For some, climbing is a hobby. For people like Monica Aranda, climbing is a passion.
Monica, a 26 year old Berkeley Ironworks desk staffer, instructorer, graphic designer, and woman of all trades has worked for Touchstone for the past 7 years. She began climbing over 8 years ago when she joined a summer rock climbing camp and went top roping at Castle Rock in Saratoga. After high school, Monica signed up at Diablo Rock Gym and began a solid and prolific bouldering passion.
Monica’s passion for climbing comes from three distinct aspects of the sport.
The People. “Meeting so many amazing people. Most of the climbers I have met are some of the sweetest and most down to earth people, I feel honored knowing them.”
Monica met her boyfriend of six years, Scott Chandler, through rock climbing.
The Battle. Most people climb for the grade, I climb for the battle. Whether it’s a crazy V-Hard or a V0 I love problems that put up a fight. I always say, “everyone has a V3 nemesis somewhere!” For me, I have one in every major climbing location, no shame.
One of Monica’s biggest battles was at the Ahwahnee Boulders in Yosemite. No Fur, or as Monica calls it “No Fun”, follows a series of difficult sloping holds. “I remember trying it for the first time with Lyn Barazza a few years ago. During that first session I was literally a half and inch away from grabbing the finishing jug. For a couple seasons after that I would always get on it whenever I was at the Ahwahnee’s but I could never send. Then one day, the moons aligned and I figured out some crazy beta that no one in their right minds would ever dream of doing. Finally, the beta was all there and I couldn’t do it because I was so tired. Later that season, we were all headed to the Ahwahnee boulders and I had this feeling like it could be the day! We set up the pads and by this time everyone knew about my stupid nemesis; phones and cameras were out ready to record and then… I sent the stupid thing. It was glorious. I have definitely had my fights with much more difficult climbs but this particular one was the longest and most humiliating.”
The Locations. “I have traveled near and far to climb and each place is unbelievably beautiful and unique. This is something that I don’t take for granted, I make sure to take it ALL in. I think I can speak for most climbers when I say we have the best views for when we pop a squat!”
Monica regularly climbs in Yosemite but also enjoys visiting the local bay area crags like Mortar Rock, Castle Rock, and Goat Rock. Her extensive climbing travels brought her to Lost Rocks, Tahoe, Joshua Tree, Squamish, Ibex, Joe’s Valley, and Fontainbleau.
Beyond climbing, Monica shoots trap. “The best part about it, is the ability to hone all your senses to one bright orange clay pigeon. Take in a breathe, adjust your shoulder, lean forward, look down the barrel, yell “pull” and as quickly as possible, lift the barrel and hit the target. All of this is done in 10 seconds and the best part is when the clay pigeon shatters into a billion pieces.
Shooting trap is similar to climbing in the sense that you have to concentrate. When you are on the wall, you are hyper aware of what your body is doing and where it needs to go. When shooting trap, you are sensitive to the wind, your body position and what it has to do in order to complete the task.