Touchstone Blog Archive
Friday, July 31, 2009
  Limited Edition Five Ten Shoe At Ironworks
The Five Ten Team LE (Limited Edition) will be making a brief appearance at Berkeley Ironworks this month. Similar to the popular V10, this radical down turned shoe with a velcro closure, was inspired by the Jet7 Dragon and 5x shoes. Only 510 pairs of the Team LE were produced and the shoe will be not available again until spring of 2010.

Touchstone retail buyer, Patti Phillips, was able to get her hands on a size run of the great shoes from Five Ten and Berkeley Ironworks will be stocking the model in mid August.

Kevin Jorgenson, a Santa Rosa climber and high ball hardman, gives a great testimonial over at his blog.

Here's a video of Dave Graham doing the first ascent of Big Worm, a V13/14 at Mt. Evans Colorado in a pair of the Team LEs.

Dave Graham & Nalle Hukkataival bouldering in the mountains of Colorado... from chad greedy on Vimeo.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009
  Sierra Rock Climbing
Located near the town of Bridgeport is a huge formation of unbelievable High Sierra granite. With classic routes like The Red Dihedral (5.10b and pictured), Positive Vibrations (5.11a), and Sunspot Dihedral (5.11b), the Incredible Hulk serves as one of the best climbing areas in the Sierras.

Long time Sierra master, Peter Croft, and fellow alpinist and hardman, Conrad Anker, made the first free ascent of Solar Flare, a difficult 5.12+ route on the Incredible Hulk. The route follows the left side of the formation, moving through the obvious golden arete below the ridge line. Below is an excellent video about their ascent.

The Incredible Hulk - Solar Flare from Jeffery Morse on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009
  Record Turnout for Mission Cliffs Comp
A record number of climbers came out Friday night for the first of the Touchstone Bouldering Series Comps. Over 330 men, women, and kids clambered into the Mission Cliffs gym to compete, crank on the 60+ new boulder problems, enjoy the festivities, and win awesome raffle prizes.

Results from the Men's Advanced results are:

1. Matt Bingham
2. James Murase
3. Vitaly Volberg

Results from the Women's Advanced results are:

1. Halley Tollner
2. Kim Groebner
3. Kari Donatelli

Check out some highlights from the comp:

TBS 5 @ Mission Cliffs, SF 2009 from Mission Cliffs on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for the next comp in the series at Diablo Rock Gym.

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Monday, July 27, 2009
  Hans Florine Crack Clinic
Hans Florine, one of the fastest climbers on Earth, has climbed more than one million vertical feet of crack. With more than 68 ascents of El Capitan's The Nose, Hans has set the speed record at a blindingly fast 2 hours 37 minutes and five seconds. Beyond his exploits on El Capitan, Hans wrote Speed Climbing: How to Climb Better and Faster and has worked as a mountain guide across the United States. The Bay area climber will be providing a clinic on how to climb cracks this week at GWPC in Oakland.

During his two hour clinic, Hans will provide a tip or two or ten on how to crack climb. You will learn what kind of pain is 'OK' and what kind to avoid. You may even learn how to chug along the vertical cracks of Yosemite with a bit of a smile.

Hans' Crack Clinic will be at Great Western Pacific Works from 7-9 pm on Wednesday, July 29. The cost is $40.

Learn from a master crack climber and get some practice on the great cracks at the Oakland gym on Wednesday night.

For more information about Han's speed climbing in Yosemite, check out The Speedclimbing Homepage

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Sunday, July 26, 2009
  Berkeley Bouldering
Located in the Berkeley hills are two great bouldering spots- Mortar Rock and Indian Rock. These two areas feature a large number of classic problems on solid rock located just a few minutes drive from downtown Berkley.

The late evenings and early mornings have been pretty good at Mortar Rock. The sharp rock feels just a little bit cooler when the sun isn't around and classic problems like The Ramp (V4) Black Plague (V6) and the super popular Nat's Traverse (V8) can go down much easier.

Just down the road, Indian Rock has a great collection of moderate warm-ups and an assortment of V0-V3 boulder problems. Then when your tips are thrashed from all the bouldering, check out the great sunset over the bay from the top of Indian Rock.

An old video of Ken Azria hiking the classic Nat's Traverse.

For some video footage of the sit start to The Impossible Wall and New Wave check out this clip.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009
  Salt Lake City Mammut Bouldering Chamipionships
On Monday July 20th North America's pro climbing tour continued in Salt Lake City for the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show.

Starting off in the afternoon, the pro qualifiers acted as an opportunity to see what the top climbers in the nation could do. On Tuesday evening, the top male ande female athletes fought it out, competiting under bright lights and on the big stage for a $10,000 purse.

Alex Johnson won in a close battle against Alex Puccio and Daniel Woods absolutely crushed all 4 problems in narrowly defeating Julian Bautista who also sent all 4 problems.

Interested in more about the Mammut Bouldering Comps? Check out ther Rules and Regulations and start training by participating in the Touchstone Bouldering Comp Series. Get fired up and maybe you can be climbing with the best!

Watch Highlights from 2008 Women's Finals

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  Mt. Diablo Adopt-A-Crag

The Access's Fund's signature stewardship program, Adopt-A-Crag, is coming to Mt. Diablo this weekend, Sunday July 26, 2009.

events typically include activities such as litter clean-ups, trail construction and restoration, erosion control, and invasive weed removal. Mt. Diablo, a Bay area climbing destination, hosts a number of great topropes, sport, and traditional routes. The crag's proximity to the city means it is greatly impacted by climbers, hikers, and other outdoor users. This is a great opportunity to help maintain a great crag.

These events epitomize climber conservation at the local level, showing landowners and land managers that climbers truly care about the places they recreate. This display of stewardship not only gives back to the land, but is paramount to keeping climbing areas open by showing decision makers the passion that climbers have for their climbing areas.

The day will begin with a short service project - lead by The Access Fund- helping to maintain this climbing environment for future climbers to enjoy. Then, Outward Bound instructors will guide you through a fun, challenging and rewarding climbing experience. The climbs will be top rope routes of varying difficulty for all levels to enjoy. All gear will be provided. Day of details will be provided after you RSVP.

Come help maintain a great climbing area and have fun with the Access Fund and Outward Bound.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009
  TBS5- Comp at Mission Cliffs on Friday

The Touchstone Bouldering Series Comps will be kicking off this Friday night, July 24, at San Francisco's Mission Cliffs. There will be over 60+ boulder problems to crank on at the gym, free food, drinks, a raffle with awesome climbing prizes, t-shirts for all competitors, and a viewing of The Players with a cameo by local hardman Ethan Pringle.

The event is free to all members and only $10 to non-members.

-The bouldering area will be closed starting Wednesday and other sections of the gym will follow on Thursday thru the event.

Check out the trailer for The Players:

The Players Trailer from Brian Solano on Vimeo.

For more information about the rules and regulations see the comp page.

Come out and crank with some of the best boulderers in the Bay!

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Monday, July 20, 2009
  Touchstone Athlete- Ethan Pringle Update
July, 2009- Ethan Pringle sprawled out on a blanket in Dolores Park. He kept his left arm tucked tightly into his body as he worked on his tan in the summer sun.

Pringle, a Touchstone sponsored rock climber who began cranking at Mission Cliffs at the age of 8, has redpointed Realization (9a+/5.15a) in Ceuse, France, bouldered Dominated,a v13 in Camp 4, Yosemite Valley, Ca, and fired the Cobra Crack, a 5.14b/c traditional route in Squamish, British Columbia. Unfortunately, Pringle suffered a debilitating injury that has kept him away from the crag.

Earlier this year, while bouldering at Nationals in Boulder Colorado, Pringle felt a tear in his left shoulder. With a shooting pain that left him unable to climb, he consulted a few Bay area specialists. An MRI revealed a tear in the labrum of his left shoulder. After a few months of hoping his shoulder would heal, Pringle opted to have arthroscopic surgery. The doctors stitched his labrum back to the bone and now Pringle is waiting for the fusion to take hold.

Pringle is beginning light physical therapy for his injury and hopes to be climbing again by the fall. In his free time he has begun taking classes at City College, teaching an Advanced Lead Climbing Clinic, and bronzing in Dolores Park.

Keep on the lookout for his upcoming Mission Cliffs slide show.

Check out Ethan's Blog

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Sunday, July 19, 2009
  Red River Gorge Sports Action
For those of you who weren't able to make it out to Mickey's Beach, Sonora, or some of the other fine greater Bay area sport climbing, here's a clip to get you pysched until next weekend. The footage is from the Red River Gorge- one of the country's best sport climbing destinations. Check it out!

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Friday, July 17, 2009
  2009 Revolution Kick-Off Ride & BBQ! -Sat July, 18

On Saturday, July 18, the Touchstone Cycling team will be hosting the 2009 Revolution Kick-Off Party at the Adaptive Cycling Center in Berkeley.

The day starts at 10AM with your choice of two road rides (a faster drop ride and a shorter, no-drop ride). At the completion of the rides, we will celebrate the start of this year's Revolution season - starting around 1 PM.

There will be a BBQ and drinks along with a great raffle. And if this wasn't already enough you'll also have a chance to meet BORP athletes, learn more about BORP, and register for this year's Revolution Ride (September 26th).

Don't miss a great day of fun! Please RSVP to

On another note, we're hard at work on the 2009 Revolution Ride, Festival & Auction. We are in the process of designing this year's jerseys (for those of you who raise at least $750), and we are looking for a quote. We put a quote inside the collar of the jersey and if you have a quote you think would be good for this year's jersey, please email it to us. Best quote goes on the jersey!

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  Zumba at Mission Cliffs Tonight!

Join Marie tonight, July 17 from 8-9pm at Mission Cliffs for a Zumba class. Zumba fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a dynamic fitness that will blow you away. Zumba fanatics achieve long term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exhilarating hour of caloric burning, body energizing, awe-inspiring movement meant to engage and captivate for life! Interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms, and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest to the mix and you've got Zumba! life Come out, dance, and have a blast at this new class!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
  Great Western Pacific Works Bigwall Facelift
This past week Great Western Power Company's 150' smokestack was enhanced. With the consultation of Oakland's Ray Peretti and graphics designed by San Francisco's Mark Getty, Touchstone only needed someone to scale the mighty steel encased concrete monolith.

Touchstone Facilities pooh-bah Russell Olsen was up to the task, with the help of assistant Eric Schmidt. Something this silly needed the attention of someone with big wall experience - Mark Melvin rigged the ropes and pasted most of the stencils. Says Mark, "the pencil thin nature of that thing makes it scarier than all but the hardest big walls I've been on," although he admits the ladder up the side, backed up with a auto belay isn't something you get often on El Capitan.

Check out Russell's awesome work next time you visit! Tell us what you think.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
  USAC Youth Nationals- Team Zero Gravity places 2nd!
This past weekend, from July 10-12, the USAC Youth Nationals were held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Touchstone's Zero Gravity Team placed second in the country! Of the 13 Zero Gravity climbers that qualified for the comp, seven made it on to the US National Team.

In August Josh, Hannah, Cicada, Scott, Eric, Charlie and Scot will travel to France for the Youth World Championships. Touchstone Zero Gravity will be hosting a raffle soon to help raise funds for this trip. Please give your support to these amazing athletes.

Below is a list of the outstanding achievements of the youth team.

Joshua Levin: National Champion Sport and Speed (US Team Sport and Speed)
Hannah Le: 3rd (US Team)
Scott Cory: 3rd (US Team Sport and Speed and USAC Scholarship Award)
Cicada Jenerik: 4th (US Team)
Nick Bradley: 5th (US Team)
Eric Sanchez: 6th (US Team)
Charlie Andrews: 10th, 2nd Speed (US Team Speed)
Sera Busse: 5th
Gregor Pierce: 8th
Troy Gibb: 9th
Gabby Strandberg: 16th
Kevin Ott: 30th
Jordan Vogel: speed
Scot Jenerik (Coach): 2nd Team

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  DRG Zumba Demo Class
The Diablo Rock Gym will have a demo Zumba class at 7:30 pm Thursday, July 16. This Latin inspired fitness, crafted by celebrity fitness trainer "Beto" Perez, combines traditional Latin salsa and merengue music with an intense dance. Interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms, and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Come out, dance, and have a blast at this new class!

Sunday, July 12, 2009
  Tuolumne Bouldering
Located at 8000 feet, Toulumne Meadows features high Sierra granite and cool temperatures in the summer time. While most climbers spend their trips on the many rounded domes and classic peaks, a recent group of dedicated boulderers have been able to pluck away at some of the classic knob gems, following in the footsteps of the late John Bachar, the resident knob master Ron Kauk, and countless other high-Sierra hardmen.

Beyond the Knob Boulders, located on the side of Highway 120, are the Gunks, the Kitty Dome Boulders, the Ridge Boulders, and a slew of other clusters. The bouldering areas are often separated by short approaches through beautiful pines and meadows. With a high concentration of moderate and easy boulder problems, the meadows provides a great escape for Bay Area climbers.

The Tuolumne Meadows campground, one of the largest campsites in the country, offers great camping close to the climbing. To get there, drive 4 hours 30 mins east on the 120 from San Francisco. It's a long drive but well worth being in one of the country's most beautiful climbing destinations.

Check out the new Supertopo bouldering guidebook available at many of the Touchstone gyms. You can also order the book online.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009
  Sacramento Pipeworks Bike Club 4th of July Scavenger Hunt
The Sacramento Pipeworks Bike Club had its annual 4th of July Sacenger Hunt last week. The highly anticipated cycling event brought together more than twenty people who competed in a photo scavenger hunt, which relied heavily on creativity and teamwork, and kept the physical hardships to a minimum.

Each team of three or four, was given a checklist, and an hour and forty-five minutes to collect as many photos from the list as the could. Some of the items were slightly abstract and so an open mind was necessary.

Below is a just a sample of items asked for:

5 mph miles per hour posted speed
American Flag clothing
Apple Pie
At least $10 cover charge
$1000 reward offered for missing pet
At least 10 bicycles in one image
Circle, triangle, square (all in one shot)
Community garden
FitCore workout station
He shoots! He scores!
Hot dog
It’s ok to color outside the lines
Jimi Hendrix
Pimped my ride
Pink slip
President on Mt. Rushmore
Prickly pear cactus
Rotary phone
Skate or die
Solar panel
Some assembly required
Something old, something new
Truck nuts
View from the second floor or higher
Weather Vane
What is Scott doing here?!
When animals attack
Bonus points for figuring out a foreign language item:
German: Blumengarten
German: Trinkwasserbrunnen
French: Écureuil
French: Distributeur automatique
Italian: Isola rotatoria
Italian: Tazzina da caffè

After the hunt, there was a food-related challenge. This years theme celebrated that which makes American great - party affiliation. Participants were asked to bring a dish that highlights the glory of partisanship. Members were encouraged to do anything from life-sized butter sculptures of Rush Limbaugh, to an empty plate symbolizing the zero electoral votes earned by 2009 Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Luckily, the food turned out to be far better than those two suggestions.

Check out some of Scott Clark's photos.

The Sacramento Pipeworks bike club meets every Saturday for rides of varying lengths.

To join, check our message board and then show up for a ride!
Stay updated with The Touchstone Cycling Club by checking their Blog Site.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009
  2009 Crossfit Games

On Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12 2009 some of the fittest athletes in the Bay Area will be competing in the 2009 Crossfit Games in Aromas, California. There will be three different competitions happening that weekend: Individual Men, Individual Women, and the team Affiliate Cup. The format is undisclosed at this time and will remain so until the events starts. The Crossfit coordinators want to keep competitors on their toes and ready to for anything.

In addition to the games, two of professional armwrestling's biggest stars Travis Bagent and John Brzenk will be at the Games. The men will armwrestle any and all who wish to challenge them. It'll be straight out of Sylvester Stallone Over the Top!

For More Information and the latest updates on the games check out:

The Crossfit Games Web Page

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  Tonight -GWPC Members Meet Up Night

Are you looking for a climbing partner? Or want to meet more people to climb with at the gym? Come to this month’s meet-up on Thursday, July 9 at 6PM. We’ll mingle and have a chance to climb with someone different. Meet in the “lounge” where there will be some snacks and then we’ll get climbing. Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009
  Ironworks Google Sketch-up Contest
Looking to get into the gym more? Want to do something fun and creative? Here's a great opportunity to have fun and win a rad prize!

Submit your 3D Google SketchUp model of our climbing walls to win 2 free months of membership!

Google SketchUp is a free software program that lets you create 3D models of anything you like. Most people get rolling with SketchUp in just a few minutes.

Models should be emailed by Sept. 1st to:


Monday, July 6, 2009
  USA Climbing Division 1 Championship
The USA Climbing Division 1 championship held over 2 days recently at Sacramento Pipeworks was a huge success! With more than 170 climbers from 8 western states vying for a spot in the national championships, the competition was intense. Competitors were divided by both age and gender, and competed in difficulty as well as speed categories, with the winners moving on to the Nationals July 10-12 in South Sandy, Utah.

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  Looking for a Climbing Partner

Touchstone is excited to announce that we have a new way for you to find partners to climb with. We have linked up with This is a cool new service that let's you sign up online, create a personal profile and find partners of similar skill level & climbing style. You can use this to not only find partners for in the gym but also for outdoor climbing areas as well. This is a great new service so be sure to check it out.

Link to your gym directly below, or find it on our website menu under each gym.

Mission Cliffs
Berkeley Ironworks
Diablo Rock Gym
Sacramento Pipeworks

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Sunday, July 5, 2009
  A Legend Gone:John Bachar
I held the rope nervously as a man twice my age with four times my courage ascended the runout Toulumne face climb.

John Bachar moved with a delicate grace. His feet smoothly transitioned onto each rugosity of Hammer Dome's classic 5.10c Shadow of Doubt. At each bolt, he stopped, leaned into the wall and mimicked the stance that he would take if he had been the first ascentionist hand drilling the route on lead. John climbed the route with a casualness and poise I had never seen. .

John had always held a strict ground-up ethic, maintaining that routes should be established with a sense of commitment and adventure. John walked his talk, establishing Yosemite test-pieces like You Asked For It 5.10c X and the infamous Bachar Yerian 5.11c R in a bold and committing style. Beyond his traditional ethic, John Bachar was one of the world's greatest free-soloist. He made numerous ropeless ascents of hard routes across the US. He ushered in the era of the Stonemasters, a hardcore group of Southern California climbers, who vaulted the standards of climbing. With Peter Croft, John made the first one day ascent of both the Nose of El Capitan and the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome.

A few days ago, John died while climbing on the Dike Wall in Mammoth, California. He leaves behind a 14 year old son, his business as the founder and CEO of Acopa Shoes, and a legacy as not only as one of the best and boldest, but as a good man, a good father, and a good friend to many. He will be missed greatly.

-J. Lucas

A Young John Bachar

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Thursday, July 2, 2009
  Artist of the Month at Berkeley Ironworks

From an article in the Oakland Tribune, July 2008 - Topo is a little bear who dreams of grand adventures. He makes elaborate plans, collects the necessary gear, but never actually embarks on any of these adventures. Topo is a character in Mike Dutton's new comic strip,"One Swoop Fell."

"It's kind of autobiographical," Dutton says.

For the past year, I've been publishing an online comic called One Swoop Fell. Although the main characters are anthropomorphic and the story is slightly fantasy-based, you'll probably recognize locations from around Berkeley, like Marmot Mountain Works, Joshu-Ya, or the Homemade Cafe. And while the story is lighthearted, the themes might hit close to home as well, as I explore restlessness, the ever-present travel bug, and the difference between escapism and the active pursuit of happiness. I hope you'll enjoy these few pages on display along with my other illustrations, and be inspired to take on that adventure you've been daydreaming about, whether it's a weekend trip, tackling the garden, or taking a moment to slow down and just enjoy where you are.

To see Mike's illustrations, visit his website at His online comic can be found at It is updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
  Gyms are Closed on the 4th of July
Have a great weekend.


  A Little Laughter on Wednesday....
In honor of the Monty Python's Spamalot's final weekend in San Francisco, here is a little climbing humor from the Flying Circus.

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