The confusion will only get worse as climbers will now be able to climb ropeless even higher with the invention of a huge inflatable bouldering pad or mattress that is about to hit the climbing market this December.
The Swedish climbing website 8a.nu is reporting the development of an inflatable bouldering mat, the Air Pad, developed by HGB, a Swedish manufacturer of gymnastic and wrestling mattresses. The Air Pad is a very generous 205 by 120 by 20 cm when inflated, but fits in a rucksack when deflated and weighs about 8 kg. It takes four minutes to inflate the pad with a foot pump. Price is estimated at 465 Euros (around £325). It is made of what looks like plastic with internal polyester threads internally that is said to give it stability.
It will not only come in handy on highballs but will, Johan Svensson of 8a.nu claims, reduce the chance of injury and hence fear factor, on any boulder problem, so increasing performance. It does come with the rather uninspired name of, 8a.
The Air Pad also has handles and rucksack straps. It has adjustable air pressure, holds 5 bar (twice your tyre pressure) and when you land vents can be semi-opened to release air on impact.
It can also be used as a sleeping mattress, surfboard or sled!
Sounds too good to be true (at a hefty price). We await field reports. Read more at www.8a.nu