Bouldering at ready2climb

ready2climb: a 3D render of a bouldering facility

We’ve started the ball rolling for the installation of our first bouldering area at ready2climb. Our plan is to work on it over the next 4 to 6 weeks so that it’s ready when we are able to re-open after the coronavirus lockdown (whenever that is…).

The bouldering zone will sit in the back corner of the building (where the caving system is currently fitted) and consists of approximately 90sq m of climbing surface over three walls, a central pillar and a roof.

This area is big enough for some challenging problems and a handful of circuits

To give you some idea of the logistics, we need:

  • 31 full sheets of high quality “Birch throughout” 18mm plywood (for climbing surfaces)
  • 14 full sheets of bog-standard structural 18mm plywood (for flooring, etc.)
  • 270 linear metres of 4×2 timbers
  • 200 linear metres of 4×4 timbers
  • 4000 M10 Tee nuts (that’s £500 worth!)
  • 42 linear metres of 100mm structural steel box section
  • 48 linear metres of various sizes of structural steel angle
  • 12 linear metres of various other shapes and sizes of structural steel
  • 30 square metres of bouldering matting
  • 1000 new climbing holds (we’ve ordered the first 450…)
  • 200 M10 hold fixing screws
  • Hundreds of M12 bolters, washers and nuts
  • Thousands of woodscrews
  • 5 litres of resin and 20kg of sand to make the abrasive surface

What is bouldering?

Bouldering is a style of rock climbing that does not require any ropes, harnesses or specialist equipment. All you need are a pair of rock shoes (you can rent them from ready2climb), a handy bag of climbing chalk nearby and a healthy disposition towards ‘challenges.’

You climb at low heights above thick crashmats. Individual ‘problems’ can be combined to create ‘circuits’ and lots of different difficulties can be mixed and matched on the same wall using colour coded holds. Once the problem has been completed, you simply climb back down using whatever takes your fancy – climbing down the problem is usually harder than climbing up it!

Bouldering is a popular method of getting and staying fit and it’s very accessible. Where else are you going to find massively overhanging problems just a few inches off the ground?

Grades

Grades are important in life – we chase grades in exams and we choose products based on their perceived quality (and price). Climbing is no different and just like everyday life, we can get hung-up on climbing grades. It’s important that we see climbing grades for what they are – merely an indication of the difficulty.

Grades aren’t the holy grail of climbing – despite what some people will tell you. There’s also no guarantee that you will succeed on two different climbs of the same grade. Having fun and walking away with a feeling of a ‘job well done’ are far more important.

At ready2climb, we will grade bouldering problems in a band using a grading system called “V grades.” VB and V0 are the easiest climbs. Once you start trying V4 upwards, bouldering becomes very, very, difficult, so its important that we have a good selection of VB to V3 as well as some harder “aspirational” challenges – the hardest outdoor bouldering problem in the world is a V17.

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