At a national level, the athletes we see playing sports are typically playing basketball, football, and soccer. Other sports, like golf or tennis, have dedicated TV channels you can find, but only if you look for them. Then, if you dig a little deeper, you find the sports that get little to no national coverage but are still sports that people love, like bouldering.
Many students participate in bouldering both for fun and competition. Unlike rock climbing, bouldering takes place without safety harnesses or hardware. Armed only with grip strength and a crash pad, boulderers climb in many gyms around Seattle.
One of the main gyms for Garfield students is the Seattle Bouldering Project (SBP), located on Poplar street. It is a frequent hangout for bouldering enthusiasts and a great place for students after school. The building creates an environment that fosters healthy relationships and communities.
“You get there, and you feel so much better. It’s such an intense form of exercise, every muscle in your body is working,” sophomore Eden Huschle said. “I compare it to swimming, it works your body in a way that you wouldn’t think it would.”
Bouldering isn’t a sport where you climb walls randomly. Often, there are different paths along the walls that can be tried over and over again until the climber finally completes it.
“Each route in climbing is what we call a problem, and it’s basically a puzzle. You’re trying to move your body in a way that works to solve the puzzle. It’s awesome!” junior Turner Snyder said.
While the climbing activity is individual, the community bouldering creates is one that many students appreciate.
“Everyone that climbs and works at SBP is so welcoming. It’s really unlike any other sport I’ve played,” Snyder said. “I’ve made my closest friends at the bouldering gym.”
For those new to the community or just starting out, bouldering is a great way to challenge yourself and find people who share your interests.
“You’ll just find people who are willing to help you. I’ll be working on a route and they’ll give me a piece of advice…people want to help you and they’re excited to help others solve problems.” Huschle said.
Whether you are going for fun or just trying it out, the bouldering community is there to support you.
“I started going to the bouldering project just a few months ago. I originally signed up to go there to work out but I’ve found such a passion for bouldering,” senior Chance Quinlan said. “I’ve seen multiple people helping beginners just out of the good of their hearts.”
Bouldering is a sport that may not get as much national coverage as football, but it is a valuable community to many people.
And if you’re nervous about starting, “[dont] be afraid to find climbing friends!” Snyder said. “Everyone’s super friendly and it makes it so much more fun.”
Wherever you are in your bouldering journey, the sport is fun, welcoming, and enjoyable. So find a gym, grab some chalk, and try out a new sport.