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Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad (called a bouldering mat) so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas. However, it may also be practiced at the base of larger rock faces, or even on buildings or public architecture (see buildering).


Bouldering basics

Bouldering is a style of climbing emphasizing power, strength, and dynamics. Its focus is on individual moves or short sequences of moves, unlike traditional climbing or sport climbing, which generally demand more endurance over longer stretches of rock where the difficulty of individual moves is not as great. Boulder routes are commonly referred to as problems (a British appellation) because the nature of the climb is often short, curious, and much like problem solving. Sometimes these problems are eliminates, meaning certain artificial restrictions are imposed. Bouldering is more focused on the technique of climbing instead of undertaking a full bodied climb.

To reduce the risk of injury from a fall, climbers rarely go higher than 3–5 meters above the ground. Anything over 7 meters is generally considered to be free-soloing (or simply 'soloing'), although such climbs might also be termed high-ball bouldering problems. For further protection, climbers typically put a bouldering mat (crash pad) on the ground to break their fall. Lastly, climbers often have one or more spotters, who work to direct the climber's body toward the crash pad during a fall, while protecting the climber's head from hazards.

Bouldering is increasing in popularity; bouldering areas are common in indoor climbing gyms and some climbing gyms are dedicated solely to bouldering. Children are joining the sport now as well as adults. In fact, studies have found that young climbers develop better skills as adults from their experience with youthful disadvantages such as height and strength.[citation needed]


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