Smell the Holds
Matt McCormick, a Touchstone member since 1995, wrote friends this note after running across photos of the Touchstone facility being built in Oakland. A well-designed climbing wall is a thing of beauty. I’ve been climbing in gyms so long and loving it, that just looking at a new wall sends waves of anticipation, anxiety, ambition, and longing through me. And the acrid, carcinogenic smell of polyester resin in new climbing holds just out of the shipping box does the same thing.
It’s like Christmas, but with fear and overdeveloped calluses. If my wife had that for perfume, I’d be helpless.
A lot of climbers still think that gym climbing is still a means to an end—training so that they can get outside to real rock. That’s fine—but when one of the Touchstone route setters (and
I just don’t think there are any better route setters anywhere) puts up a clever, well-executed route that pushes you to new levels, that’s a special thing.
What’s more, you will not optimize your climbing-to-bullshit ratio better anywhere outside. Nowhere else can you do so many good routes in such a short time.
Actually, more climbers should take the notion of a climbing gym road trip seriously. Get your partner, clear your afternoon schedule, and go to one of the other Touchstone gyms (your membership works there too).
And that brings me to the next point: Touchstone is building a new gym in Oakland.
The pictures here, will make you need to chalk up sitting at your computer. Check out the giant smoke stack in the middle of the wall, and the outrageous prows jutting from the top! The Great Western Power Co. (cool name, huh?) is at 520 20th street in Oakland, CA. They’re having an open house on Friday, June 29th from 6 pm to 9pm.
Tell them you’d like to smell the holds.
Labels: climbing, event, Great Western Power Co., oakland