Pick of the Week: Bouldering Induction

Copyright: TCA

Copyright: TCA

This week, Hal travels to Barton Hill to visit Bristol’s The Climbing Academy.

Bouldering has swept the nation. That’s what I hear anyway. Whichever direction it swept in, it managed to miss me entirely. That is, until I set off on my Rife expedition a few weeks ago to the mysteriously acronym’d ‘TCA’, to see what they had in store for me. But wait, I fear we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

What exactly is bouldering?

It began, some would say, in the forests of Fontainebleau outside Paris sometime in the early 20th century.

Bouldering is a type of climbing performed without ropes or harnesses, most often practised on low climbs above padded mats, or ‘crash pads’. It began, some would say, in the forests of Fontainebleau outside Paris sometime in the early 20th century, when some croissant-chomping bleausards (that’s ‘boulderers’ to you and me) began to elevate the practice of scaling boulders into a distinct, codified climbing discipline. Since the spread of indoor climbing centres in the 1980s, bouldering has been gathering momentum. With the recent emergence of bouldering-only facilities in most major cities across the UK, bouldering’s ascent into the mainstream appears to be complete.

I must have been taking a nap or something.

Bristol’s The Climbing Academy opened its doors in 2008, and has been host to a loyal community of climbers ever since.

Bristol’s The Climbing Academy opened its doors in 2008, and has been host to a loyal community of climbers ever since. As Bristol’s first dedicated bouldering centre, they know a thing or two about the sport and have set up TCA to cater to everyone, from professional climbers to complete beginners. The climbing routes are divided into various colour-codes, denoting difficulty. There’s something satisfying about attempting to move up the grades, and it creates a sense of progression that I found surprisingly addictive.

the session will take you through the basics and grant you a lifetime membership to the centre.

If you’d like to get involved you can sign yourself up for the TCA induction. Run once a week on Monday evenings, the session will take you through the basics and grant you a lifetime membership to the centre (although you still have to pay per session). Once complete you can attend whenever you like, and even sign in guests, who can bear witness to your half-baked climbing techniques.

After my first bouldering experience at TCA, do I plan to go back? The answer is, I already have. To my surprise I think I may have got swept up in the bouldering fever. You never know, it could happen to you.

Head to Go Places Do Things to find out how you can get involved

TCA regular? Passionate about bouldering? Let us know @rifemag

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