The use of a bouldering crash pad is recommended when bouldering both indoors and outdoors. Also, even experienced climbers need crash pads, as trying more demanding or technical routes may involve tough landings.
To use bouldering crash pads, you need:
- A bouldering crash pad.
- A boulder, either natural or artificial, or a climbing wall.
The steps to use a bouldering crash pad are:
- Choose a route to climb or traverse. Usually, when bouldering, routes do not require gaining too much height. Instead, they describe a transversal line, and most of the challenge takes place low on the wall to minimize risk.
- Open the bouldering crash pad thoroughly. Some bouldering crash pads use air as shock absorber. In those cases, it may take a few seconds or minutes to inflate. In any case make sure that the crash pad is fully open.
- Place the crash pad below the route that you´ve chosen. If the route is longer than the crash pad, and you feel confident enough, you can place the crash pad to cover the most demanding section.
- Make sure to place the crash pad properly. Crash pads have two faces, one that is intended to be in touch with the ground, usually more rugged, and a softer one that must face upwards and provide cushion to the climber.
Even though crash pads provide a reasonable protection, using one does not mean that you can climb with no other protection. Use of a helmet is recommended even at low altitudes, as an unexpected fall from just a few feet may be dangerous.
Keeping the crash pad clean and stored in a dry place is a good way to guarantee that it will provide cushion in case you need it. Test your crash pad to find out up to which height is it good, and do not rely on it for long falls.