/ Convince me bouldering isnít always Disappointment on Toast.
Iíve tried a fair few times to go bouldering and I always seem to end up wandering around looking for something climbable. I then find what looks like the best bit of rock, and its either way too hard (canít get off the ground), daft easy or above a sea of incisor looking fangs of boulders that would snap a leg as soon as look at them. Quite often I canít even be bothered to get my boots out of my bag.
Iím trying to get back to the giddy heights of comfortable on E1 but working offshore has scuppered any strength, stamina and skill I once had. Due to the random nature of my work, mid-week partners for roped climbing are often difficult to find too. So, bouldering should be the perfect thing to get some strength back up when I canít go climbing.
I live in Aviemore so have started to look at some boulders round here - Link boulder Ė couldnít get off the ground or too easy, Cake shop block (mossy dank overgrown pine needle strewn rock with a 6í wide cave). I stopped off at Warton Pinnacle Crag off the M6 the other day Ė again pretty scrappy and disappointing. Denham Quarry on another M6 stop-off Ė 15í of traversing and that was that. Backk to the van for a brew. Crookstones a year or so ago was better Ė there was a stuff to do there with mostly nice landings.
So, should I either accept that UK bouldering is crap and readjust my expectations, or can some-one recommend some decent venues where I can tire myself out? Something in the (English) 4c to 5c with some 6a I can work on with nice landings.
That sounds perfect, cheers. If only it were a little closer. Any more suggestions a little further north anyone?
Burbage boulders? Cromlech boulders? I never fail to have fun at either of these places and I too get put off by bad landings.
I don't know about Scottish bouldering but in the Lakes there's the Langdale boulders and best of all Sampson's Stones. Carrock fell is closest but never been there myself.
Would you stop off in Yorkshire? There are plenty of low grade bouldering venues there.
As for Scotland there are many bouldering areas being discovered constantly. Last time I was up your way though I visited Reiff
and Torridon, which aren't really close to you but great venues and the Tom Riach Boulder is just up near Inverness, that has problems around the grade you want.
Cheers, I;ve thought of getting that, and I've looked at the logbooks on here and other websites, but have come to the conclusion that just becasue a venue is included in a guide is no guarentee of quality. I'm used to reading between the lines for routes / crags as to whether they are any good or not, maybe there is a similar code for bouldering? Is boulder britain accurate in its depiction of quality?
I thought Fairy Steps had big access problems? I saw something on the web about that so went to Warton instead.
This is what I'm after - personal recommendations.
Cummingstone definitely your best bet locally. Nice spot, good landings and some routes worth doing.
For some reason you seem to be getting lots of recommendations in Northern England?
Silly question: Do you have a mat? Bouldering mats make bouldering make sense.
I have climbed at Cummingston in the past - it is a lovely seaside spot so will head up there soon.
Think the N of England tips are because I go to M/cr / the Peak up and down the M6 now and then, and I like to break the journey. Iím happy to have recommendations for anywhere and I'll file them away in the van. Bit like Boulder Britain but personalisedÖ
I tried to go to The Thirlestane the other week but there were a few families campled under the crag and I didn't want to subject them to te sight of a climber f(l)ailing on everything just above their tents.
I was hoping no-one would ask as... no,. I don't. Bouldering is a means to an end and I like the idea of carrying just a pair of boots, a rag to clena them with and a chalk bag. I don't really want to be carting about a mattress all over the place, plus not really got the space to store it at home or in the van when on other, longer, journeys where bouldering is a small component.
If I did have a mat, how many (rough percentage guess is good enough) more boulder venues would I be able to enjoy be increased opened up if I had a mat?
Well done jk.
I didn't even enjoy Font that much on my first trip - without a mat!
Bouldering on Skye is great, especially if the Cuillin is holding the cloud, though not exactly local. Both Carn Laith and Corie Laggan
Glen Lednock is good on the way south, Torridon in the west.
Best locally is probably Cummingston, as mentioned.
Depends if you want an obvious venue, with set problems, or some "adventure bouldering" in a sea of boulders on whatever catches your eye...
Few more area ideas here:
Bouldering without a mat is like going soloing, whatever venue you choose, you'll only be able to do 10% of the routes you would with a rope...
Borrow a mat and see if it changes your mind / improves your opinion of any venues
Don't know much about Scottish bouldering but of the crags I have visited worldwide, maybe 95% would be significantly improved by bringing a mat, the remainder have sandy or shingle landings or are arse scraping traverse walls. I do have rather tender feet so your mileage may vary.
It makes a huge difference. Referring to it as a mattress suggests you're being slightly snooty about the whole thing in which case you're unlikely to enjoy it, we don't tend to challenge our prejudices too vigorously. Or... You've somewhere picked up the idea a mat has to be huge to be of use, it doesn't. I bought a tiny mat that fits in my sportscar boot, on its own it isn't perfect but it opens up so much more climbing even at venues with relatively good landings you're no longer worried about bruised heels from a pebble or slipping on grass or turning an ankle on a tree root, even just keeping your feet dry easily is a real improvement.
I see... 95%, thats a massive difference!
Guilty as charged, your honour, I'll pull the snootyness in :-) I've never even used one, I'll admit. It just seems to go against the grain of lightweight freedom of just boots and chalk bag.
What make / model do you have?
Sometimes the prejudices that are hardest to challenge are the ones we don't even recognise...
I got a little Alpkit mat. They don't do it anymore but they still have a small model in the range and the prices are usually competitive.
See if you can borrow one, you might just like it :)
... but... but... from there its only a short step to wearing a beanie!:-)
Which everyone knows is gateway behavior for going shirt off and shouting "Send it dude!" in a non ironic way... You've asked the question, you're on the slippery slope already :)
Get a mat!
Honestly it really does open up a hell of a lot more routes. Better on your knees if you're always off like me.
And always gives you a lot more confidence aswell!
Agree with what everyone else has said - if you haven't got a mat then it's going to be very hard to find technically challenging stuff that you can do safely.
We didn't get one for ages because we thought we wouldn't have space, but then we did and it turned out that we had. They take up less room than you'd expect.
If it was me I'd buy a 'Soloist' type device - then you can go and top rope or even lead to your hearts content at somewhere local, as opposed to the other 'local' bouldering suggestions - mainly at 60 miles plus distance.
You can even borrow mine.
Another benefit of that is that it also builds confidence in the rope, which I thought was a little lacking on that first eyrie type stance on Central Grooves - or was it my belay building that you were worried about?
No, I had full confidence in the rope and your belay. It was my arms, head and cojones in which confidence was lacking. Even as a second...
Maybe I should get a Soloist and a mat, just in case...
How about Craig y Longridge for a break on your Manchester runs? Great training venue.
Have fun out there.
Roundhill in North Yorkshire is a great little spot, not too far from slipstones as well. And it's got tonnes of easyish bouldering with great landings. You could probably manage without a mat. I've just spent an afternoon there and it was great. Really rough good quality gritstone.
Absolutely not. UK bouldering is fantastic, or specifically, gritstone and sandstone bouldering in the UK is fantastic.
Can't help you with stuff local to you, but up in the NW is some fanstastic bouldering on the sandstone.
But my favourite bouldering is on grit. I don't like very bouldery boulering (sit starts, low roofs, traversing, eliminates, etc) but I love the grit highball style, real minature routes that are best approached IMO with a few pads so you can fall off safely and really push yourself.
Classic problems such as
Crescent Arete http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=44574
Not To Be Taken Away http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=188883
Horror Arete http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=162588
and countless others in Yorkshire and the Peak are up there with my favourite trad routes. It's different to trad, as you try, try, and try again, but on these highballs there is still plenty of buzz. A winter day on these kind of problems is a good a days climbing as a summer day on trad - or nearly.
That said, falling off the same 3 holds all day, and then coming back for another session of falling off the same 3 holds, and then doing it again until you've finally completed a completely arbitrary challenge that really just involves standing up from sitting on the ground, but in a very difficult way, is for me, a completely joyless experience that makes me feel dead inside. Perhaps if I wore a beanie and took my shirt off it would feel different?
Elsewhere on the site
With four photos in this week's top ten, and a UKC gallery of stunning images we thought it was time we had a chat with... Read more
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Tonight's Friday Night Video features the Norwegian town of Rjukan, once believed to be the home of the world's tallest... Read more