EP 9 Kelly Khiew
Bivy in Taiwan


Kelly Khiew is an AMGA Assistant Rock Guide. Born and raised in Singapore, she runs a guide service, The Bivy Taiwan Rock Guides.
Starting 2018 she has run women’s climbing clinics every year to foster a community of strong, independent and confident female climbers in southeast Asia.

Show Notes:

Kelly’s Links:

Episode Intro:

Thank you for tuning in to the Female Guides Requested Podcast. I’m your host Ting Ting. Right now I’m in Pacific Northwest and it’s so nice to escape the heat of Las Vegas.

Today’s guest is Kelly Khiew. Kelly was born and raised in Singapore. She left her so-called “regular job” due to her insatiable desire for outdoor climbing. She co-founded a guiding service with her husband QX in Taiwan and guides there and other destinations in Southeast Asia. Starting 2018 she has run women’s climbing clinics every year to foster a community of strong, independent and confident female climbers.

Kelly is soft spoken and humble, but it was easy for me to tell that she has a strong will. I caught up with her right after she finished her AMGA Advanced Rock Guide Course and Aspirant Exam in Red Rock in April. It was interesting to learn why she chose to obtain the guide training and certificates in the States even though she mostly operates in Asia and to listen to how she had to adjust her mindset from being in the majority group, i.e. Han Chinese, to a minority here in the States.

Congratulations to Kelly for becoming an AMGA Assistant Rock Guide, she will continue working towards her AMGA Rock Guide certification. Now let’s listen to Kelly’s stories.


00:00:00 – 00:04:20 – Kelly is from Singapore. She owns a guide service in Taiwan with her husband QX. They operate in Long Dong (Dragon Cave) in Taiwan and other destinations in SE Asia.

00:04:20 – 00:06:16 – Kelly’s reasons to take AMGA guide training despite long travel and other considerations.

00:06:16 – 00:07:23 – From more or less being an assistant and doing everything in addition to guiding with the guide service to the realization that she was capable of doing more and taking up more leadership roles.

00:07:23 – 00:13:16 – Kelly started all women’s clinics in Taiwan in 2018 targeting English speaking climbers in neighboring countries and in Taiwan (either expats or local Taiwanese climbers)

00:13:16 – 00:15:46 – Kelly thought her “regular jobs” before guiding gave her good training on problem solving and customer services.

00:15:46 – 00:19:09 – Kelly started climbing when she was 17 with the guidance of a coach in school. Before graduating from high school, the coach introduced her to outdoor climbing and she fell in love with climbing outside right away.

00:19:09 – 00:24:02 – Traveling and climbing in Europe made her realize that climbing could also be a career. Due to her insatiable desire for climbing, she started to contemplating switching her career to guiding full time with her husband.

00:24:02 – 00:28:18 – Good trad climbing in Taiwan played an important role of choosing Taiwan to establish their guide service.

00:28:18 – 00:33:51 – Kelly chose AMGA to further her guide training because there was nothing suitable locally and both her husband and her wanted to promote the value of hiring a guide in SE Asia. She then talked about her experience with the AMGA.

00:33:51 – 00:42:16 – “Mentorship is much needed,” Kelly said. She described in detailed why she felt this way.

00:42:16 – 00:45:29 – Kelly was satisfied with what she was at now. Yes, there was still some anxiety when looking at friends advancing in the so-called corporate jobs but Kelly knew the values she treasured so she was happy.

00:45:29 – 00:48:17 – Kelly talked about why she enjoyed guiding as well described her operations during different seasons in her guide service.

00:48:17 – 00:55:37 – Climbing seasons in Taiwan and other outdoor activities there. Kelly would also want to explore more options outside of Taiwan, perhaps something bigger.

00:55:37 – 01:01:31 – Kelly has come to the States much to climb and train. She experienced many role changes from climbing buddy and training partner for her husband to taking up initiatives on her own after her husband finished his AMGA Rock guide track.

01:01:31 – 01:09:53 – Kelly’s next steps: big walls were in the pictures.