Do you remember when you were a kid and there were these incredible toys in the shop (‘Fully operational World War 2 – batteries included”) and your parents told you that they were too old for you, and you weren’t ready for them? Well that’s the Campus Board that is.
Campus Boards are super cool but you need protective goggles to even look at them. OK, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration but you don’t just wander along as a beginner and start to play. Advice varies but it’s usually given as a rule of thumb that you should have 18 months to two years of climbing under your belt before you risk injuring yourself by going crazy on Campus. In reality that’s always going to be a thumb-suck figure (is your 18 months of climbing the same as someone else’s) but seriously don’t underestimate it and if you want to try then make sure you are well warmed up and ready to go. We have trained staff on hand to help you decide if the Campus Board is for you.
Once you are ready to Campus then it is an awesome work out designed to build the strength required for the overhanging crimps that its creator made his own.
The Campus Board was the invention of the late, great, Wolfgang Güllich. Don’t know him? He was the climbing double for Stallone in Cliffhanger. One of the finest rock climbers of all time (Wolfgang, not Sly) and a man so hard he broke his back falling off Millstone Quarry in England but didn’t let that stop him going on to do the first free solo ascent of Separate Reality in Yosemite National Park. That’s the kind of kiddo that invented the Campus Board to up his training. So be reasonable before taking it on.
Rules of the game for Campus Boarding
Rule one is that the action is arms only so you need to have built that strength before risking injury to yourself. One and a half to two years of bouldering and climbing is an oft-quoted figure but we all know that’s a made up metric because nobody does the same thing over two years. Be realistic, remember you have no support from your feet, and think what a torn ligament could mean for your climbing if it all goes wrong.
Respect good form. Twisting and thrashing around will only get you to a place you don’t want to be so even if you have biceps like Stallone don’t forget that you will need core control to master the Campus Board (and don’t forget that Stallone had to have Güllich do the real cliff hanging).
Go easy on the grip. Full crimps and hyperextended joints will only end badly. The Campus half crimp is the most recommended crimp. Index finger and little finger basically straight, middle and ring fingers bent on.
Laddering, where you climb up and down without matching on the levels is impressive but tough (our Vy can do it of course but she’s Superwoman). Take it easy and start by simple dead hangs until you’re sure you aren’t overloading yourself.