Pringle Bolts New Route in Ceuse
On an international tour of climbing destinations, Touchstone athlete and hardman rock climber, Ethan Pringle began a new phase in his climbing career. Pringle picked up the Bosch and started establishing a new route.
Pringle dangles from hooks and tries to pull into the wall to find the best place to put the next bolt.
First ascents are far from easy work and there are many difficulties along the way. “My biggest fear with bolting the line was that there would be a blank section where the moves just wouldn't go,” Pringle said about the difficult line, which resides meters away from the classic 5.15 Biographie in Ceuse, France. “Now that I've looked at the whole route, I know there are enough holds to make it to the top, but just barely.”
Drilling new holes isn't easy. pushing a heavy rock drill into the hard limestoe to make a bolt hole requires some intense labor. Just look at Pringle's face! GRRRR!
Pringle’s line begins with 40 feet of right traversing 5.13c moves into a crack, which tapers out into some hard moves on incut pockets. After the pockets, there’s a big move to a slopey sidepull followed by another big move to a shallow three finger pocket. The rest involves about 40 feet of 5.14- climbing on pockets with no real rest and another difficult boulder problem. “The hardest moves look to be at the halfway mark. It's hard to tell how hard the moves are gonna be without actually trying them but I can tell just by looking at the route where the hard sections are.”
The rock dust needs to be blown out before a bolt can be placed in the hole.
Pringle described the bolting process saying, “It’s grueling work! On an almost featureless, 20-30 degree overhung wall, it's really hard to find hook placements solid enough to drill the holes from.” Drilling requires some gymnastics and a bit of fearlessness. “You hang from the hook, get into the best position you can then tense your entire body as you drill so you don't apply too much sudden pressure to the hook to make it pop off. As a result of all this sitting in your harness, swinging around, tensing and drilling, your body gets super sore and you almost always need a rest day afterward. It's also really mentally taxing because you have to think long and hard about where you want the bolts to go. You don't want to drill unnecessary holes or move bolts after you've placed them, which is sometimes unavoidable.”
Pringle hammers in a new bolt and hanger. It's almost ready to be climbed on.
On Pringle’s second day of bolting, a Portugese couple came to the crag with their 8 year old son, who is a huge Chris Sharma fan. “As a consolation prize he got to meet me, get an autograph, and have the pleasure of watching his dad swing me into the wall to find a decent enough hook placement to drill a couple of the bolts off of.”
Now that the bolting is done it's time to climb. Pringle met up with some locals and they crushed.
Another Swedish couple and their son came to the base and watched Ethan while he bolted. Milton, the couple’s 7 year old son, made a plague for the climb.
Everyone knows that once you bolt a route people want autographs. Here's Pringle being generous with his fame.
“It’s almost 2:30.” Pringle wrote. “Today is sort of rainy and cold…drops are starting to fall again. I'm trying to muster the motivation to hike up to the cliff and finish bolting. I only have one more bolt to place, then one more anchor bolt, then I'm finished. I would have finished the other day but the drill that I borrowed has a really old battery that dies after like ten holes.”
Recounting the experience, Pringle said, “This is what happens when you’re by yourself in Ceuse- bolting 5.15b, eating lots of cookies and meeting lots of new and interesting people! Not a bad thing I'm sure.”
Last week, while in Salt Lake City, I stopped by the Black Diamond headquarters. Bill Belcourt, the climbing hard goods manager gave me a tour of the factory. We stopped by the quality assurance department, where 10% of all Black Diamond equipment ends up. The QA guys spend most of their days breaking cams, carabiners, and belay devices to ensure proper safety. It's heart breaking to see the tons of new cams and perfectly solid carabiners being broken but it's nice to know that the gear is being properly tested. They also provided a tour of the factory and showed how they make carabiners and cam heads in their Salt Lake factory. It's exciting stuff to see the metal being bent, heated, cooled, and set into a new piece of gear. Check out this cool video of how carabiners are made.
New Classes at GWPC
This May Great Western Power Company will be adding several new classes to the already stacked yoga and program studio upstairs. Stop by for Yoga with Craig and Prachi, check out the Latin grooves of the Zumba class with Diana, or work your core to the utter end with Avram.
A strong core is great for climbing. Solid abdominal muscles help make long crack reaches easier, they keep your hips into the wall when you sport climb, and they keep your feet from cutting when bouldering on steep rock. Core classes with Avram are Tuesday 5-6pm and Thursdays 6-7pm.
Getting stretched out helps with everyday activity from running to climbing to biking. Plus it feels great! Yoga classes with Craig are Mondays and Fridays during lunch from 12-1pm and then Wednesday mornings with Prachi from 9-10:30.
Zumba is a fun way to exercise, have fun, and get into excellent shape. The Latin-inspired dance-fitness program blends red-hot international music and fast paced dancing. Zumba classes with Diana will be on Wednesdays during lunch from 12-1pm.
Stop by Great Western Power Company and check out the great new classes!
Adjustable Apparatus for the Movement of Indoor Climbing Cracks As part of the climbing wall build for MetalMark in Fresno, Touchstone wanted to create our first adjustable crack. To do this, Touchstone needed a solution for the movement of a set of interior wall pieces within a larger cutout of the walls. We observed the idea at Planet Granite in San Francisco, and whether they came up with it or not, it is very clever. As they were protective of their system, we endeavored to invent one on our own.
To do that, we turned to 18 year old Daniel Melvin. His first prototype involved a solid steel bar with a sleeve fit to a few thousands of an inch. The bar is welded to the sides – or the main wall. The sleeve is attached to both the interior wall section, and an acme threaded rod via a long nut. Turning the screw (rod) moves the wall section. The implementation is such that one of these units is placed at the top of a wall section behind the wall. This necessitated a method of linking the top of one section with the bottom of another, achieved initially with a set of bolts threaded between sections.
The first prototype works fairly well, but has a very slight tendency to catch as the weight of the wall torques the bar. Prototype two, which is currently in place uses two bars, an acme threaded rod, and a long nut affixed to the wall section and the sleeve. The first prototype also included a 90 degree angle drive to allow movement of the crack to be performed from the front of the wall through a normal t-nut hole, although our current thinking is that this might be just a bit too convenient in practice.
See the photo below to get a better idea. We’re pretty confident we can improve this design for our next adjustable crack, but maybe someone else can do even better in the mean time. In general it works exceedingly well, although our cracks are slightly too big, making for two fist cracks when evenly placed, where every trad climber knows that it should be two hand cracks in that configuration.
Francerland- Climbing Over the Pond with Ethan Pringle
Touchstone athlete, Ethan Pringle headed over to Europe to do some rock climbing a few months ago. His travels have taken him to France, Switzerland, and now Spain. He's been trying to get after some rock climbing but the weather isn't always perfect across the pond. Matt Wilder and Ethan put together a video of their trip in Switzerland/France. Check out the cool clips and read more about Ethan's Switzerland travels on his blog.
East Betas Bake Sale
On Tuesday, April 26, there will be a bake sale for Great Western Power Company's teen team- the East Betas. The bake sale will be showcasing the baking talents of Berkeley Ironworks manager Lyn Verinsky, hardman sport climber and pastry chef Tony Calvert, and teen team coach and notorious water burner Ryan Moon. There will also be sweet potato pies from Mamie & Makhis and lots of other pies, cookies, and treats from bakeries around the bay area.
The East Beta's on top of the roof at GWPC. The team meets at GWPC every Tuesday from 4-6 pm
Ryan Moon designed this great logo for the teen team. The money from the bake sale will be used to make the team t-shirts.
The bake sale will start at 4pm on Tuesday at GWPC and continue until 8pm. Stop by, support the teen team and get some excellent snacks between climbs!
MetalMark Photo Gallery
MetalMark, Touchstone's newest gym in Fresno, has a new photo gallery up on Flickr. The gallery shows the finished climbing walls, including a couple of great cracks in the gym. There's also pics of the new bouldering area and the rest of the facility. The page will be updated as construction progresses. Things are moving along well at MetalMark!
Construction of the gym should be completed soon with the opening this summer. Get pysched Fresno!
Adopt-A-Crag at Mount St. Helena
This Friday, Mountain Hardwear is hosting a cleanup of Mount St. Helena. Bolts will be checked for replacement, trails will be cleared and maintained, and the local crags will be clear of garbage. These Adopt-A-Crag events are put on along with the Access Fund.
Jerry Dodrill made a cool video of climbing at Mount St. Helena
Every hour of time you donate to a crag helps show land managers that climbers are responsible stewards. Grab some friends, the kids, and a pair of work gloves and spend a day giving back to the sport you love! We hope to see you there.
Dodrill also captured a number of photos from last year's clean-up.
For more information, please contact Sam Kobata at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yosemite Featured in National Geographic
The newest issue of National Geographic has a great article about the climbing culture of Yosemite National Park. The article features pictures of climbers on El Cap, people base-jumping off of Half Dome, and other great stories about climbers in Yosemite. Below is a bit of the article as well as a link to the behind the scenes video that Jimmy Chin made. The photography is breathtaking!
On a bright Saturday morning in September a young man is clinging to the face of Half Dome, a sheer 2,130-foot wall of granite in the heart of Yosemite Valley. He's alone, so high off the ground that perhaps only the eagles take notice. Hanging on by his fingertips to an edge of rock as thin as a dime, shoes smeared on mere ripples in the rock, Eminem blasting on his iPod, Alex Honnold is attempting something no one has ever tried before: to climb the Regular Northwest Face route on Half Dome without a rope. He's less than a hundred feet from the summit when something potentially disastrous occurs—he loses the smallest measure of confidence.
Dean Potter free-soloing Heaven, a difficult crack by Glacier Point. Photo by Jimmy Chin.
For two hours and 45 minutes Honnold has been in the zone, flawlessly performing hundreds of precise athletic moves one after another, and not once has he hesitated. In the sport of free soloing, which means climbing with only a powdery chalk bag and rock shoes—no rope, no gear, nothing to keep you stuck to the stone but your own belief and ability—doubt is dangerous. If Honnold's fingertips can't hold, or if he merely believes his fingertips can't hold, he will fall to his death. Now, the spell suddenly broken by mental fatigue and the glass-slick slab in front of him, he's paralyzed.
"My foot will never stay on that," Honnold says to himself, staring at a greasy bump on the rock face. "Oh God, I'm screwed."
He hadn't felt that way two days before, when he'd raced up the same route with a rope. That climb had gone so smoothly he was certain he could free solo it, despite the route's legendary difficulty. When Half Dome was first climbed, in 1957, it had taken Californian Royal Robbins and his teammates five days. To get to the top, 4,840 feet above the valley floor, they'd pounded a hundred or so pitons, thin wedges of steel, into the rock, from which they'd hung ropes to climb—a style called aid climbing. A generation later, in 1976, Coloradans Art Higbee and Jim Erickson climbed Half Dome almost completely free—relying only on hands and feet wedged into the cracks, using ropes only to catch a fall—in 34 hours. For Honnold to free solo Half Dome would be to raise the bar almost beyond belief.
Now, clinging to the granite, Honnold vacillates, delicately chalking one hand, then the other, vigilantly adjusting his feet on invisibly small footholds. Then abruptly he's in motion again, stepping up, smearing his shoe on the slick knob. It sticks. He moves his hand to another hold, crimping his fingers on the tiny edge. Within minutes he's at the top.
"I rallied because there was nothing else I could do," Honnold tells me later, releasing a boyish laugh. "I stepped up and trusted that terrible foothold and was freed of the little prison where I'd stood silently for five minutes."
Word of his two-hour-and-50-minute free solo of Half Dome flashes around the world. Climbers are stunned, and bloggers buzz. On this warm fall day in 2008 the nerdy, plays-Scrabble-with-his-mom 23-year-old from the suburbs of Sacramento has just set a new record in climbing's biggest of big leagues.
This is the magic of Yosemite: It forges heroes. No matter where they come from, from the Alps to the Andes, all self-respecting rock climbers yearn to make a pilgrimage to "the valley" to measure themselves against its giants: El Capitan, a shimmering prow of stone so immense it makes the hundred-foot ponderosa pines at its base look miniature; Cathedral Rocks, a dark fortress forever in the shade; and Half Dome, a granite apple cleaved in half, its soaring northwest face an invitation to the boldest climbers in the world. To climb here is a rite of passage.
I made my first journey to the valley in the 1970s, a hungry teenager hitchhiking from Wyoming with a $20 bill and a climbing rope. Having grown up on the High Plains and tested myself in the Rockies, I wanted to believe I was ready. A vacationing family from Iowa in a station wagon, with three kids and a golden retriever, dropped me off in a meadow beneath the shadow of El Capitan, and I must have stood there with my head tilted back, stunned, for 15 minutes.
I stayed in Camp 4, Yosemite's notoriously rowdy campground for climbers. Back then, Camp 4 was all bell-bottoms and beads, torn tents and worn sleeping bags. Climbers were long-haired, hard-partying rebels, addicted to independence and the thrill of scaling big rocks and thus the bane of park rangers, who were known as "the tools."
The feeling was mutual. One midnight, after barely getting up a big wall, my friends and I stumbled back into camp only to discover that the rangers had confiscated our tent because we'd overstayed our permit. We slept in the dirt that night and from then on "stealth bivvied," rolling out our sleeping bags in the forest or among the boulders, sleeping under the stars, and returning to the walls before daybreak (still a common practice). We collected aluminum cans for cash and lived on peanut butter and cheap beer, and we couldn't have been happier.
But I was a Camp 4 tourist, soon to return to Wyoming. The lore of Camp 4 came from those who lived there all summer, every summer, like hobo kings, constantly pushing the limits of their abilities and the park's tolerance. To this day, Camp 4 fables are staples of campfires round the world. Once, a drug smugglers' plane stuffed with bales of weed and wads of cash crashed in the high country. The ragged, sandaled lads of Camp 4 marched back and forth through the snow, absconding with the loot. For a time, T-bone steaks replaced tinned sardines. One climber rolled out of Yosemite in a broken-down DeSoto and returned ten days later in a red convertible Lincoln Continental. A few others lit out for the Alps with dreams of grandeur but didn't make it any farther than a bordello in Bordeaux, returning fat and flat broke the next year.
Jailhouse Awarded Conservation Grant
Last week, Jailhouse received a grant from the Conservation Alliance. Check out the details of the grant from the Access Fund.
April 6, 2011. Boulder, CO – The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is excited to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Conservation Alliance to secure permanent public access to and long-term conservation of Jailhouse Rock climbing area near Sonora, California.
The Access Fund and local climbers began working with the landowners in August of last year when they learned that future access to this popular climbing area was at risk by a quickly approaching subdivision. It became clear that the Access Fund needed to launch a fundraising campaign to secure permanent access and conservation of the cliff line – the Unlock Jailhouse campaign was launched in November of last year. The Conservation Alliance grant brings a successful end to this fundraising effort.
Thanks to support from the climbing community and the Conservation Alliance, the Access Fund exceeded its fundraising goal, with $75,000 raised to secure a permanent access and conservation easement to the property. The funds will also allow the Access Fund and local volunteers to improve facilities and access, and create a long-term stewardship fund for the property.
The existing parking area and access trail will remain open for the immediate future. The Access Fund will be working with local climbers and the landowners this summer to install a new gate, parking area, trailhead, and toilet facilities, at which point the old access route will be restored to natural conditions and closed. Stay tuned for updated access information, including the code and important conditions of access, www.accessfund.org/jailhouse.
The Access Fund would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Conservation Alliance and all of the individual donors and companies who generously opened their wallets to make this climbing access and conservation victory possible.
About the Access Fund Celebrating its 20th anniversary, 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 2.3 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 www.accessfund.org.
About the Conservation Alliance The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations. It directs funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. The Alliance was founded in 1989 by industry leaders REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, who shared the goal of increasing outdoor industry support for conservation efforts.
Denise Miller: The Tenacious Teacher
Denise Miller, a 36 year old school teacher in Forest Hill outside of Auburn, has been climbing for the past 9 years. A long time Sacramento Pipeworks climber, Miller’s tenacity is well known in the climbing community. With a strong work ethic, Miller has successfully climbed many difficult rock climbs in California.
“Friends of mine thought I’d be interested in climbing,” said Miller about her first time climbing at Sacramento Pipeworks. “I was hooked the first day I went. I thought of myself as pretty good at athletics. I got my butt kicked and got a membership.”
Miller and her husband, Rick have traveled abroad to Kalymnos in Greece but spend a significant amount of time at Jailhouse, the steep sport climbing crag in Sonora. It’s so athletic and challenging. Some of our best friends are there. It feels like home there.”
Miller has become a permanent fixture at Jailhouse, climbing every weekend from September to June. “The style of climbing is so unique even though it’s beta intensive and hard to read. It’s really cool when you put something together.”
Miller has dispatched a number of difficult 5.12s at the crag as well Cell Block 5.13- and Fugitive 5.13-. Miller has been trying Alcatraz, a classic 13b at Jailhouse involving technical refrigerator wrestling. She’s progressed from hanging on every draw to two hangs on the route and solid redpoint burns. Denise likes projecting because of the mental aspects involved. “I like believing that you can do it- really pushing yourself and not knowing how far you can push yourself. It’s about overcoming all those mental challenges. There’s a few tears shed here and there but it’s great once you can link all the moves.”
Denise working her summer project Warp Factor 5.13a at Star Wall Donner Summit Photo from the Denise Miller collection
“I visual the moves daily. I’m a lil obsessive but it’s pretty fun,” said Miller about projecting. “I don’t climb for two days before going out there to make sure I’m not over training.” Talking about the core strength needed at the steep crag and getting stronger, Miller said, “It’s exciting to find a weakness because if you train it you climb so much better.”
One of Miller’s greatest strengths is her tenacity. Rock climbing is scary for many of us but Miller faces her fears well. She gets over her fears, “Just by taking falls, by facing phantom fears- the things I shouldn’t be afraid of. The more I fall the more comfortable I get out there.”
Miller has appeared in a recent issue of Rock and Ice, climbing Electric Chair a 5.12d at Jailhouse. Keep an eye out for her and her hard climbing husband at Sacramento Pipeworks and your local crag.
A Tradical Nose Rack
Hans Florine knows the Nose. The Diablo Rock gym manager has made dozens of ascents including some blindingly fast 4 hour speed blasts of the long route on Yosemite’s El Capitan. With the spring weather finally clearing up in Yosemite and the Capitan looking prime, it’s time to get tradical! Check out the gear list from Hans and his great recommendations, then stop by your nearest Touchstone gym to stock up on some great gear.
1 # 2 Camalot 2 # 1 Camalot 1 #.75 Camalot 1 #.5 Camalot 2 #.4 Camalots 2 #.3 Camalots 6 Black Diamond Stoppers One cam hook, one etrier, 17 light weight Black Diamond quickdraws, 18 Neutrino biners, 4 locking carabiners, 6 long runners, a Petzl Gri Gri, and a set of Petzl ascenders.
Hans added that a solid trad rack for Yosemite would include a set of Omega Pacific link cams , 2 cordelettes- (5 to 7 mm cords in 18 to 22 ft in length to build anchors with), Metolious tricams (the middle four of the set of six are awesome for pin scars), a Petzl Reverso
“If you know you are going to be doing wide cracks then buy another #2 camalot, another #3 and two #4s,” said Hans. “There are very few cracks that are continuously wide and require more than this, on the occasion that they do, I recommend asking to borrow from friends. Ask me if you need some.”
“Lastly if you know a crack you are headed up is notorious for a certain size for a long distance than add to this rack accordingly or borrow. For the people
Total Body Workout at Ironworks
Do you go to the gym and do the same routine every time? Have you walked or jogged on the treadmill one too many times? Are you bored with your usual exercises? Your body is probably so used to what you are doing that it hasn't changed in months.
Come and join our new high intensity metabolic circuit class, work out at your own pace and reach a new level of fitness. Mary Rocha is teaching a new class at Berkeley Ironworks to solve your fitness problems. This class will combine the benefits of cardio and strength training using body weight exercises, kettle bells, medicine balls, bands, dumbbells, pylometrics- whatever it takes to challenge you. Your body will get stronger, your cardiovascular fitness will improve and you will burn calories and watch your body change!
The first class will be April 11th and then will be every Mon/Wed/Fri from 6:30 to 7:15am. THe classes will meet downstairs in the weight room at Ironworks.
¶ Wednesday, April 06, 20110 Comments
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Peregrine Closure at Yosemite's Arch Rock
Peregrine falcons are beautiful birds and also some of the fastest. Diving up to 200 mph, the peregrine owns the skies. Unfortunately, the use of pesticides have endangered this speedy bird. Currently, the National Park Service is helping the birds recover from a large population decline. To protect the birds, climbers have been asked to stay away from nesting cliffs.
One of Yosemite's best cliffs, Arch Rock, will be closed temporarily while a pair of peregrines are nesting at the cliff. Jesse McGahey, the Yosemite climing ranger wrote, "The location of the eyrie necessitates closing many popular climbs including "Anticipation", "Entrance Exam", "Midterm", "Leanie Meanie", "Gripper",and "New Dimensions".
McGahey continued, "We are monitoring the other nesting sites, and will lift closures in other areas if they are unoccupied. I know many of you are curious...the Rostrum pair is incubating so we can expect the closure to continue until August 1st."
MetalMark Climbing Wall Design Complete
Metalmark’s climbing wall design is now complete. Mark Melvin, Touchstone's CEO says, "Our walls in Fresno are the best we’ve ever built -there’s not a bad line in the gym." In a unique collaborative effort, Mark worked on-site full time with a brilliant design team:
Mark Benkert- a 20 year veteran wall builder, artist, and sculptor, who thrives on model-less see-how-it-works building
Simon Benkert- who might be one of the best climbers in America if he didn’t like welding so much.
Tom Ramier- also a veteran wall builder who says it’s the funnest job you could ever have.
Mark Benkert headed the construction of a model inspired by the design of famous climbing and wall designer Christian Griffith. The team thought about the placement of every stick of steel. "We’ve done things we’ve never done in a Touchstone gym before, with curves, corners, edges – it’s going to be brilliant and unlike anything else in California." says Melvin. "What we’re learning here will shape how we do things for our future gyms."
The opening is still a couple months hence but will be completed soon.
Touchstone Climber Crushes Mortar
Last week, Brian "Cuz" Hedrick, a 24 year old route setter at Touchstone Climbing, made the second ascent of the Impossible Wall Traverse at Berkeley's Mortar Rock. First established by Chris Sharma seven years ago, the V13 problem has bouted many of the strongest local climbers.
The hardest boulder problem within a 100 miles of the bay starts on an obvious jug in the middle of the face and traverses right into the Impossible Wall (v8). "It's big moves on bad holds," says Hedrick, who sent the line after working it seven days over two years.
"It's like Cresiano but better," says Ethan Pringle, a 24 year old professional climber from San Francisco, of Mortar Rock. One of the only boulders in the Berkeley hills, Mortar Rock hosts a number of problems, and eliminates. John Sherman, Scott Frye, and Nat Smale began bouldering in the area in 1976, establishing the classic Nat's Traverse (V8) and developing the V-scale at the urban crag.
A line linking Nat's to the Impossible Wall traverse remains a 5.15/V14 project for future Mortar Rock addicts. Hedrick maintains that he won't be heading back to Mortar anytime soon.