His love for adventure and the outdoors has brought him to scale famous big walls such as El Capitan and Half Dome in the US. Kareen Lai, founder of Mums In Sync, had a chat with him about the rising appetite for adrenalin-driven activities like climbing in Singapore, and how being connected to the great outdoors can help everyone to live in the moment.
KL: What are QX Adventures?
QX: QX Adventures is a rock climbing guide and instructional company based in Singapore. We focus on taking climbers overseas to experience the great outdoors. Due to the local geography, the only possible outdoor climbing site in Singapore is at Bukit Timah Hill, which is not a very large area. This means that rock climbers in Singapore need to travel overseas to experience climbing on real rocks. We help climbing enthusiasts take a step further by planning trips and teaching them climbing skills that can range from the basics to an advanced level.
KL: When did you start QX Adventures? What were the factors that led you to setting up QX Adventures?
QX: After 11 years as a Special Operations Specialist in the army, I left my career and embarked on a life outside the military. I decided that it would be really awesome if I could regularly go back to my favourite climbing areas around the world and marry that with my ability to show others the perspectives of life as a climber.
KL: Has a love for the great outdoors always been a part of your life?
QX: After spending 11 years in the army and roughing it out, I think the great outdoors is my business and my life!
KL: You are a climbing instructor and you teach people ‘traditional climbing’ skills which are rather different from sport climbing. Tell us a bit more about traditional climbing.
QX: I teach all kinds of skills, from basic courses and sports climbing courses to traditional climbing skills with big wall climbing included. All the skills are rather unique but what’s more important is to retain the participant’s interest in rock climbing even after the trip or course is completed. I’m more known for running traditional climbing courses in Singapore, as I’m currently the only active instructor providing this course. Traditional climbing distinguishes itself from sports climbing as it involves climbing a line of weakness in the rock and placing protection gear into the rock as you ascend. After the ascent, the gear is removed from the walls. In sports climbing, the protection is already set up in the rocks before the climb. In this type of traditional climbing, climbers are typically expected to be more engaged in careful planning prior to the climbs. They have to consider how much protection to bring with them and where to place the protection in order to avoid potential falls and injuries. Because of the level of thought process required, it is truly an art combined with physical prowess that makes this sport both mentally and physically challenging.
KL: Who is suitable to learn traditional climbing skills?
QX: Anyone! As long as you have a love for climbing in the outdoors, it is definitely a useful skill to pick up.
KL: Has being an army officer before becoming an entrepreneur helped you in the business?
QX: Being a specialist in the army has taught me to stand up and face fear and challenges in life. I see myself not just simply operating a business but also doing what I enjoy and love at the same time. And without a doubt, the years of practicing critical thinking and meticulous planning in the army definitely come in use when my clients trust me with their lives on the rocks.
KL: You are credited with introducing Singapore to ‘elephant slacklines.’ What are elephant slacklines?
QX: Elephant Slacklining is a sport that requires one to balance on a thin webbing that measures between one to two inches wide. There are many ways to ‘play’ with the slackline. You can walk, jump, bounce or even perform yoga on it. It’s a pretty intense sport where participants need to be focused, both mentally and physically.
KL: You have also brought elephant slacklines into schools. What prompted you to start a slacklining culture?
QX: I believe that it’s a great sport and a fun activity that allows students to explore their physical abilities and understand their bodies better. Having a great sense of balance is highly dependent on not just your physical abilities, but also your state of mind.
KL: Is it possible for someone who is older and on the heavier side to enjoy slacklining?
QX: For slacklining there are really no restrictions to age, gender, shape or size. I have done a workshop with a 70-year old lady and she was slacklining after only 20 minutes of instruction. How cool is that?
Kl: Sports and activities generally benefit people in many different ways. Can you name the top three benefits that being in the great outdoors can do for people?
QX: Taking part in outdoor activities allows one to reconnect to the earth by being surrounded by nature and exposed to the elements. In doing so, it removes you from the distractions and noise of your life (a big example is your work and your electronic devices), inevitably helping you to reduce your stress levels. Lastly, and most importantly, it forces you to live in the moment!
KL: Where is it possible to try slacklining in Singapore?
QX: If you would like to try out slacklining, you can head to *SCAPE at Somerset on Mondays at 7.30pm. Here we have a group who set up slacklines outside the *SCAPE management office for training. This allows all of them to have fun and helps introduce new slackliners to this beautiful art of balance.
KL: What do you think are the top three important qualities an entrepreneur needs to uphold?
QX: I am a believer in chasing your dreams! Stay focused and never give up!
KL: Where can we read and find out more about your work and programmes?
QX: To find out more about our programmes and trips, you can check us out at qxadventures.com. Here we share information on upcoming trips, trip reports, as well as information on climbing areas. Or connect with us on Facebook at Qxadventures and Elephant Slacklines Singapore!
Images courtesy of QX Adventures
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