The sport of climbing started in Singapore around the mid- to late-1980s, with self-taught climbers exploring the cliffs of Dairy Farm Quarry. In 1989, the first permanent artificial climbing wall was built at SAFRA Tampines. This was followed by the introduction of the national climbing competition series, Rock On, which is now a significant national climbing event in our annual climbing calendar.
This sport is now growing rapidly in Singapore, with increasingly more people taking up climbing and many climbing walls being installed in schools and premises of uniformed organisations. However, for the past decade, due to the fact that the sport was relatively young both nationally and internationally, we did not have in place a set of national climbing standards or guidelines to help steer the sport.
For the sport to develop and progress, safety and performance standards needed to be maintained at the highest possible level. The Singapore Mountaineering Federation initiated Project TOP OUT in 1996 to promulgate a set of national standards and guidelines for the sport of climbing. The Project TOP OUT Committee drew upon the skills and experience of both SMF officials and experienced climbing instructors, viz. Alvin Yong (Chairman), Anthony Seah, Mohd Amir Moostafa and Lim Kim Boon. The SMF also engaged the services of Ms Anne Palmer, a NZ UIAGM mountain guide/climbing instructor/assessor as its Specialist Technical Consultant.
The fruit of the 2-year Project TOP OUT effort was the Singapore National Climbing Standards (SNCS), officially launched on 18 July 1998 by COL (ret) Kwan Yue Yeong, the Executive Director of the Singapore Sports Council. This signalled an important milestone in the development of climbing in Singapore. The SNCS is fully endorsed by the Singapore Sports Council and is administered and regulated by the Singapore Mountaineering Federation.