I'm a noob, can I play too?!?

‘Is the Festival suitable for beginners?’, is a question we are getting asked a lot.

Yes. Is the short answer.

Transitioning from indoor to outdoor bouldering can feel pretty intimidating. For a start, the Grampians is a long way away (Where do you stay? Where do you boulder?), you’re moving from the very controlled environment of indoor walls and massive gym mats to one that is wild with rugged, boulder-filled landings, relatively small, thin mats and sometimes very high boulders. That’s a big change.

 There is nothing like the close attention of a great spotter to give you the confidence to throw yourself at a problem. Under the watchful Reuben Bennet-Daly, Stefan Niedermeyer latches a crimper on Far Left el Westwood (V9).  Simon Madden

There is nothing like the close attention of a great spotter to give you the confidence to throw yourself at a problem. Under the watchful Reuben Bennet-Daly, Stefan Niedermeyer latches a crimper on Far Left el Westwood (V9). Simon Madden

But it’s a change that the festival has been in part designed to help you with. We’ve specifically got a bunch of experienced boulderers on hand to show you the ropes (or more accurately, the not-ropes). Whether you’re taking part in the competition on the Saturday or doing a beginner’s clinic on the Friday or Sunday, our climbers will be there to show you some of the best places to get started in the Grampians, and provide the basic skills you will need to become a boulderer – how to spot correctly (one of the most important skills), place your mats, assess risk, as well as teach you some basic technique and bouldering tactics. They will also fill you in on bouldering ethics, like How Not to be a Dickhead 101, the terror of the Kiwi spot and minimal impact bouldering.

And if you’re worried about the competition, don’t. This year we're running beginner classes on the Friday to educate first timers, while the format of the competition is designed to be super relaxed and encouraging, with everyone able to choose problems that match their skills and experience. Plus, many of Black Diamond’s best sponsored athletes will be on hand to provide pro tips or a spot. If you want it to be it will be a fun, relaxed day.

Rulz of the Comp

The Black Diamond Grampians Bouldering Festival includes the only outdoor bouldering competition in Australia (insert froth here). 

We call it a 'Casual Bouldering comp' not because the competition is casual but because there are no official judges nor set problems that you have to climb. You just head out to the blocs and crush whatever you can. When you send, get another competitor to sign off on your ascent to validate that no one is telling any porkies. The better the send, the bigger the score, the biggest scores win.

 The JS Memorial Slab (V4), about as much fun as you can have on a slab eliminate.  Simon Madden

The JS Memorial Slab (V4), about as much fun as you can have on a slab eliminate. Simon Madden

Scoring: A problem gets 100 points for each V-grade, ie V1 is worth 100, V8 is worth 800, V12 is worth 1200. You get a bonus 10% if you flash a problem, you lose 10% if you have done the problem before (be honest!). A person's top six ascents combine for their over all score, highest score wins. In the event of a tie, a person's seventh, eighth etc problems will come into play. (Note that a V0 is worth 50 points.)

 Available areas: All problems must be at Andersens, Echidna Wall (a brand-new area! We will provide a topo with your entry sheet), Hollow Mountain Cave, Loopeys and the Kindergarten. This provides a wide grade and style range with enough footprint to spread the competition out whilst remaining compact enough that you will always hear your fellow competitors power screams of joy and the bellows of anguish.

Gold coin donation entry: Entry to the competition for Festival attendees is via a gold coin donation to CliffCare. We support CliffCare for the work they do to ensure we can keep bouldering in the Gramps.

If you want more info about bouldering in the Grampians here.