Rock climbing isn’t just for adults. Kids can also learn to rock climb, thanks to a number of rock climbing gyms in Singapore that encourage this rugged sport.
Clip ‘n Climb
Quirky walls awash in bright colours greet climbers at Clip ‘n Climb, which is not your run-of-the-mill indoor climbing joint.
There are 17 wall designs in the 260 sq m facility. They include the snaking beanstalk from fairy tale Jack And The Beanstalk, a lightning bolt and Morse code-inspired one.
Some of the climbing structures do not resemble walls – one is in the shape of a skinny tree trunk, while another looks like a twisted DNA strand made out of colourful blocks.
Clip ‘n Climb, from New Zealand, is a particularly fun introduction to climbing for children and beginners. It uses an uncomplicated auto-belay system (that eliminates the need for a human belayer) is used for each 8m-high wall. Climbers need to undergo only a short safety briefing before they are good to go. Watch our video here.
There is no minimum age for climbers, they just need to weigh between 10 and 150kg.
Seasoned climbers can look out for walls which are labelled as more difficult or try a harder route.
Where: 03-03 Our Tampines Hub, 51 Tampines Avenue 4. Find out more here.
Nestled in a shophouse in Serangoon Road, Kinetics Climbing is a cosy bouldering space.
Most of the 2,000 sq ft space is dedicated to bouldering walls that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. To keep things fresh, the routes are changed twice a month.
There is also a small area for top-rope climbing and training.
Managing director Jay Koh likens bouldering to a sprint and top-rope or lead climbing to a marathon. “Bouldering builds strength and power, while top-rope builds endurance. They complement each other.”
With no need for certification, anyone can try bouldering. Children have to be at least four years old.
There are beginner’s courses on bouldering for those who want a more structured understanding of the sport. Or, you can book7 private coaching sessions and Singapore National Climbing Standards Level 1 certification courses.
Where: 511 Serangoon Road. Find out more here.
Safra Adventure Sports Centre
Home to a wide variety of sports, Safra Adventure Sports Centre is one of the few places with outdoor rock climbing walls in Singapore.
Climbers who prefer to scale outdoors can pick from three types of sport climbing walls that are 15m, 18m and 25m high.
There is also a two-storey, 100 sq m indoor bouldering gym if it gets too hot.
A Singapore National Climbing Standards Level 1 certification is required to scale the outdoor walls. There is no minimum age or height requirement for the indoor bouldering gym but younger kids must be accompanied by an adult.
Those who are not qualified can try the 15m-high Canopy Sky Walk nestled among the greenery instead, which is open from Fridays to Sundays. Kids have to be at least eight years old or 1.1m in height.
Or take a break from climbing and check out other activities, such as laser and archery tag, in the Safra clubhouse.
Given Singapore’s sweltering weather, the facility’s air-conditioned venue is a big draw for both seasoned climbers and beginners.
The 1,000 sq m space is perfect for newbies to try out climbing as no certification is required to scale more than half of the 46 lanes.
They can climb after a 15-minute safety briefing, thanks to an easy-to-use set-up where the belay device is mounted on the ground. Children have to be at least five years old, weigh more than 20kg and stand over 1.1m.
There are 13 auto-belay lanes for those who prefer to go solo.
The walls range in height from 4m for bouldering to 12m for toprope and 16m for the lead walls.
There are more concise introductory programmes for children and adults who are interested to find out more about climbing techniques and safety systems.
Climb Central opened another outlet in Funan mall in 2019.
Where: Kallang Wave Mall, Novena Square and Funan mall. Find out more here.
Expect to see hardcore climbers at this 7,000 sq ft indoor rock climbing gym, which is dedicated to those who have at least a Singapore National Climbing Standards Level 1 certification and are hungry for tougher challenges.
All types of indoor climbing are available here: top-rope on 8m walls, lead on 14m walls and speed on 15m walls, which is a race against the clock to the top and mostly used by competitive climbers.
The highlight for experienced climbers are the 11 lanes in the lead-wall zone, where only those with a Level 2 certification can enter.
There is also a substantial bouldering space that ranges in difficulty from amateur to advanced. Children have to be at least five years old and must be accompanied by an adult.
Climbers can condition their bodies at a training zone equipped with pull-up bars, wooden rungs to improve strength in the fingers and arms as well as finger boards to work on gripping.
Housed in the former Singapore Badminton Hall, the space has tiered stadium decks for climbers to rest and watch others.
Where: 100 Guillemard Road. Find out more here.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times in 2016.
(Photos: The Straits Times)