Saturday, October 08, 2005

Proper Use of a Bouldering Pad (Satire)- Joshua Tree National Park (Spring 2005)

When carrying a bouldering pad around Joshua Tree, or really anywhere for that matter, the boulderer is faced with a plethora of questions from ignorant bystanders/hikers/tourists as to what the purpose of said pad is. Some ask if it is a bed for camping. While it may be more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, simply carrying a bed into the wilderness would not be sufficient to sustain your existance for any period of time. So, the answer is no, it's not a bed.

Some have asked if it was a large camelback. While also a nice idea, carrying the volume of water that a bouldering pad could hold would be something of an impossibility for the vast majority of people. It would be relatively like carrying a full 55 gallon drum into the desert, which, while useful, is somewhat lacking in practicality. And why someone would need 55 gallons of water on a dayhike in Joshua Tree is beyond me.

Then there have been others who have said, "Oh, that must be a pad to wear while you're climbing so that you don't hurt yourself." Now, while that question hints at some form of deductive thought processing going on in the minds of the askers, still, it doesn't quite get to the truth of the matter. My friend Ethan has demonstrated in the above picture what wearing the pad while climbing would be like, and it is possible to notice here that it would still leave a good portion of one's body, including one's head, unprotected, not to mention the awkwardness of it.

So no, bouldering pads are not for wearing while climbing. They are for laying on the ground under a climb so that when one falls he can land on it, thus not breaking his ankle. Other climbers also act as spotters on the ground to keep the boulderer's head from contacting any hard objects. And that is the essence of a bouldering pad.


Anonymous thinck said...

other actual guesses from uninformed non-climbers: "a parachute for base-jumping", "a tent", and my personal favorite: "a mat for practicing judo"

Thursday, January 12, 2006  

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