Bouldering is often used as a dating activity, however whether you’re an experienced climber taking a beginner on a bouldering date, or an inexperienced climber who’s been invited on a bouldering date, you may have some questions regarding whether it’s a good idea or how to go about it. In this article I’ll be covering everything you need to know about going bouldering on a date as an inexperienced or an experienced climber.
So, is bouldering a good activity for a date? Bouldering is a great activity to find out the personality traits of a person because it shows how they react to challenges. It’s also less expensive than your traditional date. If the date isn’t going well then you can always focus on climbing rather than the date itself. It isn’t advised to go bouldering on a first date unless you have prior knowledge that your date is athletic and/or adventurous.
Let’s break down going bouldering as a date into different sections.
- Is Bouldering a Good Activity for a Date?
- Is Bouldering Good as a First Date?
- Taking a Beginner Bouldering on a Date
- What to do if You’re a Beginner Bouldering on a Date
Is Bouldering a Good Activity for a Date?
Bouldering is an activity that can be very fun for both parties if you’re going on a date. The object of a date is to get to know another person, find out if they’re a good match for you and hopefully have fun at the same time. It’s very common that some people feel awkward on dates because they’re not the biggest talker, however it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad match for the other person, they might just be bad at certain dates depending on the setting.
It’s a Personality Tester
So you think your date’s hot, but what kind of person are they and will they suit your personality? Bouldering is a great way to see how your date approaches a challenge, whether they’re experienced or inexperienced at it. Are they a confident climber, or will they approach the wall with caution? What they do after they fail at sending a route will also show you parts of their personality too. Do they give up easily and act childish about their failure, or do they pick themselves up and try again? You’ve also got to think about how they act when you’re climbing, for example are they supportive and is that what you want in a partner? Are you fine with your date making jokes about your climbing style or the way you approach failure? This all comes with bouldering.
It’s Not Expensive
Bouldering is also quite cheap, cheaper than your average dinner date anyway. If you’re a beginner climber all you’ll need to do is rent some shoes and a day pass, buy a chalk ball, and bring a water bottle, then you’re good to go! It costs a maximum of $20. Did he/she offer to pay for you? Or did he/she want you to pay for them? Did that put you off or not?
There’s Time to Chat
When you’re both resting there’s always time for a little chat to get to know them a bit more. What’s good about using a physical activity such as bouldering as a date is that when the conversation gets a little awkward there’s always climbing to be done! If you’ve run out of things to say you can always talk about the last route you/they climbed. Try to help them or get them to help you. Encourage team work in the routes you both climb.
If it’s Awkward then Focus on Bouldering
It’s no secret as I’ve already mentioned that dates can become awkward fast depending on whether two people click or not, and this is why bouldering is a good activity for a date. If the date DOES become awkward then you can just focus on your climbing and not worry too much about what’s going on with the other person.
Exercise Releases Endorphins
If this isn’t your first date and you’re trying to get a bit more chemistry going with the other person then bouldering is a good idea. Not only can it be sexy to see the other person work out in their exercising clothes but exercise also releases endorphins which help to increase libido. You may also want to start introducing non-creepy and appropriate touching, for example helping your partner start a climb or picking them up when they fall. Even a hug in certain situations after they’ve sent a hard problem can release oxytocin in their brain. Oxytocin is a hormone that is known as the “love hormone” – it releases when people bond socially, cuddle, kiss etc and is responsible for creating a bond between two people.
You Decide the Time Commitment
Unlike a lot of physical activities, bouldering is one of those that can be a whole day session, or it can be a 45 minute session. Therefore it’s up to you to decide how long you want the date to last. If the date’s going well then you may want to keep bouldering for a few hours – obviously make sure it’s ok with your date because they may not feel the same way or have plans for the rest of the day. If your date’s not going well then you might call it a day when you’ve had enough time to realize that it’s not going to work out between the two of you.
Is Bouldering Good as a First Date?
Unless you have prior knowledge that your date is an athletic or adventurous person it’s probably not a good idea to go on bouldering with them on a first date. You may not understand it yourself but some people don’t like to climb up a 4 meter wall, get to the top and then have to come down again – crazy right?! But on a serious note, some people might have a fear of falling or a fear of heights, or the idea of climbing just isn’t their cup of tea. It’s best you go on a traditional first date with someone beforehand, find out their personality and hobbies, and if the first date went well then you can try bouldering for a second or third date. Better yet, if the date’s gone well, mention it to them near the end of the first date and see how they react. Try not to put them under pressure, though.
Taking a Beginner Bouldering on a Date
Make them Feel Comfortable
As the more advanced climber, your date is probably going to rely on you to show them the ropes and tell them how this bouldering stuff works. They might feel quite uncomfortable at first – this is something completely new to them – but it’s your job to help them relax and learn. If you do this, not only will your climbing session be a lot better because there won’t be any awkwardness, but your date will also consider you to be quite caring and easy going. If you can make them feel comfortable around you in a bouldering gym then they’ll feel comfortable around you in general.
Don’t Show Off In a Cocky Way
If you haven’t done a V7 before then why try now? If you’re a V6 climber then you should climb your usual grade. Not only will you make a fool out of yourself, but your date might also think you’re a bit cocky, which isn’t a good trait to have. Now I’m not saying don’t show off full stop. It’s quite nice to show your talents to your date, and they’ll probably be impressed if you do it in a non-arrogant way. Climb your usual grade and if you send a climb act then try and act modest. Being modest is a characteristic that’s very appealing to most people of the opposite sex.
Ask Your Date If They Want Help
Some people don’t actually want help even as a beginner. Ask your date if they want help first and be supportive when they’re on the wall. If your date does want help then that’s great because it’s a good idea for them to become better at a faster rate. They’ll start to enjoy the activity more and they’ll subconsciously thank you for helping their success.
What to do if You’re a Beginner Bouldering on a Date
If you’re going bouldering for the first time, whether you’re on a date or not, then you need to be as safe as possible. There’s something called bouldering etiquette which needs to be followed when you’re in a bouldering gym. The following rules have been taken from my Bouldering 101 article (click link to view) which explains Bouldering etiquette along with everything you’ll need to know regarding bouldering as a beginner.
“Bouldering etiquette is the climbing code all boulderers should follow for safety purposes and as a way of general politeness. It’s a few (usually unspoken) rules. These are:
- Be aware of your surroundings. If someone falls on you it’s your fault! If there’s an area in the gym that someone can fall on your or your belongings then move yourself and your gear.
- If someone’s on the wall before you then make sure your climbing route does not intersect their climbing route.
- Don’t give out advice unless someone actually wants it. When you’re on a climbing wall you’re trying to solve a problem – that’s half the fun of the climb! Don’t ruin another person’s fun unless they ask you for advice.
- Take turns on the wall with other climbers. Don’t hog it all for yourself.
- Don’t jump on the wall after someone’s just brushed a hold. They’re brushing the hold so that excess chalk isn’t impeding their climb. If you go on the wall you’ve literally just added excess chalk to that hold which means they’re going to have to brush it again!
- Don’t yell or shout in frustration. If you’re going to do it every now and again then fair enough but don’t make it an ongoing thing. It’s annoying.
- If you’re not sure about something, just ask a more experienced climber. Climbers are usually very helpful with beginners – whether it’s a technical question about bouldering or a general question about the rules of the gym.
- Make sure any children you’re with stick to you at all times and follow the same rules listed above.”
What to Bring and What to Wear
You’ll need to bring a water bottle, but you might find that the bouldering gym doesn’t allow you to bring the bottle onto the mat so you’ll have to keep it in your bag. All you need to wear is a pair of exercise pants such as shorts, jogging bottoms or yoga pants, and an t-shirt or top suitable for exercising. Try not to wear jewellery such as a necklace as it can catch on to holds. Be aware that when you arrive at the gym you’ll need to rent or buy climbing shoes. If your date won’t let you use their chalk (which they should I mean it’s not that expensive), then just buy a chalk ball or liquid chalk for now.
Climb Down, Don’t Jump
It’s a good idea to climb down instead of jumping to save your back. Every time you jump off a climb and land on your feet, the vertebrae in your spine is going to compress. This isn’t a good thing long term.