Bouldering – Burbage, Peak District – August 2010
Climbing and bouldering has been a hobby of mine for about eight years now. I love the fact that it gives you a full body and brain work out. Heading to the climbing wall is great for your social life too. I made many new friends at the wall and the laughter always continued in the pub afterwards.
The climbing wall fun did not always translate to fun outdoors for me though. A few sunny days in the Peaks were enjoyable but, come the cold weather, I found the standing around just too much. One day, in August 2010,however, I had a fantastic day at Burbage, just playing on the rocks.
Despite the fact that this day was also to be the start of my knee problems I still remember it fondly. Heading out with two friends, Nat and David, we stocked up on snacks en route. None of us had been bouldering outdoors before but David had purchased a new bouldering mat and book – we were good to go!
Bouldering is a type of climbing where ropes are not used. Climbs are not as far off the ground as with roped climbs. The climber should be able to jump off the rock and a crash mat is important to land on. You will usually climb with a partner (a spotter), who will be on the ground waiting to land safely if needed. That is not to say that bouldering is easy. Climbs can still be tricky and will test your strength, courage and dexterity.
This article on the UK Climbing website has some great further information on bouldering.
Rock ‘n’ Roll
Some days all you can remember doing is laughing and this was one of them. I am not sure how difficult the problems were that we climbed, nor how many. We were certainly there some hours. A particular highlight was a rather athletic sheep leaping over another group of boulderers as they sat eating lunch.
There were many other people out on the rocks that day but there are plenty of climbs to go around. Picking a problem to climb and finding someone else on it meant you either got to watch and wait or just chose another rock. Our climbing book would tell us how difficult the problems on each rock were.
At times it is hard to see just where on earth there is a finger or toe hold. The only clue is a smudge of chalk where a previous climber has pasted their digits.
A Bit Of A Twinge
The only low point of the day was my picking up a bit of a knee injury – well that’s how it seemed at the time. Having reached the top of one boulder I walked to the other side, where it was easier to hop down. Landing awkwardly, my knee twisted under me and white hot pain shot up. For a few minutes I thought I had seriously injured it but it gradually settled down.
Looking back I am certain that this was the start of a weakness in my knee. I’m not sure what I did that day but it has never really gone away. I don’t regret it though. It is the very nature of wanting to play outdoors all the time that means you will get injured sometimes. I even managed to hit the deck whilst out running on Monday night and am nursing a bruised arm today!
I rarely climb at the moment. I drifted out of it gradually. But I do miss it. On the rare occasions I head to the Nottingham Climbing Centre I always love it. Now a friend has invited me to join him at The Depot, a relatively new bouldering centre in Nottingham. The wall is calling!
To learn more about climbing and how you can get started visit the UK Climbing website here.