Pride Month is one of our favorite times of year here at Touchstone, and we’re doing it up bigger than ever in 2019 across all our gyms. From after hours parties to Pride parades to special, limited edition swag supporting California LGBTQ+ organizations, we’re proud to celebrate our queer fam and honor the memory of those that fought and continue to fight for equity and justice for all.
And we’re not the only climbing gyms celebrating Pride this year, every year, and all year! We’ve compiled a short list of some truly incredible LGBTQ+ groups, meetups, and events for anyone climbing while queer in California.
Pride 2019 at Touchstone
You can pick up special edition Touchstone Pride pins for $5 and shirts for $25 at any Touchstone gym all month long to support LGBTQ+ organizations all over California—100% of all proceeds will go to these amazing organizations.
This year Touchstone Climbing and Mountain Hardwear are joining forces to say loud and proud: Climbing is for EVERYONE!
Together, we’re throwing an After Hours Pride Party on Saturday June 29th, 7pm–10pm at Dogpatch Boulders. We’ll have food, beer, a silent auction, Drag Bingo with Lady Camden, a DJ, dance parties in Mountain Hardwear’s massive basecamp tent, and climbing games!
This event is $10 for non-members and free for members. 100% of the proceeds raised will be donated to the SF LGBT Center, so we encourage you to donate.
AND we’ll be marching together in the San Francisco Pride Parade on Sunday June 30th, handing out limited edition Pride swag and spreading the love!
Cliffs of Id will be throwing an After Hours Pride Party in honor of our LGBTQ+ community, too—come celebrate with us on Saturday June 29th, 6pm–9pm! We’ll have food, beer, a silent auction, Drag Bingo with local queen Pickle, climbing, and more.
This event is $20 for non-members and free for members with a suggested $10 donation. 100% of the proceeds raised this night will be donated to the LA LGBT Center.
CA Queer Climbing Groups
While Pride Month is a special time to celebrate queer identity and remember its history, there are LGBTQ+ meetups and climbing groups running all over the state, all year long—the California-wide queer climbing community is strong!
Queer Crush at Touchstone
Climbing at a Touchstone gym and looking for your fam? Queer Crush is a climbing meetup group at Touchstone gyms where you can meet incredible LGBTQ+ folx in the Touchstone Community. We are committed to creating a safe space in which queer, trans, genderfluid, and nonbinary climbers can crush climbs and make friends.
Now, we may be biased, but we think Queer Crush is hands-down one of THE BEST meetups out there, with some of the most stoked, most passionate, and most welcoming leaders around—you can get to know some of them in our interview from last year’s Pride Month!
All Queer Crush events are free for Touchstone members and discounted $20 Guest Pass for non-members. Find your local Queer Crush group on the regional Facebook page:
Womxn’s Climbing Night at Bridges Rock Gym, El Cerrito
Bridges hosts a Womxn’s Climbing Night the third Saturday of each month for womxn and underrepresented genders to climb, slackline, and lift weights in a fun, supportive environment. This is an inclusive space for womxn (cis + trans) and non-binary folks to build community! Check out bridgesrockgym.com/events to learn more and RSVP.
Wallflowers at Stronghold Climbing Gym, Los Angeles
Stronghold’s Wallflowers, an LGBTQIA+ meetup group, meets every second and fourth Friday of the month from 6:30pm to 10pm. Wallflowers provides a friendly starting place for queer people to get into climbing and build community, and people of all abilities and skill levels are encouraged to join. Add the meetup to your calendar here!
Pride Weekend at Grotto Climbing and Yoga, San Diego
“Part of the Grotto’s motto is accessible climbing for all,” says Samantha Schmidt, a Grotto employee. “We pride ourselves in having created a climbing facility that allows climbers of any ability, skill level, and background to get into climbing. What’s even better is the community we’ve created. We’re a smaller gym compared to some of our competitors, but our community is one of the greatest—we’re more like family. Anyone and everyone is welcome.
And because San Diego’s Pride Weekend is on July 13th and 14th, you can expect them to be doing something fun next month: “For July 13th and 14th,” Samantha says, “if you show your pride by either coming into the gym wearing the Pride flag/colors or tag Grotto in your Pride Instagram photos (@grottoclimbing), we’ll give you a free day pass. If you’re already a member, we’ll give you a bonus guest pass.”
Queer Climbing Club at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, Santa Cruz
“Twice monthly, we host Queer Climbing Club, a meetup for the climber gays of our community,” says Mike Kittredge, Pacific Edge’s Co-General Manager. Queer Climbing Club meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month from 6p to 8p.
Atha Davis, Queer Climbing Club’s coordinator, describes the group: “Trans or cis, fifteen or fifty, pan or asexual, etc. You will be safe & welcome in our inclusive space. We strive to foster an environment of respect, safety, diversity and community building while meeting/having a blast with like-minded folx! All levels of climbing experience are welcome, from first timers to well-seasoned trad daddis. We have a zero tolerance policy against any and all discrimination such as transphobia, biphobia, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, xenophobia, and (obviously) homophobia. No TERFs & no SWERFs, period.”
Find out more about Santa Cruz’s Queer Climbing Club here!
Queer Climbing Club at Vertex Climbing Gym, Santa Rosa
Queer Climbing Club was started in May 2018. “We saw a need for queer representation for at our local climbing gym,” says Alicia LeCompte, one of the club’s leaders.
“We meet every Monday from 7p to 10pm. When you come to QCC, you are offered to put a rainbow ribbon attached with a sparkly gold safety pin to your harness or chalk bag so people in the gym can acknowledge you are in QCC while you’re in the wall. All level are encouraged to join us, and no one is turned away with lack of funds. We have you covered!
We will be having a special QCC on Monday, June 24th to celebrate Pride Month! Come join us in all your rainbow garb and climb with us!”
You can find this special Queer Climbing Club at Vertex event, and all QCC Vertex events, on Facebook, so be sure to follow them!
The Queer Climbing Collective at Mesa Rim, San Diego
Southern California (and soon to be beyond, we hope!) has an amazing group in The Queer Climbing Collective.
“The Queer Climbing Collective is a group of climbers that are interested in connecting the LGBTQIA+ community through our love for climbing,” says QCC founder Elli Jahangiri. “We meet regularly indoors as well as outdoors and are always looking for ways to bring the community together. We are hoping that through the QCC, people are able to meet others like them, as well as learn from those who are different.
We hosted an “Intersections of Climbing” event at Mesa Rim in April, which brought local companies and organizations together for the night and really provided something awesome for the community! We also recently hosted trips to Santee Boulders and Black Mountain in Idyllwild. The overall environment outdoors has been so warm and supportive that we couldn’t be more stoked with how everything has gone so far. We look forward to what the future holds for us!”
Fern Morales, Mesa Rim’s Community Relations Specialist, is thrilled to have QCC at the gyms. “They are super stoked and enthusiastic Mesa Rim members. They’re very involved in our community and naturally create connections through climbing. Not only do they host weekly Queer Climbing Nights on Mondays, they also organize outdoor trips to local crags, put on social gatherings, and they collaborate with other organizations like Brown Girls Climb and the Hazel Foundation to put on fundraisers.
“Every Queer Climbing Night gets bigger and bigger, and we’re now seeing what a need there is for groups and events like this.”
What truly moves me is the chain reaction that all of these things has inspired. Every Queer Climbing Night gets bigger and bigger, and we’re now seeing what a need there is for groups and events like this. Mesa Rim couldn’t be happier to have such a dedicated group of individuals representing the Queer community and creating more avenues for conversations and real connections. They support every single one of our core values.”
Stay in touch with QCC via their Instagram @queerclimbingcollective, and join them every 1st and 3rd Monday at Mesa Rim Mira Mesa, and every 2nd and 4th Monday at Mesa Rim Mission Valley, with more times at more locations to come.
Alpenglow Collective is an inclusive connecting force for women and underrepresented genders in the climbing community. Their platform allows folx to make climber profiles detailing their experience level, goals, and gear so you can find others who can support you in whatever your climbing dreams may be! Alpenglow Collective is working to bridge the mentorship gap as well as help people find partners who make you feel safe and seen.
Happy Pride Month, All! Go Forth and Crush!
Thank you to everyone for showing up and continuing to work with us to make our gyms and the climbing community an inclusive space for all.