A beginner’s experience in Climb Central’s Top-Rope class

Posted on Posted in Adults & Youths, How to Climb, Programmes

Hello fellow climbers!

Have you heard that Climb Central recently introduced Top Rope and Lead climbing classes?
We’ve heard lots of questions about how these classes work so I’m writing this post to share more about my recent experience with the Top Rope class and let you know what you can expect.

About me

To introduce myself, I picked up climbing around a year ago but do mostly bouldering. Recently though, I embarked on a new mission to push myself to overcome my fear of climbing on the high walls. So that’s why I was there on a Monday evening in a Top Rope class with a full class of 8 new climbers. Some of them had climbed in Climb Central before, while others were totally new to climbing!

Class Review

The instructors started out by sharing about the top rope system, figure-8 tie-in knots and how to use a tubular braking device when it is attached to your harness. In a small group, time was pretty efficient and we were soon ready to start practising our newfound skill on the high walls.


Belaying for the first time is fun but pretty scary as you feel the responsibility of literally holding on to another person’s lifeline (of course with the help of a belay device)!

Once we got some practice, we moved on to learn about belaying with Assisted Braking Devices (ABDs). There are a couple of brands and models out there, but the class focused on learning to use Edelrid’s Mega Jul as it is same model that Climb Central provides for rental (Rental is free till 1st June 2017!). We learnt there are some additional steps to note when using an ABD, but you still have to apply all the basic belaying techniques and skills.


All in all, it was a pretty fruitful class and the 3 hours really flew by. The close attention of the instructors helped to have our questions answered and everyone had lots of practice time. I’d recommend the class as a good introduction for anyone who wants to know more about climbing, or who wants a refresher on top rope climbing and belaying.

At the end of the class, we got a voucher for a free verification! Verification is a test conducted by the climbing gym to check that you are competent to climb & belay independently. If you don’t feel ready for verification, you can also choose to take the class again until you feel you have mastered the skills and are ready to pass!

Is this class a substitute for SNCS Level 1?

One common question I’ve heard is whether this class is a substitute for the SNCS Level 1 course, and will the skills or the verification tag be recognised at other gyms/overseas?

The Top Rope class is a Climb Central alternative that similarly equips you with the fundamentals for top rope belaying and climbing. Classes are conducted by instructors certified according to Climbing Wall Association standards and focuses on practising the essential skills, increasing your safety awareness and passing the belay test.

Whether you take the SNCS Level 1 or Climb Central’s Top Rope class, you still need to take and pass a Verification test to prove your competency to belay. Belay /Lead tags obtained at Climb Central are recognised at all Climb Central facilities (in Singapore, Manila and Bangkok) and also at Onsight and Ground Up (in Singapore). As for other gyms or other countries, they might have different requirements, different belay tests or no rules at all!

My final takeaway from this experience?

Whatever class you attend and regardless of whether you have a certificate or verification tag, always remember the importance of proper belaying and doing your safety checks. Climb safe!


[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. CC paid for my Top-Rope class.]

Reminder: ABD Verification Required by 1 June 2017

Posted on Posted in Adults & Youths, Facility Announcement, Programmes


Hi Climbers.

Gentle reminder that from 1 June 2017 all lead climbers will be required to use ABD and to also be verified according to the new standards. Top Rope climbers wishing to use their own belay devices (tubular or ABD) will also need to be verified according to the new standards

*This change does not affect climbers who are belaying using the method shown in our safety briefing*

New verification timings are released. Sign up at https://cmbasia.wufoo.eu/forms/k1mx57j206raiyg/

Verification matrices available at: http://climbcentral.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Verification-Matrix-Top-Rope.pdf and http://climbcentral.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Verification-Matrix-Lead.pdf

Looking to get ready for verification or curious to find out what this is about? Sign up for a class at https://cmbasia.wufoo.eu/forms/kz26xv80m9e5n5/

June 2017 School Holidays!

Posted on Posted in Rock Climbing


The school holidays is back!

Register for our school holiday programmes at:

Intro to Climbing for Kids: https://cmbasia.wufoo.eu/forms/introduction-for-kids/

ABC Camp: https://cmbasia.wufoo.eu/forms/the-awesome-beta-climbing-camp-abc-camp/

Beta Kids (Starter): https://cmbasia.wufoo.eu/forms/beta-kids-club-starter-sessions/

Intro to Climbing for Families: https://cmbasia.wufoo.eu/forms/intro-for-adults-families/

Do register and make payment online at least 3 days before the class date! Slots are only reserved when payment has been made. Alternatively, do approach our counter at Climb Central to get registered and make payment!

Lead Practice Classes and Lead Verification Dates for May 2017

Posted on Posted in Adults & Youths, Facility Announcement, Programmes

Hi Climbers

Additional Lead Practice classes now open on 3 May (Wed, 7-10pm) and 13 May (Sat, 9am-12noon).

Verification time slots for May are also open.

Gentle reminder that by 1 June 2017:

  • ABD + new Lead Verification Tag required for use of the Lead Wall.
  • Min. of new Belay Verification Tag required for top rope belaying using method where belay device is attached to harness (No change for top rope belay using the method shown during our safety briefing)

Partial Gym Closure Notice for NPSSCC 2017!

Posted on Posted in Facility Announcement, Family & Kids, Rock Climbing

Dear Climbers,

Climb Central is playing host to the National Primary School Sports Climbing Championship (a.k.a. NPSSCC) for the third year running and certain climbing areas will be affected both on the event days as well as before / after due to route setting that needs to be done.

Opening hours are not affected but do refer to the dates and times below before heading down to know how this might affect your climbing session or just head on down anyway to cheer the young ones on as they surprise you with what they can do.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Thanks again for your kind support.


Climb Central


Actual Event Day:

21 March, Tuesday
Top Rope & Boulder Qualifiers (Boys)

22 March, Wednesday
Top Rope & Boulder Qualifiers (Girls)

23 March, Thursday
Speed Qualifiers & Finals

28 March, Tuesday
Top Rope & Boulder Finals


Areas Affected:

19 March, Sunday
Partial top rope area – 6pm to 9pm

20 March, Monday
Partial top rope area – 11am to 11pm
Full boulder – 11am to 6pm
Half boulder – 6pm to 11pm

21 March, Tuesday
Partial top rope area – 11am to 11pm
Full boulder – 11am to 6pm
Half boulder – 6pm to 11pm

22 March, Wednesday
Partial top rope area – 11am to 6pm
Selected tope rope lanes – 8pm to 11pm
Full boulder – 11am to 6pm

23 March, Thursday
Partial top rope area – 11am to 6pm
Selected tope rope lanes – 8pm to 11pm

26 March, Sunday
Partial top rope – 6pm to 9pm

27 March, Monday
Partial top rope area – 11am to 11pm
Full boulder – 11am to 6pm
Half boulder – 6pm to 11pm

28 March, Tuesday
Partial top rope area – 11am to 6pm
Full boulder – 11am to 6pm

Verification FAQs

Posted on Posted in Facility Announcement, Rock Climbing

Dear Climbers

Thanks for your questions and feedback about the new Verification Process. We have consolidated the common concerns in this FAQ and hope it will assist:

1. I already have a SNCS Level 1 / 2 certification, do I still need to be verified?

The verification is intended as an additional level of facility checks to ensure climber proficiency before usage of the Top Rope or Lead walls.

Given the recent increase in climbers, we feel the need for this additional level of checks for the facility to better manage the risks arising from climber & belayer inexperience and/or complacency.

CC believes that the overarching theme for the recent changes is raising of safety standards. Aside from the introduction of assisted braking devices (ABDs) and checking that customers know how to use an ABD, we also hope to check that all climbers /belayers are generally proficient in what they are doing.

Climbers are still encouraged to take top rope or lead courses (e.g. the SNCS level 1 / 2 classes) and attend ABD workshops to help you attain the skills that are necessary to pass the verification test. The pre-requisite for taking the test is still attendance at a course and /or years of previous experience.

2. Where will the new verification tag be recognised?

The new verification tag will be recognised at Climb Central, Climb Asia and Onsight. This is not a certification card and should you visit other climbing facilities outside of the above gyms (locally / overseas), you may still need to demonstrate proof of competency in climbing and belaying according to their own facility standards.

3. Is the old lead tag still valid?

CC will continue to recognise the old lead tag until 31st May 2017.

A new lead tag will be issued upon passing the verification. From 1st June 2017, Climb Central will require climbers to display the new lead tag when using the lead wall or top rope walls (if you wish to use belay device attached to harness). For requirements of other facilities, please refer to them directly.

4. Who are people who are included in ‘’1st time free (till 31 May 2017) if you have previously passed a lead verification test at CC’’

The fee waiver is only for people who have paid $10 to take a lead verification assessment at Climb Central. It does not include people who have exchanged their Level 2 cards for a lead tag at CC.

5. What happens if I can’t make it for any of CC’s verification slots by 1st June 2017?

We will be monitoring verification signup during the next few months and will open more slots if needed. In addition, we do intend to conduct verification on a regular basis even after 1st June for those who require it.

6. I still have questions that aren’t answered…

If you still have any other questions or queries about verification please email us at info@climbcentral.sg. We seek your understanding in advance that we may not be able to respond to every social media comment /question but will do our best to reply to individual emails, answer your questions over the counter and to consolidate/update these FAQs.

ABD Lead Workshop Recap

Posted on Posted in Adults & Youths, How to Climb, Programmes

In Feb 2017, we organized a series of ABD workshops to introduce different ABDs and talk about their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a summary of what we shared.

Note: This workshop was tailored to lead climbers (because we’re focused on ABD lead verification), but some of the general principles may be useful knowledge for top rope climbers too!

What is an Assisted Braking Device?

Traditional belay devices use friction to assist you in managing the weight of your climber when you need to catch a fall. Assisted belay devices take this one step further and assist in holding a falling or hanging climber.

Classification of ABDs

Active ABDS

  • Assisted braking relies on pinching mechanisms within the device
  • Have moving parts within the device
  • Independent of the position of the brake hand
  • E.g. Petzl Grigri, Madrock Lifeguard, Camp Matik, Trango Cinch, Edelrid Eddy

Passive ABDs

  • Assisted braking effect is due to pinching of rope between the carabiner and the device
  • Triggered by a slight pull of the rope and is generally dependent on the type of carabiner used
  • Only works if brake rope in a specific direction (brake hand in brake position): This means that if you let go of your brake hand during a fall, the device may not brake
  • E.g Edelrid Megajul, Mammut Smart, ClimbTech Click-up

Why ABDs?


  • Active ABDs might help to arrest fall even if belayer gets knocked unconscious
  • Minimizes incidents from climber letting go of rope due to rope burns or not being able to catch full force of fall


  • More complex device to learn especially for feeding rope (lead climbing) and lowering
  • Risk of uncontrolled lowering if climber is not proficient in use of device
  • More costly than most friction based devices

How to use an ABD?

Basic Things to Note for Lead Belaying

  1. Setting Up the Device – Follow the diagrams on the device to guide you. Do a tug check by pulling fast on the climber end to check that it catches
  2. Feeding Rope – Feed consistently and let the hand on the climber end of the rope lead the way. Avoid fast movements as the ABDs might lock. And always always remember to keep one hand firmly on the brake position in braking position.
  3. Taking In – The usual 5-step belay is sufficient.
  4. Arresting a fall – Give a dynamic belay by moving in a controlled manner in the direction of the pull from the fall.
  5. Lowering – Varies from device to device. Please refer to manufacturer recommendation. Generally, always keep your master hand on the braking rope.

We’ve covered 3 devices during the workshop and participants got the chance to try lead belaying with all 3 devices. Here are the manufacturers’ videos for your ease of reference.

EDELRID Mega Jul (Available for rental at CC)

MAD ROCK Lifeguard


Choosing a device

Some factors to consider…

  • Where will you be using the device? Indoor use only (consider the Jul2) versus an option that will work outdoors too (consider the Mega Jul which allows for abseiling)
  • How much are you willing to spend? Cheaper option (consider the Mammut Smart) versus more expensive (consider Petzl Grigri). Remember that expensive doesn’t mean better though.
  • Ease of Feeding / Ease of Lowering / Handling Errors. This may be a little bit more subjective so it’s best to try out the device for yourself before committing.

Check out this useful comparison table for some of the more common devices: http://www.alpenverein.de/chameleon/public/33836d33-9b6d-2389-4802-7115db2dfb12/assisted_braking_devices_chart_26375.pdf

Whatever device you choose, smooth handling is definitely something that comes with familiarity and practice. And of course, no device is a substitute for bad belaying!

Bonus for the Tech Junkies

Find out what’s new and upcoming in 2017: http://www.climbing.com/gear/review-our-top-new-belay-devices-for-2017/

Key Takeaways

  • ABD effect varies between devices. Each device is also affected by factors such as rope diameter and stiffness.
  • When in doubt, always refer to manufacturer’s specs or demonstration videos
  • The device is only as good as the person using it. Keep practising, keep learning and don’t get complacent!


  • http://www.alpenverein.de/chameleon/public/450e9f1b-9c38-a0e9-725d-c88dd8c4cdb1/Belay_Device_Recommendation_26255.pdf
  • http://www.climbing.com/gear/catch-this-a-close-look-at-assisted-braking-belay-devices/
  • http://www.alpenverein.de/chameleon/public/d2a81975-4acc-1e56-48b9-53b166da2233/assisted-braking-belay-devices-advantages-disadvantages-differences_26374.pdf