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Bouldering Gear Guide

If you are looking for a style of climbing that doesn’t require the use of a rope and harness, then bouldering is just for you! Bouldering was developed by early climbing pioneers. The bouldering craze that has now swept the nation is the result of easy access bouldering fields and the simple fact that not much gear is needed to participate in the sport.

Typically, the climbing takes place on rock formations that stand alone either in big fields, or at the base of cliffs.  This is a sport that involves making a series of individual powerful moves to solve a “problem,” a bouldering route. Bouldering problems are ranked on a V-rating system ranging from V0 to V15.

If you are just starting out climbing or even if you are a bouldering veteran, check out this gear guide, and always feel free to call our gear experts at 1.888.707.6708.

If you are just getting into bouldering, the first thing that you will need is a good pair of climbing shoes. Climbing shoes range in size, make, and model; however, one thing that all climbing shoes have in common is their rubberized soles, which increase friction allowing your feet to “stick” to the rock. Climbing shoe companies like Five-Ten, La Sportiva, and Evolv all make climbing shoes that are geared specifically for bouldering.

Check out the La Sportiva Solution for a perfect bouldering shoe. The Solution is a new shoe primarily for bouldering. With an innovative randing system that works in combination with the base of the foot to spread and maintain tension through time, keeping your shoe tight and performance based as you climb. Allowing you to heel hook on almost anything, and with the turned down toe, it is easier to grab holds with your feet on overhangs and roofs, which is a common feature in bouldering.

When searching for the right shoe, look for a shoe that fits snug to your foot. You want climbing shoes to be skin tight which will allow you to have maximum control. Let climbinggear.com’s enormous selection of climbing shoes be your guide.

When you are bouldering, the only protection that you have comes from your “spotters” (climbing partners) and a crash pad.   Crash pads are placed on the ground below the climber and provide some comfort in the case of a fall. Plus, if you are in the backcountry, or if you are just a dirt poor climber, your crash pad can double for a mattress! Our crash pads are extremely affordable and offer excellent padding in the case of a fall while you are bouldering.

Choosing the right clothing will make for a much more enjoyable and comfortable climbing experience. Look for clothes that are breathable, durable, lightweight, and allow for unrestricted movement. Since the early days, climbers have been designing clothes especially for climbing.

Companies like Patagonia and Royal Robbins have been around for decades, developing functional clothing lines for outdoor athletes.

More recently, Prana has revolutionized clothing designed for climbing. Based in Carlsbad CA, Prana makes excellent quality clothing that embodies the form, function and spirit of climbing and yoga. The best part about these companies is that they give back to the environment. All of these companies play an active role in protecting and conserving our Earth’s most precious natural locations, ensuring that the next generation of climbers will still have a place to roam.

-Josh Wheeler, 26 June 2006

Photo: “Michelle “Meesh” Smith attempting McGilla Gorilla at Boat Rock, Atlanta, GA” copyright Chad Oliver.