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!
There are only two things in this world that Jessica needs in her life—climbing and ice cream. With both, she is perfectly content so it is no surprise that her idea of the perfect day is climbing anywhere outside followed by a refreshing bowl of strawberry ice cream.
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.
Hope has been climbing since the ripe age of 12 years old. Her first mountain adventure took her up a ridge in her home state, Utah. Wearing snowboarding boots, a scarf, and Costco mittens, she made her way up and down the mountain with lots of frozen tears and blisters. Now she has mountaineered and climbed all over North America. She loves the mental challenge that climbing presents her with and she finds that same joy through things like skiing, mountain biking, the desert, reading, the arts, and building things. You might catch her outside with a drill and sandpaper, or maybe on a sunny day lizarding on a rock with a western in hand. Next time you see her give her a high-five and ask her for beta or a joke—she will surely have both.
AlyssaDesk Staff + Adaptive Programs Coordinator
Alyssa has been working for various Touchstone gyms since 2013. When she’s not working, you’ll find her at home reading a good book or planning a trip to climb outside. She also runs the Adaptive Climbing program at Ironworks and is always looking for an opportunity to spread the adaptive message. If you’re ever interested in volunteering or participating she’ll be more than happy to chat your ear off.
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.