When Ryan turned five he was old enough to start climbing on the rock wall at the YMCA. He started to really enjoy it and whenever they had open climb he and Chris would go to the YMCA and climb the wall. Chris enjoyed doing it with him as well and over time they got more and more into it. They wanted to branch out a little bit and do some more challenging climbs so Chris looked into a rock gym near us called Vertical World. After trying it out once or twice they decided we needed a membership there and joined!
Chris was able to climb more at Vertical World and he was able to take some classes so he could do more with Ryan as well. During the winter this place was a life saver and we were able to spend a decent amount of time there! The first few times we went just Ryan and Chris would climb. Soon we talked Lillian into trying to climb an easy wall there as well. She had a rough experience and scraped her arm on the wall and refused to do it for the longest time.
Ryan was improving more and more and Chris was starting to like it more and more as well. The first time Ryan went I thought he would be nervous because the walls here are quite a bit higher than the one at YMCA (55 feet). Ryan took to it like a natural and he never showed signs of being nervous! The more he climbs the more natural he feels at those heights and the more fun he is to watch. Chris says he will be at the top and just jump and fling his body. Definitely no fear! Ryan is also starting to improve with his technique. He is using his legs a lot more and is using the rope a lot less.
Chris has been so patient and great with the kids too! Chris finally convinced Lillian not to climb, just hang on the rope for awhile (with it attached to her harness.) She would just hang around and swing for a few minutes after Ryan was done climbing. When she was comfortable being on the rope, Chris brought one of her toys from home and put it up a short ways on the rock wall and had Lillian “Save” the toy by climbing up to get it. Every time Chris would put the toy a little bit higher. Lillian is still a bit afraid of the heights and still hasn’t climbed to the top of the shorter wall, but she is getting way more confident. She asks to go climbing now and is very comfortable on the rope! Its been a lot of fun to see both kids excel at this and I love that Chris has a hobby that he can enjoy with his kids!