Even with hundreds of crushers going in and out of Dogpatch Boulders, Nilo and Lars are easily noticed. “In a gym dominated by people in the 20-40 age range, everyone knows them as the kids who will climb with anyone, not just other kids,” said Dogpatch manager Justin Alarcon. We took a moment to find out more about these young climbers who are already a huge part of the Dogpatch climbing community.
Nilo Batle, a 15 year old sophomore at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, lives in Portero Hill, a few blocks from Dogpatch. “Usually I go bouldering at least 3 times a week for around 2 1/2 hours to 5 1/2 hours a session. During the summer I go even more ,” said Nilo. Lars Mayrand climbs “Whenever I can. I wish that was more often, god I miss the summer…” Lars, a 16 year old senior at the San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and Pacifica resident, climbed for the first time when he was was 10 with his uncle but started climbing seriously a year ago. Nilo started at a young age as well, but began climbing in earnest a year and a half ago. “Once I started I couldn’t stop the feeling of being weightless. Flowing up the wall and forgetting about everything else got me psyched on rock climbing.”
“I love the community in Dogpatch; I think that there is more of a community around bouldering than rope climbing and I love that. In bouldering climbers interact with each other more often, whether it is a spot or sharing beta and at Dogpatch everyone is super chill and happy to help you with a spot or some beta,” said Nilo. “Dogpatch climbers and staff are some of the nicest people I’ve ever meet. There’s always someone there to climb with and work out some problems,” added Lars.
Both young men climb very well. Their success can be attributed to not only having a supportive climbing community but a few crucial elements of Dogpatch. For Lars it was simply having easily seen tape on the holds. “I have been to climbing gyms across the country: Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York. But nothing comes close to Dogpatch Boulders. Dogpatch has clean, easy to grip holds, rather than the polished glass they call climbing holds at other gyms. Also the tape used in Touchstone gyms has helped me climb. Being partially colorblind, it’s hard for me to distinguish between the dark yellow and the lime green with chalk on it. Touchstone’s fat bright tape with unique patterns has made that easy for me.”
For Nilo, the structure of the gym makes a huge difference. “All the different angles on the walls have helped me become a much stronger and overall better climber; recently I finished a V11 in Dogpatch that Ethan Pringle set.“
Both climbers are excited about the climbing competition scene at the Touchstone gyms. ”In my age group, I won second place for both speed climbing and overall difficultly during the YCL competitions. I am looking forward to future comps, specifically the Dogpatch Bowldering League,” said Lars. “The comps are a great time to meet and hang out with other climbers from different Touchstone Gyms.”