Why I Love .... Bouldering

I wanted to feel strong, get rid of stress and enjoy myself while doing it

Last year I found bouldering and fell head over heels. I had been looking for some sort of physical activity that I didn't dread. The gym didn't really do it for me, too monotonous. Yoga classes were too slowly paced. I wanted to feel strong, get rid of stress and enjoy myself while doing it. Bouldering was a little out of the ordinary. It tested my nerve, felt adventurous, and made me feel like I was living my best childhood Lara Croft fantasy. Walking into the climbing gym initially, looking at the sprawling colourful walls, my first thought was that I'd just stepped into a giant playground.

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing, distilled down to tricky, short climbs. This enables you to get an intensive work out that uses every part of your body and mind. All you need are climbing shoes and chalk. You rely on crash mats to protect you from falls. It seems scary but it only adds to the immense satisfaction once you’ve completed a route or problem, as they’re known.

Solving these problems may come to you right away, some may take a few sessions to figure out, others force you to surrender to skilling-up to have any hope of completing them. The element I think I enjoy the most is seeing how differently everyone climbs, regardless of skill level. Everyone has their strengths and unique abilities, which you discover as you go. The community is warm and welcoming, which eases any anxieties coming into it for the first time. It’s incredibly fun and I feel really lucky to have found it.

Climbing icon Lynn Hill describes climbing as “moving meditation”. Bouldering requires absolute focus in the moment, as well as pushing your body to its limits. Strength is one thing. Figuring out each problem is what keeps you hooked.