Touchstone Blog Archive
Monday, November 30, 2009
  Funny Instructional Climbing Video
Vertical Limit, one of the wildest climbing movies ever made, just got updated on Youtube. The best sequences have instructional information. Check out this hilarious clip and don't try this stuff at home:

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Sunday, November 29, 2009
  Trad Climbing Video
The game of climbing traditional routes can be pretty exciting. Often the gear can be difficult to finagle into the crack, and the climbing can be hard. But the lines are amazing!

In April of 2008, Matt Segal made the second free ascent of an extension to China Doll in Boulder Canyon, Colorado, on April 23, 2008. The extension adds a 30-foot, traditionally protected, thin crack (5.13d R for the extension, 5.14a for the 130-foot extended route) to the original China Doll (5.13c, 100'), bolted and first climbed by Bob Horan in the mid-1990s, in a single pitch. Mike Patz made the first free ascent on July 5, 2007.

The Alpinist made a cool write-up of Segal's ascent.

Check out the video:

Matt Segal 5.14 trad from renan ozturk on Vimeo.

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Friday, November 27, 2009
  Vacaville Boulders
With a 5-15 minute approach to the climbing, and its easy location in Sacramento Valley, the Vacaville boulders could be an excellent distraction from the pounds of turkey and five different varieties of pumpkin pie.

Bay area climbing legend and Berkeley Ironworks employee, Scott Frye put up Scott's Traverse V7/9. Also there are a number of more moderate problems on the basalt boulders including: Stonewall Traverse V1, The Stonewall V0, Bloody Madness V2, Stoned Dangler V6, Scott’s Traverse V7 or V9, Forty Oz. Traverse V6, Gimme My Forty Sucka V1, Mother Nature V1R, Motherfucker Traverse V4-V5, Space Lord V1

Check out the punk rock mini-guide that Bay area climber Justin Alacron made.

Vacaville Boulders from Princess on Vimeo.

For more information check out the Supertopo Bay Area Bouldering

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
  GWPC Surgical Climb-A-Thon Success
On November 18th, GWPC, in partnership with the Bay Area Surgical Mission, sponsored the first ever Surgical Climb-A-Thon. The Bay Area Surgical Mission, a group of volunteer physicians and nurses, travels each year to the Philippines to offer free surgical care to indigenous populations. The physicians who go on these missions donate their time as well as pay their own travel costs. All proceeds from the Climb-A-Thon went directly toward the purchase of medications, sutures, and bandages.

The event was a huge success. The Climb-A-Thon generated over $1000 dollars for the Bay Area Surgical Mission! The winner of the men's competition climbed 29 routes in 3 hours and the winner of the women's climbed 15 routes!

Thanks to all the support of the Touchstone climbers who joined in and helped make this fundraiser so much fun. Good luck to the surgeons and medical staff as they bring the equipment necessary and help those in the Philippines who need assistance.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
  Thanksgiving Climbing
With the holiday season quickly approaching so are the last minute options for climbing trips. Bishop, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Sonora are all probably high on the list. For those that want a little something different, the sandstone of Red Rocks, located just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, offers a wonderful option. While its a bit of a drive, flights to and from Vegas are often quite affordable last minute.

The state park offers a solid variety of climbing with good options in the moderate range (5.8-5.10) sport climbs in the Black Corridor and on the Magic Bus. There is fun and a solid amount of bouldering in Calico Basin, and for the motivated sport climber there is the infamous Gallery-home to the classic Gift (12d).

Camping can be found at 13 Mile Campground, located a five minute drive from the park. Also, Las Vegas is a twenty minute drive away and offers a large range of camping and entertainment options.

Check out the Supertopo link, which describes many of the classic trad climbs of Las Vegas (The climbing in the canyon might be a little cold right now)

Red Rock Climbing Center on Charleston Ave will have plenty of information as well.

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Monday, November 23, 2009
  Touchstone Shoe Demo
In December, from the 7th to the 11th, the Touchstone gyms will be giving members a great opportunity to check out a ton of new shoes from La Sportiva, Five Ten, and Evolve. The Demo week all in stock shoes will be 20% off! Come try on all the shoes and test them out on the great problems at the gym.

Dates and Times:

Monday December 7th – Sacramento Pipeworks 6-9pm

Tuesday December 8th – Diablo Rock Gym 6-8pm

Wednesday December 9th – Berkeley Ironworks 6-9pm

Thursday December 10th – Great Western Power Company 6-9pm

Friday December 11th – Mission Cliffs 6-9pm

Demo Shoe Models… (Subject to change on availability)

Evolve- Defy, Electra, Pontas and Optimus Prime for the demos, and possibly the new Predator

La Sportiva- Mantis, Solution, Muira VS, Speedster or Cobra

- Dragon, Team, Velcro Anasazi, Wm’s Velcro Anasazi, Moccasym

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Saturday, November 21, 2009
  TBS5 Final Results
Last Friday, Berkeley Ironworks held the last of the Touchstone Bouldering Series Comps. Over 350 people attended the event and had a great time.
Over a thousand climbers joined Touchstone for TBS5!

In the Overall Results:

Halley Tollner, Maria Ly, and Kim Groebner came in first, second, and third respectively for the Women's Advanced.

Gregor Peirce, Mark Liu, and Matt Bingham came in first, second, and third respectively for the Men's Advanced.

Check out the video of the Berkeley Comp:

TBS 5 Berkely Iron Works from Princess on Vimeo.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009
  Sacramento Pipeworks Food Drive
Sacramento Pipeworks in a joint effort with a community group that we service, Options For Youth, is sponsoring a food drive this holiday season. The drive will assist The Sacramento Food Bank in gathering food to be distributed to those in need around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Statistics show that 50 million people, including 1 in 4 children, struggled to get enough to eat last year. Please bring your non-perishable items to the gym and leave them in the bin near the front door. Thanks in advance for your help with this very worthy cause!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
  Nat's Traverse
The cold temps might be the perfect time to go send the city bouldering project. For those that need some motivation, check out this video of Rebecca Taggart, a Berkeley Ironworks climber, sending the V7 Mortar Rock Nat's Traverse.

Nat's Traverse [v7] from Paul B on Vimeo.

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Monday, November 16, 2009
  Mission Cliffs Staffer on East Coast Tour
Kelly McFarling recently took a leave of absence from Mission Cliffs to go on an East Coast tour to promote her music as a singer songwriter. Starting in Atlanta GA, Kelly worked her way all the way up the Appalachians, playing shows in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and Maine. She traveled in a 1990 VW bus with her Banjo and Jonathan Kirchner - an upright bass player also from San Francisco. Kelly frequently plays in the bay area, and was excited at the opportunity to widen her musical experience on the east coast and meet and play with other musicians from around the country. Her favorite part about the tour was getting to play music every night to a new group of people, and being able to see Autumn on the east coast.

You can check out her music and where she is playing in the bay at

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Sunday, November 15, 2009
  Free South Africa: Big Wall Free Climbing
Last year, Nico Favresse and Seán Villanueva along with photographer Ben Ditto made the first free ascent of the East Face of the Cenral Tower of Torres del Paine via the South African Route in Patagonia. Check out the awesome footage of their ascent and be happy to be climbing in warm California.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009
  Postcards from Mules and LEAP Students
The Touchstone Climbing gyms often receive positive feedback from the climbers. In one recent case, former Diablo Rock gym staff member Jeff Sondag's mom sent a poster card from here trip to the Grand Canyon. The coolest part is that the postcard was transported via mule. Its good to see Diablo climbers getting out there!

In other news, on October 8th, the students in the Leaders for Environmental Action Program (LEAP) from Leadership Public School in Richmond participated in a team-building exercise at the Great Western Power Company. They were greeted by a welcoming staff. Vanessa Archambault, LEAP Coordinator, said "Ryan Moon was there to ensure we were climbing safely as well as enjoying ourselves. When one student had trouble starting a route, Ryan was there to offer suggestions and cheer him on." The other students described the fun they had. “It was the most fun I’ve had all year!” -AnnaBelle “It was hard, but at the end I really felt like I got it.” – Jason “I hope we get to do this every month!” Takota

Check out the cool video of the kids climbing and enjoying GWPC!

Leadership Public School - Richmond from GWPC on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009
  Mission Cliffs Women's Showers
On Sunday, November 15, the women's showers at Mission Cliffs will be closed for re-tiling. Sorry for the inconvenience. Hope to see you cranking in the gym!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
  Yosemite Bouldering: Tapdance and Moffat Start Videos
Recently, Siemay Lee, a doctor from Genoa Nevada, visited Yosemite with Dr. Noah Kaufman, who works at the Yosemite Medical Clinic. The two got out and bouldered in some great conditions. Siemay pulled down on Tim Clifford's slopey boulder problem Tapdance. The V10 is located on the opposite side of Dominator in the Camp 4 boulders. Check out the inspiring footage of Siemay "Crusher" Lee.

On the Columbia Boulder, Noah made an ascent of the difficult Moffat Start, a campusing start to the notoriously difficult mantle of Midnight Lightning. Check out Noah crushing.

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  TBS5 Finale at Ironworks
The final competition of the Touchstone Bouldering Series will be held November 13 at Berkeley Ironworks. The event, which starts at 6, will give competitors a chance to crank on a ton of new boulder problems, eat lots of free pizza, drink way too much beer, and have an excellent time. Come to Ironworks Friday night for a free comp t-shirt and a lot of fun!

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Monday, November 9, 2009
  Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Access Fund Brings Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival to Berkeley, California

The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps U.S. climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is set to host the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Berkeley, California, on Thursday, November 12th, 2009. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a night of inspiring environmental films and a celebration of the environment, complete with a lively pre-party, live music, beer and an auction. The party and film festival will be held at the Clif Bar and Company Headquarters located at 1610 Fifth Street in Berkeley (entrance is through the parking lot on Fourth Street). Festivities kick off at 5 p.m., with film screenings beginning at 7 p.m.

Drinks, live music, and the films themselves will drive the celebration of a festival for activists, by activists, created with the aim of sharing new ideas. In hosting the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, the Access Fund intends to inspire fellow activists to learn, experience, explore, and celebrate the natural and wild worlds through the power of film and thought.

Participants will learn from inspiring environmental films surrounding hard-hitting topics including bioengineering, water issues, wilderness preservation, citizen activism, and more. With added excitement highlighting the adrenalin of kayaking the world’s wildest rivers, climbing the highest peaks, and trekking across the globe, these films will explore the critical issues facing our environment today. Leading environmental activists, outdoor professionals, filmmakers, and celebrities will be in attendance, joining conversations and celebrating alongside the audience.

Tickets are available now for $10.To purchase, and for a sneak peek of the evening’s activities and more information, visit: The Wild &Scenic Film Festival is supported by Clif Bar, Osprey, Patagonia, Tom’s of Maine, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

About the Access Fund
Founded in 1991, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 1.6 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and education. For more information, visit

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Thursday, November 5, 2009
  Outward Bound at Mission Cliffs
The Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps made a recent trip to Mission Cliffs helping their transfer from summer climbing and backpacking trips in the Sierras to climbing in the gyms of San Francisco. Maggie Lyons, the community liaison for Outward Bound, along with the 2009 Leadership Awardees joined Sherry and the Mission Cliffs staff for a fun day of climbing. Maggie wrote, "It was great for these youth from around the city to find a connection to climbing within their city." And added that climbing with Sherry and the others at Mission Cliffs was awesome. "Everyone at MC was so helpful and welcoming, and the students got to work out, face a challenge, support each other and have fun! We hope to climb again with you soon!" Way to go Sherry and the others at MC for helping these kids have a great day of climbing.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009
  Fall Highball-American Alpine Club at Bishop's Buttermilks

The AAC Sierra Nevada Section's annual Fall Highball will take place in Bishop, CA on November 7-8. Join the AAC as well as Friends of Inyo for an Adopt-a-Crag in the Buttermilks, slideshows and parties at night in Bishop, and Climber Coffee the next morning.

Nov 7: 9am-1pm Adopt-a-Crag. Meet at Peabody Boulders (6.6 miles up Buttermilks Rd).

Nov 7: 6:30pm Fall Highball Slideshow and Party. Doug Robinson will present a show on decades of adventure in the Sierra. Tickets are $10 and include drinks and snacks. The party will take place at the Inyo Council for the Arts, 137 South Main St, Bishop, CA.

Nov 8: 10am Climber Coffee at Peabody Boulders. Come meet the agencies who manage Eastern Sierra climbing resources.

The proceeds from the slide show will be going towards building a pit toilet in the Buttermilks.

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Monday, November 2, 2009
  Mission Cliffs and Headcount -promoting voter registeration
On Sunday October 25th, Mission Cliffs hosted a climbing party for the group HeadCount. HeadCount works with a wide range of musicians to encourage civic engagement. HeadCount artist partners include Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco, Phish and John Mayer, to name just a few. Marc Brownstein, bassist for the popular electronic rock band The Disco Biscuits, helped form HeadCount in early 2004. These artists have inspired thousands of young people to volunteer for the organization, helping us create a coast-to-coast grassroots network. HeadCount voter registration tables were present at more than 1,000 concerts and gatherings in 2008, constituting the largest event-based voter registration drive in the U.S.

Jeffery Bowling, Director of IT & Marketing for Touchstone, and his wife Holly recently became the team leaders for the Bay Area HeadCount team. The Bay Area team works numerous concerts a month, at such venues as the Fillmore, the Warfield, Shoreline Amphitheater and the Great American Music Hall. So the next time you are at a concert, be sure to stop by the HeadCount table and say hi.


Sunday, November 1, 2009
  DRG Comp Video
Check out the recent video made of the Touchstone Bouldering Series comp at Diablo Rock Gym.

TBS5 @ Diablo Rock Gym from Diablo Rock Gym on Vimeo.

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