5 Prime Climbing Destinations We're sneaking up on the season of vacations...schools are about to be letting out for Summer, you might have a few weeks of free time saved up from work, so really the only question that remains is where to go, and when. After reading the article we just found, you might be changing your plans, and re-routing your GPS.
That's right, we just found a great report on 5 different locations that are prime spots if you love to climb. Some of them aren't your typical vacation destinations, but if it's the climbing you're after, you can't do much better than these 5 places. Check out the Top 5:
City of Rocks, Idaho - "City of Rocks is a climber's paradise of granite domes set in the grassy rolling hills of southern Idaho...Rock formations from 30 to 300 feet tall provide an abundance of climbing opportunities, from beginner to advanced single pitch cracks to multipitched bolted lines. "
Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, Calif. - "The ultimate destination for any climber is Yosemite -- the birthplace of American big-wall climbing. The staggering beauty of the granite walls and green meadows and the unsurpassed climbing continue to lure climbers from all over the world."
Indian Creek, Utah - "Affectionately referred to by climbers simply as "The Creek," Indian Creek is THE place for crack climbing, with perfect sandstone splitter cracks of every width imaginable. "
Red Rock Canyon, Nevada - "Deep red and orange saturated sandstone, bighorn sheep, wild burros, sunny skies and the lights of Las Vegas in the distance -- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is the Vegas playground for climbers. It offers some of the best moderate, multipitch routes to be found anywhere."
Leavenworth, Wash. - "Homegrown granite, great climbing, alpine lakes, mountain goats and a Bavarian village -- it is not necessary to go overseas for this interesting mixture. "
So, as you start planning your upcoming vacation, why not go off the beaten path of typical vacations, avoid the Disneylands and the theme parks and make it a climbing vacation worth remembering?
Here's a bit of information for all you hardcore fitness fans out there, as we are officially in the middle of CrossFit Competition Season. That's right, the CrossFit Games 2009 are sneaking up on us and as such there are a great deal of local "Throwdowns" taking place, and one of our locals, Appolonia Helm, will be participating in the Norcal Qualifier Next Week.
Here's a bit more about all this:
"CrossFit East Bay will be fielding a team for the "Affiliate Cup" comp at the Games in July.
CrossFit East Bay will be having tryouts and/or competitions within our affiliate to determine the make-up of our team.
Training for the Affiliate Cup Tryouts will begin on Sunday May 9th. There will be a MANDATORY meeting on that day, 1PM, for those interested in tryouts: if for some reason, you truly cannot make it, schedule a separate meeting with me please.
While Gita and I are working out the details, it is likely that we will mirror the affiliate cup format by having two WODs per day, one at 1PM and one at 6PM (programming by Gita), with at least some of these held at off-site locations. There will be 14 WODs followed by a qualifier one week before the games (July 5th, date subject to change). You must attend 10 of 14 WODs to participate in the qualifier."
If you're into it, and feeling fit enough, check it out and look into getting involved. You will be pushed to your limits!
Life Project at Berkeley Ironworks At the end of February, our Berkeley Ironworks gym hosted an amazing event known as Life Project. From 4-6pm the Life Project took place with 12 participants. Life Project, is a mentoring organization that provides mentors for children of incarcerated parents. The project helps deal with issues that surround parental incarceration and helps provide the children with group events that focus on leadership, as well as issues of incarceration.
Bottom line, the Berkeley Ironworks staff was amazing, and here was a testimonial from the day:
"The Ironworks staff once again came though! Out kids loved climbing on all the different walls and learning how to put on the harness. They already can't wait to come back. Each of your staff members worked to make each kid feel comfortable and reach their goals. We appreciate you providing this opportunity to out kids. Without your generous support they may have missed this experience. Thank you to each of you, for all that you do."
Thank YOU, it was a great day, and a great experience for everyone.
Sacramento Pipeworks Gets Great Testimonial Welcome back to the work week. Monday kicks off with Sacramento Pipeworks getting a great testimonial from a community group they recently hosted in their gym. Looks like everyone had a great time and most importantly, a whole lot was learned by all.
The group, called SKYLAB, is a community group that strives to better the lives of youth by giving them a safe harbor to figure out exactly who they are. According to the testimonial they sent, SKYLAB "believes that youth are valuable assets with important ideas, and therefore seeks to provide a safe, creative, nurturing space in which children can pursue their own interests as well as work together to ask questions and present creative solutions to community problems." We couldn't agree more and all of us at Touchstone Climbing agree that children are the most valuable assets. At any rate, here's what some of the kids had to say:
Christina (11, first time going) said: “Rock climbing was perfect and interesting. I was surprised when I got further past the green and pink rock than I thought that I could. I felt safe, supported and not gonna fall.”
Dale (9) “I went mostly on all of the walls. When I felt most scared I remembered my past good experiences rock climbing.”
Mikael (first time going) “I didn’t like the harness but I liked the climbing rope [exercise rope].”
Jasmine (8) “I had fun. When I was scared I got over the fear by pushing on.”
Emma (18, Student Intern) “I saw all of the kids finish the day going twice as high as they were in the morning. It was really neat to see.”
Thanks again for a great time and we're looking forward to working with you more in the upcoming future!
Alliance Academy Stops By Great Western Power Co. For the last 3 years our Great Western Power Co. gym has been lucky enough to host an awesome group that brings great students and a great attitude. The group recently stopped by and we were lucky enough to hear back from one of their teachers on this year's version of their annual trip. Alliance Academy stopped by for some climbing and we just heard back.
Nevertheless, a great time was had and according to Rachel Hellesto, a teacher at Alliance, they will be coming back in the future for even more climbing and learning experiences. Here's what she had to say in her testimonial to us:
"I teach 8th grade at Alliance Academy on 98th Ave in East Oakland. Students at are school love to be active, but they live in an unsafe neighborhood and often have nowhere to go after school besides home. For the past 3 years students at our school have been climbing at Great Western Power Company and Ironworks. Taking our students climbing is a chance for our students to be exposed to something outside East Oakland. When I took my students on the bus to the gym, it was the first time one of them had been to downtown Oakland, even though he's grown up about 8 miles away. Climbing gives students self-confidence, teaches them about teamwork (I love to hear them cheer for each other as they reach the top), and it gives them a safe and positive place to be after school. Thanks for giving our students this great opportunity!"
-Rachel Hellesto, teacher.
Thanks Rachel and thanks to everyone at Alliance for the day. Can't wait to see you back again soon!
Touchstone Supporting AIDS/Lifecycle Ride Here is a bit of good news on the Touchstone Cycling front: Looks like once again we will be supporting the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride this year. Word just came down the pipe and it's looking like this will be another great event and a great ride.
Here's the official info on the AIDS/Lifecycle ride, straight from the top:
Touchstone will once again be supporting members who are taking part in the 7-day ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, May 31 – June 6, 2009. Last year we gave over $5000 to 10 different members who participated in the ride. This year, in an effort to support a larger group of participants, we will give $100 donations to all Touchstone members who are participating in the ride. We will also donate a Touchstone cycling jersey to any member that wants to wear the jersey during the ride.
(Jersey limited to sizes we currently have in stock.)
Happy Earth Day from Touchstone Climbing A quick note today from all of us here at Touchstone Climbing...we just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Earth Day and stress how important today is. Take a moment today to do something to help out this planet of ours.
How can you help? First off, there are a million ways and not all of them have to be huge. Walk to work today instead of driving, ride your bike for the next week instead of taking a taxi. Start recycling at home, even if it's just plastic bottles and newspaper, just start doing it. Bottom line is, as climbers we have an intimate connection with nature and unless everyone starts pitching in to start saving what we have left, we won't be climbing for long.
So, Happy Earth Day, remember that this Saturday we have the Earth Day Clean-up of the American River Canyons near The Auburn Quarry outside of Sacramento. Every little bit helps, so the more little bits we all do, the better off we'll all be.
Berkeley Ironworks Hosts Next Generation Scholars The end of March brought a great event into our Berkeley Ironworks location. We're still waiting on an official testimonial from the group, but nevertheless, by the looks of the photo and hearing from those that were at the event, it was both educational and extremely fun.
At any rate, on March 29th, 18 teenagers from a group called "Next Generation Scholars," stopped by for a day out. During their visit to Berkeley Ironworks they learned to both climb, and belay for the very first time. "Next Generation Scholars" is an organization that serves underprivileged college-bound Marin-based high school students. Megan, the Program Coordinator, was quick to describe the event and the day they spent with us as "rewarding" and that she looks "forward to working with you again in the future."
Thanks for hosting your event with us, we can't wait to have you back and look forward to hearing
Earth Day Clean-Up Day April 25! Short notice on this one, but nevertheless if you're in or around the Sacramento area, this is an event you won't want to miss for a variety of reasons. On Saturday, April 25th, there is a clean-up going on very near the Auburn Quarry. In case you didn't know, climbing is currently banned at the Quarry and event sponsors CRAGS (Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento) are trying hard to get that changed. Bottom line, a clean-up is a great way to show some very important goodwill at the same time doing something very good for this planet of ours.
Here is some more information, but make sure to leave your schedules open this Saturday, April 25th from 8:00 am til 1:00 pm. Here you go:
Earth Day 2009 American River Clean-up
Keep it Wild! ~ Keep it Scenic! ~ Keep it Clean!
Saturday, April 25 8am to 1pm
Meet at the old Auburn-Foresthill curved bridge near the Confluence 3 miles below Auburn near the Highway 49 American River crossing. Check in at the Protect American River Canyons information booth to register and receive your free map of the American River Confluence Parkway, trash collection bags water and snacks. Historic Bridges of the Confluence hike @ 11:30 am. Wear sturdy shoes, Bring gloves, and a lunch.
For more information contact the Auburn State Recreation Area office @ 530-885-4527 or PARC @ 530-885-8878.
Sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation, Auburn State Recreation Area, Protect American River Canyons, ASRA Canyon Keepers and CRAGS(Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento) A very special thanks to clean-up donors, Keep California Beautiful, Auburn Placer Disposal, CHP, PG&E, Raley’s Markets, Grocery Outlet and the Auburn Journal and Auburn Sentinel.
Climbing Clip of the Week: Joshua Tree Climbing
Ever since the very first time I heard U2's album "The Joshua Tree" I have wanted to visit the National Park and just explore. After seeing this video that will serve as our Climbing Clip of the Week, I can not wait to go. The climbing there looks spectacular and watching this video makes me extremely angry I've yet to climb there.
In this video, the climber in question is taking on "Hobbit Roof" in Joshua Tree National Park and I can't even imagine how his hands are feeling after this climb. Impressive to take in and it makes me want to ask any of YOU if you've had the opportunity to climb at Joshua Tree?
So, sound off, where's the best place you've ever climbed? Any places you'd call your favorite? Hardest place you have ever climbed? Remember, we're always looking for videos of our members taking on some climbing, so if you have any, do not hesitate to send them in. For now, enjoy this climbing clip of the week, and enjoy your weekend.
Climbing and Yoga Injury Clinic @ Mission Cliffs Here's a quick heads up about an awesome free member event that is taking place this Sunday, April 19th from 2-4pm at our Mission Cliffs location. If you're in or around the area, we highly suggest dropping in for this clinic, you can learn a lot and I'm pretty sure everyone will benefit from it greatly.
So, this Sunday, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm we will be having a Climbing and Yoga Injury Clinic that will help you learn exactly how to avoid common climbing and yoga related injuries. Check out the official info about the event:
Focus on Lower Back, Hip and Knee Injuries
CLIMBING & YOGA INJURY CLINIC. Learn to prevent, identify and treat common climbing and yoga-related injuries in this FREE clinic on SUNDAY APRIL 19th from 2-4 PM. This clinic will focus on lower back, hip and knee injuries, but other injuries can be addressed as well, time permitting. Physical therapist David Borgeson will discuss the pathology and treatment of injuries affecting participants. Learn how climbing and yoga can both cause and cure injuries.
David Borgeson is an orthopedic physical therapist at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine - Corte Madera Clinic. An avid climber of 30 years and yoga practitioner, David has developed expertise in evaluating and treating injuries commonly seen in rock climbers and yoga enthusiasts. He has taught classes on climbing technique and injury prevention for Touchstone for the past 10 years, and incorporates yoga into his physical therapy practice.
Bottom line, if you're in the area, stop in and check it out. Injuries are annoying no matter when, where or why you get them, so the more you can learn to avoid them, the better off you'll be. Your body will thank you, and when you're able to spend more days doing the things you love, and less days recovering, you'll thank us.
Mission Cliffs Hosts Bridgemont High At the end of February, Mission Cliffs was lucky enough to play host to a great community group, and as you probably can guess by now, doing this is one of our favorite things. At any rate, our Mission Cliffs gym became the site of a surprise mystery event for Bridgemont High School and everyone had an amazing time.
They were kind enough to send us over a testimonial for our site, and even some student quotes from the day they spent climbing all over the walls at MC. Here's what they all had to say:
Bridgemont High School –Mystery Day @ Mission Cliffs
Rock climbing at Mission Cliffs became their surprise mystery event. The honor students were awarded with a day of adventure, but didn’t know what they were going to do.
We brought our students here both as a reward and as a challenge. A reward because these are our honor roll students from the fall semester. A challenge because city kids don’t often have the opportunity to climb up rocks, work their muscles, and overcome mental barriers. As they participated in this, they became increasingly aware that reaching the top is between them and themselves. It was neat to see these students encouraging and challenging each other. Today our kids overcame.
Tyler Smith & Robin Umos Bridgemont
Student quotes: “It was amazing to make the top. It made me feel good.” -Hamine Y. “It’s something I haven’t done in awhile; don’t do normally. It tests me mentally and physically.” –Jose J. “It made me face my fear of heights.” –Azar A. “I learned to keep my arms straight and stay concentrated.” –Chia S. “It’s a challenge between you and yourself to see if you can actually go further”. –Briana J.
Thanks again everyone involved, looks like it went great and we hope you include us in your mystery events in the future!
Touchstone Bike Club Member Rocks Sacramento Just got this one from Vaughn, our GM at our Sacramento Pipeworks gym and it shows a lot about just how impressive our Touchstone Bike Club members and riders really are. One of our riders, Peter Harney recently took part and competed in the Prairie City Race Series in Sacramento and did amazingly well.
Peter races in the Sport 34-39 Division and just took 8th place in the very first race of the series, and then 7th this week. What's more impressive is that he actually plans on racing in all 12 events that constitute the Prairie City Race Series and also just signed up to do the Downieville XC. We feel lazy just writing that.
To top it all off, and what I'm sure Peter would say is even more important than these races, is the fact that he is the proud Dad of a brand new two-and-a-half week old baby girl. Bottom line: Congratulations Peter, and keep up the great work...you're making Touchstone look very, very good.
TBS4 Finale @ Berkeley Ironworks Video
In case any of you were unfortunate enough to actually miss the TBS4 Finale at Berkeley Ironworks, I have some great news this Monday morning: I have an official write-up, a photo gallery you can check out, AND a video of the contest that you missed out on.
Here we go, straight from Paul, the General Manager at Berkeley Ironworks:
On March 20th, Berkeley Ironworks hosted the TBS4 series finale. A record turnout of 343 competitors came out to test their mettle against 67 brand new boulder problems ranging from v0 to v11! It wasn't just the climbing challenges that drew climbers from all over the Bay Area, we had free pizza, beer and a prize raffle.
Brett Ashton won the Men's Advanced and Gabbi Masse won the Women's advanced. For the intermediate category we had Morgan Laney (women's) and Ethan Goldblatt (men's). The beginning category champions were Chris Hutchins (men's) and Grace Fernandez (women's).
The series titles were also up for grabs that Friday night and the competitor who had the best 3 scores out of the 5 competitions would take home the crown. Even though Brett Ashton beat Troy Gibb at Ironworks, Troy's previous comp results let him squeak out the victory in the Men's Advanced category. Halley Tollner's consistent performances enabled her to edge out Gabby Masse for the Women's Advanced title.
In the Intermediate category, Karen Benitez won the Women's over Julie Spiker by the smallest of margins (260 points) and John Ricco dominated Men's, winning by 2920 points. For the beginner division, Grace Fernandez's hard work paid off, she attended all 5 comps and won the Women's division handily while Joseph Markette one the Men's.
The next Touchstone Bouldering Series (season 5) will start this July so keep checking the website for when the dates will be announced.
Bottom line, when TBS5 rolls around, this is NOT something you're going to want to miss. Thanks Paul.
Climbing Clip of the Week: Homemade Climbing Wall
Yesterday, we mentioned that if you have a room or garage in your home that isn't getting much use, maybe a good idea would be to spend some bucks and convert it to a homemade, DIY indoor climbing or bouldering wall that can help you practice anytime you're outside of the gym. Today, I just so happened to find a video of a guy that did exactly that and with great results.
Granted you might not have as much space as the guy in this video, it does show what's possible with a few pieces of plywood and some great holds. Watch his wall, watch him climb on it, and get inspired to make something like it for your Own home.
Have a great weekend, see you back here bright and early Monday morning!
Empty Space In Your House? Build A Bouldering Wall! Do you have empty space in your house, whether it's an unfinished basement, a garage you don't use or a family room that never actually sees your family? How about converting it into a mini-climbing or bouldering wall? What better way to keep up on practicing when you're not inside the climbing gym, whichever Touchstone Climbing location you frequent, than doing some climbing and practicing at home?
I just read an article about a family that did exactly that, converted their unused space in their home to a bouldering wall and filled the walls and ceilings with holds and even made their own routes. What better way to stay fit, practice your climbing skills and have FUN while you're not able to be in the gym? According to the article, the Dad of the family, Kevin did all of the work himself:
"Kevin, a handy man, installed plywood around three walls (the fourth wall is a mirror) and part of the ceiling, added "holds" or fake rocks made of resin that he found on eBay and Craigslist and threw a few mats on the floor."
Head over and check out the article, maybe it will inspire you to whip up your own mini-bouldering wall in your own home.
Mission Cliffs Hosts Guadalupe Elementary School At our Mission Cliffs gym recently, we were lucky enough to play host to a great community group that actually has close ties to Touchstone Climbing. Kent Schmitz, a part-time course setter for us in the summer and employee of Touchstone Climbing for over a decade brought by his 5th Grade class from Guadalupe Elementary School to do some climbing and enjoy a day in the gym.
Everything went great and it looks like a good time was had by all. Here's a bit of what Kent had to say about their day in Mission Cliffs:
"Indoor Climbing is such a unique experience for the students of Guadalupe Elementary. Most of my students would have had difficult time experiencing climbing at Mission cliffs without your donation. Almost all of the students that Guadalupe Elementary serves qualify for the state’s free lunch program. Without your help, I think that indoor rock climbing would not be affordable for the families of my students.
I was able to share my love for climbing with 31 of my students and 2 parents. Every one of my students tried their best and even the parents got to attempt climbing. Indoor rock climbing is valuable experiential learning for any child. It is lots of fun and helps to teach self-confidence, goal acquisition, and helps the students to conquer their fears.
I have been climbing for many years and this trip is a way for my students to experience what their teacher makes references to throughout the year. I find that success in climbing is analogous to success in many aspects of life. Therefore, when I teach, I often refer to climbing in my daily lessons. I believe that my students’ climbing experience at Mission Cliffs helps them to understand that with self-confidence and hard work, they will succeed at what ever they try.
In addition, and the part I believe is the most valuable, is that these students face their fear of heights. Facing one’s fears is an extremely important lesson for success in school and in life. When a student successfully faces their fear and succeeds, the life lesson is extremely valuable. They realize that with effort, hard work, and trust anything is possible.
On a personal level, I enjoy being remembered by my students as the 5th grade teacher who took them rock climbing. I have heard more then once from my students that the Mission Cliffs field trip was the “best field trip” they had ever been on. This is a field trip that my students will remember the rest of their life.
GWPC Hosts Annual Corpus Christi Community Group Once a year at Great Western Power Co. we host a community group that includes students from Corpus Christi. They come after looking forward to the trip all year, and each year the next batch of students looks forward to the same trip. Recently, the waiting paid off and they got their time at GWPC, we were lucky enough to hear from teacher, and member, Marea Palmer-Loh about what it means to them, and why they do it.
Here's what she had to say as to why she brings her kids to GWPC each and every year:
"I love climbing with kids at the Great Western Power Co. The staff are helpful and knowledgeable, and they make sure that the experience is safe and fun! Rock climbing is a great way to teach children self-esteem and gives them a sense of accomplishment. I love climbing myself, so it's particularly nice to be able to share that love with children in such a supportive environment."
At any rate, thanks for making us a part of your year, thanks for a great trip, and we're looking forward to seeing you all next year!
Farm Fresh To You @ Sacramento Pipeworks Always wanted to jump on the Organic Food bandwagon but just have no idea how to actually get started? Want to start eating healthier food that's better for you AND the environment? Want to support local agriculture and stop giving all of your business and money to big business? Good, then on Thursday, April 16th you probably should head over to our Sacramento Pipeworks gym and check out "Farm Fresh to You."
"Farm Fresh to You" is going to have an informational display up at Sacramento Pipeworks that will introduce us all to the delivery service they offer for some great locally grown organic produce. According to Brittany Keehn of "Farm Fresh to You:"
"We would love to introduce you to the convenience, peace-of-mind (and body), and variety of organic eating! Fresh, local, sustainably-grown produce from a farm with 3 decades of organic know-how, delivered deliciously to your door."
Bottom line, "Farm Fresh to You" is fresh, very affordable and most importantly, it is extremely healthy; after all, isn't that the exact lifestyle all you Pipeworks members are trying to lead? Head on in, check it out.
iFitness for iPhone: Great App for Exercise Want a personal trainer but don't want to shell out the cash? I think we might have a solution that will meet you halfway in the middle. If you're an iPhone user, you might just be in luck. There's a new app on the block, called iFitness, that is basically a miniature personal trainer in your pocket.
This new iPhone app doesn't just tell you which workouts to do, and hopes that you will understand what they are saying, instead, they actually SHOW you. There are 110 fully illustrated exercises that not only tell you how to do it, but Show you in photos. Here's a bit more about the app, straight from the creators themselves:
"iFitness is our solution for expensive personal trainers at your local gym.
Performing an exercise incorrectly is harmful to your body, and repeating the same few exercises you know will never push you forward - that is why iFitness is so handy.
+ over 110 fully illustrated exercises with accompanying text + favorites option to create your own custom routine + preset routines that our experts have made for reaching different goals + exercises organized by the muscles they target...and more!
Cancer Climb-a-Thon They are going to be doing great things at our Berkeley Ironworks gym in a few weeks and we wanted to make sure to give you all ample time to mark it down on your calendar. That's right, our Berkeley Ironworks gym, on Saturday, April 25, will be having a Cancer Awareness Climb-a-Thon. Here is a bit more, courtesy of Paul, our General Manager at BI.
CANCER AWARENESS DAY CLIMBATHON~~~APRIL 25th
Berkeley Ironworks invites all for a feel good day. On Saturday, April 25th, BIW will be hosting a climbathon with the primary goal to raise funds for cancer research and to educate the community about cancer, and of course to have fun. There will be raffle drawings throughout the day and prizes to the top fundraisers.
Calling out to all climbers. How many climbs do you have in you to raise the minimum of $50? Challenge yourself! This is a great way to start the season, get a workout, and be part of a cause. You can participate individually, or organize a group with your friends or co-workers. You can do routes or boulder problems.
Parents learn how to belay your kids. Newcomers get in on all the fun & find out what's all the buzz about climbing. Suggested donation of $30 for classes.
Mexican Gear Drive A Great Success! Our Mexican Gear Drive we were holding at Sacramento Pipeworks and for all of Touchstone Climbing has officially come to an end, and we're happy to say it was a great success and we were able to acquire a huge amount of gear that is in great condition for these kids in Mexico.
As you know, we were trying to gather as much of our members used and unwanted gear as possible to give to Andres Muller, our Sacramento Pipeworks gym foreman as well as a former Mexico climbing champion, so he could take it down to Mexico City and distribute it amongst local children there. Everyone deserves a chance to climb, and without the gear that can be extremely difficult. Nevertheless, thanks to the kindness and generosity of all of YOU, our members, here's what we were able to accumulate over the course of the Mexico Gear Drive:
Impressive. Again, we here at Touchstone Climbing want to say a giant Thank You to all of the members that pitched in and helped make this the success it was. We will be holding another gear drive from Thanksgiving to Christmas, so if you didn't have anything this time, maybe you will the next time around. Way to go!