Touchstone Blog Archive
Friday, February 27, 2009
  New Five Ten Climbing Shoe Coming to Berkeley Ironworks

In just a few weeks Berkeley Ironworks is going to have their hands on some great new climbing shoes from the company that is arguably the best in the business. That's right, Five Ten has a new shoe, dubbed "Project" and it's HERE at Berkeley Ironworks to be sold to you.

As always, members will receive 10% off on this awesome new shoe. Here is a bit more about the new Five Ten "Project" shoe, straight from the company:

"Five Ten™ Project

The most sensitive climbing shoe ever built. Designed exclusively for overhanging rock, the Project™ features Five Ten’s ground-breaking Prehensile ™ technology that lets you use your feet like hands. Prehensile Technology allows climbers to grab like never before. Due to the unprecedented durability of new Stealth ™ Mystique™ rubber, the Project’s downturned soles are only 2mm thick (other climbing shoes have at least 4mm thick soles). If you’re climbing hard overhanging routes outdoors or at the gym, the Project is the best choice."

Stop in and check out our selection of climbing shoes, with 10% off I'm sure you can find something great.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009
  Touchstone Zero Gravity crushes at the USAC ABS 10 National Championships

Our very own kids climbing team, Zero Gravity just recently got back from the USAC ABS 10 National Championships, and to say the very least, they did AMAZING. I was just sent this article about just how amazing they all did at the Championships, and thought I'd let it speak for itself. Congratulations to all of the climbers and coaches involved with our Zero Gravity Climbing Team!

"Touchstone Zero Gravity places Second for Teams at the USAC ABS 10 National Championships!

Touchstone's Zero Gravity Climbing Team traveled to Boulder Colorado over Presidents day weekend to compete in the ABS 10 National Championships. They Crushed, both as a team and individually.

Gabi Masse took 4th place in the Women's Open division in a very strong field.

In the youth division the Zero Gravity team took 2nd place with 4 podium finishes. Greggor Pierce and Joshua Levin were both National Champions. Cicada Jenerik and Sera Busse were third. Scott Cory was 7th, Silas Burger 26th, Jordan Vogel 28th and Kevin Ott 31st.

Zero Gravity were also the ABS Northern California Regional Champions.

The SCS (Sport Climbing Series) will start in mid march with the Division 1 Championships being held at Touchstone's Sacramento Pipeworks. The Nationals Championships will be in SLC, UT and the Youth World Championships are in France."

Congratulations and keep up the great work!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
  John Bachar Presentation At Great Western Power Co.

Quick heads up for an event that is coming up on March 7th here at Great Western Power Co., a week from this Friday. We're lucky enough to have a live presentation from John Bachar, one of the world's greatest free soloists that will take place after hours at GWPC.

The presentation will be a combination of slideshow images and some storytelling from John; if you're a fan of climbing at all, this will be an event you really don't want to miss out on. Tickets are only $10 if you purchase them in advance and only $12 at the door.

So mark your calendars for March 7th at 6:30 pm and come listen to what is sure to be an exciting night of photos and stories.

Hopefully we'll see you there!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
  Mission Cliffs Hosts Mission Graduates Program

Two weeks ago our Mission Cliffs gym was lucky enough to play host to a non-profit organization that has an important goal: increase the number of K-12 students in San Francisco's Mission District that are prepared for and complete a college education.

A few weeks ago we hosted the Mission Graduates and just received back a letter of testimonial from their very own Kara Sigler. Check out some of the things they had to say after spending a day at Mission Cliffs learning the ropes, then testing them out:

"Students set goals for themselves, accomplished them & chose if they wanted to take “one more step”. Highlights for students were reaching their goals, challenging themselves, and trying things that scared them. Many students said their favorite part of the day was also the most challenging. Students expressed enthusiasm and interest in more opportunities to climb. They were introduced to Girl Ventures."

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for using Mission Cliffs to be a part of your program. Keep up the great work and you're welcome back any time!

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Monday, February 23, 2009
  Bring A Friend: Members Guest Night Friday!

This week's Friday, in case you haven't noticed, is the fourth Friday of this month. That means, for all you Touchstone Climbing members out there, Friday at ALL of our gyms is Members Guest Night.

Members Guest night is a way for all you Touchstone Climbing members to get your wife/husband, best friend, parents, co-workers or anyone else you know involved with the sport of climbing. On the Fourth Friday of each month, Members can bring one guest to any of our gyms for free to climb with them. Rental equipment is not included, but what a great way to introduce someone in your life to climbing and fitness here at Touchstone?

Keep in mind, this Members Guest Night on the 4th Friday is in addition to the one free guest pass that each member can use each month on any day. So, you now have 2 days a month to bring someone outside of climbing, Inside to climb.

Hopefully we'll see you, and some new faces.

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Friday, February 20, 2009
  Art Exhibit At Mission Cliffs
This Friday I wanted to give you all a heads up for an art exhibition that we currently have going on at our Mission Cliffs gym. It started Wednesday, and features photography from Leila Chirayath Janah.

Here is a brief bio and Artists Statement, if you're in the area, take a few minutes to stop in and check out the photography.

"Leila Chirayath Janah is a boxing enthusiast, amateur photographer, and former travel writer for the Let's Go guidebook series in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and Southern Africa. She has lived, worked, and traveled in over 50 countries. Leila currently resides in San Francisco and works at Samasource, a startup social enterprise that helps small technology firms in marginalized communities."

Have a great weekend, don't forget to send us in some of your very own climbing videos. We want to see all of the great climbing our members are doing in and out of the gym.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009
  Great Testimonials From Recent Sacramento Pipeworks Community Group

Sacramento Pipeworks recently hosted a community group, Options for Youth, at our gym and we were fortunate enough to hear back from them with a photo and a testimonial.
Check Spelling
The students came and had a day of climbing at Pipeworks and the day was such a success that it looks like they signed up for one day a month of climbing excursions. Check out the letter we received from Brad Astin, the Master Teacher at Options for Youth:

"I wanted to thank you for having our students come climb at Pipeworks. We had class with the students yesterday and they were very excited about the last climbing trip and pumped to hear that we expanded the dates to one per month for future climbing outings. They are already talking about how they are going to climb harder routes! Going into the first climbing outing many of the students were unsure of themselves and how they would perform on the wall. Now all they are much more confident and looking forward to the next challenge. This confidence is carrying over into the classroom as well. These students are more outspoken and participate more in class discussions than they had before. We have also seen increased teamwork and academic performance from these students as well. They know that climbing and participating in the Outdoor Experience program is a privilege and they are taking the responsibility very seriously. Thank you very much for your involvement with our students and our program. We look forward to a continued relationship with Pipeworks."

We were happy to have you and look forward to seeing you again in the future!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

While this clinic is still a ways away, we wanted to give you all a heads up about a new Yoga clinic coming to Great Western Power Co. in March. The Acro Yoga Clinic does not require a partner but will help show you the benefits and experiences behind partner yoga.

The event will take place March 7th from 2-4:30pm at Great Western Power Co. and will be $30 for all of you members out there, and only $35 if you're not currently a member. The class is going to be taught by Tyler Blanks, a 4 year veteran of AcroYoga and Donna Carroll, an AcroYoga teacher that also teaches Power Flow, Kundalini and Pre-Natal Yoga.

Here's a bit more about the event:

"Through the art Partner Yoga and the expansion of Flight, we will explore the connection between one's self and one's partner, stretching, breathing, and supporting in a variety of fun, unique poses. Experience your body in ways that you never thought you could. This is your chance to Fly, to Base, to support your partner with courage; building trust, removing obstacles, creating friendship, and enjoying yourself in community. Bring a friend, or come alone and we will team you up with a partner. No experience necessary. Arrive ready for anything and leave feeling totally uplifted."

So, head over and register at Great Western Power Co. We'll see you there.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
  TBS4 This Friday at the Diablo Rock Gym!!

All you bouldering fans we have some good news. We're having a huge bouldering competition this Friday night from 6-10pm at the Diablo Rock Gym. That's right, TBS4 is coming to Diablo Rock Gym and this is one you're not going to want to miss.

Registration for this TBS4 starts at 5:30pm. Here's a bit more about what to expect at this competition:

"Registration starts at 5:30 pm. This is a friendly non-competitive competition. Beginners are welcome, if not encouraged to come have fun and climb some great problems. The event is free for members or $10 for non-members. We will be serving free pizza. Also we will have beer from Pyramid Brewery, in Walnut Creek, we will have a keg of their seasonal amber, Rollick. Also we will be having one of our members spin some beats on a speaker system compliments of the Guitar Center in Concord. "

All Diablo Rock Gym members, please take note that ALL bouldering will be closed from Wednesday til Friday at 6:00pm when the competition starts. Be aware that some route climbing areas will also be closed on Thursday but will reopen Saturday morning. Finally, most of our route climbing will also be closed Friday night for the competition.

Get registered and we hope to see you there, should be a great time for all.

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Monday, February 16, 2009
  Measure Your Ape Index @ Diablo Rock Gym

Did you know that in climbing, the more Ape you are, the better? That's right, your ape index actually says a lot. If you've never heard of an ape index, don't worry, you're not the first, and you certainly won't be the last. Here's a quick update to let you know that for the entire month of February at Diablo Rock Gym we have an interactive art project going on that helps you measure your ape index.

Now, a quick primer:

"Ever wondered what your Ape Index is? Well this month at the DRG you can find out what it is and see how you compare to other climbers. The Ape Index is an informal measure of one's armspan relative to height. Among rock climbers it is seen as desirable to have an arm span that exceeds one's height. Your ape index can be calculated by the subtracting your height from your armspan. The greater the number, the higher your ape index. So come on down and measure yours today - While you still can! "

So if you're in the area head in and get measured, if you're a member, take a few minutes after your next climb or workout and log your ape index. See how you all stack up.

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Friday, February 13, 2009
  Mission Cliffs Featured As Affordable Valentine's Gift

As you're probably aware, tomorrow is Valentines Day. As such if you haven't done your shopping, planning or reservation making, you'd better get on it. If you're still short an idea, ABC's show "View from the Bay" had a segment recently called "Affordable Valentine's Gifts For Your Man," and our very own Mission Cliffs was featured as the number 2 gift on the list.

That's right, the 2nd idea on the Gift List was our very own Mission Cliffs. Here's what they suggested: "2. Rock climbing day pass at Mission Cliff in San Francisco for $28.00. This would be a really fun and adventurous thing to do with your guy."

Thanks for the nod ABC and "View from the Bay." Head over and check out the video, maybe you can pick up a few other good ideas.

(image via

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Thursday, February 12, 2009
  CPR First Aid Course @ Berkeley Ironworks

This Sunday at Berkeley Ironworks we are lucky to play host to a small but important class. The Oakland Fire Department, as part of their Random Acts charity is going to be teaching a First Aid/CPR class to the public here at our gym. The Class will be this Sunday, February 15th, from 2-8pm. The class size must remain small and so will be limited to 10 people.

The suggested donation for the class and certification is $50 to their charity.

Interested? Here's what you can expect to encounter and learn on Sunday:

"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.

Sign up and donate at the front desk today!"

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
  New Women's Clinic @ Berkely Ironworks

Here's a heads up for an event that is sure to fill up fast, so the sooner you sign up, the better. Katie Brown, author of the instructional book Girl on the Rocks and also one of our very own Berkeley Ironworks desk staff, is going to be teaching a women's clinic on Sunday, February 22 from 6-8pm.

You can sign up at the front desk at Berkeley Ironworks and we really do encourage you to do it soon as space is pretty limited. The two hour clinic will cost $35.

Here is a little bit about her book, we hope to see you all at the Clinic:

"For women intrigued by the sport of climbing but intimidated by its male dominance and stereotype as “extreme,” Girl on the Rocks is a monumental and essential resource, providing instructions on technique, strength, and mental agility—from a woman’s perspective.

Through the sage advice of one of the world’s foremost female climbers and the lens of an internationally acclaimed photographer, women learn that climbing is more fun than dangerous, that overcoming fear can boost self-esteem, and that the fitness benefits are tremendous. Most women learn climbing from men, but the sport is different for a woman—both physically and psychologically—and it is empowering for women to learn about climbing from “girls” who’ve been on the rocks themselves. Bringing the sport to life alongside the book’s numerous color photos, Katie Brown’s interviews w ith female climbers—from a young girl to a sixty-something professional climber—reveal, on a more intimate level, what the sport has done for them.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
  Partner Yoga Workshop: Valentines Day @ Diablo Rock Gym

No plans for Valentines Day yet? We have the perfect thing for you and your significant other to do that doesn't involve expensive restaurants or overdosing on chocolate. This Saturday, February 10th from 1-3 pm, instructors Allan and Dawn will be hosting a Partner Yoga Workshop at Diablo Rock Gym.

If you're a member, there is no charge for the workshop, and for all of you non-members it will only set you back $24. All we can hold is 20 people (10 couples) so advanced registration will be required. Just stop by the font desk to sign up or ask for more information. Here is a bit more about what to expect:


Please join Allan and Dawn, who have been teaching Partner Yoga Workshops for the past 5 years, for this fun filled two hours that will include partner pranayama, seated, standing and restorative yoga poses. Partner assisted yoga enables us to move more deeply into postures than we can on our own - it’s a wonderful experience to rediscover familiar poses with a partner. We will end the day with partner massage, savasana and more. No previous yoga experience is necessary to enjoy the benefits of this workshop – just a sense of adventure. So find a partner and join us!


Allan Jacinto R.YI. is a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa instructor who has been teaching Flow and Beginner Ashtanga, as well as Yin and Gentle Yoga for Seniors in the Bay Area for the last 6 years. Dawn Hall has been teaching yoga for the past 6 years and practicing yoga for the last 16 years. She currently teaches alignment based flow classes with a focus on proper muscle engagement and energy flow. She is also the owner of Lifestretch Yoga studios located in Fremont and Milpitas.

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Monday, February 9, 2009
  Sacramento Pipeworks Meditation Workshops

In case you missed our very first Meditation Workshop at Sacramento Pipeworks, we just wanted to remind you that these workshops take place each and every Wednesday throughout the month of February at 5:30 pm.

Here is a bit more about these Meditation Workshops:

Introduction to Meditation

Have you ever meditated?

If not, come to the Pipeworks yoga room at 5:30 p.m on Wednesdays for the Month of February to learn.

It is a very user friendly and uncomplicated way for beginning to work in a proactive way to reduce stress and its effects on the mind and body and will allow you to learn how to center yourself in your everyday life no matter what you do.
Robert Hallworth longtime Pipeworks yoga teacher with several years of meditation experience and student of several meditation masters from Tibetan and Zen Buddhist traditions and also the Satyananda (Integral) yogic tradition will be happy to reintroduce you to your own capability to take a breather especially during these hectic times and how to simply and regularly apply these techniques. Cost: Free for members, drop-in fee for non-members.
Head in and check it out, we hope to see you there.

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Friday, February 6, 2009
  Climbing Clip of the Week: Claymation Fontainbleau
This weeks Climbing Clip of the Week one of the staff at Great Western Power Co. Desk staff Joe Horton and his girlfriend put together this claymation stop-motion video for a friend who is heading to Fontainbleau, France this spring to do some bouldering. Hopefully we get plenty of video from that trip as well.

In the meantime, enjoy this unique departure from our regular climbing clips, and then have an amazing weekend. Get out and do some climbing...don't forget to record it!

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Thursday, February 5, 2009
  New Members: Bouldering Safety & How To Fall
The new year always brings a lot of new faces in the gym and as such, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of some basic bouldering safety. The main thing you need to know, right off the bat before you start climbing, is the easiest to learn: How To Fall. That's right, many people get injured by falling, and landing improperly while bouldering.

Here are the basics:
  1. Hit the ground feet first, toes facing forward, with your knees bent.
  2. Absorb shock by collapsing like an accordion.
  3. Roll backwards to disperse force.
The article mentions that you should always scout out your landing area before beginning any bouldering problems. Keep this extra little tip in mind:
"Except in cases where an obstacle looms immediately behind you (e.g. a wall, person, etc.), there is seldom a reason to remain on your feet. Posting your arm behind you can potentially dislocate or break your elbow, wrist, or shoulder. Also take care when rolling forward, as whacking your head on your knees or the wall will reduce your debonair appearance."

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009
  Another Great iPhone App To Help You Stay Fit

We're living in a world surrounded by and filled with technology. I suppose when it comes to implementing it into your life you have to make a choice, either include it and help yourself out, or fight it and go it the old way. Now, using technology to help you is even easier, and we just found another iPhone application that can help you track your overall fitness, dieting, training and weight-loss plans. The app is called Lose It! and for the next few months is completely free...what do you have to lose?

Based on the reviews, this is not something to miss out on. Here is their official description:

Succeed at weight loss with Lose It! Set goals and establish a daily calorie budget that enables you to meet them. Stay on track each day by recording your food and exercise and staying within your budget.
Enter food and exercise easily using a searchable database. Quickly re-enter foods and meals you’ve had in the past. Lose It! is the most complete and streamlined weight loss application available for the iPhone. Lose It! will be available for free during the first six months of its release. Get it now while it’s still hot!"

Try it out, enjoy and thank us later.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009
  TBS4 At Sacramento Pipeworks
In case you missed the comp last Friday in Sacramento, here is a brief recap of all the in's and out's of what occurred at this year's TBS4 held at Sacramento Pipeworks. By all accounts it was a very successful competition and it makes us even more excited for our next event, to be held at Diablo Rock Gym on Friday, February 20th, so start planning now!

Here's a bit of what you missed:
Held Friday January 23rd from 6-10pm. The 64 climbing problems ranged in difficulty from V0 to V11. 165 competitors from Sacramento, Davis and all over the bay area turned in score cards and were treated to pizza and beer. Prizes raffled at the end included t-shirts, climbing chalk, bouldering brushes, magazines, bouldering guides, chalk bags, coffee mugs and Touchstone water bottles. While scores were being tallied, the crowd was entertained by a slackline competition and a ro-sham-bo (rock, paper and scissors) championship.
Thanks for everyone who participated, competed and enjoyed. It's always a great time.

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Monday, February 2, 2009
  February Featured Artist at Berkeley Ironworks

It's officially February, Groundhog Day today in fact, so while we wait to hear whether or not the Groundhog saw his shadow, we just wanted to let you know about this month's Featured Artist at our Berkeley Ironworks gym. This February, we're proud to feature the art of Michael P. Reynolds, an extremely talented photographer.

Here's a bit about Michael Reynolds, make sure you don't miss out, it's stunning work:

Rocks & Trees

As a photographer, I’m often asked what my favorite subject matter is. For me, that landscape photography. I find rocks and trees and the way light strikes them to be compelling and some times even magical. The images on display were taken at a number of different locations including the eastern Sierra, Yosemite and the desert southwest. Some re digital images created using a Nikon D2Xs and some were created using a Large Format 4x5 view camera, using Velvia 50 film. Images are processed in Photoshop CS4 or Adobe Lightroom, using techniques similar to those used in a traditional darkroom. I do not alter the content of the image. For archival results I output on Hahnemuhle fine art Photorag Bright White paper, using Epson K3 Ultrachrome inks. All of my prints are faithful to the original subject matter. Both framed and unmatted prints are available for purchase. Print sizes vary slightly, depending on the image. Framed prints on display are $160 to $175, depending on size. Unframed 12 inch prints are $55, 14 inch prints are $75, 16 inch prints are $95, 18 inch prints are $115 and 20 inch prints are $135 (measurements are the long dimension of the image). Framing is available for all print sizes. Other print sizes are available on request. To see more of my work, please visit

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