Meet the community behind the Boulderklub
After our mind and body-bending bouldering workout we caught up with Magali Derouet, BKK’s co-manager and Birgit Silberhorn, BKK’s course organiser, to get their behind-the-scenes perspective on Boulderklub Kreuzberg…
USC: How does the story of Boulderklub Kreuzberg begin?
Magali: Our founders, Robert Ramirez and Erik Stöpel, are both experienced boulderers and climbers. It’s their passion and they wanted to create an enjoyable space to boulder indoors. The location draws many people here. It’s right in the middle of Berlin and is ideal for city dwellers – you don’t have to travel a long way and you can drop in for a quick session.
USC: What’s your climbing background? How did you discover bouldering?
Magali: We’ve both been climbing for a long time; I’ve known Birgit for 12 years, back when nobody knew what bouldering was.
Birgit: Yes, back then the climbing scene was pretty small and everyone knew each other. The guys who opened BKK were part of this climbing community. Magali and I originally started with rope climbing, but bouldering is a great alternative when you live in a city. It’s more social, you can come as a group, and if you’re a beginner you can start right away.
USC: What do you enjoy most about bouldering?
Magali: It’s more flexible than rope climbing, where you need a partner. With bouldering you can start your session without any prep. But I love it because it’s very social. You’re always there with people, you talk a lot and help each other. There’s a real spirit to the sport.
Birgit: I love that bouldering is a work out for your entire body – from your toes to your finger tips. You can come for just one hour and have done a proper workout.
USC: Why do you think bouldering has become so popular recently?
Magali: People have realised that it’s a lot more interesting than going to a typical gym.
Birgit: In the last 2 or 3 years I’d guess that the number of people that go bouldering in Berlin has more than doubled. I think what attracts people is that it’s simple from the beginning and it’s the routes you choose that get harder. So it’s always a fun, social workout and there is no limit to how much you can improve.
USC: And do you find there’s the same community feeling to climbing as there was before?
Birgit: It definitely has changed since we started, but of course it’s different when the community grows from around 100 people to thousands of people. Many of us used to drive out to Frankenjura or Saxony and spend the whole weekend there.
We’d sleep outdoors, cook together and climb during the day. After a weekend of climbing you really get to know each other, so it was a very close community.
Magali: Many people would boulder indoors during winter to train to go outdoors in summer, but now bouldering indoors is a sport in itself.
USC: What have been the best moments for you in your bouldering careers?
Magali: I’ve had great moments inside and outside. With bouldering you always have a personal challenge to overcome. For example when you’ve been trying to do a route for 2 or 3 weeks and you finally manage it, that’s a good moment. You can have your beer afterwards and be happy.
USC: Do you have any events, workshops or news that you would like to share?
Birgit: We have an introductory class that costs €7.50 for Urban Sports Club members where we explain everything you need to know to start your first session. We also have a four week beginners course in German and English that covers everything you need to know to begin bouldering.
And we are launching modular technique classes, where we focus on specific skills such as dynamic movement or climbing on an overhang. These classes are for experienced climbers who want to improve particular techniques.
Or find out course details and more information on the Boulderklub Kreuzberg website