Rocking It

Getting StartedThere’s nothing quite like vertigo to get the blood pumping. Once regarded as an extreme sport, rock climbing is now more popular here than ever, thanks to easily accessible climbing facilities as well as events like the Via Ferrata Wall Challenge, which took place back in October this year. It’s also a fantastic form of exercise—climbing a natural rock wall burns about 700 calories an hour (a session can last up to six hours), and builds all major muscle groups. Avid rock climber Eileen Chua says it’s a mental sport as much as it’s about physical training. “It’s not a mind-numbing activity. You have to plan where next to place your hands and what sort of climbing techniques to use when you come across different types of rock surfaces,” she explains.Want to take up the challenge? Don’t just jump onto the wall and expect to be the next Spiderman. Outward Bound instructor Alvin Neo says rock climbing is a precision sport. “One little mistake could put you in danger, especially when you’re in a volatile outdoor environment,” he says. “If you’re starting out, be sure to have professional training and supervision first, and practice on indoor walls to build up your confidence and skill. These centers all provide indoor facilities, on-site training and all the necessary equipment you need to learn the ropes:, Rocking ItSingapore Mountaineering Federation (SMF)This specialist center caters to all levels but more ambitious climbers will be in their element. The SMF offers a comprehensive mountaineering program that is suitable for less advanced climbers but you will need to possess relevant outdoor camping and hiking experience. It’s pretty costly at $2,500 for approximately 25 hours of training (both classroom and outdoor practical sessions) but you will be awarded the Singapore National Certificate in Mountaineering upon completion. There is also a program for ice climbing here (inclusive of on-site training in China, price upon application).#03-641 Blk. 2 Balestier Rd., 6250-4613, out where to get your climbing gearClimbers LaboratoryClimbing enthusiasts looking to have some fun with family and friends can visit this, Rocking It indoor climbing gym, equipped with an eight-meter high climbing wall built using the Triaxplayground surface testing system. Its coating is highly abrasion resistant and can be tuned to your desired roughness. A one-time membership fee here costs $30 inclusive of one free climb, while walk-ins cost $12 each. Gear rental ranges from $2-6. Non-members pay $60-100 for a certification course, which includes one free climb.#05-153 Enterprise Hub, 48 Toh Guan Road East, 6515-9363, Asia They have three levels of climbing courses here, from Introduction to Climbing to a Level Two certification course. If you just want to try your hand at it, we recommend the introductory course ($44), which will guide you , Rocking Itthrough the different forms of climbing, important safety skills and movement techniques. The level one course teaches you knot and rope work as well as belaying skills. Successful participants will each receive their Sport Climbing Level one certificate ($68) from SMF. The level two course ($142) is a two-day advanced climbing certification that includes lead climbing, belaying, rope ascending and abseiling. The necessary equipment is provided for all courses. If you just want to practice, a single entry costs $12 while gear rental ranges from $3-5.Civil Service Club, 60 Tessensohn Rd., 6292-7701, Ferrata Partly run by Climb Asia, the Via Ferrata (iron wall) situated within Orchard Central shopping mall is the tallest in the world, towering about five storeys (30 meters) high. This fixed-protection climbing path enables you to experience the thrills of the mountains without many of the risks. Each trip up costs $30 on a weekday and $35 on weekends. There is also a 12-meter high rock wall for those who want to embark on the tougher Experience Climbing program.#04-22 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd., 6884-4870, Get your own climbing gear here: Allsports Equipment This store is frequented by dedicated climbers because it carries one of the best ranges of climbing equipment (including brands like Peltz and Black Diamond) and shoes in town. #04-44 Frontier, 52 Ubi Ave. 3, 6337-7728, CornerIt’s not just climbing gear that you’ll find here; this store outfits all types of outdoor lovers, from jungle trekkers to city backpackers. Their retail team is made up of outdoor enthusiasts themselves, and they stock renowned brands like Black Diamond, Chaco and Arc’teryx. Find day packs, hydration packs, apparel and accessories like durable phone pouches. #01-01, 51 Waterloo St., 6337-4743, located close to where all the Via Ferrata instructors congregate, meaning you can easily ask for advice about what apparel you need. Originally created for climbers and yoga enthusiasts, the range of performance wear here is travel-friendly, lightweight and dries fast. The products are also predominantly made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton. #04-22 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd., 6884-4870, [Top]