Built in May 2022, our climbing wall (well, actually it’s a ‘bouldering wall’) is roughly 10m long.
The risk assessment should be kept dynamic and continue throughout the activity. Everybody looking to lead an activity on this wall is required to take on board the requirements it outlines. For the latest information refer to the scout organisation information on bouldering (links at the bottom of this page).
Play some games…
Simon says – Game leader says ‘Simon says…’ before giving an instruction, such as ‘right hand on blue’ or ‘left foot on green’. The climber must only move if ‘Simon says’ is said before the instruction. If the participant falls off or if they move without the game leader having said ‘Simon says’ then the participant is out. This game will need plenty of space to make sure that the participants do not end up overlapping and risk falling on each other.
Limbo – The game leader will need a couple of long thin sticks or bamboo canes that can fit into a hole where there are no climbing holds attached. The idea is for the participants to traverse under the sticks without touching them. You can make this as hard or as easy as required for the ability of your group by using different heights and also different distances between the sticks. The lower to the ground and closer together the more difficult.
Take away – For this game you will need an easy problem with a large number of holds. As the participant traverses the problem, a hold is eliminated. For example; you may start with all hold colours in use and by the end only one colour can be used. It may get to the point that eliminating a hold would make the problem impossible to complete, so the hold could be swapped for a different one, perhaps smaller or further away, to increase the difficulty.
Eliminate – Pick a route or boulder problem well within the players’ ability—the more moves, the better. limbers take turns repeating the problem, one person eliminates a hold after each successful round of attempts. If the next climber can’t do the new sequence, it gets passed on to the next climber. When nobody is capable of doing the sequence, the climber who eliminated the hold must prove the sequence can be done. Keep going until either only one person or nobody can do the sequence.
Add on – Pick a sequence of three or four moves that all the players can do, and then decide who goes first. It’s easier to play on a bouldering wall, since routes would require a lot of time to switch climbers. The first climber does the predetermined sequence, adding one “move,” typically defined as one hand movement with set footholds (foot movements are not considered stand-alone moves). The next climber repeats the new sequence and adds on a move of their own. If a climber cannot perform the previously added sequence, they lose a life. If they complete the added-on move, this is considered a checkpoint. Even if they fail to add another move, they are safe. Three failed attempts (lives lost) means elimination. Continue adding on moves until 1) you’re all bored, 2) you run out of room and don’t feel like traversing, or 3) one climber is left standing. It’s optional if you want to let other players help the climber remember the sequence by pointing out holds.
Golf – Pick six or more marked boulder problems or routes that are well within the players’ ability levels; it helps to play against people who are of similar height and skill level. Each problem or route represents a “hole” on the hypothetical golf course. Players take turns trying to do each route or problem with as few holds as possible, and each player gets one go at the problem for each round. Each handhold used translates to a stroke. Each fall receives a three-stroke penalty. Keep track of each climber’s score throughout. Whoever has the least amount of points at the end of the course wins.
Lemon-Limes – Pick a bouldering problem that’s doable but slightly challenging for you. Make the first move of the problem, and then reverse to the start. Without coming off, make the first two moves, and then go back to the start. Keep going until you’ve reached the top. That’s the lemon! For the lime, do the same thing with downclimbing—you still don’t come off! Start at the top, downclimb one move, then back to the top. Two moves down then back to the top. Once you’ve downclimbed to the start and back up to the top, you can jump off.
Lucky Draw – Write down about 10 different climbing moves onto slips of paper (drop-knee, right-hand lockoff, left-hand dyno, gaston, heel hook, etc.) and place the slips into a bag. Pull four slips out of the bag, and then try to create a problem or route that uses all of the movements.
Twister – Similar to the popular board game. You can use the spinner board from the actual game or make your own. Write down on slips of paper: right hand, left hand, right foot, and left foot, then write the colors (and types for more of a challenge) of the holds on separate slips. One person is the “spinner.” Climbers start on similar but separate sections of wall. It works best on vertical walls that are filled in with many holds, but it can be done on steeper terrain for a much harder challenge. The spinner randomly selects one of each slip. All of the climbers must then execute the drawn movement. For example, left hand to blue crimp, right foot to green pinch. A player is eliminated when they cannot do the drawn movement.
Hot Lava – On a long section of wall, use string to mark off sections of the wall as “hot lava.” Climbers must make their way from start to finish without touching any holds within the hot lava sections. Add more hot lava or laps.
Drag Race – For boulder problems, set a timer for 15 minutes; for routes, set it for 30. Go against the clock and your opponent by climbing as many problems or routes as possible in the allotted time. Earn points for harder climbs: 5.11 is worth 11 points; V3 is worth three points. Adjust accordingly to your gym’s unique grading system, e.g., using spots. Whoever gets the most points wins!
Learn some cool language!
- Bouldering wall – a man-made (artificial), typically an indoor, low height climbing wall (max. 4.5 metres), with an appropriate safety matting system.
- Boulder – a large rock that has become detached from a rock formation typically made from sandstone, gritstone, limestone or granite.
- Boulder problem – the path that is taken by the participant to complete the route. This could be vertical or horizontal.
- Traverse – a boulder problem where the participant travels predominantly sideways.
- Grading system – most bouldering problems will have a grade which helps to tell you how easy or complex the problem will be. Depending on where you are bouldering, there are different grading systems in place.
- Spotter (spotting) – A person used as a safety measure, to help reduce the risk of someone falling off the boulder/bouldering wall and getting injured. A person spotting (the spotter) stands at the bottom of the boulder/wall, typically with their arms raised and ready to make sure the climber, if they do fall, falls on to a bouldering mat. The spotter can also be used to give encouragement to the climber and can help direct the climber if they get stuck.
- Problem: a sequence of holds with start and end points.
- Crux: the hardest sequence of moves in a problem.
- Sandbag: a route or problem that’s tougher than the advertised grade of information.
- Send: to climb a problem without falling.
- Flash: to complete a problem on the first attempt (nice one!).
- Dyno: a move where the climber jumps (or moves dynamically) from one hold to another.