As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the date that introduced me to climbing six years ago. The date went so well that he is now my husband! If you are new to bouldering like I was, you might freak out when a date asks you to go bouldering. Read on for hot tips from someone who has been there before.
Rule #1: Just have fun!
Why not jump at the opportunity to try something new? They will be impressed with your positive attitude, confidence and willingness to learn. Don’t be afraid of looking like a fool, instead, give your date the opportunity to help you out as they will likely enjoy teaching you. If you really want to go over and above to impress them, get familiar with these bouldering basics and terminology.
#2 What to Wear: Think Yoga
Wear something flattering but not restrictive, like yoga leggings. You’ll want as much mobility as possible and long leggings will help you avoid scratches. Aim for cotton tops that won’t snag on the wall. Jewellery is also out of the question. You’ll be renting shoes, wear thin socks for hygiene and a better fit. Girls should definitely clip their nails. You don’t want your nails to chip on the wall or have chalk clogging up your nails like the tile grout in your bathroom. Oh, and tie your hair back so you can actually see where the holds are whilst you’re sweating it out on the wall.
#3 What to Bring: Prepare for afterwards
Aside from a water bottle, bring a fresh change of clothing in case the date goes well and you decide to grab a bite to eat afterwards. There are some great beginner friendly bouldering gyms in Melbourne that are close to fantastic restaurants and cafes. Alternatively, you can bring your work out gear to change into at the gym, then change back into your ‘going out’ clothes afterwards. Also consider deodorant, dry shampoo and face wipes. You don’t need to bring any gear as you can rent shoes there and your date will most likely bring some chalk. If you’re looking to buy your first pair of shoes, consider the profile, sole, fit, material and closure of the shoes.
#4 Safety First: Warm up and safe falling
Lots of climbers don’t take warm up seriously. That’s how you get injuries! Common climbing injuries include finger tendon tears, neck whiplash and rolled ankles from a bad fall. Pay attention during the induction as they’ll demonstrate how to fall safely; follow our warm up guide; and always start on the easiest routes first by checking the colour chart.
#5 Bouldering Etiquette: Be aware of yourself and others
Bouldering is a very social sport, read up on bouldering etiquette before you go. For example, when approaching a climb, always check that your route (also known as problems) doesn’t intersect or go near someone else’s route. Problems are made up of holds of the same colour and can go sideways as well as up! Take turns on the wall with other climbers. We know it gets addictive when you’re working on a route, but don’t hog it all for yourself.
Climbers are a friendly bunch - don’t be afraid to ask for tips and advice. I’ll leave you with one last hot tip - check the gym website beforehand to see if you can register and sign the waiver form beforehand. This will save you time at the gym. Otherwise, get there early to register and rent shoes so your date won’t have to wait for you. Climbing is for everyone - you’ll have so much fun!