Bouldering

For a fun challenge that will get your heart pumping, visit the bouldering room. Located near the Adventure Center, the room contains a bouldering wall with 300 square feet of climbing space. It also has hangboards, a slackline and a Nicros Hypergravity Isolation Training wall system for building strength and balance.

The room is open to members whenever the Rec Center is open. If you're not a member, you can purchase a guest pass.

For more information, visit the Adventure Center (open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3-6 p.m.) or email outdooradventure@niu.edu.

What Is Bouldering?

Bouldering involves moving from handhold to handhold along a designated route on the wall. These routes are called problems, and they're indicated by the color of the holds and/or colored tape. You'll choose a problem, identify the holds and follow them to the end, then descend safely. You won't use a harness or rope.

Equipment

While you don't need anything special to try bouldering, a pair of climbing shoes and some chalk for a better grip can help. You can rent shoes and buy chalk at the Adventure Center:

  • Climbing shoes rental: $2 per day for students, $3 per day for nonstudents
  • Chalk bags with refillable chalk balls: $20
  • Refillable chalk balls: $5

Difficulty Levels

Bouldering problems vary in difficulty, which is measured with the V-scale and the Rec-Open scale. Generally, you can expect the following difficulty levels:

  • Recreation (Rec)/V0-V1: The easiest levels, best for beginners
  • Intermediate (Int): V2-V4: Intermediate levels that require some practice
  • Advanced (Adv)/V4-V6: The hardest levels. Require good technique as well as strength

Policies and Safety

Bouldering is dangerous. Using the equipment can result in falls and injuries. You are responsible for your own safety and must be aware of and keep clear of other climbers. Always climb within your capabilities.

You must adhere to the following, or face suspension or loss of access to the facility:

  • Sign in before bouldering or training.
  • Seek instruction from Outdoor Adventures if you're new to bouldering or training.
  • Change into climbing shoes or clean gym shoes. No cleats, street shoes, Vibram five-finger shoes (or similar), sandals, or leather-soled boots or shoes.
  • Do not carry anything when climbing (phone, camera, wallet, coins, keys, etc.).
  • Do not leave anything in the fall zone (bottles, brushes, climbing shoes, etc.).
  • Inspect the wall, hardware, handholds and landing surface before climbing.
  • Do not reach past the top of the wall.
  • Do not adjust or switch holds.
  • Do not jump down from the top. Descend by down climbing, or at a controlled fall.
  • Report injuries, damaged equipment and unsecured handholds to Recreation staff.
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