HALFMOON, N.Y. -- A giant faux boulder dominates the cavernous space inside suburban Albany's newest climbing gym, a whale of a rock with twentysomethings often clinging to its undersides, straining to mount the 16-foot-high lip through subtle balanced moves and brute strength.
As often as not, climbers drop off the bumpy surfaces of the pale blue boulder. They sometimes fall on their backs onto foot-thick foam or more often get stuck, dangle from handholds, then drop to their feet, rubbing tight forearms and studying the so-called "problem" for another attempt. Others "top out" then walk across it to the easy, stepped descent at the back.
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