How do I land on my crash pad?
Bouldering mats are not rated to the same exacting terms as other climbing products such as ropes and harnesses, in fact we are one of the only companies who actually publish the exact spec of our foam.
It is really difficult to give a safe height to fall from; there have been cases of unlucky climbers falling from below 2m in the relatively safe environment of a climbing wall onto proper thick gym style mats resulting in paralysis.
Most ‘comfortable’ bouldering takes place between 1-3 metres.. 3-5 metres is rather high and the pad can look very small from this distance. Learning to fall safely from this height is a skill, especially when you are at your limit, and much safer with a group of friends and multiple crash pads.
There are currently no standard tests that measure the effectiveness of a crash pad. We are working with the UIAA along with other mat manufacturers to get a standard system in place to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.
But protecting a boulder problem can be an art in itself, especially when you have projecting rocks, slippery slopes and gapping holes to cover. Anything above 2-3 metres is going to have an elevated element of risk, and walking away from a fall is as much about how you land as to what you land on.
The bottom line is you should not expect to be able to just let go and flop back onto the mat. It is always best to start falling off low down and working your way up, feeling comfortable jumping off and remembering to bend your knees when landing!
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