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Five Bouldering Games to Spice Up your Next Session

Five Bouldering Games to Spice Up your Next Session

Words by Brianne Schaer (Instagram: @brianneschaer)
Images by Crystal Tan (Instagram: @madambackwords)

Bouldering games are a creative way to let loose and have some fun with your friends at the gym.  Games can create a fun and casually competitive environment where you can push yourself beyond just trying to climb at the next v-level.

Sender One has some of the best setters around, and while the bouldering area is full of engaging problems, sometimes you want to shake it up and play by your own rules, so grab some friends and read over this list of our favorite bouldering games to spice up your next session! 



Number of people: 2+

Rules: This game begins when the first climber selects two start holds and makes a single move.  The next climber must repeat the same move, and add another.  This process continues with each climber adding an extra move to the climb.  If you fall, you’re out!  The game ends once everyone has fallen, when someone tops out, or when you run out of wall space. 


  • You can allow climbers to use any foot holds or you can specify which foot holds are on/off. 
  • Extend the length of each game by doing the moves in reverse order/down-climbing.



Number of people: 1+

Rules: Pick a route that everyone in your group can easily climb.  The first player climbs the route, skipping one hold.  The skipped hold is now off limits for both hands and feet. The next climber must climb the route, skipping that hold, as well as skipping an additional hold of their choice.  The game continues until there is only one player left standing!



Number of people: 3-5

Rules: Climbers stand in front of a wall section that has four different colored holds.  Just like in the party game of the same name, one person will call our the move (e.g. right hand blue) and the climbers will have to make that move.  You can do this by simply by having one person call out the moves, or if you want to get more technical, you can download a twister spinner app to your phone.  If you fall, you’re out!  Play continues until there is only one player left on the wall.



Number of people: 2+

Rules: Find a portion of the wall with lots of varied holds.  One person (or group of people) stands on the ground and points out the next hold the climber must use.  Use a pointer or if you don’t have one, then simply point with your finger and call out the hold name.  See who can stay on the wall the longest as you and your friends call our the moves. 


Simon Says

Number of people: 3+

Rules: This classic schoolyard game can also be fun on the climbing wall!  One person stays on the ground while the rest of your group finds a place on the wall.  The person on the ground will call out moves (e.g. Simon Says, right hand on blue).  You are out if you fall, are unable to make a move, or make a move without the ‘Simon Says’ command. 

Bonus Games!

If you have less time, less wall space, or just a shorter attention span, these easy mini-games can still make your session different and fun! 



Have some fun practicing dynos.  Find a spot where you can dyno from one hold to the next.  Then, try to dyno to a higher hold!  See who can make it the furthest from the original holds. Add to the challenge by seeing who in your group can complete the most dynos in the gym.  (Hint: The setters sometimes set a route that has fun dynos in it — look for ‘DYNO’ on the route tag!) 

Follow the Leader:

Pick one person to lead your group on a traverse.  Each person must hold the same hols as you move across the wall.  Take turns being the leader as you make up new moves each round.  (Just be mindful of your surroundings and that you aren’t climbing underneath anyone or cutting off anyone from starting their project!) 


Choose two problems that are next to each other and similar in difficulty.  See who can make it up their problem the fastest, then switch problems and race again.  You can also try to beat the clock when you’re climbing alone – pick a problem that you can comfortably onsight, and climb it quickly!  Time yourself to see how fast you can send it, and if you can beat your personal best! 


Pick a problem below your usual grade and climb it without using your feet.  Play with a group of friends to see who can make it the furthest, or send the problem first.  If a full campus isn’t in your wheelhouse, then you can also play by using only one foot, or one hand!  Get creative! 

These bouldering games can spice up your next gym session by adding variety and excitement.  While some of the games are just for fun, others can work on specific training elements, like stamina, onsight ability, or power!  Of course, while spicing up your bouldering routine, please be aware of your surroundings and respectful of other climbers trying to send their projects around you! 

If you have any bouldering games that you like to play, share them on our facebook community pages (SNA) (LAX)!


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Fall Bouldering League | Highlights

Fall Bouldering League | Highlights

Words by Brianne Schaer       Instagram: @brianneschaer

Images by Crystal Tan              Instagram: @madambackwords

This year’s Fall Bouldering League at Sender One Climbing SNA has come and gone, and this year was the biggest one yet!  The 6-week battle-royale gave teams of five a chance to compete for the title of Bouldering League Champions.

There were lock offs, dynos, and comp-style problems.  Each week offered new challenges for teams, who worked to complete as many problems as possible, while building friendships and cheering each other on.

“This is my fourth or fifth time competing,” said Corey Cosby from the first-place team, The Pumpernoodles.  “It’s fun; I’m friends with a lot of the people competing, and the league offers a good, healthy competitive atmosphere.  Anyone thinking about competing next season should just sign up.  You will meet so many people and make so many friends and lifelong climbing partners that it is worth it for that alone.”

The Bouldering League is an inclusive, community-focused competition, and is largely scored based on individual climber growth.  Climbers of all skill levels worked together to push each other to climb their hardest every week. 

“This was the biggest Bouldering League we have ever hosted!” said Wayne Huang, Sender One Fall 2018 Bouldering League Commissioner.  “One of the most rewarding parts of the whole experience for me was convincing some climbers who were either not planning on initially doing Bouldering League, or who were on the fence to try it out, and then later hearing that they had a really great time.  To me, climbing has always had the most open and unique community of any sport, and it really shines through during Bouldering League in my opinion.” 

In the spirit of keeping the competition friendly, the actual grade of each route is hidden.  This can encourage climbers to try problems that they may not even attempt otherwise. 

“It’s been a good run,” said Blaine Smith from team, Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder. “Our team got the chance to cheer each other on and we all really stepped up our game.  The fact that the grades are blind really made this happen.  It’s easy to get that grade stuck in your head, but when you come in and just go for all the climbs you think you can do, you surprise yourself.  Most of our team members are climbing at levels higher than what they normally would have attempted.”

Above everything, Bouldering League serves to strengthen the sense of community at Sender One Climbing, and to encourage everyone to try hard in the process.

“Joining the Bouldering League has pushed me to do things I’m uncertain about,” said Rika Williams of team, Crimpy Jugs.  “I’ve enjoyed meeting new and supportive people who have helped me to improve.  It doesn’t really matter what level you are.  It feels so good to feel that kind of support from people.” 

As the chalk settled on the final night of Bouldering League, the top three teams were: 

First Place:  The Pumpernoodles
Team Members:  Anni Vanderpool, Britney Berkstresser, Christian Monter, Clayton Boyd, Corey Cosby

Second Place: I Like Big Jugs and I Cannot Climb
Team Members: Bao Phan, Emily Nguyen, Jasmine CHoi, Paul Huynh, Rikka Cornelia

Third Place: Beta Bots
Team Members: Astrid Dawson, Christine Kim, Diana Keyes, Garrett Keyes, Greg Keyes

This season was also full of many hilarious and clever team names.  The War on Jugs was awarded the best team name.  A few hilarious honorable mentions were: Crimpanzees, Chalkoholics, and Crimp Scampi.

Another team name that holds a lot of significance was, Panda Express.  The name serves as a memory of a team member who suddenly passed away from an unrelated medical issue.  This team member’s nickname was Panda Express, and his climbing buddies decided to name their Bouldering League team after him. 

“I’d like to, both personally and on behalf of Sender One, thank every single participant this year,” said Huang.  “We wouldn’t be here without the community we are lucky enough to host, and each year only serves to further reinforce that to me.  Climbing, specificially in our community, is such a unique space in that it is friendly, open, and we