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TRAIL TO TIDE: THE NORST JOURNAL

Mastering Route Reading: The Key to Bouldering Success

by Norst .co.uk 07 Jan 2023 0 Comments
Mastering Route Reading: The Key to Bouldering Success

Take your bouldering skills to the next level with fundamental route reading techniques

Route reading is an important aspect of bouldering that can significantly impact your performance on the wall. Essentially, route reading is the process of analyzing and strategizing your movements on a boulder problem before attempting to climb it.

Here Are 9 Essential Techniques to Improve Your Route Reading Skills

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings

    Observe the surrounding terrain, rock formations, and vegetation to get a sense of the rock's natural features.

  2. Look for handholds and footholds

    Keep your eyes peeled for small cracks, edges, and other features that can provide purchase for your hands and feet.

  3. Analyse the sequence

    Consider the most efficient and effective order in which to tackle the moves on the route.

  4. Plan your rests

    Identify potential rest points along the route where you can stop and recover before continuing on.

  5. Consider the terrain

    Take into account the angle and slope of the rock face, as well as any overhangs or roofs.

  6. Practice visualisation

    Close your eyes and visualize yourself completing the route, paying attention to your body positioning and movement.

  7. Seek out beta

    Ask experienced climbers for tips and advice on the route, or watch videos of other climbers to see how they approached it.

  8. Look for chalk and rubber

    Look out for signs of a previous climb, sometimes you can see specific finger placement. And look for rubber to show where your feet could go.

  9. Study the angles

    Look at the angle of the holds as that shows the best direction to pull from and where is best for your body placement.

There are several key factors to consider when route reading, including the overall structure of the problem, the positions of holds and footholds, and the most efficient sequence of movements.

One key aspect of route reading is identifying and evaluating the various features of the boulder problem. This includes looking at the overall shape and structure of the problem, as well as the specific positions and sizes of holds and footholds. By analyzing these features, you can begin to identify the most efficient sequence of movements to use on the problem.

Another important aspect of route reading is considering your own strengths and weaknesses as a climber. This may include factors such as your reach, flexibility, and strength. By considering your own abilities, you can better identify which holds and footholds will be most effective for you to use on the problem.

There are several ways to practice and improve your route reading skills. One effective method is to simply spend time analyzing and strategizing on problems, even if you don't necessarily try to climb them. You can also seek out problems that are slightly outside of your ability range, as this will force you to really think about your movements and analyze the problem more carefully.

Another effective method is to watch and learn from more experienced climbers. Pay attention to how they analyze and strategize on problems, and try to emulate their techniques. 

    Overall, route reading is an essential skill for any boulderer to develop. By taking the time to analyze and strategize on problems, you can significantly improve your performance on the wall and enjoy a more rewarding climbing experience.

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