Long time no see! I went a little MIA during the past week and change for various reasons (Turkeyday, travel, and busy work life to name a few). My apologies! Thanksgiving was a success, and I had the chance to spend a few days in Albany with my whole family. During the stay, Ellie and I ventured out to the local rock climbing gym, AIR, to get a fun workout in and get out of the house.
At first we weren't that thrilled. The belaying system was a little less user-friendly than the facility in Buffalo. The ropes weren't anchored in to the floor, instead it was anchored to us. On my first descent down, Ellie was promptly lifted into the air. They didn't use pulleys to make the descent easier and smooth, so it took some getting used to. Also, I was having issues climbing in general, naturally using mostly upper body to hoist myself up the wall which is not the way to go.
Within about twenty minutes of struggling, an employee came over and offered some guidance. He first focused on me. He stressed how to really use my legs appropriately while climbing. He had me do a drill where I wasn't allowed to use my arms at all to hoist myself up. It was all based on positioning my toes and shifting my weight back and forth. Once I started to climb using this system, it was dramatically easier. Once I had scaled the wall a couple of times with about 100% less effort, he then taught Ellie how to belay with a bit better form. It made my trip down far more comfortable, and filled her with confidence.
We got to talking in between climbs with him, and it turns out he works on the tall mast sailing ships on the great lakes, the ones that often pull into Buffalo's Canalside for weeks at a time. Pretty cool!