North of Ueno park and tucked away behind the Nishi-Nippori Metro station in Tokyo is the charming little bouldering gym of Rhino & Bird. Making your way from the station to the gym, you’ll think you may have strayed along the wrong path as you criss-cross the back yards of traditional Japanese houses, which makes eventually finding this gym such a pleasant surprise.
Japan has always been keen on climbing, but a recent string of strong performances in competitive bouldering and climbing as well as the continued exploits of Dai Koyamada, Yuji Hirayama and Ashima Shiraishi has seen the sport garner a lot of interest, as Japan works its way to climbing’s first official Olympic debut in 2020. Unsurprisingly, Tokyo has seen a number of gyms spring up across the wider city area to profit from this trend. The T-Wall company runs 5 gyms around Tokyo. For this review, I visited the Shinbashi store to get in a little practice during my holiday.
Every climber is looking to improve, get that little bit stronger, tick off that one elusive project. But just how do you go about building an effective training plan that enables you to successfully work towards your goals? Just rocking up to the hall and doing your thing sometimes doesn’t cut it. Preparing for a future trip to Tonsai, Thailand had me dig out some old gems from Neil Gresham on structured training. If you too are looking to switch up your training routine, you may find these useful!
Vertic Halle is located just a few kilometres from Martigny in the canton of Valais (Wallis). This climbing gym has been around for a number of years now, but a recently opened bouldering extension has drawn some wider attention to this otherwise out-of-the-way location.
For those who boulder outdoors often, having a selection of crash pads depending on difficulty and terrain can make life a lot easier. Particularly when it comes to more challenging areas, a one-size-fits-all approach usually doesn’t work. Enter the niche category of sit start pads which have been gradually added to most major manufacturers’ portfolios. Designed to be small and light, yet provide good enough protection for those tricky starts, do these pads make an ideal supplement to their bigger brothers? Here, I share my impressions of the edelrid Sit Start Night Oasis pad.
Tucked away in the heart of the Gruyère Regional Nature Park is an astonishing bouldering area called Tsavas. At almost 1’600m, these boulders lie just underneath the Vanil Noir mountain range in the Swiss Canton of Fribourg. You’ll have to go out of your way to get here though, with no public transport link, and your only option being a winding one lane road up the picturesque mountainside. Then, a further 45min hike up 400m will finally see you to the area. Your reward? A stunningly beautiful mountain valley, rolling green hills and some fantastic blocks just waiting to be climbed.
As the smallest of the Black Diamond crash pad range, the Impact is designed to be a compact alternative to the bigger Drop Zone and Mondo. But can the Impact hold its own when it comes to the rigours of the outdoors? Read on for my impressions.
Looking for an easy to access bouldering area, with enough problems for an afternoon? Pierre de Beurre just outside the city of Martigny in Valais, Switzerland has you covered. This small sector nestled just behind the orchards on the outskirts of the city is a lovely open space with some quality problems.
Having just recently moved to Switzerland I’ve been looking to explore what the country has to offer from a bouldering perspective. One of the challenges here is the lack of official bouldering guides (many of which are out of print). With many small sectors, dispersed widely across the country and with three official languages it can be a challenge to find information on the web as well. Enter bimano, an app developed in Switzerland that tries to capture the country’s bouldering heritage in one easy to use format. All this right on your phone and in your pocket!
A climbing partner of mine made a trip to Albarracin in October 2007 and was all praise for this fairly new bouldering area. His description was of a magical forest with huge, red boulders with giant roofs, which offered hundreds of problems and yet still had near endless potential. So instead of visiting one of the usual bouldering haunts this Spring, I decided to give this area a try. So is this Spain’s version of Fontainebleau?