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When people rock climb or ice climb, they use equipment designed to save their lives. Not so in bouldering, a form of rock climbing performed without ropes or harnesses. The idea is to use only your hands, arms, feet, and legs to scale rock walls. Participants climb up the sides of walls, looking for crevices, cracks, and ledges on which to maintain a firm grip. Many don climbing shoes to

Objective: To climb rock cliffs, or indoor cliffs, without equipment. Danger: Falls can cause serious injury. Did You Know? Experienced boulderers

often tell novices, or “newbies,” to

remember their legs— that is don’t just pull with your arms; also push with your legs.

make sure their footholds are secure. They also carry chalk to put on their hands to keep them dry. The key in bouldering is to keep your wits about you. Problem-solving skills are essential, because you need to look two or three moves ahead, as if you’re playing a dangerous game of chess. Don’t confuse bouldering with free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, but at higher altitudes. Bouldering doesn’t take you far from the ground, and it’s most often done on boulders rather than cliff faces. It can be done indoors, on plastic rock walls, or outdoors on natural rock. Most boulder “problems” are no more than 20 feet high, although some can be much higher.

The Ultimate Book of Dangerous Sports & Activities


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