Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Get An Urban High!

When I first cast my gaze upon this wall, my initial reaction was OMG lor, I have to climb this?! *gasp* It's the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata wall and stands at 30 metres or 5 storeys!

The Via Ferrata wall in Orchard Central, Level 4.

Our friend Poh Yu Seung gave us a heads-up about Border X's Via Ferrata wall some time ago but nothing quite prepared me for this slick urban mega structure that loomed majestic before me at Orchard Central.

But climb the wall I did - and it was exhilarating! *woohoo*

Via Ferrata is Italian for "Iron Road", but not all Via Ferrata routes are vertical. In Europe, you can find these iron rungs on flat hiking trails. Basically, Via Ferrata can best be described as a "system", an alternative way of climbing.

What's unique about the Via Ferrata system is that you climb on iron 'ladder-like' rungs, and you have a safety mechanism called "lobster claws" which are attached to you and which you use to secure yourself to cables running parallel to the rungs. A secondary safety measure is that you climb as a team, so each member is attached to the others.

Unlike regular rock-climbing, there is no belayer to support you below so you're basically responsible for your own safety.

Let's just say it's challenging because not only do you need to exert some amount of physical strength, you also have to stay calm & think. There are several procedures you need to follow in Via Ferrata - especially since you climb as a team of 3 or 4. It helps if you take your time and enjoy the process at your own pace. *grin*

Stan & I make it to the midway ledge, but we're game to go back and scale all the way to the TOP!

Yu Seung keeps telling us that the "Nest" right on top is worth the sweat. The guy makes this summit experience sound like some exclusive club that only successful climbers enjoy. But we're sold, so now die die must climb up and see! *haiz*

Well, Yu Seung - whose title is "Base Camp Manager" - came down to The Living Room today to share about Border X's Via Ferrata wall and we had a smashing time chatting with him & one of his female instructors, Lydia Ang. This lithe & tanned young lady is fascinating to watch (she did a demo for us at the media launch). Unlike us, she climbs with a slow, steady, almost dance-like rhythm. And to think she has been climbing for only 2 years!

Well, for a true urban high, I say head down to Orchard Central for a try! I guarantee you it will not disappoint. It may even be addictive... Don't say I didn't warn you.

And here's a heads-up: Keep your ears tuned to 938LIVE for some exciting news to be announced real soon. I suggest you keep your eyes pealed on our blog as well. See, we told you it pays to be a 'Follower' of the Living Room blog! If you have not signed up yet, do it NOW.

"Base Camp Manager" Poh Yu Seung with instructor Lydia Ang.

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