Broncos love bouldering at the BRIC

During week two of fall 2018, the Bronco Intramural Recreation Center (BRIC) introduced bouldering-only hours set Monday through Wednesday, 6-11 a.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight and Saturday through Sunday 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. and 6-11 p.m., respectively. This addition has proven helpful, as over 200 people have utilized the time by week 10. 

Bouldering is a form of climbing without equipment such as ropes or harnesses. However, climbing shoes are still required. During these hours, students with the appropriate clearance can access the Bronco Peak’s bouldering section unsupervised. 

There are a few advantages to bouldering over top rope, or sport climbing. For one, there lies an ease of access without needing a belay partner or equipment to attach to. Another is that the height is much less daunting, capping at about 10 feet. Bouldering can be described as more technical, allowing for climbers to train their strength. 

In order to be cleared for bouldering, students must first attend the climbing wall orientation and belay class (CWOBC). This class is offered at least once a day, every day. Once completed, climbers will receive a green belt, indicating that they may utilize the boulder area and can also be assisted with a sport climb.

With more students interested in bouldering, Adventure Education Coordinator Ian Navarro felt that the addition was a long time coming. 

“We find that it greatly benefits students to work out in the morning before their classes. (Bouldering) allows (students) to focus in on a problem without feeling like they’re being watched or (without feeling) distracted.” 

The bouldering community is rooted in encouragement, and fellow members help each other enhance their skills.
Georgia Valdes | The Poly Post

This week marks the end of Boulder League, a competition in which teams are scored based on overall improvement, rather than speed. During this 6-week league, the routes were changed in preparation for Friday night meets. With the season ending, students can expect route changes about every month. 

Testing these routes is what draws climbers to try bouldering. To solve a bouldering problem is to follow a specified path, marked by a single color. So, if climbers start on yellow, they can only use yellow holds to solve the problem. It’s much easier said than done. 

Fifth-year computer science student Brent Tsuji is an avid climber and works as a route setter for the BRIC. His artistry first lies in aesthetics that catch the eye of climbers and excites them to get past the crux (the most difficult aspect of a route).

“I’m trying to set something complicated and nuanced, so that someone really has to think about the climb,” Tsuji said. “(Other routes), I’ll make really straightforward, but physically demanding so that somebody can really train on it.”

Geography senior Nate Satrape reaches for the final hold in a complicated route.
Georgia Valdes | The Poly Post

The boulder-only hours serve students like Juan Lim, who just can’t get enough wall time. Lim spends anywhere from three to six hours a day at Bronco Peak.

“I am (at the BRIC) for a large portion of the day, but being able to climb while there is no attendance is amazing,” Lim said.

For many, outdoor recreation is more than just exercise, but a lifestyle and community. Adventure supervisor Marshall Feilding encourages anyone with access to the BRIC to try the wall.

“The climbing wall is where I come when I need to refocus and gain faith in myself …. I watch climbers who are working really hard and loving what they’re doing, and doing it because they love one another just as fellow humans. It’s really refreshing,” Feilding said.

Newcomers who are interested in bouldering, and have the proper clearance, can attend the Techniques and Movements workshop hosted by the BRIC. 

For more information on the Bronco Peak’s new bouldering and general climb times, visit 

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