Working at the front desk at the gym means you hear this question a lot. 'How do I find a belay partner?' While bouldering is easy to jump into, finding a belay partner to rope up with can be more of a challenge. "It's such a shame when people cancel their membership because their belay partner has moved or is injured," said Berkeley Ironworks staff Monica Aranda. "Especially when I know we get requests for belay partners nightly. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be psyched for a new climbing partner!"Stephanie Jim, who works at Great Western Power Company as the Kids Camp director, is trying to tackle the problem. "When I was younger, I loved watching the TV show Cheers," said Stephanie. "It made me happy to see a place where someone knows your name. I see this gym as my very own Cheers. It's a not just a work out facility or my job, it's a community. I want everyone to feel like a part of it." This was the motivation behind 'Partner Parties'; fun events where members and guests can meet new climbing partners.
If you're interested in participating, the next Partner Party at GWPC is on May 22nd from 6pm-8pm. If you're a member, swipe your magical membership card and you're in! If you're a guest, simply pony up for your day pass and no one will be the wiser. To get started, head over to the smoke stack in the middle of the rope walls. There, you'll find snacks to lure you in, and new friends to keep you coming back for more! "One you pick up a partner card, and write your name on the top," explains Stephanie. " For each new person you climb or belay with, you'l write their names down and check in at the partner table to get a raffle ticket." Boulderers are also encouraged to come out! For each new person you meet in the bouldering area (ie. give beta to, high five, etc), add their name to the card and exchange it for a ticket. Raffle winners will be announced every 20 - 30 minutes. You'll win anything from a t-shirt to a chalk bag!This is just one example of the fun events that Touchstone employees put on for their communities. "Wouldn't it be great if the minute you stepped into the gym, you recognized 5-10 friendly faces that immediately made you feel at home?" said Stephanie. To find out more about the upcoming Partner Party at GWPC, be sure to check out the Facebook page and invite your friends. Other partner finding events are on the calendar at The Studio in San Jose, Berkeley Ironworks, Mission Cliffs and Diablo Rock Gym. Find new partners and make the gym a place where everyone knows your name!
Want to go climbing and help save lives? (The correct answer is 'YES!')On Saturday, May 25 Berkeley Ironworks is hosting a Climb-A-Thon to raise funds for the Women's Cancer Resource Center and the HERA Foundation. This amazing event is all thanks to the hard work of long time desk staffer Clari. "I've lost three sisters to cancer, and when I was diagnosed it came as a shock. Combining my love of climbing with raising money for such an important cause is my way of fighting back." Clari has been in remission for over a year, and is doing well!
The Women's Cancer Resource Center creates opportunities for women with cancer to improve their quality of life through education, supportive services and practical assistance. The HERA Foundation seeks to stop the loss of women from ovarian cancer by promoting Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness. Both organizations have provided countless services to women with cancer and are important to support.
"This event will be a fun chance to get in a ton of climbing for a great cause. Remember Jog-a-thons? The structure is very similar," said Clari. To participate, climbers can collect pledges per climb, or a flat amount for participating in the event. Pledge sheets, along with envelopes for money, are available at the front desk at Berkeley Ironworks. Register, collect sponsors, and then climb or boulder your heart out! You can register as a group or individual. A minimum of $50 per participant must be turned in at the time of the event. Everyone is encouraged to come out and climb! Raffle tickets are on sale now at Berkeley Ironworks, and prizes include So iLL swag, Jim Thornburg guidebooks, and more! We are also looking for volunteers with belay cards to belay. Be sure to email Clari at
When it comes to raising money for cancer - everyone is a winner. But Touchstone Climbing will be offering prizes for those who raise the most money to sweeten the deal.
1st Place- 3 months free membership
2nd Place- 2 months free membership
3rd Place- 1 month free membership
We're so happy to be hosting such an important fundraising event! Encourage your friends to come out and climb to CRUSH cancer!
On May 4th, the 8th year of the Touchstone Bouldering Series hit the new San Francisco bouldering gym. Over 500 boulderers flooded Dogpatch Boulders to participate at the gym’s first comp.
In the past, a few local climbers have dominated the Touchstone comps. The Dogpatch Boulders comp proved to be quite different. Two traveling climbers, Michael O’Rourke and Nina Williams won the open divison of the comp and the $1,000 cash prize.
Michael O’Rourke, an 18 year old Chicago climber, traveled from Boulder, Colorado for the comp. O’Rourke had never been to the gym before but heard about the comp online. He was excited to check out the gym and the prize money helped him make the trip. “I think the gym is great. It has a wide variety of wall angles, the walls are really tall and the pad system is perfect.”
Nina Williams, a 22 year old Rhode Island native who is working in Boulder, traveled to see family and friends in California and compete in the comp. “I haven't climbed at Dogpatch Boulders before, but I was pretty blown away by the size and and the wall features of the gym. It had a lot of everything and then some, I was really impressed!”
Traveling climbers have been stopping through Dogpatch regularly. “We have had visitors from all over the states as well as Switzerland, Japan, and Great Britain whom have made a point of visiting Dogpatch Boulders when they visit San Francisco,” said manager Justin Alarcon. The gym has become a larger attraction and the TBS comps have started to gain more national recognition. Many local climbers are excited to see the influx of visiting climbers.
“The Bay Area needs to start having the larger national comps. Boston started a few years back with the Darkhorse and that event is huge!” said Mark Heal, who placed second in the men’s open. “I was pretty surprised with the turn out for The Bay! I thought it might be a battle between Max Zolotukhin (another Bay area boulder) and myself, but many other came out!”
The many Bay Area climbers that arrived helped with the success of the comp. Having a large crowd encouraged the competitors and made everything more exciting.
“The comp was really fun and had a really good atmosphere. Everyone in the gym seemed to be really psyched,” said O’Rourke. Williams also said the high energy of the crowd helped the atmosphere and made the comp even better. “My biggest highlight though was how psyched the crowd was; everyone was really supporting the competitors with tons of cheering. When I was in Iso I could hear the reverberations and was like 'whoa they are excited!' And that made me even more excited. A good crowd can make or break a comp and Dogpatch Boulders really pulled it off.”
Thanks to everyone who came out to make the TBS8 and the finale such a success! We can't wait to bring more high quality competitions to our members and guests.
On Sunday, April 28th the world lost a remarkable individual. Fernando Motta, 35, passed away at Notch Peak in Utah. On Friday, May 3rd, a number of friends and family gathered at Indian Rock to remember Motta. They shared stories and recalled their friend.
TBS8 at Dogpatch Boulders is just days away! The ambassadors of psych here at Touchstone Headquarters have put together a handy check list to ensure that you are prepared for all the fun and frivolities. Follow these easy steps and you'll be ready to roll from the moment you walk in! #1. Know what TBS8 is.Over 8 years ago, when some of the Zero Gravity crushers were still in diapers, Touchstone Climbing started a bouldering competition. The comp series toured each of our gyms, bringing new problems, food, and fun to each location. This gave us a chance to throw our members a huge party while encouraging them to journey to surrounding gyms and meet their counterparts. The tradition has continued, and with 8 gyms in the Touchstone Dynasty, TBS8 has been in full swing for the last 7 months.
Our comp series are open to climbers of all levels, and competitors can register in the beginner, intermediate, or advanced categories. The event will run from 12pm-5pm on Saturday, May 4th and you are can climb and turn in score cards anytime through the event. TBS8 is FREE to members and only $10 for guests. Winners in the advanced categories will go on to compete in finals at 6pm. #2. Print out a Waiver! You already signed a waiver, but competitions are special and we'd like another one. Touchstone Climbing Waiver. <--- Print this up and proceed to step 3. #3. Find your Touchstone Competition ID number. We are pretty legit when it comes to competitions. Each competitor has a unique 3 letter code for registration and scoring. Knowing your code ahead of time will help conserve your energy for all the climbing you are about to do. You need the 3 letter code to get a score card. TBS8 Registration It will look a little something like what you see below. If this is your FIRST competition in over a year, register for the comp to find your code. If you have been to a comp in the past year, look up your code. After you have your three letter code, write it atop your waiver. It should look a little something like this: #4. Get psyched. This is gonna be huge. See you Saturday! For more information check out our Facebook Event Page for TBS8 at Dogpatch Boulders.
This year Touchstone Climbing has an amazing opportunity to work with Team Specialized and the Northern California Cycling Federation (NCCF) to help develop their junior race team (ages13-18). Markham Connolly, Touchstone general manager and avid cyclist organized the partnership and has been working with the team. The philosophy behind the NCCF is to have the Specialized Masters Team mentor young riders from the region in achieving their personal goals in racing, whether it's to be competitive and move up to the next level of racing (includes getting on the National team) or to help them reach their potential as a person and racer. More importantly, they are to teach them life skills through training, racing, and working together to instill confidence as well as have good sense of community. This team, both Masters and Juniors, is Specialized's road team. The Master's team is Specialized's exclusive team that only riders who have won National or World Championships are invited. Touchstone's role is to help support the Masters mentor the Junior Development Team by providing them access to our facilities for team building exercises, training, starting points for training rides, and events. Connelly speaks very highly of the team. "I'm personally involved in their mentoring and recruiting as we are trying to grow the team- as well as be an ambassador to the organization. We recently had an overnight team building event at The Studio in San Jose."The young riders had a chance to climb, take a yoga class, and train on our equitptment. Team Specialized Youth riders are based all over Northern California, with two boys living out of state in Oregon and Colorado. This was a great oppotunity for everyone to get together to train and bond as a team. Jack, from Fresno, said, "I loved climbing! I'm really excited to try it out at MetalMark." Owen, who lived in Southern California, can't wait for L.A.Boudlers to open in the fall so he can cross train for climbing on the bouldering walls. Find out more in their website www.teamspecializedracing.com.
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/