Touchstone Blog Archive
Friday, September 29, 2006
  Evolv Shoes are Here
Coming October to your Touchstone Retail Store:

The DEFY priced at $79 combines the benefit of a comfortable multi-purpose climbing shoe and the convenience of a Velcro closure. With the feel of a sensitive slipper, the DEFY will smear on any slick sloper or stick on overhanging faces while being comfortable enough to wear during gym marathon-training sessions. The DEFY is a must-have for every climber.

The newly redesigned RAVE $75 (formerly the RAGE) has an improved fit in the heel and arch to feel more form-fitting to your foot and sensitive on the rock. A thin teardrop shaped half length midsole has been added to improve edging power without compromising the pliability in the midsection. The unlined synthetic upper allows for the ideal amount of stretch to conform to the foot without getting sloppy over time. The RAVE is perfect for soft synthetic shoe lovers.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006
  Teen Team in Tahoe
On Sunday, September 17th, fourteen members of the Berkeley Ironworks Teen Climbing Team took their first-ever team climbing trip to the Echo View and Pie Shop boulders of South Lake Tahoe. Two fathers, David Leoung and Ed Johnson, were kind enough to each drive a van-load of climbers to the mountains. For many of the kids, it was their first opportunity to climb outside. The team members did tons of problems with helpful advice from coaches Kendall Taylor, Jonathan Perry-Houts, and Matt Johnson. Aside from raw fingertips and forgetting a crash pad the day went off without a hitch and everyone had a fantastic time.

More trips are in the works and the Team is looking for adults (like YOU) to help out by driving or assisting in other ways. If you are excited about making outdoor climbing accessible for the Team, please contact Kendall Taylor at the BIW front desk.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006
  Phantom Trip
It was a perfect day for Class 5’s guided trip to Phantom Spires with the Lovers Leap Guides last Saturday September 16. Eight members of Class 5 and two Ironworks members met at the Strawberry Lodge and then proceeded to Phantom Spires. For many of the climbers this was their first time on rock – also their first time climbing cracks and friction slabs. Petch and Heidi put up ropes on the middle spire, instructed on technique and offered lots of encouragement.

Since it had snowed a little the day before, we were a little worried about weather, but it turned out to be a cool sunny day. A good time was had by all.

If you are interested in future trips, contact Class 5 manager Ken.

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Monday, September 25, 2006
  FREE: Climbing & Yoga Injury Clinic
Learn to prevent, identify and treat common climbing and yoga-related injuries in this FREE clinic on Saturday, September 30th from 2-4pm at Mission Cliffs. David Borgeson will be presenting a series of talks and classes. Each class will focus on one joint or body area and includes: 1. a lecture on anatomy and common injuries/pathology; 2. exercises for prevention and rehabilitation; 3. time for injury screening and consultation. This clinic will cover the neck and shoulder. Future clinics will focus on elbow, finger and wrist, back, hip, knee and foot/ankle injuries. A sign-up sheet will be available at the front desk.

David Borgeson is an orthopedic physical therapist at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine. An avid climber of 30 years and yoga practitioner trained in the Anusara and Ashtanga traditions, David has developed expertise in evaluating and treating injuries commonly seen in rock climbers and yoga enthusiasts. He has taught classes on climbing technique and injury prevention for Touchstone for the past 10 years, and incorporates yoga into his physical therapy practice.

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Friday, September 22, 2006
  Youngest Bike Club Member
Sacramento Pipeworks Bike Club members Bruce and Tawni Parr are proud to introduce their newest addition to the Touchstone family: Madeline Olson Parr. Born August 8th and weighing in at 6 lbs 14 oz, daddy Bruce promises “We'll have her on a bike and leading club rides in no time.” Tawni, a long-time Sacramento Pipeworks cycling instructor adds: “Maddie is going to be disappointed that she can't join you on the All Club Ride - she's been looking forward to showing off her new Touchstone kit!”

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Thursday, September 21, 2006
  Climb Out Homelessness
Berkeley Ironworks is proud to announce a new program to help the homeless. Stephen Krank of the St. Vincent de Paul Champion Guidance Center designed a 12 week program to help the homeless get back on track. The 'Climb Out of Homelessness' program is made up of two parts: learning to climb at Berkeley Ironworks and the Champion Guidance Center's 'Meet Your Needs Workshop'.

The group's first meeting at BIW was on September 7th, where they were given a belay safety class and tested their new-found skills on the walls. Everyone had a great time and left with a sense of accomplishment and optimism. We hope the participants are successful in their climb out of homelessness and are excited to provide this opportunity at no cost.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
  It is Finished
The TRS finale held at Touchstone Concord on Friday, September 15th delivered all that it had promised: 14 excellent routes, free beer and pizza, lots of great prizes, exciting lead falls and a nail-biting finish in the Men's Advanced category. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, Scott Cory (16), Simon Benkert (16) and Dustin Park (19), were separated by a mere 300 points, with Scott Cory flashing the 3 most difficult routes to take the win. Dustin Park, the homegym favorite, still handily won the Advanced Men's category for the series and heard a lot of cheers when he finished the 13c route third try.

To say that the young Touchstone members had a strong showing would be a bit of an understatement. Cicada Jenerik (12) cruised the 12a and 12c to clinch the Advanced Women's title for both the comp and series. Concord member, Jacob Phillips (12), won the Intermediate Men's category by sending the 12a second try and making it to the first box of the 12c. Dakota Schwartz (12), also a Concord member, had a great night and took first in the Women's Intermediate category.

It's a miracle that anyone over 20 had a chance, but Berkeley Ironworks members, Mike King and Ngoc Nguyen who placed first in the Beginning Men's and Women's categories respectively, showed us that climbing isn't just for the kids. All in all, it was a fun night and not only for the comp winners - everyone had a great time.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Yosemite Climbing Association 3rd
Annual Yosemite Facelift
September 27-October 1, 2006
Help clean up Yosemite National Park!

For five days in this fall, the Yosemite Climbing Association will once again sponsor a Yosemite-wide cleanup to benefit the park and help restore high use areas after the busy summer season. Our goal is an intensive cleaning of all areas in the park before the winter rains set in. This will include roadways, the river corridor, trails, parking areas, campgrounds, climbing areas, and lodging areas.

Meet in front of the Visitor Center between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from September 27th to October 1st to pick up trash bags and litter sticks. Bring your trash back for weighing and sorting by 5:00 p.m. Signing in and weighing your collection at the end of the day helps us track our progress, reach the most area and create revenue for the Park.

Each participant receives a raffle ticket for every day they participate. Hundreds of prizes will be raffled off at a special reception for all participants on October 1st. The park entrance fee will be waived for Facelift participants. Free camping is available on a first come first served basis.

Last year, 600 participants last year donated 4,696 hours, collected 7,655 pounds of trash, and created $77,671.84 in revenue for Yosemite National Park. Thanks to their efforts, the 2005 Facelift was recognized with a conservation award from The Access Fund. Help us make the YCA Yosemite Facelift an even greater success this year.

For questions and more information, please contact Ken Yager or visit our website.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006
  TRS Finale
The last installment of the Touchstone Rope Series is taking place at Touchstone Concord on September 15th from 6-10pm. Touchstone member comps are open to climbers of ALL levels and are a great way to build up our local climbing community. With lots of pizza, beer and prizes as well as excellent routes, it is impossible NOT to have a great time.

To add to the excitement, Touchstone Concord staff member, Dustin Park (shown above cranking at the BIW comp) is heading up the Advanced Men's category and could win the whole series at this comp. Even if you aren't planning to climb yourself, come out and cheer Dustin to a win!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
  Free Yoga Workshop at Mission Cliffs
Yoga Basics Workshop
with Kate Schox-

Saturday, September 16th
12pm - 2pm.

In this two hour Yoga Basics workshop, we will explore some of the fundamental yoga postures, breathing & meditation techniques. Students will leave with a basic understanding of yoga styles, proper alignment, & modifications, & will be prepared for most beginner and all level classes. Please wear comfortable stretchy clothing and refrain from eating two hours prior to the beginning of class. This is a free member event. Space is limited to the first 30 participants.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
  Warrior's Way
Mission Cliffs & Berkeley Ironworks will be hosting Arno Ilgner to teach his unique Warrior's Way clinics on mental fitness. If you are at a plateau or feel that your mental approach to climbing might be holding you back, this is the clinic for you. The 4 hour clinic cost $60 for members and $75 for non-members.

Arno Ilgner has helped hundreds of student sharpen their awareness, focus attention, and understand their athletic (and life) challenges within a coherent, learning-based philosophy of intelligent risk-taking. Ilgner considers the joy and satisfaction in the effort - the "journey" - intimately linked to successful attainment of goals, the "destination." Alumni of his courses now include some of the nation's most prominent climbers.

Mission Cliffs - Sept 14th. 12-4 & 6-10
Berkeley Ironworks - Sept. 18th 12-4 & 6-10

Please call or visit the front desk to sign up and hurry cause space is limited.

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Monday, September 11, 2006
  Class 5 leaps
Class 5 is organizing a day trip in connection with Lovers Leap Guides to climb the fine granite at Phantom Spires in the Sierras. This is a great area to start your outdoor climbing, or gain more experience in the wild.

This area is made up of many free standing formations called spires. The spires range in height up to 250 feet tall. After reaching the tops of the taller spires you experience a breath taking view of the American River Canyon. This area is known for its door knob like hand holds.

Driving time is 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Everyone will meet at Strawberry Lodge on Rt. 50. at 9am

Cost is $70 per person Limited to 12 people Sign up at Class 5

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Friday, September 8, 2006
  Bachar Benefit
As reported last month, Steve Karafa, along with local Yosemite climbing legend John Bachar and his girlfriend Anastasia Frangos, were involved in a tragic car accident. Sadly, Steve did not survive the accident. While Anastasia was fortunate to have escaped with only minor injuries, John sustained multiple spinal fractures and will be faced with insurmountable medical bills, as well as a long road to recovery.

To help John with his medical bills, a benefit has been setup. Many companies in the climbing community have donated prizes and there will be a drawing for those who donate to this fundraiser. It's an important distinction to make, that this is not a raffle, but rather a voluntary fundraiser where each contributor's name will automatically be enrolled into a special prize drawing. If you would like to contribute, please visit the Bachar Benefit website. If you would like more information on this benefit, you can also read an article about it at's website.

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Thursday, September 7, 2006
  Pipeworks: Climbing, Fitness & Live Music
On a recent busy Friday night, over 100 Sacramento Pipeworks customers were treated to a rather impromptu night of live music. Featured artists were Adrian Bourgeois, son of notable hometown musician Brent Bourgeois, along with rising Sacramento star and local golden boy, singer-songwriter Justin Farren. First Farren, a Sacramento News and Review “Sammies” award winner, played a smoking acoustic set, after which Bourgeois, who lists influences as diverse as The Beatles and The Clash, played an electric set with his band. Pipeworks members were delighted by the unexpected treat and remarked at how the live music really inspired them to climb harder. Pipeworks patrons should watch for more spur of the moment musical treats in the near future!

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006
  Touchstone Concord: Bike Club Starts
Under the leadership of front desk staff and all around great guy, Andrew Descalso, Touchstone Concord is starting up a branch of the Touchstone Bike Club in the far east bay. Anyone with a road bike is invited to attend the first ride on September 9th at 9am. The meeting spot is the Heather Farms Parking Lot at 1750 Heather Drive in Walnut Creek. This will be an intermediate ride with two options: a 17 mile or 29 mile course. For interested parties, there is also the possibility of doing a 12 mile extension to the 29 mile course going past Blackhawk and through downtown Danville to finish in Walnut Creek.

If you can't make this ride, but want to stay in the loop about the club and future rides, you can either leave your name on the sign-up sheet at Touchstone Concord or call the gym to get signed up on the bike club e-mail list.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2006
  Video Map Launches
Urban Climber Magazine last week announced the launch of UCTV Video Map, which offers maps, video listings and the ability to virtually fly around the globe to find climbing videos anywhere in the world.

Someone using the new feature can click and drag the maps, zoom in and out, and when over a chosen area videos related to the specific spot pop up in bubbles. The new map service supports Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla browsers. All live videos on UCTV have been mapped, and the entire globe is covered.

Since its launch earlier this year, UCTV has rapidly developed a global audience of viewers. The ongoing development of the site has seen a number of new features and enhancements coming out almost monthly, including Clip of the Week, My Channel, and now the Video Map. The North Face is the founding sponsor of UCTV.

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Friday, September 1, 2006
  The TBS Returns!!!
After Touchstone Climbing's most successful competition series ever, we are excited to announce season 2 of the Touchstone Bouldering Series, TBS2. Six bouldering competitions will be held on Friday evenings once a month at each of our locations. All events will include a red point bouldering comp as well as refreshments and, as you may well know, other fun activities. Points will be awarded for each competition with the announcement of the overall winners at the grand finale. This year, the first event will be held at Berkeley Ironworks in October and end with the grand finale at Sacramento Pipeworks in April. For more information and to see the complete schedule please visit the TBS2 homepage. We look forward to seeing you at another great Touchstone event.

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  Black Diamond Harness Recall
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. (To access color photos of the following recalled products, see CPSC’s Web site.)

Name of Product:
Speed Buckle Harnesses

About 18,000

Distributor: Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., of Salt Lake City, Utah

The harness could be threaded incorrectly. If threaded incorrectly, the webbing will easily slip when loaded. Incorrectly threaded buckles can loosen, which could cause climbers to slip out of the harness and fall.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Description and Models:
These Speed Buckle Harnesses were sold under the following model names: Gym Speed, Focus Speed, Momentum Speed, Vario Speed and Wiz Kid. The names can be found on a tag sewn inside the waist belt of the harnesses. The harnesses are various colors and were sold individually. Only Black Diamond Equipment Speed Buckle Harnesses with incorrectly threaded buckles are included in this recall

Sold at: Rock climbing and mountaineering specialty shops nationwide from December 2005 through July 2006 for between $40 and $75.

Manufactured In:

Consumers should immediately stop using recalled harnesses and contact the firm for a free replacement harness

Consumer Contact: For more information, call Black Diamond Equipment collect at (801) 278-5533 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, or visit the Black Diamond's Web site.

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