Often many climbers tend to ask the question “How much can I use the walls while bouldering?” It should be simple but in reality, it’s not. Especially for beginners to understand what they can use for their beta, without cheating. We’ve gathered all the information about what you can use while climbing and also what you should avoid touching.
As a short answer, we will have to say that there are some specific restrictions that depend on the bouldering gym that you are visiting. So there is no simple answer to that because the gyms are making the rules and those rules can vary a lot from each other. The quickest way to know the rules is to ask the staff or another climber about volumes and wall restrictions.
But if there is not any special information about it then that means that this gym is using the most common approach to the rules and that means that you are allowed to use volumes and every inch of the wall to clear your route, also the top should be a single hold. There are some exceptions to that, as a limit to using volume and the top placement can not be even a handhold, so stay with us to learn more about it.
What can I touch during my climbing route?
The general rule is allowing you to touch any wall and any volume that you can reach. So that means that the route setters have more things to keep in mind while creating a bouldering problem for you. That can give you a lot of different ways to clear that problem and you can be creative because nothing is prohibited except one thing.
To properly start a bouldering route you have to place both hands on the correct handhold using only the wall, volumes, and any of the hold that belongs to that problem, so that means that you can’t place yourself for the start using any other holds from different routes.
Some bouldering gyms are restricting those rules. For example, they won’t let you use volumes that are not belonging to that problem, even if it will block your way up. If you can see many colored tapes that are connected to the volume that can mean that this volume is restricted to the colors on the tapes which represent the routes.
If the bouldering gym is rich and fancy it can have colored volumes, so if that volume has a color of your route then that means you can use it, but that’s very rare to see. You can also try to use the sides of the wall.
Setters think about the walls when setting the problems for climbers, so use the wall if it works. You should avoid using bolt holes that are in the wall or in the holds, those shouldn’t be used for you to support.
Where is the finish of my bouldering problem?
That is a hard question because gyms have different approaches to this topic. Some can expect you to grab the highest hold with both hands to finish the problem, but many gyms can expect you to grab with both hands literally top of the wall to count it as a finished route.
The second approach is less common to see, but still very popular. It doesn’t let the route setter create a nice finish to that problem because the top of the wall is often easy to grab, so you can try to jump there if you are brave enough, or you are not afraid of falling. That also ensures the finish to every problem will be exactly the same.
The first approach with the finish hold will force the climber to find the right body position to grab the last handhold with both hands.
In summary – How Much Can I Use The Walls While Bouldering?
Most of the time it’s very obvious whether you’re supposed to use volumes or not. Generally, walls, wall corners, volumes, and many others are intended as part of the route unless otherwise stated.
You can ask staff that is working in this bouldering gym or any other climber if you can use volumes and walls without any restrictions and don’t hesitate because the climbers are one of the most friendly communities that you will ever face in any other sport.