El Cap Rescue
Imagine being high on the Nose of Yosemite's El Capitan, falling and needing a rescue.
On September 25, an Austrian man was leading off of Camp 5, when he fell. His hand caught in one of his aid slings and his thumb was severed. Suddenly his partner and he felt very stranded on the wall. Using a cell phone, they were able to make a series of phone calls and get rescued by YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue).
Former Ironworks desk staffer, Todd "The Bod" Bartlow helped the other YOSAR members assemble a team to help the climbers. The Bod is the one with the Amhish style beard in the foreground.
The crew flew a helicopter to the side of El Capitan, then they threw a rope to the climbers on the wall. The YOSAR team was able to pull into the wall, lift the stranded Austrian man off the cliff and transport him to the Merced hospital. His thumb landed on the ledge next to his partner and the doctors were able to reattach it at the hospital.
Photographer and El Cap WatchDog, Tom Evans snapped pictures of the rescue. Check out the story on the El Cap Report
Shoe Demos Coming to Touchstone
Fall is a great time of year to shop for new shoes. As the temps cool down and conditions get better outside, you'll want the best shoe that you can get. To help with your decision, Touchstone is hosting a number of different climbing shoe companies at their gyms. La Sportiva, Five Ten and Evolv will all be bringing their best shoes for you to try on and climb in.
There is no better shoe for high-end sport climbing, bouldering or competition climbing. The Hornet is built on a new state-of-the-art low volume last, with a downturned toe and an asymmetrical lacing system that allows for a perfect, custom fit. The upper is synthetic Cowdura™ with a 3-D Polytechnic™ coating that increases durability and abrasion resistance without adding weight. The Mystique™ outsole offers unparalleled grip, precision and durability.
Think Dragon with a Velcro® closure. We made our latest state-of-the-art shoe even more user-friendly. The padded-tongue has a super-soft, fleecy microfiber lining. It wicks sweat and gives the top of your foot support and comfort, no matter what the angle. The new Blackwing fits like a glove, but slides on easily. The team shoe heel cup is extra snug and the Mystique™ outsole is specifically designed for ultimate friction on overhanging rock.
The Anasazi LV (Low Volume) excels on climbs of 5.11 and higher, both indoors and out. This performance climbing shoe is built on a women’s-specific last, and is designed for medium volume feet. The heel design offers an excellent, no-slip fit. Five Ten®’s proprietary “Power Toe” and a unique midsole provide the support for extremely technical climbs. Outsoles are Stealth® C4™ with extremely high friction, indoors and out.
Five Ten will also have the Coyote VCS mens, the Dragon, the Quantum, the Hornet, Blackwing m/w, the Anasazi vcs, the Mocc, the Lv, the arrowhead, the Hueco, the Verdes and the Mini moccs.
A revolutionary rock shoe developed specifically for bouldering. Whatever technical problem the rock presents, the “Solution” rock shoe gives you the support you need with the most innovative technology to overcome the boulder move. The upper uses Lock Harness System® technology, which hugs the foot from the inside and combines with the unique deep heel-cups to ensure maximum flexibility when hooking, on incuts and overhangs. The randing system P3® (Permanent Power Platform) is the active part of the shoe which gives it its versatility and works in synergy with the base of the foot to spread and maintain tension through time. The innovative Fast Lacing System® combined with the tongue in elasticized fabric ensures optimal adjustment of the internal volume.
"The" technical climbing shoe, inspired by the Mirage project. The optimum combination between synthetic and natural materials is the ideal compromise between comfort and technicality. With the internal lining only in the toe and the heel, it combines the breathability and comfort of leather with the precision and inalterability of the lined shoe. The rand system (patent pending) is an active feature of the shoe and distributes the plantar tension in a progressive way. The new asymmetrical lacing system allows the personalized adjustment of the internal volume. The forefoot midsole implant, allows a 'better wrapping' of the plantar arch and the heel.
A climbing shoe devised for long mountain routes and cracks: its technical features make this model an complete newcomer to the market! TC Pro guarantees maximum comfort even after several hours thanks to the soft internal padding at the ankle and back. Features include high cut uppers designed to protect the ankle from rubbing against cracks. The front rubber rand offers further protection in the cracks, while the lacing system to the toe has been studded to protect the laces against rock fiction. The uppers and tongue are extremely breathable which enhances comfort. TC Pro uses the P3 patent system, designed to maintain the arched shape of the shoe even after continued use. The sole, made from the new Vibram® compound, reduces deformation on small and sharp cutting holds.
A new lightweight, shock absorbing model, part of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® category. Wildcat is ideal for training sessions and free time activities thanks to its lightweight, comfort and breathability features. The upper is made from an exceptionally breathable perforated net fabric, the boot has a wide fit for maximum comfort. The built in gaiter protects against stones and mud. The boot features a TPU Stabilizing heel and a Frixion® sole with Impact brake system for enhanced grip and shock absorption on difficult terrain. This model is available with or without the Gore-Tex® lining and in 4 colours: black/green e black/yellow (men), white/plum and white/mint (women).
La Sportiva will also be bringing the men and women's Miura and the women's Katana. Additionally the Wildcat and their other trail running shoe. the Crosslite 2.0 will both be on sale for 20% off
The ultimate performance climbing shoe developed from the ground up by Chris Sharma ideal for hard sport climbing and bouldering on steep terrain.
The Shaman incorporates several key design elements that work synergistically to perform at the highest level: The big toe “knuckle box” and “love bump” midsole keeps the big toe in a position of power to obtain maximum strength for edging and grabbing; the tensioned heel and arch rand eliminates dead space in the arch for secure heel hooks and transfers power to the toes; the multi pattern lining (leather forefoot liner for increased sensitivity and feel, cotton heel for non-stretch performance), give the best feel and function for demanding climbs.
The Geshido is the ultimate high performance shoe for high level climbing in all terrains: whether it’s technical face climbing, steep power climbing or jamming in thin cracks, this shoe will take it on. It’s built on our newest last that features a slight down turned toe that gives the climber a high level of performance and versatility on any terrain.
- Leather upper that molds to the foot and toe area and synthetic nubuck lace frame that gives the shoe solid lateral structure and durability. - Concave plastic midsole reduces dead space under the toes and disperses energy to your toes for edging power and control.
Chris Sharma's favorite all-around performance shoe for sending the world's hardest climbs. The Pontas is an excellent bouldering, sport, and gym shoe with superior edging power.
FEATURES - Designed for focusing and delivering power to the toe - Non-stretch material for consistent performance - Extended toe rand for toe hooking
Evolv will also be bringing the Geshido SC, the Talon, the Defy, the Demorto, the Evo, Rockstar and the Elektra.
The demos will be from 6-9 pm at the following gyms and dates:
Oct 3 Monday- Sacramento Pipeworks
Oct 4 Tuesday- Diablo Rock Gym
Oct 5 Wednesday- Mission Cliffs
Oct 6 Thursday- Berkeley Ironworks and Great Western Power Company will have both their demos at at BIW!!
Comp Season in Full Swing
The Touchstone Bouldering Series is in it's 7th year and the comps have been getting better and better. The recent Ironworks comp had a record number of competitors with 469 scorecards and at least 500 competitors.
There was a mantel competition won by the youngest competitor, Bella. Nesquik came out to provide all the climbers with chocolate milk. Pyramid Brewery provided the climbers with great beer.
Ironworks had over a hundred pizzas for all the hungry climbers and Akiva sold his amazing ice cream sandwiches.
Needless to say the Ironworks comp was amazing! Earlier this summer, there was a ton of spray from the Pipeworks comp. The hot August weather didn't detour the 250 competitors and the antics were high.
Pipeworks staff member, Diane Ortega came up with a great end of the comp game. A dozen climbers were given 4 ounces of soda and a tab of Alka Selzer. They had to hold both in their mouth without swallowing. Needless to say there was a lot of spray coming out of people's mouths. Local boy Matt Amicucci took the prize for that section of the comp.
At every comp, the setters work hard to put up new and awesome boulder problems and routes. This year was no different. The setters put up a great selection of climbs at all the gyms.
Diablo Rock Gym will be hosting the next comp on October 21. DRG Manager Hans Florine, a long time competitive rock climber, will definitely make their comp one of the best.
The final comp will be at Touchstone's newest gym The Studio in San Jose on January 7th. Get pysched for another round of great climbing competitions!
100 Miles of Racing with Myles Smythe
On mile 80, Smythe watched his second sunrise. Earlier Smythe heard a bear huffling and snarling at him in the dark. A few miles later, he saw a coyote run through the meadow. After another five miles, Smythe came back to life, running quickly and meeting his wife at the end of his first 100 mile race.
Myles Smythe, a 32 casino surveillance system designer and Sacramento resident began running in early 2005 as part of his training for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s academy. The Pipeworks member’s initial 5 mile runs on the American River Bike Trail were far from easy at the time. After taking some time off from running, Smythe returned in December of 2008 and slowly ticked the miles off under his feet.
Smythe running his first 5K race.
Smythe wrote, “In 2008 I thought it would be a good idea to strengthen my core for my rock climbing and thought to add running into my weekly training schedule. I was always hiking and loved being in the mountains. So it did not take long to realize I could be in the mountains more often and see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time while I ran. A strenuous 12 mile hike up in Michigan Bluff once took 6 hours to complete, but now I can run it in less than 3 hours.”
On September 10th, Smythe finished the Rio Del Lago, his 13th ultra marathon and his first 100 mile race in 30 hours and 57 minutes. Out of 84 starters only 38 finished. “I defied all odds against me and pushed through to the end,” said Smythe. “A 100 mile race is a true test piece to find out who you are and what you are made of.” Smythe ran his best ultra race at the Headlands 50 Mile in July. The run includes 20,000 feet of vertical change and he completed it in 10 hours and 45 minutes. “I prefer bigger hills when I race,” Smythe said. “I once thought 31 miles was long. Then adding 19 more seemed like an incredible journey to reach the 50 mile distance,” said Smythe about the long runs. “I can honestly say that 100 miles completed in any speed and over any terrain is always going to be an epic journey.”
Smythe spent significant time training for the race both mentally and physically. Smythe ran 40-65 miles per week and tried to simulate race conditions as much as possible, running the course trails and during the heat of the day since historically the race was expected to be in 90 degree heat. Smythe spent little time resting between long runs to stimulate miles 75-95 during a 20 mile training run. In August, he ran two 50K races at 100 mile pace on back to back weekends to prepare for Rio Del Lago. “Usually when your brain tells you to stop you actually still have a lot left in you and just have to train yourself to push through it,” said Smythe.
On December 3rd, Smythe will be running The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile race. Smythe hopes to run the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile next February in Texas and the Western States 100 Mile, which runs from Squaw Valley to Auburn next June. About his running, Smythe said, “Ultimately I have a love for the outdoors and when I step off the trail after almost any training run or race I just can’t wait to get back out and run more.”
Jacking The Rock
New routes often involve some cleaning. A lot of the rock in Yosemite is relatively clean. The same can be said for the coastal areas but in the north west, in Squamish and much of Washington, the rock is often very dirty and contains lots of loose rock. Squamish locals have been known to spend hundreds of hours cleaning up a new route. Often the cleaning includes trundling large loose rocks. Here's a great video of Squamish climber and renown Hula-Hooper Hevy Duty car jacking a rock off the cliff. Enjoy the hilarious footage!
Chances are you spend most of your time thinking about climbing. When are you gonna go to the crag again? What time is your buddy meeting you at the gym? What kind of shoes should you buy next time? How can you change it from just being your hobby into making it part of your lifestyle?
Climbing has a ton of facets to it from the gear involved to access issues surrounding the crags. There's a slew of great jobs out there for people that want to work in the climbing environment and change climbing from their hobby into a full part of their life.
Climbing gyms are a great place to work. Setting routes, working at the desk or even working belay staff can help kick off a climbing industry career.
If you like selling and helping people with gear, then a great option is to work in one of the many bay area outdoor stores. REI, Marmot Mountain Works, Mountain Hardware and other companies are all based out of the bay area.
Dan Urban guiding climbing writer James Lucas up Moonlight Buttress
Spending time outside on the rock is another great option. Taking AMGA courses will help you work into guiding at one of the bay area's local crags. There are a number of guide services in the Sierra and across California.
Helping with access issues and the bureaucracy surrounding climbing is important to the community as a whole. American Alpine Club, who is looking for a California representative now. The Access Fund and other groups often have job openings.
The other option is to become a ROCK star. There are some professional climbers out there who make a living doing what they love. This may be the hardest option as it requires serious climbing skills and marketing.
Check out the options out there and make money through climbing.
Ironworks Comp this Friday
This week is Touchstone Bouldering Series comp time at Berkeley Ironworks. The setters will be taking down the old problems Tuesday evening and readying the walls for the hundreds of climbers who will be heading to Berkeley on Friday night.
Last year's comp at Ironworks marked Touchstone's 10th anniversary. This year the festival will be even better with tons of new boulder problems, lots of great beer and food.
Mike Libecki Slideshow at MetalMark
On Thursday evening, world traveler Mike Libecki will be heading to MetalMark as part of his slideshow tour.
Libecki, a Mountain Hardware sponsored athlete, spent many years climbing the walls of Yosemite before going on larger adventures. Libecki has been on expeditions and established multiple first ascents in such areas as Africa, Baffin Island, Greenland, China, Madagascar, Kyrgysztan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Venezuela, Yemen, and Antarctica.
Big Wall Season: Aid Climbing Videos
The fall season is here and with the cool temps comes a great opportunity to head to California's greatest crag- Yosemite National Park. The enormous granite cliffs of the Valley are some of the best big wall climbing in the world. Washington's Column, the Leaning Tower, Half Dome and El Capitan are proving grounds for climbers who want to venture to the great big walls of Patagonia, Baffin Island and Pakistan.
Learning to climb these big wall routes isn't easy. Veteran big wall ace Steve Schneider gives clinics and so has Diablo Rock Gym manager and speed climber Hans Florine. There's lots of information out there about aid climbing and Chris Mac of Supertopo made a great series of videos about how to aid climb.
Aid Climbing is a gear intensive style of climbing. Aiders, daisy chains, harnesses, cams, nuts, hooks and more are all needed in the arsenal. Luckily, Touchstone carries all the gear you need to get up El Cap. Get your gear at Touchstone and head out to the BIG Stone!
Temporary Work at Ironworks
As part of a rewiring project at Ironworks, the treadmills and other cardio equipment will be down for part of the day on Wednesday and Thursday. The women's locker room will also be partially sealed off for workers to access electrical wiring. Some showers and the sauna, lockers, and bathrooms will all be available for use.
Zero Gravity: Interview with Coach Scot Jenerik
On August 25-28, Scot Jenerik and four of the Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team members competed at the Youth World Championships in Imst, Austria. This competition was attended by over 600 athletes from 50 countries and had quite possibly the deepest pool of youth climbing talent at a world championship to date. The Touchstone athletes had a strong showing. Joshua Levin was 19th in Sport and 10th in Speed. Jacquelyn Wu was 44th in Sport and 9th in Speed. Nicholas Bradley was 46th in Sport. Will Roderick was 20th in Speed.
Nicholas Bradley, Scot Jenerik (US Team Coach), Jacquelyn Wu, Will Roderick, Joshua Levin in Imst Austria
Zero Gravity is one of the strongest youth climbing teams in the nation. Zero Gravity were 2nd in the country for Teams at the 2011 and 2009 USA Climbing SCS National Championships and 3rd in the country at the 2008 ABS National Championships and the team has been consistently in the top 5 at Nationals for 8 years. Team members have been regional Champions the past 6 years for both Sport and Bouldering with over 40 National Champions and close to 100 US National Team Bids. A large part of this is due to the solid coaching they receive.
Zero Gravity at the 2011 Youth Nationals
Scot Jenerik, the 47 year old US National Team Head Coach and Touchstone Zero Gravity Head Coach, has spent the past two decades living in San Francisco and the past 11 years coaching Zero Gravity.
When Jenerik’s daughter Cicada was 4, he hauled her up climbs in Joshua Tree and throughout the Sierra. As she got older, her talent became noticeable and Jenerik took her to a JCCA competition at Touchstone’s Class 5 in San Rafael. She performed well and told her farther, “That was the best day of my life.” At that point, Zero Gravity was born. “I had been an athlete my whole life, playing many different sports and running track in college,” said Jenerik. “My father was often my coach and given my passion for understanding the dynamics of training, I adapted all that I knew and researched what I didn't to create the program that now exists.”
“Coaching, like climbing, is dynamic. It's not just about making someone physically strong, it is more about psychology and how to get the best out of an athlete. This relates to all aspects of their training and performance,” said Jenerik about coaching Zero Gravity. “Also every athlete has a slightly different set of strengths and weaknesses. Identifying these and reinforcing the weaknesses is a satisfying challenge. When I first started there was very little information available about effective training for climbing and none whatsoever about training youth. The body of a youth athlete can not be put through the same degree of stress as an adult. Developing appropriate physical and psychological coaching techniques is a never ending challenge. Additional challenges are balancing their passion for climbing with school and family needs.”
Before coaching and working as the foreman for the route setting at Mission Cliffs, Jenerik traveled the world playing hand built percussion instruments that blasted large fireballs.
Jenerik discussed training and applications to anyone. “The most important aspect is how hard you try. Excellence is not something that just happens, it is practiced every day. If you practice quitting every day you should expect nothing other than failure. Be consistent in your training and understand that it will take time. Erratic training will do virtually nothing for you. As an example, imagine that you want to run up a hill with 100# on your back. If you strap that weight to your back and go for it you will collapse. But if you add 1# every day, running up the hill each day for 100 days you will transform your body into being able to carry that load. Also identify the things you don't like to do as these tend to be ones weaknesses. We all like to do what we are good at. But if you can strengthen the things you aren't good at your overall ability will rise."
Zero Gravity trains 3 hours 4-5 days a week and each athlete has a detailed program that is specific to their goals and ability. Fun and satisfaction occur when one’s ability coincides with the complexity of the challenge. Monday through Thursday, the team meets at Ironworks, Mission Cliffs and Diablo Rock. Jenerik is at each of the gyms on a different day and Scott Cory, Cicada Jenerik and Joshua Levin, his assistant coaches, are at the other gyms.
Reel Rock Tour
The 2011 Reel Rock Tour is coming to the bay area. With footage of slack life super star Sketchy Andy, the tiny crusher Ashima and her coach Obe, local Mortar rocker Sean Leary and Yosemite's Dean Potter speeding up the Nose, and Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson's attempt on the Dawn Wall, this year's Reel Rock Tour is guaranteed to be awesome.
Mission Cliffs is selling tickets for the Thursday, September 29 show at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco, 8:00pm. Peter Mortimer and Josh Lowell the two filmmakers behind the tour will both be there to host the show.
Berkeley Ironworks is selling tickets for the two shows Friday, September 30 show at the Clif Bar Headquarters in Emeryville, 6:00 and 8:30.
On September 22nd, the Reel Rock Tour will be giving a free show at the Yosemite Facelift.
Check out the movie trailer:
Last years show sold out so get your tickets soon!
Black Diamond Harness Sale
One of the most important pieces of climbing gear you can purchase is a harness. comfortable, light weight, easily adjustable, gear loops, haul loop,and more are all features that need to be considered when buying a new harness. Touchstone stocks a number of great options and through September, we'll be offering 25% off great Black Diamond harnesses including the Momentum SA, the women's Primrose, the Wiz Kid, and more.
Chris Mac offers some great advice about buying a harness in the video below.
Do to safety reasons, all sales on climbing harnesses are final. Stop by Touchstone and get a great deal on a new harness!
Touchstone Members Fighting for Education
On Sunday, September 18th, two Touchstone members will be brawling it out on San Pablo. Fighting for Education, a fundraiser brought together by the Alcazar Scholarship Fund, By Any Dreams Necessary, and Rocha Scholarship, will be hosting MMA exhibitions, raffles, and a fight between Andy "Mustang Andy" Sondag of Diablo Rock Gym and Tone "Iron" Chin of Berkeley Ironworks.
Both fighters are members of Victor Damian’s Touchstone boxing classes. The pair have been training hard for the event. “I started taking cardio boxing classes at DRG in February, and then started sparring at Berkeley Ironworks shortly after,” said the 150 pound Sondag. or lose, I'm really just excited to see how I stack up and check this off my bucket list.
Sondag photo by Eric Lagace Lagace, a cardio boxing instructor at Diablo Rock Gym and Andy's trainer, will be in his corner for the event.
“My fears are driving me to train harder than I normally do. I'm conscientiously eating better; I'm healthier; I'm in the best shape of my life,” said the 144 pound Chin.
There will be a number of other fights, food, a dj, and a great fund-raising event. The Alcazar Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to transfer students transferring to UC Berkeley. By Any Dreams Necessary provides scholarships to students pursuing a career in Art. The Rocha Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for university applications.
Tickets will be sold for a minimum donation of $20. Groups will receive one free ticket for every 10 tickets purchased.
Please contact Jose, Garrett, or Luis for a ticket:
Jose Rocha (510) 798-1827
The event will be held at the Modern Combative Gym on San Pablo at noon with the first fight at 1pm. But as Chin said, “When you see a punch coming back at you, that's when fighting begins.”
Pilates Classes at Ironworks
Pilates classes are coming to Berkeley Irownworks. Taught by Elena Cochran, the classes will be Mondays at 10 am and Thursdays at 4 pm.
The Pilates Method is a comprehensive exercise and rehabilitation program designed early in the 20th Century by German-born Joseph Pilates. The main focus of this class is to investigate ways of strengthening the body as one fluid unit, a system that is constantly
moving, even when in stillness. Working with functional skeletal-alignment and combining principles such as breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision, as well as relaxation, we will use the core-integrating movements of the Pilates Mat Work to strengthen your body from the inside out. You will learn to move with more ease and prevent injury, and learn efficient movement principles to take with you into your other activities (running, climbing, swimming, dancing, cycling, gardening, etc.). With the body-awareness cultivated from this practice you will begin to understand where your own imbalances are that are keeping you from reaching your physical goals while working with your present body to create balance.
Elena Cochran has a never ending fascination with movement that began in her first ballet class at the age of five. As a scrawny, shy youth Elena never bored of physically challenging activities; opportunities to push herself past what was thought to be possible. Elena now holds a Certificate of Dance from The Ailey School in New York City. While in NYC she studied Kinesiology with Irene Dowd and became Certified in Yamuna Body Rolling through Yamuna Zake. She completed her Pilates Certification with Nora St. John and Naomi Leiserson in the Bay Area through Balanced Body University in 2008. Elena discovered rock climbing around that time and immediately joined the Oakland-based dance-climb fusion group Ascendance Project. Since then she has been most influenced and inspired by her exploration of the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, The Axis Syllabus, Aerial Dance and her many teachers and colleagues through whom she has learned to stop pushing so hard, and instead work to cultivate balance in her body and in her life. As a teacher Elena continues to use the Pilates method as a structure, and combine her other training and influences to design classes and lessons that help to build balance in each one of her students. She is available for private lessons, utilizing the mat as well as all the Pilates Apparatus. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stop by Ironworks and check out this amazing new class with Elena.
Wellspring Academy Heads to MetalMark
Climbing is a great way to get into shape and have fun. With movement that requires strong muscles from fingers, back, to calves, rock climbing provides the exercise needed to lose weight and tone your body. Recently, MetalMark had a group of students from Wellspring Academies, a weight loss boarding schools for overweight teens and young adults. The school focuses on helping students change their lifestyles to maintain a healthy body and mind.
"I work with a weight loss academy for young adults and finding activities that everyone in our diverse group can enjoy can be challenging at times," wrote Tyler Johnson, the director at Wellspring. "The exceptionally friendly staff at Metalmark has made us feel extremely welcome and our group can't wait to go back. There really is something for every skill level and the facilities are the most impressive I’ve experienced in all of central California. If you or your group is looking to learn about climbing and develop your skills and fitness, Metalmark is the place to be. The huge bouldering area, super tall technical walls, state of the art equipment, and supportive staff make Metalmark the definitive leader in its field."
MetalMark is an awesome place for group trips. Stop by the gym for some serious fitness and a ton of fun!