Archive for August, 2008

But Singapore has no mountains…

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

How does the Singapore Women’s Everest Team train?

Often, during exchanges with climbers of other nationalities at base camp, we would talk about training. And most often, the climbers would tell us how they run up hills every other day, bike along hilly roads and how they do 2-3 day climbs in the ‘mountains in their backyard’ (as Jane likes to put it)

When it comes to the Singapore Women’s Everest Team turn to share our training story, we almost always end up being the highlight of the conversation. One of our training that never fails to cause a few dropped jaws in the group is STAIRS Training. We climb 30 to 40 storey HDB buildings with 15 – 20kg backpacks and 5 kg ankle weights. We do this one to two times a week and we do it because there are no mountains in Singapore. There’s only Bukit Timah Hill. And we ‘summit’ BT weekly, sometimes up to 6 times in one training session.

As for hilly rides, we have 1 hr spinning classes at the gym. and of course, we do gym and run about 20 – 30km a week.

Recently though, we have discovered the benefits of such rigorous training we impose on ourselves. It is that we are usually fit enough to participate in various activities like adventure races, marathons and triathlons, ad hoc trekking activites etc. Participation in these activities usually make our trainings more exciting on a short term basis.

Our current obsession within the team is the Ace Adventure Challenge V!!! It will be held on Sat, 20th Sep to Sun, 21st Sep 2008

Registration will open for 5 days. Starting on 1 Sep to 5 Sep and AAC is the only adventure race left for 2008!

We invite you to join us there.

Aspiring Mountaineers Programme

Saturday, August 9th, 2008


The Singapore Women’s Everest Team has started the ball rolling! We are telling the youth of today to come forth to make their own dreams.


We launched the Aspiring Mountaineers Programme (AMP) over 2 days with resounding success. The AMP is a community initiative by the team, using our climbing experience as motivational story to inspire today’s youth to climb their own “Everest” – be it an academic goal, a sports record or a career path.

The AMP is partnered with SAFRA Adventure Sports Centre, and supported by the National Library Board.

On the first day (2 Aug), we shared our stirring Everest journey at the National Library with close to 100 students from Tanjong Katong Secondary, Hwa Chong Institution, Christ Church Secondary, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Millenia Institute, and Chung Cheng High School. Besides being inspired by the talk, the students experienced a “Death Zone” experience of climbing at high-altitude, simulated with a hypoxicator which reduces the body’s oxygen intake. They also had hands-on experience with some high-altitude mountaineering equipment at the gear display tent.

Base camp Talk

Death Zone Experience

Gear Display

The team spends a lot of time conducting motivational talks and programmes for students, and also mentoring youth climbing groups, all without any financial gain. They do this because they love the sport and believe in the values it imparts. I encourage all youths eligible for their programmes to take advantage of the opportunity,” said the team’s patron Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who was Guest of Honor for the programme launch.

Speech by GOH

The students responded to the team’s message by stating their ‘Everest’ on the online Dreamscape (, hosted on the team’s official website. Stating their ‘Everest’ was their first step to achieving their goal.

Chew Li Hong, 17, from Hwa Chong Institution said her Everest is to “speak French fluently and conquer a marathon. I want to do 10K under 48 min!

High Camp activity – Online Dreamscape

On the second day (3 Aug), the students were challenged to a mini ‘Everest’ experience where they went through a series of ice-climbing, rope ascending and abseiling at SAFRA Adventure Sports Centre. Through these physical feats, students gained confidence and self-belief as key to achieving their ‘Everest’ in life.

Esther assisting a student to put on the crampon onto the climbing boots

Artificial Ice Climbing attempted by a student

Peh Gee giving tips to the student on how to manage the ascender

A student from Tanjong Katong Sec trying out the ascend on fixed-rope

Lihui demonstrating the L-shape position for abseil

Students on abseil

The Aspiring Mountaineers Programme was greeted with overwhelming response from schools the island over. But due to manpower constraints, the team had to limit the capacity of students to 100 for the launch. However, we will continue with this community effort and bring this programme to schools who’re interested from now till November, after which the programme will resume after we return from our Everest climb in mid 2009.

More on the Aspiring Mountaineers Programme (AMP)

This initiative is born from SWET’s belief that our journey to the top of Mount Everest is more than a physical endeavor, and that our experience as a visionary and highly motivated team can directly benefit today’s youth. There are three stages in the AMP:

SWET will be share our Everest journey, focusing on the character-building aspects that can be transferred to our youths as guiding principles in their daily lives.

HIGH CAMP – DEFINE YOUR OWN ‘EVEREST’ – Online participation.
Students will be login to an online “Dreamscape” hosted on SWET’s website, where they will define and pledge their commitment to their ‘Everest’, as their first step to achieve their goal.

SUMMIT – FULFILLING THE JOURNEY – Physical activity to simulate a mini “Everest” experience.
Students will challenge themselves on an artificial ice-climbing wall under the supervision of SWET. This aims to instill confidence and facilitate self-belief as the key to achieving a goal.

If you are keen to bring this programme to your school, contact us at

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our friends for taking their personal time to assist us at the launch on both days!