Jessica WanGym Manager
While most people recognize Jess from Berkeley Ironworks, GW is now where it’s at! She started climbing around 2008 and like most everyone else, it became her life [insert any cheesy quote]. And if you’ve read her bio from before on the BIW staff page, then yes, her ideal climbing day is still a day out bouldering in Font, followed by a bowl of strawberry ice cream.
Diane has been climbing for over seven years. The first time she ever climbed was in Yosemite and she very quickly fell in love with climbing. She was a member years before she started working with Touchstone, first at Diablo Rock Gym and now here at GWPC.
When she’s not behind the desk, wrangling young climbers, or teaching a clinic, Diane enjoys traveling, running, backpacking, cooking, reading, and volunteering at local animal rescues. In a previous life she also trained and competed in Muay Thai kickboxing in Oakland. Tacos rule her world.
Taking on each day with her wings spread,
Celebrating the day ahead,
This is the life for which she was bred.
She has a natural talent for sweetening the mood,
As long as the coffee has been brewed,
(Unless you’re rude).
Raised near but far traveled,
Ask her where she’s dabbled,
And her migratory life will be unraveled.
Her palate only recently found the sweet nectar of the crag,
But don’t let that be a drag,
She’s ready to climb so grab your gear bag.
Katrina LeydenDesk Staff
Katrina is some wild animal (maybe a coyote) from West Oakland. She enjoys spending time with her packmate, Maple, taking her on long drives to Red Rocks, Nevada and also hanging out with other people’s dogs (maybe coyotes, too). Her Oakland-based activities include getting an education in welding and machining, and making lattes. You will find her at the GWPC front desk. Awoooo
JP (or John Paul for short) has been climbing rocks, trees, and buildings as far back as he can remember. After happening upon an old pirate’s map of “good stuff to climb,” he found himself at Mt. St. Helena where he discovered climbers with ropes and gear and he realized that climbing was a real sport and not just a kid’s birthday activity. Those pirates (er, climbers) put him in a pair of shoes and pointed him in the direction of Berkeley Ironworks. Although he still prefers to be barefoot, JP will admit that climbing shoes have pretty good grip and help protect his toes. When not at the front desk offering a friendly “Howdy” or “Buh-Bye,” you can find him bouldering around Berkeley, making homemade pasta, or working in the garden with his dog Lucy. ARRRRR MATEY!!!
Jerome is a psyched human being reppin’ the East Bay Area and Northern California to the fullest. He feels hella lucky to have discovered climbing and folks that share the passion. His playlist includes, but is by no means limited to: beats, rap letters, high quality granite, strong & dark coffee, cycling, road trippin’ w/ the homies, campfire chillin’ & holding it down for The West Coast. He would like to shout out: B!, Mikhael Herschbanger III, The Flash Lords, MeowFrye, and Call it What You Want.
Bekka is the personification of wanderlust; much to the chagrin of her mother, who is constantly trying to get her to stay in one place. She collects vintage coats as if she’s hoarding them (though she swears she’s not a hoarder) and is the self-anointed patron saint of all stray cats and dogs. Her best friend is a tattered and torn 20-year-old blanket named Szmati that belonged to her beloved Nana. When she’s not traveling the world, she can either be found planning her next travels around the world, or cruising long trad routes. As a former winner of “Last Comic Standing,” Bekka’s jokes are guaranteed to make her laugh. While she can be trusted to give pillow-soft belays, she cannot be trusted around sour candy. Also, hot sauce goes on everything except ice cream.
Stephen somehow found rock climbing in one of the flattest places on Earth—Florida. When he wasn’t catching waves at the beach or eating oranges at Disney World, he could be found earning his gumby status at the local climbing gym. He eventually got lost and ended up in Oakland, thinking he was still in line for Space Mountain. When he’s not behind the front desk or teaching lead clinics, he can be found watching and blogging about basketball or seeking out the Bay Area’s best hikes. He also likes guacamole.
Originally from Ohio (and then Chicago), David moved to the Bay Area In 2016 to complete a Bachelors in Music in classic flute performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Durning his time at school there were only three places you would find David: a practice room, Mission Cliffs, or a coffee shop. Since graduating in 2019 David moved to Oakland and immediately joined up with the GWPC family. His biggest objective right now? Climb some blocs.
An East Bay native, Julie has been climbing in gyms for three years, and whatever she could reach for about 23 more before that. When not at the GW front desk, she can be found reorganizing objects around the gym, going for long walks, sewing nifty items (it has pockets!!!), or dancing. Talk to her about biotech or motorcycles any day of the week.