Featured Artist @ Berkeley Ironworks Here's a heads up about an art installation at our Berkeley Ironworks gym that will be up for the entire month of April. If you're anywhere in or around the area, do stop in and check out our Featured Artist for the month of April, Luke Keegan.
Luke takes brilliant photographs and recently was kind enough to give us his own artist's statement that accompanies his April showing. Here's what he had to say:
The many possible approaches to photography allow one to capture or create, to represent or reflect, to tell a story or omit the unwanted details. I make it my goal to record the feeling of a moment, to find the image that will evoke a universal sense of appreciation that exists within the individual uniqueness of each viewer. Famous photographers have referred to 'the decisive moment', when the light, perspective, composition, and subject come together to create an extra dimension within the frame. This synergy, though elusive, is ever present in even the most ordinary moments, and is hunted by photographers across the globe. Perhaps the most hackneyed of all genres of photography, landscapes are often devoid of this momentary spirit. It is a difficult genre to approach with not much room for novelty in this digital age. I believe the images that I've chosen to hang for you portray an extra dimension, and hope that they also evoke some spirit within you.
"Fit Fridays Happy Hour" Starts in April! Here's a quick heads up that one of our popular classes at Berkeley Ironworks has changed in both name, and style. That's right, starting in April, every Friday at 5:00 pm will be our new "Fit Fridays Happy Hour" class that will be a blend of cardio, strength and stretching.
Check out our flyer for the new information, but bottom line, if you're looking for a great way to get happy on endorphins while doing strength training that ranges from lunches to pull-ups, cardio drills that bring in kickboxing to plyometrics, and great ab and stretching activities, this is the class for you. It's led by Cathyn Fan, who started out with a 200-hour YogaFit certification and then went on to add Pilates, Abs, Kickboxing and personal training to her resume. If you want functional strength, this is your new best friend. The best news, they even do exercises that will improve your climbing skills.
DRG's New Artist of the Month for April April is right around the corner and with that, our Diablo Rock Gym is going to have a brand new Artist of the Month that will be featured for the entire month. If her name, or her work sounds familiar, it should, she was actually one of our featured artists at Mission Cliffs. We loved her work so much we asked her back to Diablo Rock Gym for April.
Here's a bit about the artist, Leila Chirayath Janah, and what you can expect to see throughout April at DRG:
"Leila Chirayath Janah hails from a family of artists. Her uncle, the Bengali photographer Sunil Janah, documented the people’s struggles against colonialism and the emergence of independent India after 1947. Her grandparents, Christiane Zeebroek and Ashis Janah, founded one of the India’s most respected pottery houses and produced commercial work from the 1950s to the 1980s in their Calcutta studio.
Janah began taking photographs in her teens during her travels in over fifty countries, mainly in the developing world. She developed a passion for photography after living and teaching in a small village in Ghana, where she learned the importance of images in forming personal narratives, particularly among people whose stories are often overlooked by history books and mainstream media.
After receiving a BA in African Development Studies from Harvard, Janah founded Samasource, a social enterprise that helps marginalized small business owners in Africa and rural Asia connect to clients. She lives in San Francisco and continues to photograph boxers."
TBS4: A Wrap-Up TBS4 has officially come to an end and while we have to wait until July to see it return, we wanted to give all of you a bit of a wrap up to let you know just how fun, and how successful it really was. Without a doubt, this was our most successful Touchstone Bouldering Series ever, and after the way it went, we're looking forward to the next round!
Here's a bit of a wrap up, in case you missed anything, or if you just wanted a little bit of information as to exactly how it all went down:
The last competition was at Ironworks on Friday. We had 345 competitors at this one and that officially made it our largest ever competition. Over the 5 different competitions that made up TBS4 we had even more people, 758 total climbers came together over 5 different events to make this our largest series Ever.
If you want to see the full results, feel free to head over here and dive right in. For now, here are the winners of each different category, but congratulations to each and every one of you that participated.
Women's Beginner Division - Tobie Chan-Kalin
Women's Intermediate Division - Karen Benitez
Women's Advanced Division - Hally Tollner
Men's Beginner Division -Joseph Markette
Men's Intermediate Division - John Ricco
Men's Advanced Division - Troy Gibb
Thank everyone who came out and made this such a great season. If you have not had a chance to come to these competitions, they have free pizza, free Beer, free T-shirt, Raffle Prizes, tons of new climbing and lots of great people. Now is the time to join up and start putting your skills to the test and having a lot of fun.
RES Visits Diablo Rock GymDiablo Rock Gym recently saw a community group come through it's doors and by all accounts it looks like everything went perfectly. The group was called RES Success, or Redefining Educational Services and after their visit they were nice enough to send over a few photos and a card. We were lucky to have you guys.
For close to two decades, RES SUCCESS (Redefining Educational Services) has provided developmentally disabled individuals with a safe, supportive, and beautiful environment in which to learn and grow. We believe passionately that every person, regardless of how they were born, deserves to lead a fulfilling life and reach their own personal potential.
Our multiple locations in Northern California provide specially-designed behavioral modification and community inclusion programs in an exceptional environment. Students in our day programs participate in a variety of enriching experiences, such as attending classes at Diablo Valley College, preparing for meaningful employment, and participating in some of the diverse activities that the Bay Area has to offer like the Museum of Modern Art, the local farmer's market, or a game of bocce ball.
RES SUCCESS uses a clinically proven model of care that helps students work towards a common goal of independence and self reliance. Our successful approach also provides significant savings to the State of California.
Thanks again to everyone, we hope to have you again in the future!
No Men's Showers @ Mission Cliffs: 3/27 - 3/30 Heads up to all you Mission Cliffs climbers at fitness fanatics that just so happen to be men, this one is aimed right at you. Due to the fact that we will be completely re-tiling the entire Men's shower area, unfortunately the showers themselves will be completely unavailable from this Friday, March 27th at 10:00 am until Monday, March 30th.
We are sorry for the inconvenience, but rest assured the few days of shower-less locker rooms will be well worth the hassle once the re-tiling is complete.
Thanks for your understanding, and remember, March 27th through March 30th, No Showers at Mission Cliffs!
TBS Series Returning in July! Good news for any of you that missed it, any of you that loved it, or any of you that were hoping that there would be more of it...The TBS Series WILL be returning in July. That's right, it was so fun, and so successful the last time around, some changes have been made.
Here is some more information that just came down the grapevine into my ear. Check it out:
Due to the unbelievable success of both the Touchstone Bouldering Series and the Touchstone Roped Series, Touchstone has decided to shift the schedule of these two series. The TBS series will now run during the fall and the TRS will run during the spring. By shifting the TRS to the spring, this will allow Touchstone to use these comp routes to host USA Climbing event for local kids.
Thus the TBS will return in July and run through November and the TRS will start up in January and run through May. We look forward to another exciting comp season and we hope to see all of you in July.
So, start getting ready, training and practicing...we'll see you all in a few months!
Climbing Clip of the Week: Slackline Fun @ Pipeworks
This week, instead of posting a climbing clip to cap off the week, I decided to post something a little different, but equally impressive as a lot of the climbing clips we've posted up to this point. It's called Slacklining, and while most of you probably know what it is, for those that don't, it is essentially a balance sport that involves walking, balancing and interacting with a climbing rope that has been anchored between two points.
At any rate, I just found this awesome clip of a guy doing slackline tricks and balancing at our very own Sacramento Pipeworks. Check it out, and the next time you're in one of our gyms, why not try a little yourself? It's a great way to work on your balance and build lower body and core strength. Impressive.
Enjoy your weekend, and we'll see you bright and early Monday morning.
Sacramento Pipeworks Featured Members! At our Sacramento Pipeworks gym, for the last 7 years we've been doing a "featured member" series. Every so often, our staff members will pick someone who they feel exemplifies the Pipeworks dedication to health, diversity, fun and sense of community.
When this person is chosen, their photo will be displayed for a time along with their answers to some very silly questions we asked them. Vaughn over at Pipeworks sent us this about some of their recent Featured Members, and what struck him, was how diverse our membership is here at Touchstone Climbing. Here's what he had to say:
"While compiling this collage, I was struck by how truly diverse our membership is: young and old, men and women, boys and girls, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, people of all shapes, sizes, colors and dispositions. We have featured individuals, as well as brothers/sisters, fathers/sons and couples. The common thread seems to be that they are all happy and healthy, and have all played a part in shaping what a great place this gym has become!"
Body Fat Testing @ Berkeley Ironworks on April 27 Mark your calendars for this one, as it's something you really shouldn't miss. Looks like for all of you who missed out in the past, BodyFatTest is coming back, and will be at our Berkeley Ironworks gym on Monday, April 27th.
For those who have been tested in the past, don’t miss out on the chance to see the changes to your fat and lean mass. For those who have missed out on testing before, take this opportunity to start tracking your fitness progress now using the most accurate body composition analysis available with BodyFatTest!
BodyFatTest is a mobile, hydrostatic, body composition testing clinic that will provide you with a four-page printout including your body fat percentage, lean mass percentage, resting metabolic rate, and caloric expenditure activity chart tailored specifically for you. Body composition testing is exciting and motivating because you will track your gains in muscle mass while decreasing your body fat – this is not recognized on a bathroom scale and can frustrate fitness enthusiasts and those trying to improve their health through diet and exercise. The test takes only a few moments during which you will totally submerge yourself in comfortably warm water, heated to between 89 and 94 degrees. The water is cycling through a pump and filtration system throughout the day. Mark your calendar now.
BodyFatTest will be here on Monday, April 27th from 3pm – 8pm. The initial test costs $49, with retests at $39. Advanced registration at the front desk is strongly encouraged. Bring your bathing suit on the day of testing – changing rooms are available in the clinic. For more information, check out their website at www.bodyfattest.com. See you there!
GWPC & The Davis Street Family Resource Center Here's a quick one about a recent community group that we were lucky enough to spend the day with at our Great Western Power Co. location, the Davis Street Family Resource Center. In the first year of opening, GWPC has actually invited a number of community groups that are based in and around the Oakland area to visit the gym at a reduced rate. Doing this, has allowed many underprivileged and at-risk kids to experience climbing for the first time. A few weeks ago, the Davis Street Family Resource Center stopped in and had an event and a great time.
After their visit, they were nice enough to send back a little letter about the time they spent in our gym, and as always, we love hearing back from the groups we host. Here's what Alicia Ohs, their Lead Prevention Specialist had to say:
"At Davis Street Family Resource Center, we've taken two field trips to Great Western Power Company. As part of our Alcohol and Drug Prevention Programs, climbing gives our students a lesson in trust and respect that they don't learn anywhere else. It's an amazing opportunity to try on a new 'high' that offers communication, teamwork, adrenaline, and fun. GWPC has been unbelievably supportive and helpful in this process to expose a new generation of youth to the benefits of climbing." - Alicia Ohs Lead Prevention Specialist
Thanks again, and we hope to see you again sometime in the future!
Sacramento Pipeworks Book Drive Ends Friday! Heads up and a quick reminder to all you in and around our Sacramento Pipeworks gym, our Book Drive we've been holding for the past few weeks comes to an official end this Friday, March 20th! In the event you've already been donating, thank you again, and if you've not heard of the event, here's a bit of information, and remember, there is still time to contribute!
Here's a little bit about the Book Drive:
"Sacramento Pipeworks is hosting a book drive put on by one of the community groups we regularly sponsor called Options For Youth. OFY is collecting books for a non-profit agency called "Teach The Children, Uganda" whose mission is to increase literacy in Uganda. OFY's goal is to send 1000 pounds of books to Uganda by the beginning of April, where they will be distributed to a variety of schools. Please help by cleaning out your bookshelves of literature appropriate for kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade and donating them as soon as possible."
So, head over and start donating, help us reach our goal and send as many books as possible to this great cause!
Cardio Clips of the Week: Boxing With Victor Damian
This week for our Climbing Clip of the Week we decided to instead, show off some clips of one of our popular classes, Cardio Boxing with Victor Damian. If you're looking for a ridiculously workout, a fun time, and something completely different than your average run on the treadmill, this class is most likely exactly right for you.
Here's what Victor had to say when asked to describe his own class:
Cardio Boxing with Victor
Listen to good music, jump rope, punch the heavy bags, work mitts, do some push-ups and sit-ups, have fun and don't forget to sign up for Tuesday and Thursday classes. Class size is limited. All experience levels welcome!
Just a reminder, the Cardio Boxing class is Tuesday & Thursday from 6:30 - 7:30 pm and Friday from 7:45 to 8:45 pm. You can sign up at the front desk at Berkeley Ironworks. For now, check out some of the video footage of our members sweating it out to Cardio Boxing.
Sacramento Pipeworks Gets Testimonial Today brings some good news and a great testimonial for our Pipeworks Gym. We here at Touchstone Climbing like to post these letters of testimonial just to give an additional little thanks to those that are thanking us.
Cara Ryan, who has been working at Women's Empowerment for the last 10 months, wrote in and let us know exactly how coming and climbing at our gyms affected each and everyone that took part in it. Check out her letter to us, and again, thank you for all of our great community groups that come in, we love having you.
Dear Pipeworks Gym,
I have spent the last ten months working at Womenʼs Empowerment. I am here through a one-year post graduate volunteer program, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. One of my responsibilities here at Womenʼs Empowerment has been taking our clients to your gym every Friday morning. I know that looking back on this year my Friday mornings at Pipeworks will be one of my fondest memories.
It has been a pleasure watching the women become more physically fit. One of our clients used to exercise faithfully. She was very health conscious and used to belong to a local gym. However, when she left her abusive partner, she became homeless and could no longer afford a gym membership. By the time she graduated from our program she seemed like a different woman. Her body was leaner and her muscles stronger, but more noticeable was her vastly improved self-confidence. I know that this was in large part due to her time at your gym.
Other Womenʼs Empowerment clients who come to Pipeworks cannot work out as strenuously. Their bodies are weak from years on the streets, past addictions, and age. But spending time at Pipeworks is special for them as well. The opportunity to come to one of the nicest gyms in Sacramento and to be treated exactly the same as paying clients has reminded them of their value and worth.
Two women who accompanied me to Pipeworks regularly one session developed a valuable friendship. They had never talked to each other in class, but both liked to work out every Friday. For them, Pipeworks was a sanctuary away from the drama of the streets surrounding Loaves & Fishes. Every Friday we would stretch, do sit-ups and crunches, exercise on a few machines, and then the two women would spend the last fifteen minutes in the sauna. This was their favorite part of the morning. In the sauna they would talk about their recovery and offer each other support and advice. They felt comfortable offering each other this support in the sauna because it was a peaceful, quiet, and safe space.
By giving Womenʼs Empowermentʼs students the chance to workout at your gym on Friday mornings, you have provided them with stronger, healthier bodies, but you also have provided them with a safe place to build self-confidence and friendships.
Mexico Gear Drive...We Need Your Gear! Here's a great cause that each and every one of us should get behind...We're having a Used Gear drive to try to accumulate as much used climbing gear as we possibly can to take down and give to a lot of very deserving and less fortunate kids in and around Mexico City. Check it out...
"Imagine having abundant rock, lots of motivation to climb but lack climbing shoes, ropes, and a harness. This is the exact situation that many kids around Mexico City find themselves in. Andres Muller, our Sacramento Pipeworks Gym Foreman and former Mexico climbing champion, will soon be heading down to Mexico and would love to take and distribute climbing gear amongst the kids in the region and Mexico City.We all have tons of climbing gear sitting around that we will never use again, so here is an opportunity to get rid of it, and help out kid's who will be able to put it to good use. We would like to ask you to donate old gear by placing it in the boxes provided. Anything will help, harnesses, ropes, chalkbags and shoes."
Ladies Night @ Diablo Rock Gym! Heads up to all you female climbers out there, tomorrow night, March 11th, is Ladies Night at the Diablo Rock Gym. You may not know it already, but the 2nd Wednesday of every single month is Women's Night at our gym and any female who comes in to purchase a day pass will get it for only $10 instead of the usual $16 after 3:00 pm.
Open up your calendar for tomorrow night, the 11th and get in here to do some climbing. At only $10 you can't really find a better, more fun, or healthy way to spend an evening. Plus, saving money in this economy is always a good thing.
Hopefully we'll see a lot of you there, remember, it's Ladies Night, so come in and have a great time!
Touchstone Climbing's NEW Forums! Here's a quick note to let you all know that we did a complete redesign and overhaul of our message board and forums. It's always been a great place for everyone to get together and discuss just about anything you could possibly imagine when it comes to climbing, gear, routes and locations. Now, it's gotten even better and easier to use.
So, head over and check out our new Touchstone Climbing Forums & Message Board; you can do everything from buy and sell used and new gear, find road trip partners, climbing partners, talk about Yoga and Training as well as check up on both the Cycling news and our Running Club.
Check it out, sign up, and start joining the conversations!
A Final Reminder!
Just wanted to throw everyone out there a quick reminder that there are still a few spots open for this Sunday's once in a lifetime event at our Mission Cliffs Gym!
In case you've already forgotten, which is highly unlikely, Ethan Pringle is teaching an Advanced Lead Clinic THIS Sunday and we have a few spots open. Sign up as soon as possible, because the spots won't be open long!
Have a great weekend, and if you make it to the Clinic, have fun and we'll see you there!
Climbing Clip of the Week: Ethan Pringle
In honor of the upcoming "Advanced Lead Clinic" taught by the extremely talented Ethan Pringle this Sunday, we decided that this week, our "Climbing Clip of the Week" should be of the man himself.
So, for this weeks Climbing Clip, check out this gem we stumbled across on YouTube. It's Ethan Pringle on the second ascent of a 35 foot Kevin Jorgeson climb in Bishop, CA. It's amazing to see the technique and finesse.
At any rate, check it out, then if you're signed up for his Advanced Lead Clinic, we'll see you at Mission Cliffs on Sunday from 7:30 - 9:30pm.
TBS4 Sees HUGE Turnout At Diablo Rock Gym Here's a quick update about the TBS4 event we held at Diablo Rock Gym at the end of February. First and foremost, it was a HUGE success! We want to take a moment to thank everyone for competing, for showing up, for taking part in what was a great day.
This event at DRG was part 4 of the TBS4, and our grand finale will be March 20th, at Berkeley Ironworks. We were lucky enough to have Ben Molale, one of our members as the DJ for the event and saw a record breaking number of competitors for DRG as 196 of you showed up to compete.
One of our members, Paul Hara took a bunch of photos that you can browse in case you were unlucky enough to miss the event, or if you want to try to spot yourself in action. Finally, check out the video below to get a full flavor of what went on.
Thanks again to everyone that made TBS4 such an amazing success!
Mission Cliffs Hosts Bay Area Community Resources This is a great week for testimonials about all of our gyms, first we heard back from the Seneca Center about our Great Western Power Co. gym, and now today, we get a testimonial back from the Bay Area Community Resources (BACR) program that came to our Mission Cliffs gym with students from both the 4th and 5th grades.
BACR is an organization that "promotes the healthy development of individuals, families and communities through direct services, volunteerism, and partnerships in the San Francisco Bay Area." They brought their kids and here is what they had to say:
Mission Cliffs is fantastic for school groups. I was fortunate enough to bring 4th and 5th grade students here as a reward for homework completion and the students could not stop talking about the trip. I am always pleased to expose my students to activities which they may normally not encounter outside of school. The staff were very diligent in ensuring that the students understood the rules and also had fun in the process. I would definitely recommend this as a field trip for other school groups.Carlos AlmendarezProject Director
Thanks Carlos, and we hope to see you and your students back again in the near future.
Great Western Power Co. Gets Great Testimonial At the beginning of February at our Great Western Power Co. location, we were lucky enough to play host to yet another great youth organization. We hosted some kids from the Seneca Center for a day of climbing, challenges and problem solving opportunities that helped them build trust, courage and climbing skills.
Recently, we heard back from one of the leaders at the Seneca Center, Emily McMane and she sent us a great testimonial to how the experience affected each of the children chosen to come and climb. Check out their words:
"Mouths gaped, eyes widened, and the room became a fluttering sound of "Whoaaaas!" and "Cooooools!", as they entered the room. Six children from Seneca Center's San Leandro After School Program visited GWPC's climbing gym in Oakland for the first time on February 6th. The expectation for staff and kids alike had been simply to climb, but the experience lived up to so much more. For two hours we supported kids, ranging in age from 8 to 13, in climbing, laughing, learning, and challenging themselves through new experiences. The GWPC staff was so helpful and accommodating to our group's needs, and the gym itself had a perfect array of climbing routes to suit children of varying ages and abilities. Thanks to GWPC for this great opportunity to help us build trust and courage within our kids, and offering not only the chance to climb, but the chance to cheer each other on as well. This was invaluable experience for our program. Our kids are still talking about it. Thanks again!"
Thank you, and we hope to see you back again sometime!
Ethan Pringle Clinic at Mission Cliffs THIS Sunday Empty your calendars for this Sunday everyone, because there is an event upcoming that you will not want to miss. We are lucky enough to announce that starting this Sunday, March 8 we are going to be hosting a workshop by one of the top climbers in the entire world, Ethan Pringle.
That's right, exclusively at Mission Cliffs, we'll be having an "Advanced Lead Clinic" with Ethan Pringle. The Clinic will spread over 2 Sundays, March 8 and March 15 and will cover a great deal of information. Here's what you can expect:
"Been leading 5.11s for awhile? Want to make the jump to the next level? In a small, group setting, learn how to push yourself to climb smart from one of the world's best, ETHAN PRINGLE. Gain the mental skill set and confidence necessary to break into 5.12.
Day 1 Learn how to climb, clip and fall with confidence. Pushing your limit ABOVE the bolt.
Day 2 Route reading, improvisation and decision making. Knowing when to rest, and when to punch it. Most importantly, how to concentrate and relax.
Skill Level Solid 5.11 Lead Climber."
If you're interested, sign up now because space is limited to only 10 participants! It's going to cost $75 for all you Members out there, and $100 if you're not a member. Don't miss out!