First ascents in bouldering

First ascents in bouldering

First ascents are always inspiring, but being a pioneer has its responsibilities. John Gaskins demonstrates how to leave the boulder for the tourists who arrive later.

Climbing new problems brings with it a responsibility to ensure that the environmental impact of bouldering is minimised and also that the new problem is not on private land. Most established venues have access agreements but the development of new areas may require the negotiation of an agreement.

Fortunately, most worthwhile new problems are unlikely to be covered by moss or rare plant life but some brushing, (preferably with a stiff, nylon-bristled house brush), will probably be needed although you must seriously consider finding a different line if extensive cleaning will be required. Loose rock may be encountered and this can either be removed, or glued or cemented solidly in place. If you choose the latter, try not to leave glue or cement on the rock surrounding the hold.

Please don't chip or manufacture holds if you can't do the problem, leave it for someone who can do it.

Likewise, avoid using resin, although it is used in Fontainbleu it only becomes needed once it has been used initially, so don't introduce it.

Once the problem is completed it can be recorded in local new route books (often found in climbing shops), on the web or if it is especially notable, magazines such as Climber which has a column dedicated to bouldering, may be interested in it.

Search site