The Huckberry Rock Wall
Ali runs brand partnerships here at Huckberry. She's also an avid climber who most weekends can be found seven hours southeast of the Bay Area in Bishop, California, an old frontier town in the Eastern Sierras with enormous, natural boulders speckled with climbing chalk and the years of it.
She returns each Monday morning to the office with a moon white smile, fresh sun burn, handcut jerky for the office, and hands that look like they crossed paths with a mobster and his hammer. Climbing is her happy place.
About four months ago, Ali began sizing up our warehouse and pitching all of us on a climbing wall of our own. The undercurrent of Huckberry is an active mind and body, and naturally, a climbing wall within ambit of our computers sounded great for sure. But as a bootstrapped startup, we can't jump on every idea that promises a better working environment but costs more than a small European sports car.
With our motley crew of Huckberry staff and avid outdoor climbers, we power sawed through planks, measured angles, drilled holes, fastened t-nuts, secured plywood, and put up a beast of a wall.
Rock Candy Holds graciously hooked us up with dozens of climbing holds, favored by professionals because of their similarity to shapes found in nature. With names like “dimples” and “tunnel rat,” the psychedelic rock holds easily one-up anything that was ever found on the Aggro Crag.
In addition to providing gear, Rock Candy gave invaluable advice, like, you know, how to actually build the wall.
Heads bowed together and cans of Tecate in hand, (Rock Candy insisted beer was an essential component of the building process) we began a brainstorming session, which morphed into an advanced trigonometry lesson and refresh on arctangent functions.
Point number two: Let the “woody” shine. And shine it did. By covering our wooden wall with IdeaPaint's new clear paint, now we’re able to showcase the natural wood grain and to set our climbing routes in dry erase marker. Climbing is all about problem solving—and the fun of getting from point A to B. Thanks to IdeaPaint, we can erase the problems we can't can't solve and pretend like they never happened.
Speaking of problem solving, we got to thinking about our training goals, and how to make the wall un-boring. We decided on a 22-degree angle: easy enough for the newbies to conquer but slanted enough to build some core strength during lunch hour.
But somehow it all came together, the final product turning out even better than expected. To celebrate, last Thursday we threw a spaghetti family dinner for the office and everyone who was involved. Bart, Lyle and the Mission Workshop crew stopped by along with Ando from Bellroy and Carryology, who, fueled by spaghetti and Anchor Steam, more than held their own on the more difficult routes.
Thanks to Mason from Evolv and his massive bag of climbing shoes, every person who wanted to take a crack at it got the chance. And Mason was kind enough to personally aid us in finding our correct shoe sizes, so we didn’t lose our footing. Side note: climbing shoes are tighter than Beyonce’s leotard, are not recommended to be worn on a midnight beer run.
If you find yourself in San Francisco, swing by the warehouse and show us what you got.