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 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 others 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.