Touchstone Blog Archive
Sunday, January 15, 2012
  New Touchstone Blog
This is the last post here. Touchstone Climbing has moved the blog to the new You can check out the new blog here.

This will be the last blog post here. Please be sure to update your RSS feeds to the new blog. Thanks!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
  The Studio Comes Together
Construction at the Studio is coming together quickly. Holds from Stone Age have been delivered. The adjustable cracks are being put together. The majority of the exercise machines have been delivered. Things are coming together.
The ship's prow in the bouldering area looks awesome. The setters will be able to establish some rad problems up this steep section.

The climbing walls are well constructed with a ton of new angles and awesome shapes to them.
Some of the exercise machines will overlook the climbing area. It'll be a great chance to work out and see the sports action on the wall.

There are tours of the new facility going on. Check out the Studio's Facebook page for more details about how you can see Touchstone's newest gym.

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Monday, January 9, 2012
  Climbing Off The Couch
The holidays are over. The massive meals, the family obligations, and the hordes of visitors and cluster are weeks away. Chances are that with the busy holiday season, you haven't been able to get to climb very much. Heading to the crag, you're probably climbing "off the couch."

Not too much unlike this guy.

There are a few ways to approach climbing after you've been laying off for a while.

1. Go thrash your way up a 5.14a crack, spray about how you're almost there, down grade it, and claim you just couldn't do it because you're "off the couch"

2. Approach climbing with some humility. Chances are you remember you're best, high performance days of climbing last season, and not the average days. Take the time to build a solid base of fitness. Climbing technique doesn't leave, just the strength. The more you climb a certain grade, the more you will be able to pick up at the grade if you take time off.

The second option is definitely the better one. The most important thing is to get out there and do it. Getting to the gym, to the crag, or out to the boulders can be difficult, especially when you're not climbing your best but the best way to climb well off the couch is to start climbing. Now head out to the nearest Touchstone gym and start cranking

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Saturday, January 7, 2012
  Guide Tennies at Ironworks
Getting to the crag can be a chore. Hiking down the North Dome Gully, descending the East Ledges, or even trying to stumble out of the boulders after a long day of pebble crushing can be a laborious task. It's important to treat your feet well as they care you to and from your next rad rock climb. One of the best things you can do for your feet is get some solid approach shoes. Stop stubbing your toes in flip flops, and don't be burdened with enormous boots.

To help in your approach shoe needs, Berkeley Ironworks just received a shipment of the 5.10 Guide Tennies. These shoes combine hiking boots and rock climbing shoes into one solid approach shoe. These approach shoe acts as an ideal piece of footwear for scrambling around the boulders in Yosemite, hiking up the talus field to the cliff, and hopping around the climbing crags. The upper is a durable, breathable cotton canvas designed to take a beating. Inside is a cushy corduroy ankle facing. The outsoles are high-friction Stealth® Dotty C4™ tread. Touchstone retail guru, Patti Phillips loves these shoes. She wears them non-stop and is super exciting to have them at the Ironworks retail store. Additionally, this is arguably the most vegan-friendly shoe on the market!

The shoes are $114.95. Touchstone members get 10% off these great kicks!

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Thursday, January 5, 2012
  The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym: By Jason Gay
Jason Gay, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, posted a great blog about the 27 Rules For Conquering The Gym. The list is great for everyone who's made a New Year's Resolution to hit the gym a little bit more this winter. Check out Jason's article at the Wall Street Journal:

This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.

Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you're going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:

1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.

2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.

3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading "The New Yorker" and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.

5. Bring your iPod. Don't borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it's playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.

6. Don't fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.

7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn't bought a record since "Walking on Sunshine."

8. There's also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn't here today...there he is, lurking by the barbells.

9. "Great job!" is trainer-speak for "It's not polite for me to laugh at you."

10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.

11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.

12. Nope, that's not a "recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate." That's a chocolate bar.

13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.

14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that's super tough!

15. If you're motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a "wooden coat rack." It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.

16. There's the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.

17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you're either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.

18. Be cautious about any class with the words "sunrise," "hell," or "Moby."

19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it's hard. If you're relaxed and enjoying yourself, you're at brunch.

20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.

21. Don't buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.

22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you're basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.

24. If you're at the point where you've bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It's way more fun and it doesn't make you listen to C+C Music Factory.

25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.

26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it's good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it's not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.

27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012
  Touchstone Rope Series: Comp Tips for the Upcoming TRS6

The Touchstone Rope Series comp is coming up soon. That means lots of new routes, great food, beer, prizes, and tons of fun at all seven of the Touchstone gyms. Comp climbing can be a challenge. Here’s a few tips to help you climb better.

One of the best ways to perform well at a comp is to warm up and build a solid base for your score. If you redpoint 5.11a, then start your gym session by doing a couple 5.10as, then move onto a couple of harder 5.10s. You’ll be warmed up for the harder climbing and you’ll already have your scorecard filled. All your effort won’t be spent on just one route, which you may or may not do.

British climbing guru Dave Macleod wrote a bit about onsight climbing, which is another excellent skill to have when climbing at the comps. “Don’t get too built up - Often, getting excited about an onsight you’ve been looking forward to for ages can pile on a lot of unnecessary pressure.” The same goes for climbing at comp. Be prepared to have fun first and foremost.

Stay relaxed when you’re climbing hard. Everyone tends to tense up and forget to actually breathe before a difficult climb. Holding your breathe is a subconscious habit for many people. Focus on breathing before you enter a crux section. Exhale sharply when you perform hard moves, it can great help with latching that critical hold. Think about slowing your heart rate down. A calm heart means you’re more able to think through the next difficult climbing section. Scan the wall in circles. Moving your eyes all around helps see hidden foot or handholds. Too often climbers get tunnel vision when they’re scared or pumped. Moving your eyes in arcs helps you find the best series of holds.

Most importantly, get amped for the upcoming Touchstone Rope Series comps! They’re gonna be awesome!

TRS 4 Berkeley Ironworks from Princess on Vimeo.

The dates for the Touchstone Rope Series 6 are:

March 16th: GWPC
April 13th: Pipeworks
May 5th: MetalMark
June 8th: The Studio
July 13th: Berkeley Ironworks

August 10th: DRG
September 15th: Mission Cliffs

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
  A Few From Yosemite
California has been experiencing an unbelievably warm and dry winter. Right now, there is no snow at the Buttermilks, or in Yosemite. That means it's time to get your bouldering on. Mill Valley resident, Kyle O'Meara headed out to the ditch this weekd and dispatched two V10 classics with his dog Kuna. Check out the cool video and get pysched for some Yosemite bouldering!

More Yosemite Bouldering from Kyle O'Meara on Vimeo.

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Monday, January 2, 2012
  New Year's Eve at DRG
Diablo Rock Gym had a great evening of fun and excitement on New Year's eve. On December 31, from 6:30 pm to 12:30 am, the staff and 32 climbers gathered at the the Concord gym for lots of awesome events, games, gift give aways, and more.

The group had a fun evening of slack lining, Gri Gri jugging, getting on a commando line, climbing, campusing on a Bachar ladder, and balancing it out on the Indo board.

The gym provided lots of healthy food and beverages for the evening. There was plenty of excitement for the entire evening.

At midnight, a ball was even lowered into the gym. Hans Florine came down as the New Year's Ball. Rumor has it that Dick Clark wanted to come out of retirement to announce Hans' New Year's ball but the doctors kept him away.

Next year's New Year's eve bash should be even better. It's already a great healthy start for a number of climbers, who all promise to come back next year.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012
  A Few From Font: Ethan Pringle Climbing In France
For nearly two months, San Francisco climber and Touchstone athlete, Ethan Pringle posted up in France’s Fontainebleau. The immense amount of sandstone provides world class bouldering. The smooth rock, the varying weather, and everything in between, make Font a challenging place to climb.

Pringle talked a little about his trip on his blog, saying, “The style of climbing here is hard for me. It is much different than somewhere like Rocklands or Hueco where it’s more pulling and dynamic moves on actual holds… Here, the key to sending problems at your limit is 1) having good beta, 2) having good conditions and 3) having the nuances and intricacies of each move down to a science.”

Partage 8a(+) from Ethan Pringle on Vimeo.

Though Pringle was plagued with bad conditions, he managed to learn some of the French subtleties. He discovered that, “sometimes something as bringing your body up higher without moving your feet to oppose a hold (Partage) or pointing your toe down while you’re heel hooking (Karma) can make the difference.”

Karma from Ethan Pringle on Vimeo.

Pringle's climbing adventures will continue as he heads back to the US to do some more great climbing in the states. Check out this cool video of Pringle and a few other climbers taking on some Font classics.

We call it " Bleau " from Sandstones on Vimeo.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011
  A Little Video Humour
It's almost Friday. The holidays are almost over but in between all the family obligations, the huge meals, and are some hopefully good laughs. These two videos have a solid mixture of the Berkeley lifestyle, the Yoga way, and plenty of laughs.

Do you ever feel like you're lost at the grocery store after going to the gym? This video about the Whole Foods Parking Lot is a great example of that.

The Yoga classes at Touchstone can be a little intimidating but all the stretches can really help. This video of Hank from King of the Hill is a classic example of a stranger entering a strange world.

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