Bouldering and free climbing are both similar in that the participant climbs without a harness or rope, usually over a crash pad to prevent serious injury.
The difference, however, is that the term ‘Bouldering’ usually refers to climbs with a maximum height of seven meters. Because of this, bouldering is usually done on natural or artificial boulders, rather than larger rock faces typically used in rock climbing.
In essence, bouldering is a type of free-climbing. Both are done without the use of ropes or other aids; only a chalk bag is used. However in bouldering, the climbs are often short and quick. This not only prevents injury but add to the challenge. Sometimes a pad is used in case of falls. For free-climbing, the climber only uses their body (hands, feet) to ascend. Ropes may be near the site as a means of backup or protection. A good book to check out is “Mountaineering” by Cox and Fulsass.
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