You don’t need to live in the mountains to go rock-climbing. If you have the urge to climb to new heights, while pushing your body to its limit, then places like Vertical Reality and Altitude Gym are for you. They offer the traditional, harness and rope, rock-climbing experience, but they also offer something different. It’s called bouldering, and it is quickly taking the world by storm.
Bouldering is climbing at its purest. There are no harnesses or ropes, just a climber and the wall (and a little bit of chalk). The climber must reach the top while only using one colour of handles. That is what makes bouldering unique, it’s a test of physical and mental strength. Often times the climber must be strategic in their approach, or they will waste a lot of energy. They are usually multiple different paths a climber can take to get to the top, but it all boils down to their control and creativity.
Bouldering requires a combination of endurance, power, balance and most importantly core strength. The only thing the climber is fighting against is their own body weight and gravity. Seems easy enough? Well it certainly can be challenging. I learned early on the importance of strong grip.
The first time I went I crashed on the mats more times than I can remember. I would make it about halfway up, then plummet down below. To make things worse, I was surrounded by monkeys. Everywhere I looked people were swinging from rock to rock effortlessly. I saw a woman hanging from one arm and casually conversing with her friends down below.
So, I came back the next week and climbed a little higher. And I did the same the week after that. The best thing about bouldering is the progression you see. There are markings on the wall, so setting goals is easy, but achieving them takes a little more dedication.
Winter shouldn’t be an excuse to not exercise any more. All you need is a little chalk and an open-mind. The feeling you get when you finally hoist yourself on top of the wall is indescribable. Go see for yourself.
Matthew is an Ottawa-based writer with a passion for football that was conceived in 2009, when the New Orleans Saints defied all odds and won their first Super Bowl Championship. He longs to visit Northern Europe to see the aurora borealis. Until then, he reads graphic novels, plays Super Smash Bros., and attempts to stay fit.