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Looking for a new climbing challenge? Try bouldering. It offers the chance to improve strength, endurance and stamina. Before you try it, check out these tips that are bound to help you make the most out of your bouldering experience. Starting out at a rock climbing gym is a good way to improve your bouldering skills before hitting the great outdoors.

Gyms usually provide a nice soft landing area in addition to crash pads.According to Lauren Sah, climbng instructor at Planet Granite indoor rock climbing gym in Belmont, CA, bouldering routes, called "problems" range from V0- (easiest) to V10+ (hardest). A V0 is equal to a 5.10 route.

Bouldering can provide climbers with challenging problems. Sah said that compared to climbing up a straight wall, bouldering has more overhangs and therefore can be tougher on the hands.

Sah recommends the following tips for bouldering:

* Keep arms straight "You will get less tired and be less tense," said Sah.

* Have a spotter "The spotter is not there to catch the climber, but to cradle the climber's head and help him or her to not hit the ground. The spotter helps the climber land on his or her feet," said Sah.

*Use your feet "Concentrate more on your feet. Use your feet to push. Your arms will get tired because you pull a lot with your arms and there is no rope to allow you to rest," said Sah. Indoor bouldering caves are usually about 10 feet high and provide two types of climbing:

- Natural Tracking: Hands and feet have to stay on holds colored for a specific problem.

- Open Feet: Hands stay on holds for a specific problem, but feet can be placed anywhere (on holds that are colored for a different problem but that are convenient). Bouldering problems are either straight up the wall in about four moves or they traverse the room providing and opportunity to build endurance and stamina.

So, if you're looking for a new challenge in climbing, give bouldering a try. It's bound to build your climbing skills, strength and enthusiasm.

Editor: Sharael L. Feist


Posted on: 24/01/2011