Introducing the ABD into our Level 1 courses…

PSA : Just a note for instructors intending to teach at Onsight and Climb Asia. They will be introducing assisted belay devices in their level 1 courses from Nov onwards. For more info, please contact the respective gym managers.

Dear Instructors,

Starting from this weekend, our SNCS Level 1 courses will include a new topic – the use of Assisted Breaking Devices. 
At Climb Asia, the TRANGO Cinch will be provided for use during the lessons. Although the proficient use of any ABDs is not part of the assessment/ passing requirement, do dedicate some time during the course to introduce the ABDs, and to allow the participants to try their hands on the Cinch. 
Please also refer to our attached info sheet for your reference. Should you require any clarification or assistance, please feel free to contact me or Syahirah.
Any feedback on the introduction of this topic is welcome too.
Thank you!
Best Regards,

Candy Wong
Programmes Manager
Tel : 62927701
Fax : 62922281
Climb Asia Pte Ltd
60 Tessensohn Road c/o Civil Service Club
Singapore 217664

Dear Instructors,

We hope you have familiarised yourself with the Mammut Smart, Assisted Braking Device (ABD for short). From November onwards, all SNCS 1 courses, will include the use of the Mammut Smart, together with the Petzl Verso.

Please note that our standard phrase for referring to such devices (Edelrid Megajul, CT Click Up, etc), is ASSISTED BRAKING DEVICE (ABD).

Please see our attached infographic that is designed to help with your MOI.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email

We hope for your support, in making our climbing community safer for everyone.

Ben Toh
OS Manager

Dear Instructors.

Based on experience from the past few Level 1 courses, when teaching belaying, please teach both the tubular belay device and the Mammut SMART Assisted Braking Device AT THE SAME TIME.

We have enough SMART devices so u can let half practice with the tubular and the other half with the SMART and changeover on and off. Please ensure that participants are proficient with both devices at the end of the course.
As for passing, ONLY tubular is required.

Thank you and please do not hesitate to give feedback


From my own personal experience with the devices, it takes a bit getting used to. So kudos to the gyms for providing these devices for instructors to try out and familiarise themselves with it at the gyms. Rather than juz force feeding it, i was glad to see that there were resources created to help instructors include this in their lessons and to introduce a gradual roll out. At least there was an effort to inform everyone and get everyone prepared before taking the step. Considerate actions like that make a new policy much easier to bear. Please continue to feedback to the gym managers on your experiences teaching ABD to level 1 pax so that we can help improve the system.


The one about failing fast…

In the last week, i had the opportunity to attend a learning and technology conference where one of the speaker was Vincent Mikolay, Founder and CEO of Eraser Labs . He gave a pretty refreshing talk about how entrepreneurship entails daring to take risks and not to be adverse to failures. In the context of the conference, it was meant to encourage those of us in the learning design field to not be discourage by failures and to dare to take risks, just like an entrepreneur. I thought it was really pretty inspiring and i would like to share of the things he spoke about and maybe contextualise it a bit for the climbing instructor community.

Fail Fast
This is not a new idea already. The idea behind Fail[ing] Fast is so that we can reach the final stage eventually and quickly. If you do not fail, how will you know what success will look like? Get straight to the “No” and understand what doesn’t work, stop wasting time and get to what works.

If we know that our “theory sessions” are too long in class and not beneficial for the participants, why do we still insist on teaching it? We are “failing” but are we getting out of the rut?

Don’t let the Past impede the possibilities

slide1He had this image to share. Our past is supposed to lead to our future. But yet a lot of times our past ends up affecting our future of even overlaying our future. Think of the times you list your job experiences in your resume hoping that they will shape your new job. In a way, we already clouded our expectations with our past and it ends up affecting the future. But if we totally throw out our past and create new possibilities in our future, who knows what kind of future we might have.

Are we still holding on to our past of how we should be conducting our courses? If we do not let go of the legacies of the past, how will we ever discover the new possibilities out there?


What’s that you say? Nike says “Just Do It”…. Go figure.

The speaker made a very interesting note here. He mentioned that “actions do not deliver results”. Just think about it, if it does, everyone would be successful just by doing. But yet only some succeed when they take action, not all. Some could even be going the totally opposite direction from success. Culture is the key component that determines whether a company’s product/action will be successful. Think of Google’s culture or Apple’s culture. And culture stems from the individual beliefs of the founders. Action alone is not enough i guess. You got to believe in your brand, your company, your product.

What is the culture we have in the community at the moment? Do we all believe that there is a need to change the way we do things now? When are we just gonna JFDI???

What not to do when lead climbing/belaying.

Beal posted a pretty cool resource on their FB page recently on the Do’s and Don’ts of lead climbing. It’s an informative and attractive graphic that can be easily printed out and shared with your Level 2 participants as a after class handout.

The one not not about knots…

Some interesting facts here on knots.

7. Anytime you tie a knot in a rope, you weaken it; in drop tests and pull tests, a rope typically breaks at the knot. The strongest tie-in knot you can use is the figure-eight follow-through, which, when pull-tested, breaks at 75 to 80 percent of the rope’s full strength. The bowline is a slightly weaker knot, at 70 to 75 percent, followed by the double fisherman’s at 65 to 70 percent. The clove hitch is the weakest of the common climbing knots, at 60 to 65 percent. Note, however, that modern climbing ropes have a tensile strength of upwards of 6,000 pounds, so even a clove hitch would fail at something like 3,600 pounds. The elasticity of climbing ropes makes that amount of force virtually impossible to generate in reallife scenarios.

Now you know why sometimes we are so anal about knots?

The one about getting to work…

Climbing Instructors, if you are reading this good, but we really need your help to reach out to as many climbing instructors as possible. Please see my letter below and help share if you can. Know a new climbing instructor who just passed their assessment? Or you have a friend who just became a trainee instructor? Do me a favour and point them out to me. We want to cast our net wide to bring the community together. Thanks!!!

Hi everyone,


Hope this letter finds everyone well nearing the end of the year. As you probably have heard by now, we held our first Community of Practitioners (COP) event for climbing instructors on 1 Oct 2016 at the Sports Hub Library. This session was well attended by about 20 instructors and we aired out some of the issues facing the instructor community now.


I mentioned at the end of the COP that I would compile the ideas that we have generated in that COP and come up with a mechanism to try and operationalize some of these ideas. But I wanted to wait awhile to let the buzz of a new initiative settle down so that we do not over commit ourselves or rush headlong into an idea based on just enthusiasm. Well, one month has passed and here I am again to call for your support once again.


My message is still the same as one month ago during the COP. If we want this instructor community to flourish, we need to get the job done together. So once again I am calling for volunteers to come forward to lead or contribute to different ideas, or different projects as a climbing instructor in Singapore. My good friend Joe Tang has already started the ball rolling by getting together a contact list of climbing instructors so that we can disseminate information and rally the community should the need arise. Please help to support his initiative by sending him your contact details and help share it with other instructors that might not already be in our personal network of friends. ( Your help will be greatly appreciated so that we can reach out to as many climbing instructors as possible.


On my part, I have created an Ideas Bank that will serve a few functions:

  1. It documents all the ideas generated and keeps everyone updated on what is happening.
  2. It allows people who are interested and willing to come forward to contribute to a particular project to be able to contact the project owner.
  3. It gives some accountability and ownership to the team working on the project idea.


It is just a simple excel sheet so do not expect some fancy software programme but I hope it is enough to get us started. So please click on this link for the ideas bank :


It’s simple. Got an idea that will improve the development of the climbing instructor community in Singapore? Post up the idea on the Ideas Bank


  1. Indicate a project title and objectives as well as a description of your project.
  2. Indicate a timeline so that others can decide how much time is required of them if they decide to help out here.
  3. Interested members will fill up the Team Members slots and once the dateline for sign up is reached, you can start contacting the members and getting to work.


Let’s see how this works for the time being. I will do my part to coordinate things if and when it gets messy. But in the meantime, please feel free to share any concerns or feedback you might have on this system to me. I hope that through these initiatives, the instructor community can together raise the standards of instructing climbing in Singapore and make it a truly learning and practicing community.


Thank you for your support. Please help share this message to your climbing instructor contacts. We really need your help to share the message around.


Climb hard, Climb Safe!






The one about facing off each other…

Another activity that i often use to end off my Level 1 classes. It’s originally called a “Face Off” activity but i modified it for my classes and it’s a good active reviewing activity to sum up the day’s learning.

What you need are just some index cards that you can easily purchase from any stationary shops. I then list down the whole process from the time the participants put on their equipment to the safety checks to the rigging up of the devices, the belay calls, the belay and very importantly the lowering process. Sometimes i use action verbs like “tie in to the rope”, sometimes i use objects like “Check the belay device”, and sometimes it can be just the belay calls, “On belay?”. The terms used are deliberately kept vague so that they have to discuss as a team. The key thing is to use terms that are consistent to your teachings throughout the day so that they can easily recognise them as well.

So prepare two stacks and give them a good shuffle. On the day itself, i will seperate the class into two groups with the following instructions:

“Let’s have a little competition here. For each group, i have a stack of random cards that contains words, actions and commands that we have been doing today for the whole climbing process. The first group to line them up in the correct order wins. No questions will be entertained once i say GO. Questions? No? Then GO!”

Once both sides have completed (be prepared to moderate when one side really finishes much faster than the other), we will then look through to see whether there are any differences. And if there are, i will usually get both sides to “debate” over whose is correct. Usually it is clear cut who is in the wrong and that side will rearrange the cards to match their opponents. All in good fun.

What this activity does is it gives the class a summary of what they have achieved in that one day from the start (learning about the equipment) to the end (using the equipment). Any misunderstandings can be corrected by the instructor on the spot. I had one of two incidents when both groups made the same mistake and that was immediately a feedback to myself that i did not teach that portion correctly or the participants might have misunderstood what i was saying. This is a good time to clarify. At the same time, for participants who are unsure about something but too shy to clarify, it signals to them that there is a problem and no one else has that problem and hopefully it encourages them to correct the mistake or approach the instructor for help.

At the end, the students will usually use their hps to take a snapshot of their completed line which i felt made a good learning artefact for them to bring home and store away so that the next time they come climbing they can refer to it to refresh their memory on what they learnt in Level 1.

Hope this inspires you to come up with more activities to sum up the day beyond the usual “thank you and have a good rest.” 🙂