Winter finally arrived in the Bay area. The cold wet weather will be around for a few weeks. There are numerous people in the Bay who have a hard time staying warm through these periods of rain and sleet. Brittini Tanebaum, an AmeriCorps Program Coordinator and Ironworks member, is conducting a winter clothing drive to benefit the underprivileged youth of Berkeley. The clothing drive is being run through an organization called Playworks (www.playworks.org) by a group of AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members dedicate a year to serving communities that are in need.
From Thursday January 19th until Friday, February 3rd, bins will be located inside Berkeley Ironworks for clothing donations. The drive has a number of different sites. When everything is collected, the clothing will be distributed to different elementary schools throughout the East Bay and anything that is left over will be donated to charity.
Take the time to donate some of your warm garments to kids who need them.
The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team continued their impressive run of form at the USA Climbing, Division 1 Bouldering Championships. The event was hosted by the Seattle Bouldering Project http://seattleboulderingproject.com/ in Seattle, WA the weekend of January 14/15, 2012.
On Wednesday, January 18th, a group of young adults from the Bridges School in Martinez headed over to Diablo Rock Gym. The group learned the basics of rock climbing. They were taught basic rock climbing technigue, knot tying, and the importance of belaying safely.
"We have been coming here for years. The participants always talk about this experience more than any of our other outings,"said the facilitator from the Bridge School. "They are always asking when the next visit will be. Thanks so much for having us."
Groups like these come to Diablo Rock Gym and the other Touchstone gyms often. They are a great chance to spend time with a group building team skills and cooperative behavior. They are also a ton of fun.
If you've climbed in the bay area gyms in the past few years, you've probably seen a few of the young climbers grow up and turn into strong climbers. Eric Sanchez has been climbing at the Touchstone for a number of years now and currently works in the gyms. Sanchez, a 19 years old from Livermore California, works full time as a setter at Diablo Rock Gym, studies graphic design, and crushes in the time in between. The modest crusher said, “Setting, working, and school is pretty much all I do. “
Sanchez began climbing nine years ago. “My mom dropped me off at the gym in Livermore to keep me buy.” Sanchez became immersed in the sport, spending three years climbing with Zero Gravity. In 2009 he won adult nationals for speed and has been to a number of world championships for climbing.
Sanchez began working for Touchstone in June, helping out with the initial setting at Fesno’s MetalMark gym. “Setting is really fun,” said Sanchez, “I’ve climbed the other setters routes for years and I finally got to meet them.”
Earlier this year, Sanchez headed to Mickey’s Beach, located just north of San Francisco in Marin. Sanchez dispatched with Dream of White Porsches (5.13b). “I’d been bouldering a lot so it was good to tie into a rope. Id tried it for a few years but it had always shut me down,” Sanchez saif of the climb. “I had been working it awhile with Ben Polanco and Scot Cory. We put our beta together and it kind of clicked.“
Sanchez has also dispatched King Pin, a 5.13b at Jailhouse in Sonora, and Foreignator, an 8a in Ceuse France. Sanchez described the notoriously pocketed area of Ceuse as being specifically difficult for him. Foreignator consists, “primarily of two finger pockets. My fingers aren’t that strong as just two.” Despite his difficulty with pocket climbing, Sanchez made the third ascent of Half Shark Alligator Half Man, one of the hardest climbs at the Sads. “I generally don’t like pocket climbs because my fingers don’t take well to them but it was a really fun climb.”
These photos were snapped by Sanchez's friend, Alton Richardson
Next month, Sanchez will be heading to the ABS bouldering Nationals in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Good luck with the climbing Eric.
Today the Facebook profiles of Touchstone and all of the gyms went dark. We are joining the hundreds of other businesses and individuals that are protesting SOPA & PIPA. These laws, if passed, would forever change the internet in this country and the world. In effect these laws would create a firewall around the US similar to the one currently in China. Simply put, we can't allow this to happen.
Please take a minute to tell Congress not to censor the web.
Unfornately during the migration to the new www.touchstoneclimbing.com the calendars for the gyms were broken. We are working to get these back online shortly. We apolgize for any inconvinence.
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/