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Bouldering

For bouldering enthusiasts, Central Park is an ideal spot to practice the hobby. Bouldering, an offshoot of traditional rock climbing that is concentrated on climbing challenges under 10 feet in height, is experiencing a revival in the United States, particularly in New York City. It is one of few mentally and physically challenging sports that can be practiced inside the confines of the city. To play, all you need is a chalk bag to keep you hands dry on slippery slopes, a fall pad, which is like a small mattress that goes under you to protect you if you fall, and hopefully a buddy to spot you while you climb. Bouldering challenges are broken up into "problems" which reflect the dual mental and physical nature of the sport. Some climbs have the possibility of eliminates, which refers to specific handicaps undertaken during the climb to make it artificially more challenging. An example of this might be not using an obvious handhold during the ascent.

Some of the more popular locations for bouldering are Worthless Boulder, located near 110th Street; Cat Rock, near Wollman Rink; and Rat Rock, near the Heckscher Ballfields. Rat Rock is most suitable for beginners, since expert climbers at the rock are usually willing to show new climbers the best routes. Worthless Boulder is more isolated and challenging.

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