Bouldering competitions are for everyone

bouldering competition substation macclesfield
bouldering competition substation macclesfield

Bouldering competitions are for everyone

Lots of people are put off from entering climbing competitions because they don’t want to fail, score badly or look silly, but is winning the only reason to compete? In this article, we will look at the many benefits of entering a bouldering competition.


You might not be a competitive person but entering a bouldering competition can foster a sense of determination that you never knew you had. The nature of bouldering competitions – different routes, with different styles that you have to climb within a time limit – can provide you with an insight into your climbing strengths and weaknesses that everyday bouldering doesn’t. Just filling in your scorecard, and seeing what you did well on or struggled with, can help motivate us to do better!

Less limitations and insight

Competition formats limit people much less to grades. Let’s face it, we all say ‘(insert grade) is too hard for me so I won’t try it’. In a competition, you will climb lots of different types of problems, including grades which you might otherwise think you’re not capable of doing. You might climb problems with tiny holds that you always steer clear of, or slabs that need friction. Whatever it is, if it’s something you don’t normally get on, then there’s potential to learn and grow by just having a go.

Competitions can help hugely with the dreaded climbing plateau – the period when you’re trying regularly, eating well, staying hydrated and getting quality sleep but not seeing an improvement in your climbing performance. A little push beyond what you think you are capable of can equal some big gains in terms of moving forwards when you feel like you have been stuck in the same place.

Entering a competition is also a great way to pinpoint specific areas to focus on in your wider training. You might find out that you’re really good a crimps but less good at slabs, or maybe it’s your flexibility that needs work. Whatever you do discover, it can be used as a tool to help you become a better climber!

Breaking the routine

How many of us only go climbing on a specific night of the week? I know many people do! Entering a competition means that people who only climb only on Tuesdays get to meet other people who only climb on Thursdays…and so on. Competitions are great at getting us out of our routine. You may even make some new friends as well or bump into old one’s you haven’t seen in a while.


If you have never been to a bouldering competition, then be prepared, they are quite unlike anything else! The atmosphere is usually electric, with lots of laughter and shouts of encouragement. Even though you may be competing against your friends, it won’t matter. In fact, the nature of climbing means that we can be united by a shared nemesis problem to solve or absorbed by someone else’s battle. Sometimes watching someone else tackle a route we have reservations over, can be enough to help us mentally overcome those obstacles when it’s our turn to give it a go. It’s pretty normal for everyone to be supporting everyone else, which encourages us all to try harder and makes the entire day a lot of fun!

You are never too young One of the best things about bouldering competitions is that everyone can join in. At Substation if you are old enough to climb then you’re old enough to enter. What’s even more fun is that our competitions feature games and special routes set just for kids! And there’s absolutely no pressure to win – it’s the taking part that matters!

Fun and winning

We say it’s not about winning, but we all feel good when we do well. There are often lots of great prizes at the end of competitions, as well as the podium places. That means you might end up going home with some goodies even if you don’t make it to the podium. And of course, it goes without saying, that the biggest reason to enter a climbing competition is that it is fun! And at Substation we guarantee it!

Why not join us on the 13 November 2021 at SubZero 2021? We have loads on offer throughout the day with categories for under-10’s, under-14’s, youths and adults. There will be lots of prizes on offer, and cash prizes for those who make it to a podium place. Our wonderful café, serving vegan and vegetarian food (which is perfect for fueling up) is open all day, and later on, in the evening, you can kick back, enjoy a beer and take in some tunes while mulling over the day’s exciting action! If you’re under 14 book your ticket here. Youths and seniors book your ticket here.