we partake in. I emphasize the word “cold” since most of our readers don’t actually know what cold is. I’m talking about the -40°c I used to relish in Alberta, and not the blissful -5°c that we get out here in Vancouver. While we go through the seasonal changes, there is a great activity that can be done year-round, technically both outdoors and indoors.
Bouldering is both individual and social. You can get into it for the price of a cheap pair of climbing shoes, a chalk bag and a crash pad (available for rent or borrow from your new boulder buddies). For those new to the sport, I highly recommend heading to the closest gym to get some of the techniques down and make sure you enjoy the activity before heading to the outdoors. Even better for Capilano University students is the Capilano Climbing Club. Meet friends, try out a new activity and fall onto nice deep mats.
Get in touch with the club through the Capilano Climbing Club Facebook page, ensure your Wednesday evenings are free and you’ll be set for your first bouldering experience. Through the club, $17 will get you shoe rental, a chalk bag and a pass.
Those who fear heights don’t necessarily have to avoid bouldering. The Hive North Shore Climbing Gym maxes out at around 18 feet, and you are free to go as high – or as low –as you want. One of the things that novice climbers may not realize is that bouldering won’t leave you hanging on the side of a rock face a hundred feet above ground. It’s a short vertical climb, but if you really wanted the traditional rock climbing experience, DM me and we can set something up.
With bouldering, your objective is to reach the top of the boulder from a specified starting position. Routes are referred to as “problems” and The Hive’s simple hex system – in place of the complicated V-system – allows you to better gauge the problem. Although there are no ropes to protect the climber, you can simply fall onto the crash pad and try again.
If indoors isn’t your thing, then you can rent gear from the Hive or MEC and get your boulder on outside. Daily rental for all your gear can be as low as $50 a day. And when you’re climbing, you get to look and feel cool with a large rectangle pad strapped to your back like a sail.
Once you get the desire of getting your own gear, try on as many shoes as possible. Each brand fits different from others and different models are designed for different purposes. Some are built for smudging, some for edging, some are for sport and others are for traditional bouldering. Get a pair that fits comfortably and try them out on the test wall at climbing stores.
Due to the complexity and potential hazards associated with climbing outdoors, I’m not going to give you directions to local spots. Get out and educate yourself, ask questions, buy one of the few books that still contain hidden knowledge or make new friends. A hint: the Hive has a room that you can use to map out your next adventure.