Spotting 101 – A Bouldering Guide
Spotters and spotting are the two most important things to have with you when you boulder.
They are your safety net when climbing without a rope!
Your ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, back, and head are at risk of injury when you fall while climbing. You will need a climbing partner to spot you when you boulder and you’ll need at least one crash pad to place (and move when necessary) under the climber’s fall zone.
How to properly spot.
When spotting a climber your goal is to soften the fall that the climber will take and to protect their head and neck. Your hands should be outstretched so that if the climber falls they will touch the climber’s lats (on their back, just below the shoulders, near the armpits) and you can keep the climber from falling uncontrolled. Place the crash pad(s) in the climber’s fall zone so that if they fall you can direct them onto the pad.
Some key points…
- when spotting increase your awareness of the climber and their body
- use spoons not forks (your hands should look like spoons not forks)
- for higher boulder problems you should use more than one spotter
- analyze the angle of all the holds and which direction they will be pulled on before the climber climbs. This will give you an idea of where his body will be at those points and a better idea of where he might fall
- take spotting seriously, it is very easy for someone to get injured while bouldering.
Spotting isn’t just for bouldering either when a climber is leading a route make sure to spot them until their first piece of protection is clipped in.
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