With all the interest in bouldering since the Olympics, one may wonder where this odd first started. Was it in Europe, America, or some unexpected place in the world? Let’s find out.
Origins of Bouldering (History)
One of the starting grounds of bouldering is speculated to be from Fountainebleau in France and Lake District in Great Britain, where you can find thousands of sandstone boulders sitting amidst the lush forests. This was the grounds where we first heard of the term bleausards (or now popularly known as “boulderers”)
When it got to the 1980s, there was the introduction of 2 new forms of training tools. The 1st is indoor bouldering and climbing gyms, which helped grow the sport in man-made surroundings and allow for one to train all year round regardless of outdoor conditions or changing seasons/ climate. The 2nd tool is called bouldering mats, or also known as ‘crash pads’. These hard shock absorbent mats help protect the climber against injuries from falling badly and injuring themselves, but with it, boulderers can now attempt new climbing areas and routes that were previously too high a risk of injury.
Till date, bouldering has continued to grow in popularity and you can see it emerging all around Europe and all over the United States. The grading system which was first started out by John Gill, an American mathematician who categorize them by B1, B2 and B3 ( with B3 as the most challenging), is now replaced with Verm Sherman’s V Scale, ranging from V1 to V17. With the proliferation of the online web, you can easily find information on climbing sites and blogs on climbing areas and crags in the United States, Europe, Asia and more. There are also bouldering competitions sprouting up around the world that attracts international athletes to compete in them.