Touchstone Blog Archive
Friday, October 31, 2008
  Happy Halloween from Touchstone Climbing!
A jack-o'-lantern illuminated from within by a...
Just a quick Friday note to wish you and yours a very Happy Halloween from all of us here at Touchstone Climbing. It doesn't matter which gym you climb at, if you're a new member of have been here since the beginning, it's all of you that make it worth it to all of us, so thank you!

Have an amazing Halloween, have fun, be safe and we'll talk to you first thing Monday Morning!


Image via Wikipedia

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008
  Crash Pads For Sale!

It doesn't matter if you're brand new to the sport of climbing or bouldering, or a seasoned veteran, we all know that when it comes to climbing, falls are a simple, often painful, constant. The bad news is, it will always be a constant, the good news, it doesn't always have to be painful!

If you've ever been to a climbing gym, one of the first things you'll likely notice are crash pads. Any slip, tumble or fall can be transformed from a nasty, potentially career or sport-ending fall into something to laugh about, learn from, and advance yourself further into climbing. Bottom line, if you're a serious climber, or serious about becoming a serious climber, you need your own crash pads for your own bouldering needs!

I have some great news: Touchstone Climbing offers crash pads, and you can special order any pad you want from all of the companies we deal with if we don't happen to have the one you want in stock. The better news is, in our special ordering we can get different sizes and colors if we don't have the exact one you want. The BEST news is that as a member of Touchstone Climbing, you get 10% off your order! The prices range from about $135 up to $370 for the top-of-the-line. We offer the best of the best when it comes to crash pads, including Voodoo, Moon, Organic, Metoulius and Black Diamond pads!

Be smart, invest in some pads so your climbing and bouldering days can continue long into the future.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
  Halloween Hours & Movie Night @ DRG!

It's official, Halloween is only 3 days away. Whatever your costumes may be, whatever your trick-or-treating schedule or route, it's time to fill those bowls and gear up for the silliest and spookiest holiday of the year. That said, many of our gyms will be closing at different times, and I'll be sure to let you know all of them as I figure out the hours. For starters, I know Diablo Rock Gym will be closing at 6:00pm, GWPC is closing at 6, and Berkeley Ironworks at 8.

Speaking of the good ol' DRG, Tomorrow night, October 29th at 7:00 pm, we're going to be having an awesomely laid-back, low-key and most importantly FREE Movie Night! The word of this event is CASUAL so bring your comfy clothes, your good spirit and your desire to watch an awesome movie. The movie being shown will be King Lines, by Big Up Productions and it should be nothing short of great.

King Lines, according to Big Up Productions, "follows Chris Sharma on his search for the planet's greatest climbs. From South American Fantasy boulders to the sweeping limestone walls of Europe, Sharma finds and climbs the hardest, most spectacular routes. Off the coast of Mallorca he discovers his most outrageous project yet: a 70 foot arch rising from the Mediterranean Sea..."

See you there!

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Monday, October 27, 2008
  Clinic: How To Perform Your BEST in Climbing!

Hello, Happy Monday and welcome back to the work week!

Here's a heads up for what is sure to be an awesome clinic that you should Not miss. If you are not a climber but want to be, are a climber but want to be better, or are already amazing but just need a tune-up, this FREE clinic is for you. Tomorrow, from 6-7:30pm at the Great Western Power Co., Ethan Schwartz, Ph.D. is going to be putting on a great clinic on how you can perform your best in the climbing world.

Here are some details, so listen up, if you please:

What: Clinic on how to perform your best in climbing!
Where: Great Western Power Co.
When: Tuesday, October 28 from 6-7:30pm
Cost: FREE

About the clinic:
What allows you to perform your best? What mental processes channel all of your physical potential into one superb performance, your personal best? Peak moments can be fleeting, but this class will outline the psychological processes that set the stage for peak performance, specifically in the realm of climbing. Through exercises and discussion you'll learn how best to get "in the zone" and get your "head" out of your way, so you are more likely to utilize all that you are as a climber/athlete.

About Ethan:

Ethan Schwartz, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice with an office in Oakland. He has worked with professional, college, and amateur athletes and has studied, researched, and pursued the psychology of peak performance both as a climber/athlete and a clinician. He has been climbing for 17 years and continues to be passionate about pushing his physical limits whether it be bouldering, crack climbing, or sport climbing.

Don't be shy, come, enjoy, learn and push yourself to be the best that you know you can be. Click here to check out the official flyer, then, hopefully we'll see you Tuesday night!

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Friday, October 24, 2008
  Rocklin Boulders Clean-Up A Huge Success!

I mentioned it yesterday and I'll mention it again today...When something needs help, something needs doing, or something needs some serious volunteer action, it has become abundantly clear that we are a great group to turn to! I just got some great news that the Adopt-A-Crag event held back on October 11th at Rocklin Boulders was not just a success, it was a HUGE success at that.

The event, hosted by Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento (CRAGS), saw a grand total of 44 volunteers showing up for the cleaning, and what's even more impressive, is that all total 172 volunteer hours were logged! When the end of the event finally came, an entire dumpster was filled. What is scary is that it was filled with 14 car tires, 2 shopping carts, a mattress, shelving unit, TV/VCR combo, 20' of chain link fencing and way too much steel strapping and rebar to even mention.

More than anything, we just want to throw out a massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you that participated in the Adopt-A-Crag event, and also to Goodyear Tire Co. for letting us use their dumpster and parking area for the event!

Finally, don't forget that there is a CRAGS Fundraiser this Saturday at Sacramento Pipeworks at 7PM. There will be an awesome screening of the REEL ROCK TOUR and I'm fairly sure you won't want to miss this either. Check out the new CRAGS website for a lot more info on any upcoming events, and once again, Thanks EVERYONE!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008
  Full Lung Capacity Bouldering Benefit

When one of our own goes down, we must all rise up to help. This is something I think we all know, we all preach, and now we will all practice. This is a reminder of a benefit coming up, November 1st, from 6-10pm at Berkeley Ironworks. Rowan Jimenez needs our help for a lung transplant...our help, is the least we can do.

Here is the official info on the event, which is absolutely not one to be missed!

Full Lung Capacity Bouldering Benefit

On November 1st, from 6pm to 10pm, a bouldering competition benefit event will be held at Berkeley Ironworks to help Rowan Jimenez raise funds for a lung transplant. Rowan Jimenez, former Touchstone employee, parent, rock climber, and musician was diagnosed with a rare disease called scleroderma about six years ago. It has attacked his lungs and has progressed to the point that he only has about 10% lung capacity, compared to a healthy person. He is now in line for a lung transplant that will save his life. The competition will bring together the outdoor community at large to celebrate Rowan’s life and raise money. There will be a video presentation, food, drinks, acro yoga and a live DJ during the event. Our goal is to raise $10,000 through donations and the competition entry fee, which will be on a sliding scale from $25 to $100 so that people can contribute an amount that is comfortable for them. Please join us for an evening of fun, community, and climbing and help Rowan to Full Lung Capacity!

For more information about Rowan and his battle with scleroderma, check out his blog at

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008
  RunKeeper iPhone App Right Up Our Alley

The simple fact that you're on this blog right now tells me two things: First, that you're the rad type of person that is into climbing, cycling, fitness and keeping your a finely tuned machine. Second, it shows me that you're also keyed in with technology, you dig(g) blogs, newsreaders, and most likely, if you haven't been under a rock for the past few months, certain new technology that lets you do all of those things...iPhones and their apps.

So, knowing these two things about you, I am able to state with some certainty, that you'll be pretty excited about the awesome iPhone app I found. You'll probably be even More excited, however, that the price of the aforementioned app has been reduced, from $9.99 to FREE. Yep, Free. The app, called RunKeeper, takes your GPS enabled iPhone (the new 3G model) and uses that GPS to "enable runners, cyclists, hikers, skiers, walkers, etc. to track their outdoor fitness activities and promote good health." So, if you're into outdoor fitness, and as we've already established, the fact you are here proves you are, this is the exact app you'll want to throw onto your phone.

Check out the features of RunKeeper, and what all it will record for you:
"Some of the data we enable you to track: - duration - distance - pace - speed - total rise - altitude versus speed - path traveled on a map"

That, to me, is worth $9.99, but the kind folks at RunKeeper, in an attempt to build up their community a bit, are giving it away. The "Free" might not last forever, so if I were you, boot up the App Store and start downloading!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008
  A Time To Live: Be There

Just a quick reminder, even though the event is not for a month, that you absolutely DO NOT want to miss this. Royal Robbins and Ed Drummond are going to be telling stories, reliving climbs, showing photos and putting you where he's been. From success to near death experiences, this is not something you're going to want to miss if you have any interest in climbing whatsoever.

Think of it this way, you can blow $25 on a movie, or you can come to the Victoria Theater at 6:30 on November 20th, drop $10 and hear stories you'll never forget. Even better news is that tickets are only $10 if you buy online. Head over to and buy yours today!

Check it out!

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Monday, October 20, 2008
  Hans Destroys Record on El Cap!

Hello and Happy Monday! Congratulations are certainly in order for our very own Hans Florine and his climbing partner Yuji Hirayama as they absolutely decimated their own previous record for fastest climb up the Nose of El Capitan. In June, the two did this spectacular feat in a breathtaking 2 hours, 43 minutes and 33 seconds, but resting on their laurels was not going to happen.

The new record, an even more jaw-dropping 2 hours, 37 minutes and 5 seconds came as the two men battled the cold, gravity and themselves on October 12. The ascent up El Capitan, specifically the nose route, would take normal climbers three full days of climbing, resting and climbing again to complete. Hans and Yuji, two of the best speed-climbers in the entire world, managed to pack all of that climbing with none of that resting and demolish their record by a full 6 minutes.

Check out the video of some of their climb, it's not to be missed and a great indication of just how talented both of these men really are. Congrats Hans, congrats Yuji!
(Image: Michael Maloney/The Chronicle)

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Friday, October 17, 2008
  American 5.15b!!!
Chris Sharma has climbed a route that could be the hardest route in the world.

Jumbo Love (5.15b) at Clark Mountain, south of Las Vegas is a 250 ft. pitch of continuous, radically steep climbing. Sharma took numerous 100 foot falls on the route; the involved and difficult climbing doesn’t allow one to stop and clip. It’s purported to have a single jug on the whole route with the rest involving long bouldering sequences and sections of 5.13, and 5.14 climbing.

What is it like to climb Jumbo Love? Imagine climbing five times the length of the steepest, longest wall at a Touchstone gym and doing continuous V8 to V11 moves the whole way.

Sharma often is reluctant to grade grades. He’s also quite understated. In true form, he has said only that completing the route would create a milestone for climbing.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
  Shoe Demo at GWPC
This Wednesday, from 6-8PM at GWPC, people are invited to climb in a pair of La Sportiva Arco or Mythos shoes. Here's what La Sportiva says about the Arco, which was new in 2008. This is a beautifully crafted shoe designed for all day comfort and performance with the following features: * Ventilated upper with a perforated, lined synthetic leather arch area for moisture management * Unlined leather upper for performance and sensitivity * 5mm Vibram® XS Grip sticky rubber outsole. The Mythos is such a classic that it defies description. But if you haven't had an opportunity to try them out, here's your chance. You may discover your new favorite climbing shoe.

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Monday, October 13, 2008
  Club Revival!!!
The Touchstone Bike Club is back. With the races finally over, Biketoberfest seems to be the perfect time to kick off the fall season with some mellow rides. All riders welcome to join in on a casual road ride (approx. 50 miles; consistent pace with limited stops) this coming Saturday, culminating in time to for some beer tasting, music, and food at Biketoberfest in Fairfax.

When: Saturday, October 18, 2008
Where: Riders will meet at Fairfax Coffee Roastery (4 Bolinas Road, Fairfax) at 9:15am (earlier if you need your java!)
Roll-Time: 9:30am sharp!!
Route: TBD but will head north toward Tomales Bay. Plan for 50+/- miles! Bring money for potential bakery stop.

Biketoberfest Info:

Hope to see you all next week!!
Gary, Brian, Amy & Jess

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Voting is the most sacred right of a democracy, but you can't vote if you don't register.

So, who is eligible to vote? You must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen to vote in California. (17 year olds may register to vote if they will be 18 by Election Day.) Legal residents of California who are not U.S. citizens, and illegal California residents are not eligible to register or vote. Convicted felons currently serving a prison term or on parole are not eligible to register or vote. A California driver's license is not required in order to vote.

October 20th is the deadline to vote in the Presidential Election on November 4th. Click this link to register - it only takes 3 minutes!!

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Monday, October 6, 2008
Sacramento climbers are hosting two October events to launch CRAGS (“Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento”). CRAGS is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization and the area’s first Access Fund affiliate, started by local climbers interested in protecting climbing access while promoting safe, sustainable climbing practices.

The first event is on Saturday Oct. 11 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. CRAGS and a local youth climbing team, Summit Party, are co-sponsoring their first Adopt-a-Crag event to clean up the Rocklin Boulders near downtown Rocklin. Climbers will remove garbage, prune trees and restore trails, as well as climb. At the same time, CRAGS organizers will teach low-impact climbing practices to participants.

For the second event, CRAGS will bring the hugely popular 2008 Reel Rock Film Tour to Sacramento, helping kick off a membership drive and raise funds for this local non-profit climbing organization. The film is being hosted by Sacramento Pipeworks on Saturday October 25 at 7:00 p.m. and includes a raffle of climbing gear from major climbing product manufacturers. Top climbers, including Chris McNamara, who founded SuperTopo guidebooks and is featured in one of the Reel Rock’s films, is expected to attend in support. The third annual Reel Rock Film Tour includes a climbing feature film, plus short films on climbing and adventure.

To join CRAGS, volunteer for the clean-up or for more information please contact CRAGS Executive Director Brian Poulsen at 916-201-2376 or CRAGS Board member/Reel Rock Film Tour Organizer Rob Trelford at 415-640-3332.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
  Reel Rock Tour

The REEL ROCK tour will be swinging by the bay area for four days in October. Walnut Creek is the first to be visited by the tour on October 1st, the show will be at the Pyramid Brewery. On October 9th the tour will stop by the Victoria Theater in San Francisco and on October 15th & 16th, the tour will stop in Berkeley at the Pyramid Brewery. All shows times are 8pm.

The third annual REEL ROCK Film Tour, launching September 10th in Boulder, CO delivers the year's most exciting climbing and adventure films to audiences in over 80 cities around the world. More than just film screenings, REEL ROCK shows are festive events where climbers and outdoors lovers gather to celebrate their shared passion for adventure.

Presented by Windstopper and The North Face, REEL ROCK events feature the latest releases from the award-winning filmmakers at Sender Films and Big Up Productions, plus new thrilling short films, gear giveaways, appearances by top climbers, and fundraising for local and national non-profit organizations.

For the first time in 2008, aspiring producers are encouraged to submit their best three-minute films to The REEL ROCK Filmmaking Competition. Entries will be posted online for public voting, and two winner will rake in thousands of dollars worth of prizes, plus see their films on the big screen as part of the REEL ROCK tour.

For more information check out:

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