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|Bouldering is one of the easiest types
of climbing to prepare for - just tie on your shoes and
clip your chalk bag on, and you're ready! Bouldering and
traversing are slightly different, but the terms are
often used in each other's place. Bouldering usually
refers to climbing on large boulders or small faces.
Traversing can be done on or off belay, unlike
bouldering, which is almost always done without a belay.
Bouldering is usually done close to the ground, within
about ten feet or so. One can traverse at any height, on
or off belay.
A "route" on a boulder is not called a route. It is usually refered to as a problem, or a boulder problem.
There are many places to boulder, probably many more bouldering areas exist than do vertical climbing areas. Since the only development of a bouldering area needed is clearing of dirt and possibly a rating of some of the problems, bouldering areas are very widespread.
Most climbing gyms have a bouldering area. They usually have a cave and a ceiling as well as vertical walls for traversing. There are even some gyms that are devoted entirely to bouldering and traversing.
Bouldering can be done on any good sized chunk of rock laying around, but it can be hard to find good areas with many boulder problems. If you are looking for bouldering in your area, check with the listed locations on our web site first. If you want to develop your own area, look for old avalanche zones. Don't go anywhere that is an active avalanche zone though! Old avalanche zones often have large boulders with lots of space around them. This is ideal, because you want a safe landing if you fall off of the boulder. Look for variations in the rock that would make an interesting climb. Overhangs and sharp edges make for a great problem.
Traversing is much like bouldering, but done mainly on the same horizontal plane. Sometimes the traverse leads upwards or downwards slightly. If you want to traverse a route that is high up, then you need to be on belay. When traversing, runouts between protection can be more dangerous than runouts on a vertical route because of the danger of the pendulum. A pendulum is when a climber is far horizontally from their last piece of protection and falls. When the climber falls, they will swing from side to side, much like a pendulum on a clock. This is very dangerous, because it can damage the rope if the rope is run across sharp surfaces, and the climber can be injured if they swing into rocks, especially sharp ones.
When traversing on belay, do not make long runouts! It is very dangerous to top rope a traverse, unless it is very short, because a top rope anchor is fixed, and cannot move, therefore a pendulum is almost certain in a fall.[an error occurred while processing this directive]