Bouldering is an indoor training sport that is gaining in popularity. It is usually done as a way of practicing moves and building stamina for other climbing sports, such as rock climbing. One has to be somewhat fit to even consider the sport, but even newbies can practice to perfection, thus making the sport all the more enticing. The bouldering wall can be in homes, gyms and climbing stores, and is a lot shorter than so called climbing walls.
The framework for the bouldering wall is made up of very sturdy material starting with 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 studs or a combination of both. Sturdy steel joist hangers are used to secure the framing with adequate fasteners. The sheeting is normally 3/4-inch plywood screwed to the frame work on 6-inch centers, and before the plywood can be installed it has to be fitted from the back side with T-nuts. These nuts are driven into holes previously drilled to form threaded holes to secure the holds or fake rocks so to speak. The T-nuts are placed at a rate of 100 to 250 per piece of plywood or every 32 square feet. Most bouldering walls start out at a 90-degree angle for a few feet then angle back toward the climber to add to the difficulty.
The Hold Configuration
The hold is nothing more than an odd shaped piece of molded material or even wood to represent the rocks a climber may encounter in a climb. In creating a fake wall, there should be a percentage of various holds to make the climb even possible. The normal rate is 20 percent foot holds, 60 percent medium hand holds, 10 percent small hand holds and 10 percent jug holds (jug holds are basically just odd shaped bumps that can be used for hand or foot holds). The holds are secured to the bouldering wall with bolts screwed into the threaded holes made by the T-bolts previously inserted in the wall. The holds can be moved around as the climber gets used to a certain pattern and with the amount of T-bolts in a normal wall, the patterns are endless.
The sport of bouldering is usually done at short heights and without safety lines, so precautions must be made to cushion an inevitable fall. In home training areas, padding, such as old mattresses, are used but in most training facilities there are very thick pads to protect against falls. Helmets and joint padding are highly recommended. The use of tape on the fingers of climbers is used by some to prevent cuts and chaffing. The practice of stretching prior to climbing is often overlooked, but can be a vital safety aid in the practice of bouldering.