We recently got a chance to try our hands at one of the largest sports climbing facilities in Singapore – The CLIFF. Here’s my hubby’s account of our experience of the session. [Apparently now it seems that he’s the one detailing the adrenaline-pumping adventures (see his review of his iFly experience) and unusual experiences like the one where he and my girl slept over at S.E.A. Aquarium.]
The Vertigo Climbing Wall
The Cliff @ Snow City Singapore has the first-of-its-kind Vertigo climbing wall in Singapore, comprising 10 lanes of various difficulty levels. The wall is suitable for Lead and Speed Climbing and allows up to 20 climbers to participate simultaneously.
Easier Lanes for Beginners
These lanes offer great challenge for the more abled climbers as they can choose to climb using only a single colour of holds.
Speed Climbing Lanes
Next to the Harder Lanes, these lanes are mainly used by the more professional climbers training for competitions. The current record to break now is 6 seconds to the top!
Preparation for the climb was just a breeze as we only had to put on a waist harness with adjustable straps (that was easy enough).
My wife put on a pair of rock-climbing shoes – rental available, but this pair belonged to the trainer and it’s the pair he uses for competitions!
Once done, we just had to take our turns to walk towards the wall and the staff there swiftly but professionally hooked a safety line (or the belaying rope) to our harness using a carabiner. We were also given a short briefing before we got started.
Basically, the trainer told us that:
- We should keep close to the wall
- We should try to have 4-point contact with the wall as much as possible
- we should have at least 2-point contact with the wall and it should be alternate hand and leg in this case (meaning left hand with right leg, or right hand with left leg)
And that’s it! We’re ready to climb!
The 4 of us got to try climbing the easiest wall.
All of us made it up there except our little boy who just turned 3 in October. He only hung on to the lower section and start whining (as he usually does in the face of challenge). Well, since he still did not want to climb after some coaxing, we let him be.
My wife and I climbed up with little difficulty, although it was tiring still. My wife who isn’t used to such sport and hasn’t been exercising was panting badly with soft arms and legs after the climb.
What surprised us was that our girl managed to climb all the way to the top of the easiest lane, all by herself. In fact, she climbed more speedily than my wife!
What’s even more commendable was the fact that our girl had the courage to let go of the wall when told to do so at the top! Well, that was not an easy act, even for adults, as it requires courage and trust that the belayer is able to lower you down safely. To be honest, I felt a little frightened too when I first let go of the wall.
My wife and little girl were too tired after that first climb to try other lanes. But I couldn’t wait to take on more challenge! So I went for the intermediate lane, the one with a slight bulge halfway up there. I would have to say that at my current level of fitness and strength, this IS the most I can do! I had a much longer climb up this lane compared to the earlier lane because there are less holds, smaller holds that are hard to grip, and the bulge makes it hard to stay close to the wall naturally.
My arms were burning even before reaching the bulge due to the smaller holds that were further apart. And when I reached the bulge, I struggled badly to find holds that are near to me and offer sufficient grip. At several occasions at this region, I wanted to let go because I felt rather helpless and hopeless when I couldn’t seem to successfully find the best holds. I moved sideways to find better holds, left, and right, repeatedly. Soon I was panting just holding on to the tiny holds. Eventually I made the break when I made a further reach upward for a bigger hold with my wobbly arm. Once I could get a good grip, I was soon able to get up to the top of the lane. Phew!
What’s good about this facility is that it also has a separate tower just beside the wall for abseiling. So it offers another different form of activity with similar excitement at the same convenient location.
My wife and I tried abseiling but our girl refused. Maybe the sight of climbing up a tower and sliding down a thin rope looked daunting to her. Both my wife and I found the abseiling experience fun but safe, although the climbing up the ladder actually offered more challenge for my wife compared to the actual abseiling.
The Good About The CLIFF
From this short little climbing experience, we found the facility:
- Convenient: There’s hardly any equipment needed (simple attire with bermudas or tights or pants and covered shoes) and the preparation is a breeze. You can even rent a pair of shoes if you are not wearing shoes.
- Safe: The activities here are definitely safe, even for the little ones.
- Challenging for the body: Climbing the wall was definitely not easy. Most first timers cannot last more than 3 climbs in the same session. But with more practice, the body will get better in terms of balance, coordination, strength and flexibility.
- Challenging for the mind: Because of the physical challenge that climbing offers, the mind is put to the test when the body is tired hanging on in the middle of the vertical wall. This offers a good opportunity for one to improve his/her mental resilience.
- Forces one to problem-solve: Maybe we can think of climbing as a problem sum with multiple solutions as there are many ways one can climb to the top. It also encourages one to plan his path ahead.
- Family-friendly: The fact that even children can climb makes the activity perfect for families with young children. The wall is generally suitable for ages 6 and above but the stronger lot of the younger toddlers (age 3 and above) can also give it a try. Encouraging one another also provides a great opportunity for bonding.
So if you are looking for a safe, healthy and challenging activity for the family, give this a serious thought!
Check out The Cliff @ Snow City Singapore for more information.
Disclosure: We were invited to hang out at The Cliff. No monetary compensation was provided.