Bouldering rules?

by Tom Markiewicz on July 13, 2005

Lord Caffeine posts some content from entitled Bouldering Rules. This is pretty humorous. I didn’t realize there were rules we were supposed to be following…

Bouldering has been a climbing activity for over 100 years and probably it all started in Fontainebleau. Since then, bleausards have been sliding off the slopy boulders trying to find increasingly problematic ways to get to the top. Specific boulder problems were first identified in the mid 40-ties in topos and by painting small arrows on the rock. Lately, lots of innovative methods to create new difficult problems, have come up: Variations, Eliminations, Traverses, and Link-ups etc. Actually, maybe only half of the 8a boulders in Fontainbleau and around the world could be considered ??easiest way up”. Some are, in fact, so complicated that they can??t be described in a topo or by arrows, instead they only exist in the mind of the first ascender and maybe their spotters.

Almost every sport has a judge deciding what??s right and wrong. The extreme athlete tries to find shortcuts like doping, ??high altitude houses”, pace makers etc, to be number one. In sport climbing and bouldering however, it??s more or less up to the individual to decide what goes, that is to bend and sometimes even break the ??rules”. These ??rules”, are by no means written in stone, in fact quite the contrary.

Since there??s nothing we at like better than to tell people what to think and do, we thought we??d take the opportunity to use this forum, where no one can object to what we??re saying, to do exactly that . This time we??ve decided to discuss the matter of bouldering ethics, a few do??s and don??ts if you like. OK, it??s only a game but it??s better played when everybody sticks to the same rules. It should be underlined that we are first of all looking at a way of categorising boulders from boulder problems! We??ll go through the potential troublemakers one by one and discuss them briefly, but don??t forget that it??s first of all a game and actually in most cases nobody knows what??s right or wrong and that it??s totally impossible to exactly draw a line between any boulder categories.

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