How to learn bouldering when you go to the climbing gym alone?

Original Post
Hannie Maie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I started rock climbing this week and I'm loving it. I attended a free class my climbing gym offered, where I learned the the basics. From that I was able to complete most of the V0 and V1 level climbs, but as I started to attempt the V2 climbs I could barely get past the first few holds since I don't know the proper techniques and tricks in bouldering to help me complete the climb. I don't know of any experienced climbers to help me, or any friends willing to go with me to learn. I search videos and read blogs online to help, but when I'm mid climb it doesn't help and I don't know how to apply the technique properly at times. So i was wondering how do I progress as a climber when I'm alone? And how do I learn proper technique myself?

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Watch other people. Strike up conversations, make friends. Look for Meetup or Facebook groups. Also, this:

Since bouldering tends to be overhung, you'll especially benefit from the Drop knee/outside edge videos, but it's all worth watching.

Chris Richards · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

Watch other people climb, and ask questions. Watching others is the best way to learn new moves, how to shift hips and feet. If you see an experienced climber do something interesting, walk up and ask them about it. Climbing is not just a sport, its a community. You will be had pressed to find a climber that is unwilling to talk about climbing to a total stranger. You may even find some belay buddies while you are at it.

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

Every time you fall off, try to figure out how you could have positioned your body more efficiently, then try the problem again. If you get a little further on each attempt, keep trying. If you fall off twice or more at the same spot, try an easier problem or take a rest, and come back to the problem that's giving you trouble on another day.

Did the free class teach you how to belay? If not, consider paying for a class that will teach you how to belay. Lots of gyms have a bulletin board where people looking for a partner can advertise. The cool thing about climbing gyms is that two people with widely varying skill levels can have a good time climbing together.

CRAG-list-KILLA · · Wisconsin · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

I agree with everything everyone said. Your only a week in don't let it get to you or bother you at all. A v1 and v2 problem(where you are having trouble) have advanced 5.10 moves and techniques, which should be hard for you. Bouldering will build you up as a stronger climber faster than say being on the walls, but being on the walls will help you build the stamina and technique you need. All the holds and footholds are usually put on the wall that way for a reason it's like a puzzle.. if your by yourself rip the auto belays.l and take some time to get on the walls as well... If your doing a Boulder problem that your having trouble with or keep falling at the same spot take a decent break and start from that spot next time so your going into your problem area fresh. Hope his helps and with work and time you will be crushing!!!!

CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0

You can also check out the Partner Finder section here on Mountain Project. There are lots of people here looking for other people to climb with. I'm sure a few of them would join you for a gym session and show you a thing or two.

Peter Brown-Whale · · Randallstown, MD · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

Climbers are generally pretty friendly. The normal etiquette is not to give advice unless asked because many people like to figure things out themselves but as soon as you make it clear you'd like some help, plenty of people will be willing to show you some pointers.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

"Woah! That was awesome! How the heck did you get past that green piece of crap? I've been falling off that all night!" Bingo. You're in. Best part of bouldering.


Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

Oh, and don't go at it too hard, or too often. You'll blow out your hands.

Cassandra Whelan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Happy to hear you've begun bouldering and are enjoying it so much!

I recommend what many others have said - try to make friends within the facility! This worked for me, I found friends who were also new so we would figure things out together, and I also found friends that were much more advanced and were able to explicity teach me technique and take me to my first outdoor experiences! Ask how someone did a move you are struggling on, ask if it's ok if you work on a problem with someone or a small group.

Also, does your gym offer any short term training programs? The cost of these can vary but many gyms offer 4 week programs to teach the technique basics. Good luck and keep having fun!

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

Depending on the gym V2/3 is where things start to get a little tricky for new climbers. V0/1 are generally easy to figure out and the holds are good so there isn't much to know before you can climb those.

The secret to V2/3 is that the sequence can be tricky to figure out and body position is important. After that it's still hard, but it's just trying a move again and again and then eventually you figure it out and piece the route together. It's always funny that a move that totally stops you and you can't figure out will eventually be a move that is easy and you're not sure why you couldn't do it before.

I guess the bottom line is, there isn't a whole lot in general to be taught, it's mostly just trying again and again.

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 15

Update your profile so people can see where youre from and then maybe they will be able to join you at a local gym.

You could try local facebook or meet up groups as others have suggested.

hikingdrew · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 15

Watch people that are slightly better than you. It may be more useful than watching people much better, because they have strength and skills you haven't developed yet..

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

Forget the numbers and just do you know it's V2 ? Forget it

Sam Stephens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 740

A few tips that I tell everyone that starts.

Use the holds the way they want to be used. If a hold of upside down, it's an under cling. If it's sideways to the way you're going, it's probably a shouldery gaston. You'll figure that out.

Straight arms and stay under the holds. Let your body position be dictated by your center of gravity. You'll figure it tricks like drop knees to help on harder climbs.

Use your legs to push, not your arms to pull

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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