Bouldering is an activity based on climbing on big single rocks up to 4-5 m high, with particular sequences of typically no more than 8-10 movements, but extremely difficult. Special mats (crash-pad) are used for protection against possible falls. It still requires the presence of at least one climbing partner (spotter) who can protect and direct the climber on the mat in case of fall.
Bouldering became a specific discipline in the 70s thanks to the forerunners of this activity like Pierre Allain and John Gill, but already in the years 20-30, Oscar Eckenstein was practicing this discipline in England. At about the same time, mountain climbers on the Dolomites were starting a sort of bouldering as a training exercise, making use of rudimentary mats made with sheets and filled with hay as a protection against falls.
Some of the most popular places in Europe for bouldering are: Fontainebleau (France), Albarracin (Spain), Peak District (England), Hampi (India) and Val di Mello (Italy).