Working at the front desk at the gym means you hear this question a lot. 'How do I find a belay partner?' While bouldering is easy to jump into, finding a belay partner to rope up with can be more of a challenge. "It's such a shame when people cancel their membership because their belay partner has moved or is injured," said Berkeley Ironworks staff Monica Aranda. "Especially when I know we get requests for belay partners nightly. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be psyched for a new climbing partner!"
Stephanie Jim, who works at Great Western Power Company as the Kids Camp director, is trying to tackle the problem. "When I was younger, I loved watching the TV show Cheers," said Stephanie. "It made me happy to see a place where someone knows your name. I see this gym as my very own Cheers. It's a not just a work out facility or my job, it's a community. I want everyone to feel like a part of it." This was the motivation behind 'Partner Parties'; fun events where members and guests can meet new climbing partners.
If you're interested in participating, the next Partner Party at GWPC is on May 22nd from 6pm-8pm. If you're a member, swipe your magical membership card and you're in! If you're a guest, simply pony up for your day pass and no one will be the wiser. To get started, head over to the smoke stack in the middle of the rope walls. There, you'll find snacks to lure you in, and new friends to keep you coming back for more!
"One you pick up a partner card, and write your name on the top," explains Stephanie. " For each new person you climb or belay with, you'l write their names down and check in at the partner table to get a raffle ticket." Boulderers are also encouraged to come out! For each new person you meet in the bouldering area (ie. give beta to, high five, etc), add their name to the card and exchange it for a ticket. Raffle winners will be announced every 20 - 30 minutes. You'll win anything from a t-shirt to a chalk bag!
This is just one example of the fun events that Touchstone employees put on for their communities. "Wouldn't it be great if the minute you stepped into the gym, you recognized 5-10 friendly faces that immediately made you feel at home?" said Stephanie. To find out more about the upcoming Partner Party at GWPC, be sure to check out the Facebook page and invite your friends.
Other partner finding events are on the calendar at The Studio in San Jose, Berkeley Ironworks, Mission Cliffs and Diablo Rock Gym. Find new partners and make the gym a place where everyone knows your name!
Want to go climbing and help save lives? (The correct answer is 'YES!')
On Saturday, May 25 Berkeley Ironworks is hosting a Climb-A-Thon to raise funds for the Women's Cancer Resource Center and the HERA Foundation. This amazing event is all thanks to the hard work of long time desk staffer Clari. "I've lost three sisters to cancer, and when I was diagnosed it came as a shock. Combining my love of climbing with raising money for such an important cause is my way of fighting back." Clari has been in remission for over a year, and is doing well!
The Women's Cancer Resource Center creates opportunities for women with cancer to improve their quality of life through education, supportive services and practical assistance. The HERA Foundation seeks to stop the loss of women from ovarian cancer by promoting Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness. Both organizations have provided countless services to women with cancer and are important to support.
"This event will be a fun chance to get in a ton of climbing for a great cause. Remember Jog-a-thons? The structure is very similar," said Clari. To participate, climbers can collect pledges per climb, or a flat amount for participating in the event. Pledge sheets, along with envelopes for money, are available at the front desk at Berkeley Ironworks. Register, collect sponsors, and then climb or boulder your heart out! You can register as a group or individual. A minimum of $50 per participant must be turned in at the time of the event.
if you are interested in volunteering for the event.
When it comes to raising money for cancer - everyone is a winner. But Touchstone Climbing will be offering prizes for those who raise the most money to sweeten the deal.
1st Place- 3 months free membership
2nd Place- 2 months free membership
3rd Place- 1 month free membership
We're so happy to be hosting such an important fundraising event! Encourage your friends to come out and climb to CRUSH cancer!
On May 4th, the 8th year of the Touchstone Bouldering Series hit the new San Francisco bouldering gym. Over 500 boulderers flooded Dogpatch Boulders to participate at the gym’s first comp.
Read more: Finals at Dogpatch Boulders
On Sunday, April 28th the world lost a remarkable individual. Fernando Motta, 35, passed away at Notch Peak in Utah. On Friday, May 3rd, a number of friends and family gathered at Indian Rock to remember Motta. They shared stories and recalled their friend.
Read more: Mottavation: Fernando Motta
TBS8 at Dogpatch Boulders is just days away! The ambassadors of psych here at Touchstone Headquarters have put together a handy check list to ensure that you are prepared for all the fun and frivolities. Follow these easy steps and you'll be ready to roll from the moment you walk in!
#1. Know what TBS8 is.
Over 8 years ago, when some of the Zero Gravity crushers were still in diapers, Touchstone Climbing started a bouldering competition. The comp series toured each of our gyms, bringing new problems, food, and fun to each location. This gave us a chance to throw our members a huge party while encouraging them to journey to surrounding gyms and meet their counterparts. The tradition has continued, and with 8 gyms in the Touchstone Dynasty, TBS8 has been in full swing for the last 7 months.
Our comp series are open to climbers of all levels, and competitors can register in the beginner, intermediate, or advanced categories. The event will run from 12pm-5pm on Saturday, May 4th and you are can climb and turn in score cards anytime through the event. TBS8 is FREE to members and only $10 for guests. Winners in the advanced categories will go on to compete in finals at 6pm.
#2. Print out a Waiver!
You already signed a waiver, but competitions are special and we'd like another one. Touchstone Climbing Waiver. <--- Print this up and proceed to step 3.
#3. Find your Touchstone Competition ID number.
We are pretty legit when it comes to competitions. Each competitor has a unique 3 letter code for registration and scoring. Knowing your code ahead of time will help conserve your energy for all the climbing you are about to do. You need the 3 letter code to get a score card. TBS8 Registration It will look a little something like what you see below. If this is your FIRST competition in over a year, register for the comp to find your code. If you have been to a comp in the past year, look up your code.
After you have your three letter code, write it atop your waiver. It should look a little something like this:
#4. Get psyched. This is gonna be huge. See you Saturday!
For more information check out our Facebook Event Page for TBS8 at Dogpatch Boulders.
This year Touchstone Climbing has an amazing opportunity to work with Team Specialized and the Northern California Cycling Federation (NCCF) to help develop their junior race team (ages13-18). Markham Connolly, Touchstone general manager and avid cyclist organized the partnership and has been working with the team.
Read more: Team Specialized Training at The Studio
Imagine doing an enormous first ascent in the middle of a state's capital city. For some, this is just a dream. For others, it's a bold and symbolic adventure.
The Sacramento City smoke stack rests at the corner of 7th Street and North B, a mere nine blocks from Pipeworks. A few years ago, gym manager Vaughn Medford walked the base of and saw an obvious line of bolts up the formation.
“I assumed the bolts were to be used in case they ever needed to maintenance the structure but apparently not,” said Medford.
A few weeks ago, a fit seventy year old nearly crushed Medford’s hand when he shook it and introduced himself as Bill Smale, the man who made the first ascent of the Sacramento Smoke Stack.
Read more: The Sacramento Smoke Stack
Ten days ago, Touchstone athlete, Ethan Pringle nabbed a speedy ascent of Era Vella (5.14d) in Margalef, Spain. Pringle spoke a little bit about the climb.
This phenomenal Margalef test-piece was put up by Chris Sharma in the winter of 2010. Located on one of Maglalef's steepest and tallest walls, Era Vella has become the most frequently repeated 9a in the world. It features fun climbing throughout, big moves between good, comfortable holds and no boulder problem harder than around font 7b+, but with no good rests or easy sections either... it's just a race to the top! Because of it's beauty and pure resistance style, strong climbers flock from all over the world to test themselves on it, and it has been climbed by over 15 people now in the short time since it's FA. Well, after 8 tries on the route, add my name to the list! I was lucky enough to share the experience with good friends at the cliff that day and even have one of them capture the send on video! Enjoy, and get psyched!
It was such a treat to work Era Vella, a route I could make progress on on every attempt because of its style, and it's a line that every climber who stands at its base marvels at. A true king line!
Besides dispatching Era Vella, Pringle also managed to send an 8c+ (5.14c) second go and has plans to extend his trip so he can work on the infamous Papichulo 5.15a.
Pringle makes the climbing in Spain sound amazing. "Margalef is just stacked with classic routes of all grades. Most of the holds here are pockets though so you better like climbing on pockets if you come here... My skin is pretty sore from them after almost three weeks of climbing here so we might have to go to Rodellar and pull on some tufas to mix things up a bit. Poor us."
Get psyched for more Spain action coming from Pringle soon!