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Taking it further - Bouldering Games

(Published January 2018)

Once climbers are comfortable with their technique and are bored of just doing problems, you may want to play some games. These are best suited to indoor bouldering walls, due to having larger matted areas, but some games could be adapted to play outdoors. All games should be considered within the risk assessment.

Simon says

A simple but fun game, where the game leader (generally an adult or Explorer Scout Young Leader) says ‘Simon says…’ before giving an instruction, such as ‘right hand on blue’ or ‘left foot on green’. The climber must only move if ‘Simon says’ is said before the instruction. If the participant falls off or if they move without the game leader having said ‘Simon says’ then the participant is out.

This game will need plenty of space to make sure that the participants do not end up overlapping and risk falling on each other.


For this game, the game leader will need a couple of long thin sticks or bamboo canes that can fit into a hole where there are no climbing holds attached. The idea is for the participants to traverse under the sticks without touching them.

You can make this as hard or as easy as required for the ability of your group by using different heights and also different distances between the sticks. The lower to the ground and closer together the more difficult.

Take away

For this game you will need an easy problem with a large number of holds. As the participant traverses the problem, a hold is eliminated. For example; you may start with all hold colours in use and by the end only one colour can be used. It may get to the point that eliminating a hold would make the problem impossible to complete, so the hold could be swapped for a different one, perhaps smaller or further away, to increase the difficulty.

Further reading

  • Climbing Games by Paul Smith, ISBN 978-1906095161