It doesn't require as much investment in ropes and other related gear, rapport with a partner or the time required to climb hundreds of feet. Yet down-to-earth "bouldering" is taking the sport of rock climbing to new heights.
"Anybody can boulder," says Matt Lambert, owner of Rogue Rock Gym.
All it takes is some tight-fitting footwear, maybe a dusting of chalk for the hands and a desire to tackle the bumpy, creased, pockmarked face of an unyielding rock — hanging upside-down if need be — to reach its squat summit. Although the climb is shorter, bouldering often feels more intense than scaling a rock face twice as high, says Lambert. It can be more social, with several climbers attempting the same route in quick succession, or suited to solitary climbing, which typically isn't recommended for rope-dependent ascents.