Touchstone Blog Archive
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
  Laney Fine Art at DRG
Next time your at Diablo Rock Gym you may notice a little more color on the wall, its not the neon route setting tape, but the artwork that brightens the front entry way and locker room walls. It is the art of Leisa Laney Waldron, the older sister of our superstar front desk staff Morgan.

"My married name is Leisa Waldron, but I still paint under my maiden name of Laney. As a little girl, I was always coming up with new ideas and projects to express myself creatively. I have had the opportunity to sell paintings and images all over the country. I have also had my work shown and sold in galleries, wineries, and through custom design. I have been painting from my home studio for eight years. I love anything and all things creative.

The subject matter and style in which I paint today differs greatly from what I learned while in college studying graphic and fine art. After studying all of the mathematical aspects of art, I knew what I loved most about creating was to make something of my own. I have learned that I love the simple things in life, and that can be seen in my finished works today."

My studio is out of my home in the San Francisco East Bay, California. For more information or to purchase any of her lovely workt visit her website or email her at

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Monday, July 28, 2008
  Yoga Beginner's Series at Diablo Rock Gym
New to Yoga ? Never tried? Looking for a place to start? This August Diablo Rock Gym will play host to a 4-part beginner's series for Yoga. Learn yoga basics at a comfortable pace in a supportive environment. Poses will be broken down and individuals specific needs addressed. It will take place Tuesday evenings from 5:00-6:15pm on August 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th. The cost is only $20 for members, thats just $5 a session ($60 for non-members). Sarah Pascual one of our great yoga instructors will be leading the series. Sarah also teaches five different Vinyassa classes each week at Diablo Rock Gym.

Have questions or would like to sign up? Please call out friendly staff at 925-602-1000.
Pre-registration and payment is required.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008
  Berkeley Ironworks on the Local News

Berkeley Ironworks was recently featured on KTVU channel 2. You can check out both a slide show featuring Ironworks as well as a full video segment on the gym. If you are an Ironworks member, you may even be able to see yourself climbing in the background.



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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  Zero Gravity Members off to Worlds

The Touchstone youth on the Zero Gravity Climbing Team have had an amazing season this year. The team easily swept the top spots at the USA Climbing Northern California Regional Championships in May, which was hosted by Touchstone at the Great Western Power Company in Oakland. Zero Gravity were Regional Champions for the third straight year and the entire team qualified for the Division 1 Championships in Salt Lake City in June. Division 1 is easily the strongest division in the country and though a few kids were dropped there, ZG had multiple podiums and 10 of the team members qualified for Nationals, 9 in difficulty and 7 in speed.

At the National Championships the weekend of July 11-13 in Sunnyvale, CA seven of the nine made finals in difficulty. Zero Gravity placed 2nd in the country for Difficulty in the team scoring. Cicada Jenerik (4th) , Joshua Levin (2nd difficulty, National Champion in Speed) and Scott Cory (3rd) were all selected for the US National Team and will be competing in Sydney Australia at the end of August along with their Canadian National Teammate Gabi Masse. Eric Sanchez (4th) and Hannah Le (5th) both missed the team selection by 1 place. Nick Bradley (7th), Sera Busse, Yolan Caballero and Dakota Schwartz also competed.

Full results can be found at

Zero Gravity will be hosting a raffle at Mission Cliffs starting the first week of August to help the team travel to Sydney, Australia for the Youth World Championships (August 27-31) Please help them out and you may win some great gear from Madrock, PMI, Pranah, and more.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008
  Climbing the Times

When the New York Times recently remodeled their building in Manhattan, they covered it with panels of slats that make for easy handholds. Any climber would have been able to predict what would happen next.

For years, French climber Alain Robert has been climbing buildings in major cities for charity, for fun, for publicity, and for the law-breaking notoriety. On Thursday, June 5th, Robert cruised the 52 story skyscraper in New York. And as usual, he was arrested when he got to the top. One wonders what the charges were. Robert has dozens of building ascents to his credit.

No doubt if one was to press the authorities on why one shouldn’t climb tall buildings on a crowded city street, one of the reasons they’d give would be, “We don’t want to encourage people to engage in such risky, high-profile stunts.”

Almost on cue, another man, Renaldo Clarke, climbed the New York Times building shortly after Robert. Clearly it was all Robert’s fault that Clarke needed to follow suit. Clarke, unlike Robert, was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

The building managers at the New York Times must be rethinking the design of their building’s exterior panels now.

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Friday, July 18, 2008
  Hans Florine & Yuji Hirayama Recapture Speed Record

In yet another daring sprint up the formidable El Capitan, Touchstone member/investor Hans Florine teamed up with Yuji Harayama to reclaim the speed record they set together in 2002 that the Huber brothers beat by 3 minutes in June of 2007. You can read all about their 2 hour, 43 minute and 33 second ascent in the Chronicle and see some photos of the amazing duo.

If my calculations are correct, this is the 10th time Hans has set the speed record for climbing the Nose! More information on this story can also be found at Congratulations Hans - you've made the Touchstone community proud!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
  CPR/First Aid at Ironworks
The Oakland Fire Department, as part of their Random Acts charity will be teaching First Aid / CPR classes to the public on July 20th from 2-8 pm at Berkeley Ironworks. Class is limited to 10 people. The suggested donation for the class and certification is only $50.

The class provides individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective basic life support in an emergency. Basic First Aid program participants learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of injuries and sudden illness. Crucial information about how to deal with emergencies like bleeding, shock, burns, strains, fractures, allergic reaction, diabetic and seizures is shared.

If you would like to sign up, please stop by the front desk or call Berkeley Ironworks.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008
  GWPC in Oakland Magazine
If you happen to flip to page 17 in the July issue of Oakland Magazine, you may be surprised to see the familiar colors of GWPC's walls jumping off the page. Touted as the new cool place to "get fit, grab some exercise and meet friends in Oakland's ever-growing Uptown district", the short article will hopefully let Oakland residents know about the new climbing gym in town. Read the article online here. (Scroll to the bottom of the article to see the bit about G.W.P.C.)

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Monday, July 14, 2008
  Sacramento Bike Club 4th of July Challenge

Weather was mild and smoke from the nearby fires had cleared by the start of the first annual 4th of July challenge. Instead of their usual lightweight rides, 24 hardy bike club members showed up at 9am on Independence Day with single speed cruisers, townies or mountain bikes, for an urban photo scavenger hunt.

“The Challenge” was the brain child of club member Scott Clark, who broke the group down into teams of 3 or 4, gave everyone a digital camera and issued instructions along with a list of potential pictures. Among the list of nearly 50 possibilities: a statue of a naked man, a yellow cat, a misspelled sign, American flag clothing, a bike locker, a line with 4 people. More esoteric required photos were: “something fishy”, “guilty”, “lucky”, or “that’s not what that’s for”.

Teams were given just an hour and a half to collect as many photos on the list as possible, and were limited only by how far or how fast they could ride together as a unit. Re-grouping after the ride, everyone enjoyed a massive pot-luck while Scott compiled pictures and scored each team. It was widely agreed that this was the best event ever held by the fun-loving Sacramento group, so kudos to Scott Clark! To see some of the results of the scavenger hunt go to:

For information on your local Touchstone bike club events or rides, go to our message board and look under cycling:

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Perfecto the Movie on tour in San Francisco in the Mission District

Don't miss Perfecto the Movie at the Victoria Theatre this coming Thursday night, July 10th at 8pm.

Hosted by Mike Call, Boone Speed, and Touchstone's Ethan Pringle.

This movie is about Mallorca and deep water soloing.

Buy your tickets NOW at Mission Cliffs and save $. Tickets at the door $12 and $10 in advanced.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008
  Access Fund Meeting, July 11th

The Access Fund is starting a chapter in the Bay Area and the first ever meeting will be on July 11th at Berkeley Ironworks a 7:30pm.

Come by to participate and help shape the direction of the this new chapter. It is free of course, and you could help save a climbing area you love!

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Thursday, July 3, 2008
  Yoga Flow for Detox at Mission Cliffs
Join Kate this coming Sunday, July 6th from 10am-Noon for this FREE MEMBER EVENT

Detoxification is essential to maintaining a healthy body and a clear mind. In this vinyasa flow class we will twist and sweat in order to activate the body's natural cleansing abilities.

Appropriate for all students with a basic knowledge of vinyasa flow.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008
  Happy 4th of July

On July 4th, all Touchstone gyms will be closed.

Everyone at Touchstone hopes you have a great holiday weekend.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008
One of the most important things you can do to get better and prevent a variety of problems is learn to climb with good form and under control you are tired and getting desperate.

We’ve all seen it: as you get more tired, and pumped from the route, you tend to slap in desperation, throw yourself at holds, and be sloppy. There’s a pile of exercise physiology data that shows that dexterity, precision, and focus degenerate when athletes get tired at the end of hard sessions of work.

You may feel like it’s a good thing to really throw yourself at it and give it all you’ve got to finish, but this kind of climbing won’t really help in the long run. It’s much more likely that you'll hurt yourself through wildly flailing.

If you’re outside there are very real dangers that you need to plan for—you need to be able to clip bolts after run-outs, you need to avoid hazards on route, you may have a long, hard day ahead of you, you may face wind, rain or darkness up higher, and so on.

One of the most remarkable things about the very best climbers is that you can’t really tell how hard the route is until they just melt off of it. That’s because they climb calmly, and under full control right up to the very end.

You can actually train to climb better when you’re in this trashed state. Make mental note to work on this during your workouts. When you get to the end of a session and you can see the desperate flailing setting in and your dexterity starts getting worse, slow down and get control of it. Find the rests, strategize, and focus your attention on your failing body. Take more time to set up for cruxes where it’s easy, and try to get through them quickly and precisely. Try maneuvers that you know will work. Stick to the rudiments of technique with straight arms, using good footwork, and advance planning. All of this is much harder because as your body got tired, your mind did too.

The goal is to train good technique so much that it becomes second nature and slips into the unconscious background.

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