17th Apr, 2008

Bouldering in Breckenridge Colorado

As we watch the sunshine and blue skies peeking through our springtime, we’ll see more and more residents of Breckenridge, Colorado real estate roaming the forests and boulders in Summit County with pads on their backs. They are bouldering, one of the fastest growing rock-climbing disciplines around. Living in Breckenridge CO homes, “boulderers” conveniently pick up the sport at the local Breckenridge Recreation Center during the cold months. As the seasons change, they emerge from their homes in Breckenridge dressed as climbers carrying what looks like folded mattresses on their backs.

Bouldering is the art of climbing boulders. However, unlike mountain climbing to the top of a majestic peak, people mastering the art of bouldering concentrate on movement and technique. Whereas the mountain climber employs physical endurance and protection systems to move straight up, boulderers use smaller holds and more gymnastic movements.

The most popular locations for practicing the art are areas featuring boulders with a variety of climbs at a variety of grades that cater to beginners as well as the more experienced boulderer.  Bouldering “problems” range in size and shape and are rated on an alphanumeric system of V-grades (V0 to V15). The tallest grades are called “highball” boulder problems. Traditional climbing uses the Yosemite Decimal System with numbers like 5.9 or 5.11. The V0 is considered about a 5.10 in the traditional system.

One of the first books on the subject was written by John Gill, a bouldering pioneer.    Gill tells of the original boulderers in the French forests around Fontainebleau. The worldwide history of bouldering dates back to the 1870s. Many of the most famous bouldering circuits were created to train Alpinists wearing packs and boots on less demanding routes than dangerous and steep mountain ascents. Moving from its practical background into the sporting arena, the heavy clothing has been traded for crash pads, chalk, and today’s high-tech climbing shoes.

The Recreation Center offers 2,500 square-feet of climbing wall with options for climbers of all abilities. Professional route setters set up world-class routes and the bouldering areas range from V0 to V12 to test the inner strength and physical ability of participants. Besides several classes and adventures, participants can enter the Summit Bouldering Competition that is hosted by the American Bouldering Series and the Breckenridge Climbing Wall, including a series for the beginner to expert climber ages seven and up.

Competitive boulderers move on to the Teva Games in Vail, one of the biggest purses for climbing competitions anywhere. Winners can also head to the American Bouldering Series Nationals (ABS) where the bouldering problems are set to stump even the best.

Contact Rick Allemang at (970) 547-1002 for information on real estate in the area.

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