/ Beginner Outdoor Bouldering Advice

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SulkySubset on 11 May 2014 -
Hi All,

I have tried to search for this on the forums but didn't come up with much, so apologies if this is a done to death topic.

A quick background. A friend and I have started indoor bouldering about 2 months ago, we have thoughtly enjoyed it and make it to the gym 2-3 times a week now. Our skill level is somewhere around a v3-v4, based on the fact we can climb most V3's confidently with minimal difficulties.

With the summer approaching we are thinking of trying to get outdoors, visit some of the crags in south-east peak district (as we're Nottingham based). So my questions are;

1) How to finding climbs? guide books seem the best and easiest way, is it recommended to buy guide book(s)?

2) From a bit of research into guide books I have come up with these three.
...a. BMC - Peak District Bouldering
...b. Rockfax - Peak Bouldering
...c. Rockfax - Eastern Grid
Any recommendations or thoughts on these for a beginner?
I am leaning toward option B, thought it costs more it is a newer print, athletically looks better put together and a lot more climbs covered in it.

3) Starting point? I have read roaches, burbage south or cratcliff are good stating points.

4) Any general advice, tips or things I should think about as a first timer to outdoor?

Current Preparation:
-Read a couple articles, e.g. UKC's 'Ten Tips For Bouldering Outdoors'
-Read a few BMC leaflets/artices like 'cragcode'
-Waiting for 'Bouldering Essentials: The Complete Guide To Bouldering' to arrive, hopefully to gain a more comprehensive understanding
-Practicing proper falling Technique
-Practicing spotting (so we're comfortable and confident in doing it right)
-Paying more attention to where we land relative to the wall and movements (indoor), to understand where crash mats need to be placed
-Brainstorming what can go wrong and how to best deal with it, including what's needed in a first aid kit.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks
Dave Flanagan - on 11 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

You sound very well prepared, I would just get out there and get stuck in. That the thing about bouldering you (probably and hopefully) aren't going to kill yourself if you make a small mistake. You have scope to experiment and make mistakes (aka learn by doing). Enjoy...
Ramblin dave - on 11 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

1) Clean your shoes.
2) Forget anything you think you know about what grade you can climb.
3) Clean your shoes.
4) Clean your shoes some more.

When you go to Font (and you should, it's amazing), repeat 1-4 again.
Jon Stewart - on 11 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

There isn't much to it, it's just playing on rocks. I think you are over-thinking it. There never used to be much info about 'how to boulder' since it is basically, absolutely obvious. I'm not a oldie who thinks are mats are for modern pussies, I am proud to be part of 'generation pad'.

Best beginners venue is Burbage South, Cratcliff is good too, Roaches not bad. Your research is clearly excellent!

I don't have any of the new bouldering guides so can't recommend one. If you think you're likely to climb trad in the future, I would start collecting the BMC guides to the Peak because they're brilliant guidebooks - but from a practical point of view I'm sure the new Rockfax will be good too (plus there is a picture of me in it, apparently, so that's a good reason to buy it).

You might be surprised about how hard the grades seem at first. The thing is that on gritstone, the climbing involves very different skills to indoors, as it relies a lot on friction. Topping out can baffle the beginner who is used to grabbing a jug and then jumping off. Once you have some experience you'll realise that it's not a conspiracy or a rip-off.

If you think: if I fall off that I'll break my legs (which is quite often the case, but not at Burbage South Boulders) then you don't have to climb it. Some of the problems in bouldering guidebooks are 25ft high with atrocious landings, and get E-grades in other books. This can be alarming at first.

Good luck.
buxtoncoffeelover - on 11 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

Use the library to borrow guidebooks before buying. If not on shelf it may be avaiable to order (either from other library i. n area, or even new purchase). Ask librarian. Plan where to go, get excited, & have fun.
SulkySubset on 15 May 2014 -

Thank you all for the advice and especially the inter library loans.

It looks like the trip will be in two weeks’ time (when exam are over). Really excited for it!!!

Again, thanks all.
buxtoncoffeelover - on 15 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

Excellent. Good luck with exams- don't let guide book scanning get in the way of learning/revision!! Nik
Rich D - on 15 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:
have a look at vids and pics of the problems. Enjoy it and as others have said ignore what grades you think you should climb.
steveriley - on 16 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

Mm, pick somewhere you like the look of and go and have a go. Ask your mates at the wall. You'll have a blast. Take the wall grades with a pinch of salt - they might be buttering you up to make you buy more cake. Mm, cake.
tlm - on 16 May 2014
In reply to SulkySubset:

You are allowed to just make up your own boulder problems on any bit of rock you like the look of, by the way...

Traverses let you go further for longer without having to worry about maiming yourself.

Don't forget things like waterproofs, sandwiches, drink etc.

Have fun! It could be the start of a lifetime of pleasure!

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