Bouldering is the art of rock climbing on boulders. It can be used for training for more conventional climbing but is a serious sport in its own right.

Extremely difficult problems that would be a cry for help if attempted with any degree of exposure are more safely tackled this way but take care you can hurt yourself...

One good thing about bouldering is that you don't need any protection, a rope, or a harness. Minimally you just need some climbing shoes (with sticky rubber soles). Some chalk is useful. (Strangely straining to the limit physically and risking broken bones can cause your hands to sweat.) The real afficianados take a mat to keep their shoes clean and dry and a toothbrush for cleaning the features. For working upside down it's wise to take something soft to land on to protect your back.

A popular location for this is the Peak (just outside Sheffield), on gritstone boulders where the techniques of slapping, standing on a pebble, and (infamously) hand jamming are utilised. The first time you try this you will lose all your fingerprints.

Fontainebleu (just outside Paris) is another great place. The feel is quite different on the smooth sandstone boulders surrounded by shady forest.

Why not add your favourite location for bouldering here?

For those stuck in New York the best bouldering is in central park. There are only perhaps three boulders worth climbing on. On is on 110th street overlooking Harlem. It is called the worthless boulder and has problems from V2 - V5.

Furthur down in the park on 66th street by the softball fields is Rat Rock. This is the best place to boulder in the park in terms of range of routes and chance of bumping into other climbers. (It's still shit compared to god's own rock (grit) or to font).

If you have transport you can go up north to the Gunks where there is world class bouldering, so I am told, I don't have transport so I don't really know.

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