Rock climbing/bouldering is a great sport for adventurous people. It combines the adrenaline of scaling high heights with a workout that focuses on testing your body's strength and flexibility as you methodically move your way to the peak. If you are curious about starting rock climbing as a hobby, there are plenty of opportunities in Singapore. Furthermore, unlike sports that require you to invest heavily in travel and gear (like skiing), rock climbing is fairly budget friendly. Read on to find out what you need to know about rock climbing and what you should budget to get the most out of this sport.
Before Investing in Gear, Know How Much You'll Plan to Rock Climb
With any sport, having the right gear is important to ensuring that you won't hurt yourself. If you are a novice, your gear may be as simple as the workout clothes you currently wear since rock climbing gyms will provide you with the shoes, harnesses and other equipment. However, it's useful to invest in rock climbing shoes and gloves if you see yourself becoming more serious about the sport. This is because rock climbing gear is specifically made to provide additional comfort and support when you are climbing. For instance, climbing shoes have a tighter fit with the toes pointed downwards and have a much stickier rubber to give you more control and traction over the holds. You should also know what kind of rock climbing you're going to pursue before investing in gear. For instance, bouldering—which takes place on short walls—doesn't require ropes, helmets or harnesses. On the other hand, top rope climbing and lead climbing (a more advanced form of roped climbing) do require the use of technical equipment like ropes and harnesses.
The most expensive gear you'll need to budget for will be the shoes and the harness, which are recommended for both indoor and outdoor climbing. With the average cost of renting a harness and shoes at a gym being S$8, you'll need to go climbing 39 times (roughly once a week for 9 months) before breaking even if you had bought the shoes and harness. Thus, novices and casual climbers may save money by renting gear at their local gym. However, if you plan on going every week or more for a longer period of time, investing in your own gear will be well worth the cost.
Rock Climbing Gyms Are a Great Way to Get Started
There are plenty of rock climbing/bouldering gyms in Singapore. If you're a first time rock-climber you're in luck because nearly every rock-climbing gym offers a beginner lesson that includes the price of rental equipment. Rock climbing gyms make it easy to get started because they offer climbs of different levels, offer additional instruction up to the advanced levels and may even offer certifications in belaying or rock climbing.
We found that the average cost of a first-timer rate is just under S$29 for an hour to an hour and a half session. If you decide you want to make rock climbing a full-time hobby, you can expect to pay an average price of S$82, with Climb Central and the Rock School offering the cheapest monthly membership rates (S$60-S$70/month and S$59 per month, respectively).
Remember the Rules and Nuances of Rock Climbing
Just as with every sport, there are certain rules you'll need to follow to make sure you and everyone around you has a safe and enjoyable experience. For instance, you must never stand in the fall zone of another climber. When you are climbing, you should know ahead of time the starting and ending positions of your chosen climbing problem and path. Your path should also avoid crossing the paths of another climber. Personal space when climbing is also crucial— gyms will require you to stay at least one meter in every direction away from other climbers and to give way to climbers who started first.
You should also know how to properly take care of your gear. For instance, you should avoid walking around the gym in your climbing shoes to reduce the wear and tear of the rubber.
Staying Safe and Enjoying the Sport
As with any sport, there will be a chance of injury. To protect yourself you can invest in a personal accident policy, which should cover your medical expenses along with your health insurance policy if you get into an accident while rock climbing (provided you are not a professional rock climber). If you follow the rules of the gym and general etiquette rules, you will minimize your risk of getting seriously injured or injuring someone else. That being said, rock climbing can be a fun sport that's available to do for most children and adults, especially if you are bored of your current gym routine.
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