Bouldering in London
Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a padded mat so that a fall will not result in serious injury.
Most of the climbing walls in London will have a bouldering section with some centres like the Biscuit Factory being completely dedicated to bouldering see the list below
Like all indoor skills, bouldering does also refer to the same activity outdoors which normally takes place on boulders or the bottom of larger rock faces.
This is the place where most climbers start their climbing careers due to its low barriers to participate. You don't really need any of the more specific equipment (ropes, harnesses etc) to boulder, you can start climbing by yourself and no advanced skills are need to get going.
Bouldering Climbing centre's in London
Of the different types of indoor rcok climbing availiable in London, bouldering is the probably the largest growing catergory. There's been a hertige of bouldering only centre's in London such as the orginal Arch at London Bridge (which unfortuantly has made way for redevelopments), but there has been an ever growing raft of bouldering only centres popping up around London.
The Arch 2 - A.k.a The Biscuit Factory
Address: Unit EO1B, The Biscuit Factory, 100 Clement's Rd, London, SE16 4DG
Phone: 020 7252 1033
Closest Tube: Bermondsey
We are big fans of The Biscuit Factory - Opened in March 2012, this new bouldering only wall has been built within the shell of old Biscuit Factory, hence the title... Billed as being a game changer for the London Climbing scene, it has a staggering 11,000+ square feet of bouldering, dozens of circuits offering hundreds of climbs making it one of the biggest bouldering facilities in London and the UK!
Click here for more detailed information on the Arch 2 - Biscuit Factory
Address: Unit 5, Parsons Green Depot, 33-39 Parsons Green Ln, London, SW6 4HH
Phone: 020 7751 0913
Closest Tube: Parsons Green
Urban Ascent is another of the bouldering only centres in London. Located only about 100meters from Parsons Green Tube station in West London, Urban Ascent is easily accessible for any London based climber. The crisp white walls and red matting are something to behold and we really would recommend a visit for London Climbers of any level.
Click here for more information on Urban Ascent
VauxWall - Climbing Centre
Address: Arch 46 - 47a, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1SR
Phone: 020 7160 0248
Closest Transport: Vauxhall Underground (Victoria Line), Vauxhall Rail Station
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/VauxWallClimbing
This brand new and state-of-the-art bouldering centre is one of the most accessible centres in London. The wall opened on the 1st May 2014 and opens up climbing to the South West London area. Located in 3 of the archs in Vauxhall rail station, it's difficult not to draw comparisons to The Arch at London Bridge but the similarities stop there.
Fairlop Waters - Boulder Park
Address: Boulder Park, Fairlop Waters Forest Road Barkingside ESSEX, IG6 3HN
Phone: 020 8500 9911
Closest Tube: Farilop Park (Central Line)
Fairlop Waters Bouldering Park is somewhat of an enigma, not much information can be found and it doesn't really have a dedicated website! We have managed to dig up a bit of information about this unique outdoor bouldering park, set in the picturesque Fairlops Waters in Redbridge. The boulder park consists of nine individual man-made boulders, jam packed with decent routes. This really is a must for any London climber.
Click Here for more information on Fairlop Waters - Boulder Park
Tips for Bouldering in London
Is a good way to get ready for bouldering/ climbing and will help to reduce the likelihood of injury
Your warm up should consist of three parts:
A Pulse Raiser: We always like to start with a bit of traversing on some nice and easy holds, this gets your heart rate up and prepares your muscles for climbing
Stretching: Focus on moving and stretching all of your large muscle groups, joints and fingers, through their ranges of motion. Focus on the upper body as this is the most likely area for injury in climbing
Climbing: Start by climbing some very easy problems focused on moving efficiently and slowly. Build up the difficulty and take lots of rests.
Think about your movement
Before you start up a problem try and figure out how you are going to climb it. Plan a route and decide what hand and foot holds you are going to use and in what order and then put it to action. If something doesn't feel as you expected then you shouldn't be afraid to improvise.
Learn from others
Paying close attention when others are trying your problem can be very useful, but don't fall into the trap of blindly copying other climber's sequences. Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and physical attributes, so what works for them may not be suitable for you, this is the beauty of bouldering, everyone has to find their own way.
In climbing terms bouldering indoors is as safe as it gets, but there are a few things to bear in mind:
Warm up well. Never walk or stand in a landing zone of a climber on the wall. Get into the habit of checking that the landing is clear before you jump down.
Climb Circuits, aim to push yourself.
Completing an easy circuit is a great warm-up or an easy workout in itself. As most circuits feature a broad range of problems, attempting to do every problem in a circuit (whether in a session or over the course of many sessions) will force you to spend more time on your weaknesses than your strengths. This is an excellent way of improving your technique and raising your all round climbing ability.
Take it easy
Bouldering can be difficult, that’s the whole idea, but try not to overdo it. You can feel panicked and vulnerable if you get stuck on a hold or in an elevated position. If you feel yourself start to panic, take a few deep breathes and have a good look around at your options. If you feel like you can’t go on slowly and gently get yourself down.
Grades aren’t everything
Every climber has different strengths and weaknesses and grades can’t possibly take them into account, treat them as subjective and an approximate indication of the problem. Don't let them become the main focus of your climbing.
As enjoyable as bouldering at the wall is, it doesn't compare to the real deal.
There are some man-made outdoor boulders in the London such as Fairlop’s Boulder Park, which offer a simulated outdoor experience but think about heading out to East Sussex to places like Harrisons rock for that realistic outdoor experience