Touchstone Blog Archive
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
  Konichiwa from Japan
Staff member Frank Faraguna's daughter Carla, a former Mission Cliffs belay staffer is pictured climbing strong on an indoor wall in Tokai, Japan located in Ibaraki prefecture . The 50' wall is part of a sports club, and while she did have fun, she let us know that she missed the walls at Mission Cliffs. If you look closely, you can see that Carla is a safe climber, sporting her Touchstone Climbing belay card. Way to represent!

Carla will soon complete her first year teaching english to middle and high school students with the Japan Exchange and Teaching program (JET) this summer, and has plans to spend another year teaching abroad. Ask Frank about his daughter, and he'll start glowing like a firefly, as he is so proud of her. He's hoping to visit her this summer, and hearing his blonde haired, blue eyed daughter speak fluent Japanese. "It's a kick", says Frank.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008
  Worth 1,000 words
“It’s too sweet now. I can’t ride it.”
– Member, after putting top-end alloy wheels on his road bike.

“The crux is being hungry all the time.”
– Member trying to slim down for a redpoint attempt.

“I think I finally found a sport I might be good at.”
– 4th grader climbing at Sacramento Pipeworks.

“Seats are for sissies.”
-- Touchstone Bike Club member, asked how he managed to ride the last 30 miles of the high-altitude, 123-mile Sierra Century standing up after his seat post broke.

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Monday, April 28, 2008
  SCS stops by the DRG...Next stop GWPC

This past Saturday Diablo Rock Gym hosted a local red point rope climbing competition as part of the USA Climbing Sport Climbing Series. It was a window into the future of climbing with most of the 60 competitors under the age of 19 and as young as 8 years old. To view results please visit the competition page and to see photos visit the online gallery. Wish them all luck for the duration of the season and at the upcoming Northern California Regional On-sight competition on May 17th at the Great Western Power Company.

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Friday, April 25, 2008
  Bouldering at the Leap

On the trail on the way up to Lover’s Leap from the parking area, just outside the campground, there are a couple of killer granite boulders that are worth the trip alone. There are a few dozen boulder problems of easy to moderate grades, the air is clean, the setting is beautiful, and the car is close.

SuperTopo publishers have a guidebook to the boulders in Lovers Leap Select by Mission Cliff’s own Chris McNamara.

Lover’s Leap is about 2 hours from Sacramento and about 3-4 hours from San Francisco off of highway 50 on the way to South Lake Tahoe. That’s close enough for a day trip, and you’ll be so glad you did it once you get your hands on that cool, grippy granite and smell the pine trees.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008
  Taking Yoga to the Streets
If for some reason you find yourself walking one day on the tough streets of San Francisco's Tenderloin district, you may just happen across the odd sight of a woman instructing yoga right on the dirty sidewalk. That woman is Sacramento Pipeworks yoga instructor Tamara Standard who, as her alter ego Yoga Girl, rolls out yoga mats and challenges denizens of the Tenderloin to literally practice yoga on the streets. Her mission is to share with others; bringing yoga to the underprivileged and those who haven't been exposed to the practice or may not have an opportunity to practice.

"Yoga should be accessible to all people" she said. Tamara was inspired to begin her service
as Yoga Girl 2 years ago when she was in the same down and depressed frame of mind that she now sees in the people she teaches. She finds most people she approaches on the street are actually willing to practice with her, often noting the softening of peoples faces and improvement in their posture or attitude after a session.

"Yoga is a very transformative experience".

Tamara is looking for people to help sponsor a small studio in the Tenderloin where she hopes to incorporate training others to help spread the word. You can watch video of her street work: or anyone who wants to participate can contact her at:

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
  Mechanical advantage

This post is all about finger health. Yes, finger health. Because in our world, the finger may be the most important part of the body.

Crimping, especially with your thumb on top of your other fingers, puts enormous stress on your joints and can lead to tendon injuries. The reason? Crimping puts your hand at a mechanical disadvantage because the joints are compressed or extended to their very limits.

Conversely, open-hand positions like on slopers create the same muscle development as crimping, with the fingers in a less vulnerable position. Overall, the best thing to do whenever you feel even one bit of finger pain is to S.I.E. What’s S.I.E.?

Stop Ice Evaluate

What’s actually happening in there when your fingers crimp? Take a look under the hood. Here are anatomical sketches of “flexor tendon pulleys and sheaths” at,, and

Now, in this age of specialization we wondered: are there orthopedists who specialize only in finger health? According to a Wikipedia entry, yes. Of orthopedic surgeons applying for certification with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery between 1999 to 2003, the percentage specializing in “Hands and upper extremity” was 8.7% (

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Monday, April 21, 2008
  The Sport Climbing Series makes it way to the DRG
Saturday April 26th Diablo Rock Gym will be hosting a USA Climbing SCS competition. The Sport Climbing Series, ran by USA Climbing, organizes competitions across the United States. Local competitions are held to determine who can move on to the regional, divisional, and finally national competition to determine who will be on the USA Climbing Team. Registration will begin at 9:00 am and climbing will be from 10:00 am-2:00 pm. The cost is $30 ($35 for non USAC members). BBQ burgers and hot dogs will be free for paying competitors and available to purchase for spectators. For more information visit Also look forward to the regional competition that will be held at the Great Western Power Company in May.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
  Project Bandaloop Premieres 'Interiors'

Project Bandaloop, widely recognized as one of the leading aerial and vertical dance companies in the country, has announced its 2008 home season. The company, under Artistic Director Amelia Rudolph, will present the California premiere of “Interiors,” at San Francisco’s Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center, Thursday, April 17 through Sunday, April 20.

In conjunction with the performances, on Saturday, April 19, Project Bandaloop presents “The Dance of the Vertical,” a slide show and talk with world-famous climbers Steve Schneider and Hans Florine at 6:45 pm, prior to the 8 pm curtain.

In addition, the 2 pm Sunday matinee will be geared toward younger audiences and families. Following the performance, there will be an interactive “Show and Tell” with Project Bandaloop performers, led by founder Amelia Rudolph.

On April 17, there will be an Opening Night Gala as a benefit for the company with a reception after the performance. The $75 ticket will include the performance and a post-show reception with premium wines, a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and a chance to meet and talk with artistic director Amelia Rudolph and the talented performers of Project Bandaloop!

Project Bandaloop’s performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 17-19 at 8pm and Sunday, April 20 at 2pm and 7pm at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center. Tickets are $25 per person; children 12 and under are $15 and are available through the Fort Mason Foundation Box Office, 415-345-7575 or online at For more information on Project Bandaloop, visit the website at

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008
  TRS Wants YOU!!!
It is once again time to get out your rope, tie in and climb. Touchstone Climbing is pleased to bring back the Touchstone Roped Series for its third year. This will be a series of five Roped Climbing comps that will be held on Friday evenings, one at all five of the Touchstone locations. All events will include a red point roped comp as well as refreshments, games and prizes. Points will be awarded for each comp with overall winners being announced after the final comp. The first event will be held Touchstone's newest gym, the Great Western Power Co. in Oakland on May 16th. There will be a comp each month for the following five months, with the finale coming in September at Mission Cliffs in San Francisco.

May 16th G.W.P.C
June 13th Diablo Rock Gym
July 11th Berkeley Ironworks
August 22nd Sacramento Pipeworks
September 26th Mission Cliffs

All comps will be from 6pm to 10pm and FREE FOR MEMBERS!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
  Touchstone Supports Aids/Lifecycle Riders

Touchstone is proud to support our members who are participating in the AIDS/Lifecycle ride from San Francisco to L.A. on June 1-7, 2008. The AIDS/Lifecycle ride is a 7-day ride that travels 545 miles through beautiful California from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The ride is about raising money and awareness for HIV/AIDS.

To learn more about the ride, visit:

If you are a Touchstone member participating in this ride, Touchstone will make a $500 donation to your fundraising goal. (This offer is limited to the first 10 members who contact us. After that, we will make $100 donations.) We will also provide a Touchstone Bike Jersey for you to wear during the ride.

If you would like to be sponsored, please e-mail us at:

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Monday, April 14, 2008
  Does Airborne Work?
Airborne, that vitamin supplement you’ve been seeing at the supermarket, has become a huge seller worldwide. The company reports sales in excess of $100 million. And you’ve heard lots of people touting its capacity to prevent or cure the common cold. The box makes claims about boosting the immune system, and asks the rhetorical question, “Sick of getting sick?”

It turns out that companies are not permitted by the FDA to make a more substantial curative claim than “boosts the immune system,” like “cures colds,” unless they can provide substantial clinical evidence that such a claim is true. Watchdog groups, skeptics, and serious scientists are highly doubtful about curative claims that have seized the popular consciousness.

As a result, Victoria Knight-McDowell, the school teacher who invented the supplement, is careful how she puts the point: "I would never sit here and tell you that it's a cure for the common cold . . . We don't know if Airborne is a … cure for the common cold. What Airborne does is it helps your body build a healthy immune system. When you have a healthy immune system, then it allows your body, on its own, to fight off germs."

Recently, Airborne lost a $23.3 million class action suit filed by consumers for false advertising. According to CNN, one of the groups in the class action suit, The Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that the Airborne company will refund money to consumers, pay for ads to rectify the confusion and instruct consumers on how to get their money back. David Schardt, a senior nutritionist at the Center said, "There's no credible evidence that what's in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment . . Airborne is basically on overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that's been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed."


Friday, April 11, 2008
  Does Chiropractic Work?
A wide range of claims has been made about the therapeutic effects of chiropractic. Having the vertebrae in your back and neck manipulated, popped, and adjusted, it is argued, can cure childhood asthma, digestive problems, colic in babies, ear infections, and so on.

There appears to be no substantial clinical evidence to support these medical claims. In fact, there is significant risk of spinal injury associated with the vigorous neck manipulations.

There is some evidence, however, that suggests that chiropractic is roughly as effective as other conventional therapies such as massage for alleviating persistent back pain.

In a meta-analysis of 26 other studies, chiropractic was found to be more effective than sham therapies. Evidence was found that massage, but not chiropractic or acupuncture, may reduce costs of care.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008
  Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is often recommended on the grounds that it is an ancient Chinese art that readjusts energy meridians in the body. Millions of people are using it, and millions are being spent on it every year. But real medical effects cannot be ascertained by word of mouth, centuries of tradition, or by popularity. What’s needed is substantial, objective evidence from carefully constructed, double-blind clinical trials.

The preliminary indications from a recent study from the NIH are positive. In a study of several hundred patients with arthritic knees at the University of Maryland, it was found that the acupuncture study group had less pain and better knee function after 6 months.

Most clinicians do not take the energy meridian claims seriously, but they have postulated that the effects that have been measured may be connected to the release of endorphins and hormones stimulated by the puncture of the skin by acupuncture needles.

Experts warn, however, that patients should not adopt unproven alternative therapies and forego better treatments, and patients should inform their doctors about any alternative therapies they are pursuing to better insure their safety if they receive additional treatments.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008
  Top Ten Suggestions for Living in Your Car


Friday, April 4, 2008
  Beth Rodden Refuses to Meltdown
Rodden climbing Meltdown for Dosage Volume 5 - Coming Soon!
Photo courtesy of

After months of work, Beth Rodden, northern California climbing phenom, has climbed Meltdown (14c), in Yosemite, the hardest crack ever climbed by a woman.

The route follows a very thin finger crack for 45 feet then it switches to a discontinuous seam for the rest of the 70 foot, slightly overhanging route. Beth red pointed the route on placed, natural protection. In order to sprint up the route and place the gear as efficiently as possible, she carefully organized 8 tiny pieces of gear taped instead of clipped to her harness. Dedication got her through big fall potential, serious commitment, and piles of snow that needed shoveling at the base.

You can read an interview with Beth about this climb at

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Thursday, April 3, 2008
  CrossFit Comes to DRG

CrossFit has been wildly popular at Ironworks and the Great Western Power Co. and now has made its way through the tunnel to Diablo Rock Gym. Come check out a class if your looking for a great generalized full body workout that is adaptable to all levels and abilities. Class are offered Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30-6:30pm and Saturday from 1:30-2:30pm. Don't forget that these classes are free to members like all of our yoga and cycling classes. Save a tree and check out DRG's Calendar online.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008
  TBS3 finale @ Berkeley Ironworks

Berkeley Ironworks will be hosting the TBS3 Finale on Friday April 4th starting @ 6pm. This is your last chance to rack up points for the TBS3 series as series winners will be announced after the comp.

Never tried a Touchstone Bouldering Series comp? Well, it more fun that you might think since it's more about fun than competition. The entire bouldering area (plus a little more) will be set with all new problems to test your mettle. When you are too tired to climb anymore, we will have beer, beverages & pizza to finish off the night. But don't leave too early because we will have a prize raffle at the end. See you there!

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