It’s been a long, cold winter in the Northeastern United States, and spring has officially sprung! We were stoked to hop on our first outdoor boulder problem of the season in New York’s very own Central Park.
We spent most of 2015 training at the gym, but now that it’s suns out, guns out, it’s time to get outside! Here are some outdoor bouldering tips for the urban lady:
1. Bring a crashpad and a spotter.
Bouldering outside is serious business, and falls are much more risky and likely to happen. Have your gal pals and guy friends spot you while you are climbing in precarious positions, particularly at the crux or topout.
2. Bring a brush, lots of chalk, and something to wipe your shoes off with (e.g. towel or rag) in between climbs.
Rock surfaces can be slick, especially after rainfall, and keeping your holds so fresh and so clean will give you a lot more friction to send.
3. Focus on your footwork.
Get fancy with your footwork and flag, match, stem, smear, and hook your heels and toes to get more traction on the rock. Traverse problems are particularly good for practicing your feet technique, and often require flawless footwork and balance.
4. Mantel like a boss.
One of the key differentiators between indoor and outdoor bouldering is that the latter usually involves a top out, which sometimes requires a mantel:
The technique to mantling is hidden in the title. Imagine you wanted to climb onto the mantle above the fireplace. You would get up close to it, pull yourself up, rock sideways, turn your hand around and push yourself up, until you could slip a foot onto the mantle and stand up. That is exactly what you do when mantling in rock climbing. Watch small children climb onto counter tops for inspiration. You can also mantle off smaller holds and ledges to get your feet higher. Mantling is particularly important in slab climbing and in dihedrals and chimneys. You will often get better purchase by turning your hand around.
5. Don’t forget to breathe.
Sometimes we get so caught up on the send and techniques that we forget to breathe. Take long, deep breaths while you plan your next move on the rock – particularly on the top out or down climb, when we feel most vulnerable to falls. These calculated breaths will help you relax and become more comfortable as you move across the rock.