CLIMBING AT THE SHORE
Climbing Pounders Beach in La‘ie on O‘ahu’s North Shore without the aid of ropes or harnesses makes Justin Ridgely’s ascent perilous. Despite this, the avid boulderer moves swiftly from hold to hold, following the natural lines of the rock formation with broad, spider-like movements. Ridgely is the owner of Volcanic Rock Gym in Kaka‘ako, the only indoor bouldering gym of its kind in Hawai‘i. It’s where climbers both novice and advanced can get a workout on the colorful walls Ridgely built from the ground up while honing their skills to prepare for the expert-level natural boulders found outdoors.
And while it looks challenging, the brawny, six-foot-something Ridgely acknowledges: “There’s stuff that is going to be easier for you than it is for me. It’s about allowing your mind to embrace that thought and to try everything and being able to feel what you’re doing wrong. It’s more than just try harder or be stronger.”
Unlike top-rope or lead climbing, bouldering utilizes body positioning and movement rather than sheer strength or equipment. “Just like yoga, if you’re in a perfect stance or position, the move will feel effortless,” says Ridgely. “With bouldering, whether it’s overhung or you’re standing on your feet, no matter what, body positioning helps out.”
Ridgely has documented 44 climbing sites that he and friends have found, cleaned, and climbed. For more information on these sites or Volcanic Rock Gym, located at 432 Keawe St., visit hibouldering.com.