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.
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.”
Eric on Half Shark Aligator Half Man
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.
The Studio Climbing gym in San Jose is shaping up to be one of the premier climbing facilities this side of the Mississippi. And while the holds have arrived, the yoga studio smells of rich mahogany and leather bound books, and the walls tower majestically over a floor plan built for plastic pullers.... we are still a little ways from opening.
Rather than cutting the ribbon and unveiling a partial construction site January 28th, (The intended day of the Grand Opening Comp and Touchstone Bouldering Series 7 Competition) we have decided to push it back in an effort to show off a finished product.
So let's all in unison pull out our iphones, flip open our calendars, or grab the sharpie we use to scribble important things on the back of our hands... and make a note:
THE STUDIO COMP HAS BEEN MOVED TO SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH.
Same fun: Free Beer. Free Food. On-sight finals with a cash prize. Music. T-Shirts. Fun. Friends. Community. Oh and oodles of never before climbed boulder problems on brand new terrain. It's gonna be the blast you were expecting, just on a different day.
For those of you who are looking forward to calling The Studio home; we're sorry to have to make you wait a little longer. We will keep you up to date on the play by play as we get closer to opening the gym itself. Depending on construction, we are still hoping to open late January/ Early February. The moment that we're able to do so, you'll be the first to know!
Earlier this month, four intrepid bay area climbers took the journey to the deep south in search of some of the best sandstone boulders in the United States.
Al Liu, a 32 year old Mountain Hardwear employee from Oakland, and Abel Eisentraut, a 41 year old cabinet maker from Oakland, flew from the bay area to Denver, where they promptly missed their connecting flight.
Phillipp Green, a 27 year old front desk staffer at Fresno’s Metal Mark, competed in the HomeGrown CycloCross race series this year.
The races take place from September to January and consist of numerous laps around a short, a 1.5 – 2 mile course with mixed terrain of wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and pavement. Often, cyclists have to navigate obstacles by dismounting their bikes and jumping over the barrier. Though the courses are short, the race is usually consists of over 20 miles of this type of terrain.
There's days when I sit behind my computer and neurotically check the weather. Yosemite, Castle Rock, Mortar, Smith, Bishop, Mickeys, Pinnacles. Where should I go? Where's the weather going to be best?