Recently King Middle School visited Berkeley Ironworks and had a chance to give climbing a try! The middle school children sent back these thank you cards along with some glowing reviews.
"Omgosh I had so much fun even though I didn't go all the way up. Thank you for letting us use your beautiful gym" -Mia
"Thank you so much for having us! It was like the funnest field trip. :) -Amanda
"Thank you Ironworks for giving me the opportunity to face my fears. Letting us rock climb was a chance to experience something new. It was a lot of fun and I hope I can come again!" -Emma
"Thank you for letting us climb! I really enjoyed it. I was the guy in the blue sweats." -Jovan
"I had so much fun! It helped me get over my fear of heights." -Mark
"Rock climbing rulez!" -Aamna Ahmed
In the middle of February, the Studio's Cheyenne Sulaski headed out to one of the world's best bouldering destinations, Hueco Tanks, for a brief trip. She sent the Touchstone Blog a report about her trip. My go-to bouldering trip tends to be Bishop, and I hadn't made it far past there. I've road-tripped across the country multiple times, but never with the intent to climb. So when Brian Hedrick, (who can be found on Instagram under the name bcuzhedrick) invited me to go to Hueco Tanks with him for 10 days, I was pretty excited. Part of what I love about climbing is that it opens up a whole new reason to travel. Previous to climbing if someone would have invited me to Texas, I would have looked at them very un-enthusiastically and probably made some sarcastic remark about how much I don't like Texas. Now that I climb, I look at places like El Paso, and think: there's world class climbing 20 minutes away, well of course I'll go! So with our psych high and my car filled with crash pads we headed out mid day of February 14th, making it all the way to Joshua tree that night. The next day we spent 12 hours driving the most exciting road in the USA (I-10) just in time to get to Hueco for the 20th annual Rock Rodeo Competition.
Last week, on March 3rd, Touchstone owner Mark Melvin and long time Yosemite wall veteran Chris McNamara saw a chance to climb the Nose on El Capitan. With a forecast of 70 degree temps, the pair nabbed a "winter" ascent of one of the largest granite formations in America. Chris wrote about their ascent. I'll share a secret just with you guys: you can find summer-like conditions on El Cap even in the middle of winter… as long as you are in the sun.
This past Saturday, March 2nd, Touchstone held the a great CrossFit event at Great Western Power Company. A number of local CrossFitters headed to the competition. Instructor Maximus Lewin wrote about the event. The First Annual Touchstone CrossFit Invitational is in the bag and it was awesome! Thanks to all of the athletes, volunteers and staff who came out to make this a fun, intense event. Thanks to all of the folks who participated, especially those for whom this was the first experience with CF competition.
The cold weather, perfect conditions and slightly longer days means bouldering season has struck again. There's a ton of new problems to try and with the addition of Touchstone's latest gym, Climbing ground up, having to onsight sections of high boulder problems, provides one of the best challenges in places like Dogpatch, Yosemite and Bishop. Check out these videos of Berkeley climber Ingar Shu climbing high and well off the ground.
We at Touchstone have some exciting news to share with you. With Dogpatch Boulders just days away from opening, we have signed a lease for what will be our ninth gym. This time, we are coming to Southern California. That's right, Touchstone is finally building a gym in Los Angeles.
This week we signed a lease on a building in the Arts District, which will be our first gym in Southern California. Many former Touchstone gym members who have since moved have been pushing us to make this step. The new gym will be in the heart of a community that is a perfect fit for Touchstone. Closely modeled after Dogpatch Boulders, we expect this gym to be fantastic.Partnering once again with Walltopia will allow us to pursue multiple projects at the same time while bringing our members what we believe are the most exciting walls in the industry. The same design team that brought you features such as the Wave Wall, the Barrel, and the Grand Arch at Dogpatch Boulders will unleash their creative energy on this new gym. We could not be more excited to have a chance to build on everything we learned from Dogpatch Boulders, and we can't wait to become a part of the L.A. climbing community.
We hope to open the L.A.B by the end of 2013 and we'll keep you informed of our progress over the coming months. While our first venture in L.A. will be a bouldering only gym, we are also looking at a taller building near downtown with hopes that we will soon have news of a roped gym as well. You've been asking for it for years and we are excited to finally have good news. TOUCHSTONE IS COMING TO L.A.! Like our Facebook Page to stay connected!
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/