Ferrum News

Ferrum College Bouldering Wall Near Completion


Ferrum, Va. (March 14, 2011) – The Ferrum College Outdoors Club is closer to completing a new bouldering wall.  Students have been working side-by-side with the Ferrum Outdoors office since November of 2010.

Adventure Programmer for Ferrum Outdoors, Aaron Conover, said that, “The students have been dedicated to the project, to the point they have been working in temperatures as cold as 28 degrees. There are some natural locations for this sport in the area but having a place right on campus to train and get together is a great benefit.  They are ready to get climbing,” says Conover.  

The demand for bouldering at Ferrum College is steadily rising, “… especially since more students are beginning to participate in outdoor activities,” says Conover.  

A bouldering wall is essentially a rock climbing wall turned on it’s side.  Students use foot and hand-holds to climb, but spend more time going sideways than straight up.  The wall is only about 10-12 feet high.  

There are typically 3-5 students who help with construction.  They have completed construction of the wall itself.  Next they will add the foot and hand-holds.  At that point it will be ready for use.   

“At any given time the bouldering wall can hold about 5-10 participants, but more can be accommodated. Since there are no ropes or technical rock climbing equipment, climbers can move freely on the wall with the aid of a spotter, so there is plenty of opportunity for bouldering,” says Conover.  

Conover estimates that there are approximately 700 hand-holds in the wall surface connected by a threaded insert.  These bolts allow for a variety of routes to be changed and set on a regular basis.  “There can be 100 holds in the wall at any given time,” says Conover.   

“Bouldering is basically for people who want to train and get into shape.  It basically entails free form climbing, except that you are not far off the ground.  Also, it helps with strength, balance and coordination,” says Conover.  

Conover calls bouldering  a “community sport,” because of its social aspect.  People who can do this typically will evolve to vertical rock climbing.  

There is also a competitive side to the sport, where a route is assigned a point value based upon difficulty, and climbers earn points as they complete routes.  The ratings are based on the “V” scale, with V0 being the easiest and V16 the hardest.  

The construction of the wall is expected to be finished by the end of the spring semester.   “This year we are looking at offering a bouldering competition for students, faculty and staff to generate more participation for the sport here at Ferrum College,” says Conover. 

This News Release was written by Public Relations Intern Stephen Washington.