Bouldering As Depression Treatment

Bouldering As Depression Treatment

4:37 pm by The BKB Team

Prior to this 2015¬†study on the effects of climbing, there has been ‘hardly any research on the effects of a bouldering ¬†group intervention on people with depression”.
Researchers Katharina Luttenberger, Eva-Maria Stelzer, Stefan Forst, Matthias Schopper, Johannes Kornhuber and Stephanie Book set up a waitlist controlled randomized group pilot study that consisted of 8 bouldering sessions for eight consecutive weeks, each session spanning for three hours.
It’s been known that physical activity has always had a direct impact on mood, but this study finds that “exercises that require coordination seem to have specific effects on cognitive abilities, such as concentration”.
Bouldering, for anyone who’s tried it, certainly requires focus, coordination, and concentration. And it might be an alternative treatment for depression.

“While some psychiatric hospitals in Germany already use rock climbing as a therapeutic approach, to date, there have been only case reports or small observational studies on the effects of bouldering or rock climbing in the psychotherapeutic field. these studies on therapeutic climbing suggest that there might be positive effects on anxiety, ADHS, depression, cognition, self esteem, as well as in the social domain.”

Traditional aerobic exercise, like running or aerobics, skimps on the mental aspects. Bouldering is a much more accessible sport for those with poor physical health and low levels of fitness, and allows for people of varying skill and fitness levels to engage in an activity at the same time.

“As in all group therapy, there is a great influence of social contact with other participants – this is especially encouraged in bouldering therapy as participants are trained to support each other, to work together on bouldering problems, and to provide feedback and applause. social interaction might therefore be a strong therapeutic component of the bouldering therapy.

Even better, “bouldering enhances feelings of self-efficacy as the mastering of ‘bouldering problems'” – and these effects can be seen and felt directly and within a short amount of time.
We’ve had the privilege to share stories about how climbing can help with PTSD, drug addiction recovery, and generally change lives for the better. We’ve heard anecdotal stories, but it’s encouraging to see new research on how bouldering can serve as an alternate treatment for depression.
And, there’s always Nature Rx:

Want to share your story on how bouldering changed you? Email us:

Hueco! Hueco! Hueco!

12:17 am by The BKB Team

On Friday the 14th I left a snowy NYC, bound for 2 weeks in Hueco Tanks. Ethan Pringle picked me up from the airport in his new Hotelement: a Honda Element with a camper van pop top. We arrived at Hueco Tanks too late to check in for camping and spent the night at the gate.

We started off our climbing adventure with a day on North Mt. I was psyched to hop on Free Willy (V10) after falling off the last move the year prior. I was able to send after a few goes and Ethan and I spent the rest of the day cruising the classics.

The next day our wonderful tour guide Jen Atkin took us around West Mountain. I started out trying the Scream (V11) to no avail, though Ethan was able to send the rarely repeated low start, Ice Cream (V12). Ethan was then able to flash the epically long problem, The Bathtub (V9). My endurance wasn’t up to snuff and after two goes of extreme pumpage I decided it wasn’t for me. We moved up the hill to the crazy cavernous corridors of West Mountain and both did the Wellsite Dyno, a 3 move V10 with and exciting last move.

After a few more days of climbing we picked up Jeremy Bini, who arrived a few days later than intended due to some untimely bronchitis. Psyche was high nonetheless, and we continued to siege to boulders day after day, devouring all problems in our path, like a swarm of locusts descending upon the countryside.

The next few days were spent between North Mt and the East Spur. Jeremy quickly dispatched Shower Cap (V8/9) after ripping a giant undercling off the chossy topout. We quickly learned a helpful rule for topping out in Hueco: Pull Down, Not Out! One of the highlights of the trip was See Spot Run, a classic highball V6, that we were able to send quickly. This is one of the best climbs in the park; a must do if your nerves and fingers can handle it.

Our next day on North, we climbed on Power of Silence, a classic sandbagged V10. Ethan worked on the improbable/impossible sit start, More Silence, a incredible hard “V12” that has only seen two ascents to date. I was able to send Power of Silence on my third try this year, a problem I super excited to be able to climb. Check out the video below of the sendage.

Power Of Silence V10 from BrooklynBoulders on Vimeo.

Jeremy trying hard on Better Eat Your Wheaties

Jeremy on New religion

The First move on Loaded Direct

I ate my Wheaties

A few days later my friends from San Franciscoarrived: Josh Horesly and Bay Area renowned cinematographer Owen Bissell. The five of us raged around North Mt, for Owen and Josh’s first day ever in Hueco. Josh was able to dispatch Fern Roof (V9), Babyface (V7), Daily Dick Dose (V7), and See Spot Run (V6) for an awesome start to his trip. Owen was also able to pull off a send of Babyface, however he spent a lot of time putting his cinematic prowess to use filming Ethan’s send of Sol Adunamentum (V12), the sit start to Fern Roof.

After an incredible rest day featuring beer, burritos, pepper bacon, and lounging in the sun, we were amped to get out climbing again. The next few days were filled with so much climbing that my forearms still hurt, a week later. Jeremy was able to bust out Mr. Serious (V8) and Josh took down The Egg, Trogolodyte, and McBain (all V8s). I finished off my trip with Loaded Direct (V12) and Ethan nabbed the fourth ascent (first with topout) of The Machinist (V13). Owen flashed New Religion (V7), had an exciting send of See Spot Run, and filmed tons of climbing. Stay tuned for an epic video of our trip; here are a few stills to get you psyched.