Is Bouldering Harder Than Climbing? – (2022 Comparison)

Climbing has been more and more popular for several years, and when it comes to winter, we mainly have bouldering and rope climbing. Both of these forms of climbing have many similarities and differences. Is bouldering harder than climbing? If clipping is your passion, you should try both disciplines and see for yourself. Of course, we will try to bring you closer to this topic so that you know how it looks technically.

Bouldering and rope climbing have many similarities, but also differences. It may seem that rope climbing is a bit more difficult because, in addition to the climbing skills, we also need to learn how to use the necessary equipment. However, it’s worth trying both of these types and seeing for yourself.

Bouldering or rope climbing?

If you are a person who is just starting your adventure with climbing, and you do not know where to start, bouldering training is a good start. It doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment, just climbing shoes, and chalk, and you climb much lower heights. The floor is usually made of soft crash pads that cushion the fall, so there is nothing wrong with falling off the wall.

On the other side, rope climbing is good when you have the first idea about climbing and know the basic techniques. Climbing with a rope is, above all, high heights of 20 meters and more. In addition, you need to consider climbing shoes, a rope, and all the accessories needed for this equipment. If you are afraid of heights, it is a good idea to start with lower heights on bouldering and move to higher walls over time. Both types of climbing require a lot of strength, good motor coordination and balance, both also have a positive effect on our entire body.

Is bouldering harder than climbing?
Is bouldering harder than climbing?

What are the difficulties of climbing?

Whether bouldering is more difficult than climbing depends primarily on our skills and the experienced that we already have. If we have been visiting the bouldering gym a lot more often, then bouldering will be a lot easier for us.

The main principle of climbing with a rope is to ascend the wall along a fixed route to the highest possible point. Due to the length of the rope, a sudden fall from the wall always involves a considerable adrenaline and pressure surge, especially while right after our hands slip from the wall until the rope is tightened we will fall a few meters down.

This is why proper belaying is so important if you are rod climbing, for example, the person who I belaying you will need to pick out an excess rope and stabilize you when you rest and think about your next move. Whether bouldering is harder than climbing depends on your preparation for this sport and the season in which you climb. To prepare yourself for outdoor climbing we have created this article so make sure to check it out “How Cold Is Too Cold For Climbing? – (Stay Warm Outside)“.

The basic equipment for outdoor climbing is a bare minimum to start climbing. To rope climb outdoors, you will need:

  • Climbing shoes
  • Ropes
  • Climbing harness
  • Carabiners
  • Quickdraws
  • Chalk bag and chalk

What can climbing difficulty depend on?

Climbing is not only sport climbing with rope and expresses. There are so many types of climbing activities that we have a lot of opportunities to find out which is best for us. The seasons are also of great importance here, one could say that climbing is a year-round sport, and this depends on the type of climbing you choose.

Depending on whether you prefer climbing in summer or winter, you can try a different type of climbing alone or in a pair. Climbing is also in some cases a team sport, where we rely not only on our skills but those of other climbers with whom we cooperate, but more often we will need to focus on our own skills rather than our partners.

What can climbing difficulty depend on?
What can climbing difficulty depend on?

What types of climbing are there?

Depending on the type of climbing we prefer, be it rope climbing or bouldering, we need to take into account the specifics of the sport. It’s also worth trying several types of climbing to assess their difficulty and choose the most suitable one for us.

We can distinguish such types of climbing as:

  • Rope climbing is classic climbing on specially prepared routes equipped with fixed belay points (e.g. rings and spits), with the rope serving mainly as a safety device. There are two types of climbing: “rod climbing”, i.e. the rope secures us from the top (this is usually the case on climbing walls), and bottom belaying, i.e. when we connect the rope to the prepared routes by ourselves.
  • Bouldering, or rock climbing – It is a variation of classic climbing in which we climb low formations (boulders, traverses, walls) without using a climbing rope. We use only a crash pad (a thick mat) and a partner (the so-called spotter) for belaying. Bouldering focuses on making difficult sequences of interceptions. It is very often practiced on artificial walls.
  • Deep Water Solo is climbing without a rope on seaside overhanging cliffs. If you fall off, you fall into the water. The fall is typically safe, but of course, there are limits depending on the height of the fall above the water surface. It is accepted that falls of up to 10 meters can be painful, but are reasonably safe. If you are climbing 30-40 meter cliffs, on the other hand, it is not much different from Free Solo.
  • Hook climbing is called “hook climbing” and it is an activity during which points set by the climber himself are used as holds. The climber may, for example, hold on to hooks or stand on them, or use special benches.
  • Ice climbing – Ice climbing requires the use of appropriate equipment. Lovers of this activity grip special, curved axes in their hands and put crampons on their boots. Other accessories are also useful, such as ice screws. Certain independence of this discipline is evidenced by the fact that the evaluation of difficulties is carried out according to a different scale than that used in rock climbing.
  • Bagwell, i.e. climbing on “big walls”, which an ordinary team needs several days to climb. Climbers require many days to complete such a route. Such climbing time makes it necessary to take a lot of equipment, provisions, water, and camping gear with you. Apart from the (often hooked) climbing itself, the whole logistics is a challenge here. Probably the most characteristic element of a big wall is the suspended tent, the so-called “portaledge”.

As we can see, there are many types of climbing and they differ not only in technique or equipment needed but also in the time of year when we can practice them. Therefore, whether bouldering is more difficult than climbing may also be an individual matter, depending on the type of climbing we prefer. When discussing climbing one should not forget about the rest in between workouts, you can read about it here.

In Summary – Is bouldering harder than climbing?

Climbing is both an intense workout and fun, and you can climb alone or in a group. There are many types of climbing, which differ in style and the equipment needed. Even off-season you can try your local indoor climbing gym if you don’t want to move out of your hometown. Indoor gyms are very cozy and popular in 2022.

Whether bouldering is harder than climbing depends not only on our skills or preferences but also on the terrain on which we want to climb. So your experience is the answer in this case. In this post, you can read more about whether climbing is better than a regular workout at the gym.

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