Climb the boulder

Bouldering is transforming indoor rock climbing around the world and is growing in Australia. In bouldering, you climb without ropes, harnesses or supporting partners because you’re only going as high as 4m and are protected by mats if you fall. It means you can just show up for a session whenever you like, and an hour or two will give you a serious workout that will do wonders for your upper body and core strength. The owner of 9 Degrees Boulder Gym in Sydney’s Alexandria, Dr Martijn van Eijkelenborg, says that while bouldering is a very three-dimensional way of using your body, it’s not just about fitness. “There are lots of mental benefits as well, such as self-confidence, believing in yourself and pushing yourself. Every climb you do is a challenge – you’ve got to get on it and do it,” he says. “As a beginner, you don’t need any special equipment and you only need to think about specialist climbing shoes when you work your way up – you follow various colour-coded courses, starting with an easy yellow and then working up to harder green and blue.”

Bouldering: learn the lingo

  • Problem: The path taken to complete a climb
  • Jug: A secure hold large enough for the hand to fit inside
  • Dyno: Short for “dynamic movement”, a swift move – often a jump – from one hold to the next
  • Crux: The most difficult move on a climb or the hardest part of the route
  • Heel hook: A method of using the heel on a hold like an extra hand