My life as a climbing addict began May 2001 at Berkeley Ironworks. In the ensuing years, my love of climbing has taken me to some of the most magical (Fontainbleau forest) and the most mundane (Indian Rock, Berkeley) climbing areas in the world. Although I enjoy climbing in all its forms, bouldering is my passion and most weekends will find me in Yosemite wandering the valley floor, climbing one of the proud blocs or searching for that next amazing line.
JeffreyClimbing Instructor/Desk Staff
Jeffrey has been climbing for over 20 years across the world. Jeffrey’s formal education is in painting and drawing, but you’re more likely to find him on the Valley floor floating up boulder problems, or on a bike running laps in the Oakland hills. Jeffery is one of our most experienced instructors and his clinics and private lessons slots fill up quickly! He answers to ‘Ye-feery’ and ‘Chuck’.
Michelle likes cats. She is a vegan. She doesn’t own a car. If you can’t find her behind the desk at BIW or at REI… good luck. She is probably backpacking the JMT or scuba diving off the coast of Bali or climbing in Rocklands or raving in London or ____________.
Your guess is as good as ours.
Hailing from the middle of nowhere Northern California, Ben is psyched about pretty much every aspect of climbing, from training and movement theory all the way up through sending projects. Most of his free time is spent either at the gym training for the next objective, cooking food, or climbing outside. Ben is always around to talk shop, so stop by and say hi if you’re looking to nerd out about beta, training, specific climbs, climbing areas…or anything really!
James loves bees, flowers, music, and climbing, but mostly all four of them. He walked into Berkeley Ironworks for the first time on November 25th, 2005 and has been hooked on climbing ever since. He recently graduated from Humboldt State University where he was heavily involved with their climbing team. If you want to see James get really fired up ask him about his favorite band, bee, or flower.
VictoriaDesk StaffVictoria came to California in August 2016 to be with family and stay for two good weeks. During that time she started climbing at Berkeley Ironworks…and she’s still here, still climbing to this day. She hails from the Emerald Isle, where it rains as much as the sun shines here in CA. It’s a big reason she’s finding it hard to leave this special place. And then there are the people and the natural wonders of the land—Victoria loves loves loves the beautiful diversity found here. There’s so much to appreciate. One of her favorite parts about working at Ironworks is being with the little ones and getting to share her love and excitement for climbing with them, both inside the gym and out on the real rock.
Taylor OrcuttDesk Staff
From the forests of Pennsylvania, Taylor is the record holder for the tallest hobbit to ever exist. In fact, the only markers of his hobbittness are the number of meals he eats in a day and his unruly feet. His forest-dwelling days were likely what inspired him to be a Forestry Major at Cal, and his time amongst the trees and rocks what instigated his climbing passion three years ago.
For those members that have been coming to Ironworks for five or more years, you probably remember this friendly dude. Chris has worked the desk before and taught a number of clinics, including Crack Climbing, Anchors 1 & 2, and Lead Climbing. His departure took him to Australia, where he earned his Master’s degree in Conservation Biology, and then to New Orleans where his wife earned her MD.
Get to know Chris better in the following fabricated interview:
What do you like to climb? “The longer the better.”
Splitter cracks? “Even better.”
Overnight on a cold hard ledge? “The stuff dreams are made of.”
Suffering? “No adventure worth having would be complete without it.”
Favorite big wall to date? “Lost Arrow Spire. The Tyrolean off the top will live with me forever.”
Is there room in your heart for anything but climbing? “Move over climbing, here come my wife and kids. After climbing, conservation, science, and critical thinking, all lumped into one.”
Favorite podcast? “Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. Hands down. Still, Future Perfect is pretty rad too.”
Currently, Chris’ biggest wall is parenthood, so try not to laugh at him when you see him popping off of V2 or hang-dogging 5.10. His daughter is endlessly bold and loves climbing while his son is still learning to walk.
Cristina is a Connecticut native whose Puerto Rican heritage has guided her passion for the outdoors and people’s relationship to nature. She is a jack of all trades who has performed jobs such as monitoring turtle and lobster populations, connecting students to science from research cruises in the the Mediterranean, and commercial scallop fishing in the Northeast. A volunteer experience for youth climbing in San Diego inspired her interest to work with youth and thus she became an educator for Mount Tamalpais State Park in northern California. In an effort to combine outdoor recreation, the desire to be a better climber, and in search of a nurturing community, she landed at Berkeley Ironworks. Cristina is thankful for all learning opportunities and seeks to be a mentor for young underrepresented adventures such as herself.
Originally from SoCal, Mark now calls the Bay his home. He discovered climbing in college and it forever changed his life. Grateful to be a part of this ever growing community, he’s always excited to share his knowledge and wisdom with anyone new to the sport. When Mark is not climbing, he spends his free time with photography and the outdoors.
Born and raised in the central coast of New Jersey, Eric studied a semester of culinary school and, shortly after, got the bug for climbing. So he packed his bags and moved out to California, where there’s far more climbing and adventure than in New Jersey.
Although Noah was raised in the concrete jungle of Queens, New York, Yosemite Valley is where he feels most at home. In spite of his love for slippery granite, Noah continues to sell his soul to academia as he pursues a master’s degree in Sustainable Solutions. When he isn’t seeking out those sweet gym splitters and howling out Stone Monkey “ooohs,” you can find Noah making kimchi, riding his Nature Boy, tending to his flock of hens, or converting his little yellow Skoolie into a home on wheels. If you enjoy slotting alloy widgets into flared, irregular constrictions, ask Noah about his collection of totems.