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.
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!
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 the 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.]