Sports & Gaming

Taking It Outdoors: Bouldering

Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell

Lesson time 08:35 min

Alex and Tommy teach members how to bring the skills they’ve learned indoors into an outdoor environment, starting with bouldering tips and techniques.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Taking It Outdoors: Bouldering • Turtle Shell: Alex • Turtle Shell: Tommy •


[MUSIC PLAYING] ALEX HONNOLD: Now that we've taught you how to climb in a controlled gym environment, we're going to take you outside to Red Rock National Conservation Area and teach you how to climb outdoors. We're going to use roughly the same skills, roughly the same techniques, but we're going to apply them to the outdoors and show you how to do that. [MUSIC PLAYING] Bouldering really distills down the essence of climbing. Bouldering is typically more intense movements and more focus on the minutia of the movement. - When you show up to a boulder, you sort of have to make a game plan. You look at the hold. Oftentimes, boulders have chalk on them. You can use that for clues. And boulders-- a lot of times, you can go up, and you can actually feel some of the holds, the ones that are close enough to the ground, and figure out how you want to grab them. And then you want to do the same kind of safety thing. You want to figure out where you might fall and where that would land you on the pads. It's good to have a handful of bouldering pads with you. And so you position the pads under the places that you are most likely to fall. ALEX HONNOLD: While the climber gets ready to climb a boulder, the job of the spotter is to make sure that the pads are in the right places, that the whole base is at least relatively covered. And it's not uncommon for there to be some kind of drop-off or a tree or a cactus or something that you can't really put a crash pad over. So it's the spotter's role to stand near that obstacle and guide the climber away from that obstacle if they fall. Another important thing for spotting-- spoons, not forks. You want to keep your hands like cups so that you don't isolate your thumbs. Because if somebody falls and separates your thumb, you get injured. But with spoons, with your hands cupped, you're able to still guide somebody onto the pad just as safely, but without risking your own injury as much. TOMMY CALDWELL: And then oftentimes, you're not going to have enough bouldering pads with you to pad the entire landing. The job of the spotter is also to move those pads around as the climber is climbing to keep them underneath the fall area. ALEX HONNOLD: And that's one of the reasons that bouldering can be so social-- because it helps to have a crew of people with you. Because oftentimes, one or two people are spotting, and somebody else is moving the pads and rearranging the landing and making sure that the climber is still safe for the entire effort. OK. So when we look at this, we built our little landing. We put the pads out where we think we might need them. And then we look up, and it seems like the hard part is going to be holding that left hand and then moving to the big right hand up there, which means that you probably want to be spotting basically right where you are so that if I fall off, I don't go off this ledge here. - Yeah, and I'm not sure yet whether you're going...

About the Instructor

With more than 60 combined years of elite rock climbing experience, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have scaled some of the largest—and most extreme—walls in the world. Now, the stars of Free Solo and The Dawn Wall are teaming up to share their tried-and-true techniques for tackling any wall. From the fundamentals of footwork and body and hand positioning to mental exercises and advanced holds and movements, you’ll learn how to take on new challenges and push yourself further on and off the wall.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell

Stars of “Free Solo” and “The Dawn Wall” Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell teach lessons from more than 60 years of combined rock climbing experience.

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