Touchstone Blog Archive
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
  Fred Beckey Slideshow
Well into his late 80s, life time dirtbag climber, Fred Beckey shows no signs of slowing down his passion for climbing.

Beckey has authored a number of books since the late 1940s, notably the Cadcade Alpine Guide, which is in it’s third edition. In 2003, his 563-page book on the history of the region, Range of Glaciers, was published by the Oregon Historical Society Press.

More notably, Beckey is known for his impressive climbing. In 1963 Beckey climbed the Beckey-Chouinard Route on South Howser Tower the Bugaboos in Canada with Patagonia founder Yvon Choinard and Dan Doody. In 1968 Beckey climbed the first ascent of the Northeast Face on Mount Hooker in the Canadian Rockies. In 1970, in 1983, in 2010, Fred Beckey made another first ascent.

Beckey is unofficially recognized as the all-time world record holder of first ascents. From Canada to California to anywhere, there’s rock, snow, or tons of heinous bush whacking, Beckey has been there and climbed a new route.

In December, Beckey and Patagonia Publishing will be releasing Beckey's Black Book: Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs

Outside Magazine did a great profile on the climber.

On Thursday, December 8th, Beckey will be giving a slideshow about his new book at Sunrise Mountain Sports in Livermore. There is a $5 admission fee, which will go to Beckey's travel fund.

Sunrise Mountain Sports
2455 Railroad Avenue
Livermore, Ca 94550

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  Climbing Weather App
There's days when I sit behind my computer and neurotically check the weather. Yosemite, Castle Rock, Mortar, Smith, Bishop, Mickeys, Pinnacles. Where should I go? Where's the weather going to be best?

Perfect weather in the Valley.

On the BART ride home, on the drive out to the crag, and anywhere inbetween, it's nice to know what the weather is going to do for the next chance you have to climb. There's an app out there for checking the weather from Climbing This app allows you to check forecasts and maps for over 300 climbing areas on your phone.

Get weather forecasts and maps for over 300 climbing areas on your mobile phone absolutely free. Find nearby areas, view daily and hourly forecasts, search, add favorites, view maps and more.

If you don't have an Iphone, you can also get text messages with weather updates. It's a great way to get just a little more digital and take advantage of wherever the weather is best.

Click here for more details!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011
  Cyclocross with Phillip Green
Phillipp Green, a 27 year old front desk staffer at Fresno’s Metal Mark, competed in the HomeGrown CycloCross race series this year.

The races take place from September to January and consist of numerous laps around a short, a 1.5 – 2 mile course with mixed terrain of wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and pavement. Often, cyclists have to navigate obstacles by dismounting their bikes and jumping over the barrier. Though the courses are short, the race is usually consists of over 20 miles of this type of terrain.

Green has been racing for about three years. “I love it. I race my bike in the single speed category with a handful of other guys,” said Green. “The first couple races of the season are always grueling due to my lack of training. It is always a good time, super great people and a perfect balance of competition and comradery.”

Green won his latest race and placed third in the overall series. No doubt he’ll be back on his bike for more.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011
  Sandstone in the South East
Earlier this month, four intrepid bay area climbers took the journey to the deep south in search of some of the best sandstone boulders in the United States.

Al Liu, a 32 year old Mountain Hardwear employee from Oakland, and Abel Eisentraut, a 41 year old cabinet maker from Oakland, flew from the bay area to Denver, where they promptly missed their connecting flight.

Eventually the pair, made it to Atlanta Georgia, where they met Ryan “Skippy” Gaunt, a 31 year old wind turbine rigger, and his coworker Eric Ruderman, a 34 year old from Santa Cruz. Ruderman and Skippy had flown into Atlanta from a job in Iowa to meet Al and Abel for a two week trip through the south.

While Al had spent some time in the south, and Skippy was a North Carolina boy, the other two had never explored the dirty south.

“It was nice being back in the woods and leaves of the fall. People are real friendly and Chattanooga is a nice quiet town. There were churches everywhere.”

The crew got great weather and only had one day of rain, on a planned rest day. At every restaurant they went to, the waitresses loved the motley crew of climbers. The trip was ideal. “The sandstone. The slopers. Cooking over open fires in HP (didn't bring any gear). Had perfect weather,” said Al, who’s favorite part of the trip was cooking over an open fire in Horse Pens with his buddies. There was “Lots of bromance,” said Al.

Al took great pictures of the trip. More of his photos can be found on his blog, here

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
  The Studio's New Manager: Diane Ortega
The Studio, Touchstone’s newest gym in San Jose, just announced that Diane Ortega will be managing the facility.

The 30 year old Ortega is originally from Texas but transplanted to California when she attended Chico State, where she received a degree in Political Science. “Originally I wanted to be a lawyer but then reconsidered once I started working in a law office,” said Ortega.

Ortega began climbing when she was 19 but became more serious about the sport in the last six years, taking frequent trips to Bishop to boulder with her Sacramento friends. When she’s not busy in the boulders, Ortega rides one of her many bikes, takes vinyasa yoga classes, and obesses over cooking magazines, blogs and shows. “I absolutely love to cook,” said Ortega. She’s taken her cooking to the next level and started supplying her own ingredients. “I recently started gardening a bit but have had mixed success with my crops.”

Ortega began working for Touchstone in 2004, when she directed the summer camp at Pipeworks. From there, she moved into a position at the front desk and has been working at Pipeworks since. She is excited about the new gym and the possibilities.

Ortega climbing Heavenly Path at the Happy Boulders in Bishop

Ortega has solid plans for the new gym. “I really want to foster a community environment and keep people psyched on climbing and make it really easy to introduce people to it as well. I plan on having great fitness classes with a focus on an excellent yoga program.” Ortega also wants to focus on building a community of younger climbers. “I am also very excited to introduce San Jose kids to climbing and get a great kids team going.”

Ortega is also excited about climbing at the facilities. The Studio promises to be one of Touchstone’s best gyms. The gym will have an adjustable crack, which Ortega is looking forward to trying so that she can “try and understand this crazy thing called crack climbing.” Ortega has checked out the new gym already and is excited about the new bouldering area, which promises to be awesome.

Stay tuned as developments on The Studio continue.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011
  TBS 7 Videos
The Touchstone bouldering series comps have been blowing up California. The great climbing, the awesome atmosphere, and the guarantee fun has made the seventh year of the Touchstone Bouldering Series one of the best. A series of videos have been made of the comps. Here's two of the latest and greatest comps.

A little Ironworks action:

Untitled from BIW on Vimeo.

More from MetalMark

The next bouldering comp will be December 9th at Mission Cliffs. Get pysched!

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  Thanksgiving Hours
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and the gym hours will be changing for the next couple of days. Below is a list of the hours this week.

11/23 Wednesday no classes open 9am - 6pm
11/24 Thanksgiving closed
11/25 Friday no classes open 9am - 6pm

Metal Mark
11/23 Wednesday open 5am - 8pm
11/24 Thanksgiving closed
11/25 Friday no classes open 8am -10pm
11/26 Saturday- no classes, regular hours

Great Western Power Company
11/23 Wednesday no evening classes open 6:30am - 6pm
11/24 Thanksgiving closed
11/25 Friday no classes 10am - 6 pm

Diablo Rock Gym
11/23 Wednesday normal hours
11/24 Thanksgiving open 8am - 12pm (earn your Turkey before the feast)
11/25 Friday normal hours

Berkeley Ironworks
11/23 Wednesday no classes Intro to Climbing classes are on a weekend schedule open 6am - 6pm
11/24 Thanksgiving closed
11/25 Friday no classes Intro to Climbing classes are on a weekend schedule open 9am - 8pm

Mission Cliffs
11/23 Wednesday open 6:30am - 7pm
11/24 Thanksgiving closed
11/25 Friday open 9am - 7pm

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Thursday, November 17, 2011
  Get Into the Wide
Thanksgiving is coming. Pie. Turkey. Gravy. Cranberry sauce. Pie. Lots of great food. Did I mention pie?

With all the large meals and down time, packing on the pounds during the holiday season is unavoidable. One of the best ways to take advantage of the extra girth is to climb wide cracks. It's a well known fact that having a little extra padding will help sandwich you into your next off width project.

For those that need a little motivation, here's some footage of two UK climbers sending one of the hardest offwidths in the world. I suspect that their ascent was powered by pie!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011
  Merced River Plan Feedback
The November 30th feedback deadline for the Merced River Plan is fast approaching and any climber that loves Yosemite, needs to get involved.

In 1987 the U.S. Congress designated the Merced a Wild and Scenic River to preserve its free-flowing condition and to protect and enhance the unique values that made it worthy of special protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Both the Merced River above, through, and below Yosemite Valley, and the South Fork of the Merced above, through, and below Wawona have this special status.

In accordance with the law, the National Park Service (NPS) is preparing the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Merced River Plan/EIS) for the 81 miles of the river within Yosemite National Park. When completed, the plan will guide future management of activities in the river corridor, including site-specific actions needed to protect the river in Yosemite Valley, El Portal, and Wawona.

What this means for climbers is that access to boulders and cliffs around the river are in serious jeopardy. The river often floods and the boundaries of the river are being defined in this plan. The Atlantis boulder, the short climbs at Arch Rock, and many of the river side boulders and cliffs can be shut down by the Merced River Plan. The National Park service needs to hear from climbers so that their concerns can be addressed.

This is the NPS link for information:

This is the link to the workbook:

A number of climbers are taking part in the conversation but a stronger voice from the climbing community is needed.

You can help by:
Joining the Access Fund
Getting involved with the Yosemite Climbing Association
Spreading the word about the plan, and discussing it with other climbers

Jason Keith, the Senior Policy Advisor at the Access Fund, commented:

Over the past few years Yosemite National Park has been ramping up various management planning initiatives that either directly affect climbing access or the various ways that climbers visit the Valley such as camping. The latest of these has been the Merced Wild and Scenic River Plan (MRP) which concerns essentially everything climbers do in the park before they actually put their climbing shoes on: transportation, parking, camping, amenities, and site specific issues such as potential changes to El Cap Meadow and Camp 4. See AF’s MRP scoping comments here.

The MRP has been the subject of extensive litigation that resulted in a court ordering the park to determine and enforce a specific carrying capacity limits for visitors in the Merced River planning area (the Valley) which in turn will govern any new developments in Yosemite. Recently the Park hosted several MRP workshops where Yosemite staff presented various planning scenarios for Yosemite Valley which could eventually turn into planning alternatives. These workshops were designed to give the public a window into the status of the Park’s thinking on the MRP thus far, avoid any surprises, provide an opportunity for public comment, and foster relationships among various Yosemite interest groups including the litigants of the MRP. This workshop was greatly facilitated by the MRP workbook (get your copy here). The Park is also developing the Tuolumne River Plan (camping, parking, amenities at stake – see AF comments here).

Climbers interested in Yosemite issues should take of look at the MRP workbook and get your comments in by November 30. The Access Fund’s positions on appropriate MRP planning alternatives are as follows:

Yosemite planners should work to reverse lodging/camping ratio (currently 60/40) to provide more camping and less emphasis on lodging (move lodging to the park boundaries). Providing more camping in the Park, and limiting lodging in the park to rustic/primitive accommodations, is consistent with the NPS's own management policies that promote visitors having a direct relationship to Park resources. Adjusting this ratio would also be more consistent with a national park instead of the luxury resort or amusement park that Yosemite often resembles. AF’s Valley Plan comments are found here.

Park planners should include in the MRP the several "improvements" for Camp 4 that were contemplated in Lodge Redevelopment Plan (which was stalled by the MRP litigation). These improvements include showers, fencing to encourage vegetation, limited loud bus noise, foul weather cooking pavilion and communal fire, and a nearby location for Ken Yager's Yosemite climbing museum. In addition to focusing on more camping in the Park, planners should also improve the quality of the camping experience, especially at locations such as Camp 4 where climbers are forced into highly dense and low-quality campsites. Planners should recognize the historic importance of this campground and improve some of the basic amenities such as the bathrooms. See AF’s previous comments on Camp 4 planning here.

Yosemite planners should restore as much camping as possible to sites that have already been disturbed such as the Pine and Oak lodging units and the Rivers Campground that were destroyed in the 1997 flood. These areas in particular could be engineered with the recognition that they will again be flooded. Plan maps should indicate flood plain areas where shallow flood depths and low water velocities make the development of campsites feasible. Planners should establish diversity of camping opportunities (including walk-in, walk-to, and a "drop-off" your gear but walk-in model) and not just limit opportunities to drive-in campgrounds (where RV generators, for example, impact the experience) or the ghetto at Camp 4. The Park should bring campsite numbers at least back to pre-flood totals as contemplated in Yosemite's General Management Plan (there's currently a shortfall of 300 campsites), but any new sites should be focused on placement in the East Valley so that the largely undisturbed areas west of Camp 4 don't also suffer from campfire smoke and new infrastructure. The Access Fund has also long advocated for the addition of camping in the Park outside of Yosemite Valley.

The Park should ensure climbing needs are addressed in the MRP, particularly parking locations throughout Valley and the Merced Gorge segment (Cookie Cliff, Arch Rock, etc.).

Park planners should ensure that measures to restore or harden El Cap Meadow are not unsightly from above. The MRP should consider hybrid approach for boardwalk further west of typical climber use areas, and use fencing and other ways to focus people onto a few discrete paths into Meadow. The MRP should ensure that climbers can continue their traditional use of the Meadow.

Park planners should ensure that there is adequate day use parking while pursuing a range of transit strategies to reduce auto use in the Valley.

Non-resource based attractions and high-impact commercial amusements such as the swimming pool, skating rink, and horseback rides to Mirror Lake should be phased out.

The Plan should include a noise control element that addresses noise sources such as idling tour buses, motorcycles, trash collection, RV generators, the Green Dragon touring flatbeds and others.

Please let us know what you think! If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, email

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  Climbing Weather App
There's days when I sit behind my computer and neurotically check the weather. Yosemite, Castle Rock, Mortar, Smith, Bishop, Mickeys, Pinnacles. Where should I go? Where's the weather going to be best?

Perfect weather in the Valley.

On the BART ride home, on the drive out to the crag, and anywhere inbetween, it's nice to know what the weather is going to do for the next chance you have to climb. There's an app out there for checking the weather from Climbing This app allows you to check forecasts and maps for over 300 climbing areas on your phone.

Get weather forecasts and maps for over 300 climbing areas on your mobile phone absolutely free. Find nearby areas, view daily and hourly forecasts, search, add favorites, view maps and more.

If you don't have an Iphone, you can also get text messages with weather updates. It's a great way to get just a little more digital and take advantage of wherever the weather is best.

Click here for more details!

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  Joss Rock Climb Cams Recalled
Sierra Trading Post, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, recalled their Joss rock climbing cam. The cams come in eight sizes from small finger size pieces to hand size pieces. A cam in Europe failed unexpectedly after being set. Currently, there have been no deaths or injuries in the US.

There are around 1300 units in the United States.

For more information contact Sierra Trading Post at 800-713-4534 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. EST, or email the company at customerservice(at)

The Touchstone gyms don't sell Joss cams. If you have any, contact Sierra Trading Post.

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Monday, November 14, 2011
  Yosemite Fall Bouldering
The Yosemite fall bouldering season is in full swing. New problems have been getting established and older problems are being revitalized. The shorter days of winter are ideal for bouldering and for many bay climbers, Yosemite is a short drive away.

Post Send Depression [v7] from Paul B on Vimeo.

Paul Barraza put up Post Send Depression, a new boulder problem between Jungle Book and the descent on the Sentinel Boulder's B1 Boulder in Yosemite. The footage from this climb and the next few problems is from BetaBase, a great resource for climbing around the bay area.

Budōkan [v9] from Paul B on Vimeo.

Justin Alarcon climbing Budokan (v9) at the Riverside Rock in Yosemite. Justin works at the front desk at Ironworks. He's the guy in the tight cut off jean shorts with the really really ridiculously good hair.

7 up [v5] from Paul B on Vimeo.

Ironworks manager, Lyn Barraza is no slouch either. This footage proves it, as she hikes a Riverside Rock classic. This boulder is located just off the North Side drive past El Capitan and before the Pohono bridge.

For those that need a little extra gear for their bouldering trips, Touchstone now has custom Organic Touchstone chalk bags, crash pads, and all the brushes, chalk, and good you need to check out the boulders around Yosemite.

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Friday, November 11, 2011
  How to Make A Stick Clip
Traveling to different crags across the country, climbs have different levels of safety. Some routes begin off boulders with heinous drop offs below. Other routes have a crux at the very start. Either way, blowing the moves on routes like these can be disastrous.

In places like Smith Rocks in Oregon, the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and even some of the routes at Pinnacles National Monument, clipping the first bolt can be quite useful. The best way to do that is with a stick clip.

For people that want something other than a long branch or stick, it's possible to make a permanent stick clip. The process is fairly easy. All of the items can be found at a local hardware store.

You'll need:

a long pole- A lot of people like extend-able painter's poles.

a clamp- Get a size that will pinch a biner and allow the rope to run through the bottom so you can pull the rope and not have the stick clip dangling.

a couple hose clamps- these are used to attach the clamp to the pole. often people reinforce this with duct tape.

Put the hose clamps around the clamp and attach it to the pole. Then bam! You have a stick clip. Using the device is a bit more involved.

This article is awesome for people that want to hear a little bit more about how to stick clip the first bolt on a route.

If you have any questions, one of the best hardware stores in the bay area is Papenhausen Hardware, located in San Francisco. Karl Aguilar and Audrey Bodisco, both bone crushing rock climbers, will be able to help you out.

Touchstone blogger, James Lucas has been busy trying to stick clip the first bolt in Smith for a week. Unfortunately, the first bolt on his project is too high to clip. His next article is going to be about how to find a ropegun.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011
  Jailhouse Adopt-A-Crag
On November 12th, the Access Fund is hosting a workday at Jailhouse near Sonora, CA. Over 200 tons of gravel will be laid for a new parking area and road, new fences and gates will be made and the access trail will be improved. The Access Fund is helping to sponsor this Adopt-A-Crag event. Climbers around the bay area will be heading out to help.

Mountain Hardware, Prana, MadRock and more have generously donated everything from deluxe packs to a sleeping bag to lots of chalkbags, hats, T-shirts, yoga mat, and a whole lot more stuff. Climbers volunteering will be eligible for some of this great stuff!

Also, as of that day, the access to the crag will change. New access will be through a gate off O'Byrnes Ferry Road, which will be locked. To get in through the gate, you'll need the combination. That will be posted here:

Jailhouse Access Fund

The terms of the new easement require that climbers follow a few guidelines- No dogs, music, fires or camping are allowed. Also, per the owner's request, please don't park outside of the new access gate. Until Nov. 12th, park by the bridge and approach the cliff by the old traditional hike up the steep hill.

Stop by Jailhouse on November 12th to help out at one of the US's and Bay Area's premiere sport climbing crags.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011
  Zanskar Odysessy Showing in Santa Rosa
In August of 2010, Jason Kehl, Pete Takeda, Mick Follari and Abbey Smith of Boulder Colorado, traveled to Miyar Valley outside of Delhi in the Himalayas. The group lived there basecamp-style for 35 days and established over 30 first ascents on steep black and orange striped granite with flat landings and a grassy meadow. The trip was "A dream come true," said Abbey Smith.

On Thursday, November 10th Sonoma Outfitters will be showing a video of the trip. Admission is free and there will be an awesome raffle for a Marmot tent. Abbey Smith will be there to show the movie.

Zanskar Odyssey: Trailer from CryptoChild on Vimeo.

Stop by Sonoma Outfitters at 145 3rd Street Santa Rosa, CA to check out the movie.
(707) 528-1920

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  TBS 7 Comes to MetalMark
Saturday afternoon, MetalMark will be hosting the 7th annual Touchstone bouldering series at the gym. The route setters have been busy establishing new boulder problems. From 1 to 5pm, the Fresno gym will be filled with awesome climbing.

Mike Doyle, a Canadian youth climbing team coach, wrote an excellent training manual for people that want to train for a comp series. Doyle's instructions include an awesome visualization technique.

There's also some great information out there about nutrition that helps. There's lots of thoughts regarding carbohydrate intake, dieting, and what foods help performance. Here's a cool link to some information about climbing competition food.

The comp will be a blast. There will be pizza and beer for those not looking for a strict diet. There will be a ton of fun for everyone.

MetalMark will also be hosting the Reel Rock Film Tour at 7:30. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The Tour features an awesome segment about the Nose speed record and Diablo Rock Gym manager Hans Florine will be showing in the film.

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Monday, November 7, 2011
  Pipeworks Portraits by Nicholas Wray
Recently, Sacramento Pipeworks manager, Vaughn Medford scanned the staff pictures and felt a little disappointed. Pipeworks has one of the coolest Touchstone staffs and Vaughn wanted some portraits to reflect how good looking, fun, and exciting the climbers are that work for the Sacramento gym. Vaughn tracked down long time gym member Nicholas Wray and had a photo shoot.


Nicholas Wray grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and found rock climbing when he moved to California six years ago. Wray has always been interested in rocks though. While at Northern Kentucky University, he majored in geology. Then “to do something a little more fun”, Wray minored in photography.

Holding the gear

Three years ago, the 30 year old Pipeworks climber became a full time photographer. The photo shoot was a great success. “I always try to capture someone’s personality when I'm making a portrait,” said Wray. The staff relaxed. “I didn't pose anybody, I just hung out with them and had fun,” said Wray. He took some great pictures.

It was a ton of fun for everyone. “Nothing too crazy happened during our shoot. Maybe if I had them all in the same room at the same time we could've got something crazy,” said Wray. No one has ever said that the Pipeworks crew wasn’t a wild bunch.

“Diane did do a good job of tangling up the rope,” said Wray.

Check out Wray’s photos at his website and see more of the Pipeworks crew in person at the Sacramento gym.

Nick's blog can be found here.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011
  Yosemite's Grand Prix: The Race for the Nose
Yosemite’s Grand Prix has kicked off again this fall. The race for the Nose speed record got jumped started again this past month when Hans Florine and Alex Honnold teamed up to race up the 3,000 foot granite formation.

The Nose of El Capitan

Florine and Honnold met at the base of Yosemite’s El Capitan at 9 am. By 11, Honnold had ripped off his shirt and the pair were speeding up the route. Florine led them smoothly to the Boot, the large boot like formation half way up the route. From there, Honnold took the lead.

Alex Honnold and Hans Florine at the base of El Capitan

In the past few weeks, the pair made a few trial runs up the route to accustom themselves to the route and learn how to climb well together. When asked what the most important part of team efficiency is, Florine responded “Trust.” The pair simul-climb significant portions of the route and have to trust each other not to slip or make a costly mistake, jeopardizing the record and their lives. A fall would be dangerous, especially considering the minimal gear they place between them.

“One #3 cam, one #2, then doubles on down from there,” said Florine of the paltry fourteen cams they brought with them. “Alex wants me to leave the #2 in the car/van.” They try to keep it reasonable though. “It's kind of a balance between running it out for speed and keeping it safe enough to feel comfortable,” said Honnold. “Safety first, fun second, speed third,” said Florine.

Florine going to Dolt

The fastest part of their climbing is simply their lack of idle time on the route. “I don't really move so fast,” said Honnold, “we're just efficient about transitions and strategy. We aren't actually moving all that fast. It's boring to watch.” The pair minimize the belay transitions and simply both move the entire time. They whittled their time from 4:37 on Oct 13th to 3:16 the next week. On November 1st, the pair tried once more.

Honnold racing up the Great Roof

They flirted with the record and were on track the entire way. By the last pitch, they were 7 minutes from the record. Honnold yarded up the bolt ladder. Florine had 4 minutes to finish the pitch. Florine scampered up, almost but not quite hitting the bolts perfectly. The speed bump cost a few seconds. Tom Evans, the man behind the camera at El Cap Bridge, and dozens of climbers bit their nails as they watched from the bridge. They waited for the signal that the pair had beaten the record.
Florine’s obsession with the Nose of El Capitan passion began in 1988, when he partnered with Mike Lopez to climb the center line on Yosemite’s prominent granite formation. Since then, the 47 year old Diablo Rock Gym manager has climbed the Nose 85 times and held the speed record on the route 6 times since 1990.

On the way to Camp 6

Compared to Hans’ 85 times on the route, Honnold has climbed the route, “Maybe 12 or 15 times? Maybe a few more?” Honnold, a 26 year old climber from Sacramento, sped up the Nose last summer and nabbed the solo speed record. Honnold climbed the route for the first time with his friend Josh, who he met at Pipeworks. “I was wrecked for days,” said Honnold of their 22 hour ascent. Honnold continued to speed climb. “I just like the smoothness and efficiency. Speed climbing always feels good because you're doing it so well.” A few summers ago, Honnold and Swiss Machine Ueli Steck attempted to break the Nose Speed record, logging sub 4 hour times.

Hans starting the last pitch

Unfortunately, the pair missed the record by a mere 45 seconds. But this was just a practice run for the team and not a “real” effort. “Given the style/method we are using I think that 2:17 is about as fast as it will go,” said Florine about the fastest possible time. Honnold believes the route can be down even faster. “I sorta think that the right people could maybe do it in sub 2 hours. I think that's nearing the limits of human abilities.” They both believe they can beat Sean Leary and Dean Potter’s 2010 time of 2:36:45 and are willing to put in the effort required.

Florine trains for the NIAD (Nose in a day) by climbing at the Touchstone gyms. “Usually jaunts over to GWPC, BIW, and MC to get in some crack climbing,” said Florine. He attributes his fast movement to his experience with gear placement, selection and knowing his body. Late nights laps in the gyms have helped him get closer to the record but it’s his dedication that has helped the most.

“I just think owning the record on The Nose is worth following a path for as long as I can. Perhaps I'll get the record, perhaps not, I am really loving giving it a go, regardless of the outcome.” Honnold added, “Some day I'd be psyched to be able to say "I once held the speed record on the Nose", but really, it's not that big a thing. If I ever break 2 hours, then I'll be impressed. . .”

The pair hope to climb the route again but Honnold has to leave for Poland in a few days and their ascent is weather dependent. Good luck to both climbers.

Thanks to Tom Evans, of the El Cap report for the photos.

1:59:59 Alex Honnold and Hans Florine- ????
2:36:45 Sean Leary and Dean Potter, 2010
2:43:33 Yuji Hirayama and Hans Florine, 2008
2:45:45 Alexander and Thomas Huber, 2007
2:48:50 Yuji Hirayama and Hans Florine, 2002
3:24:20 Timmy O’Neill and Dean Potter, 2001
3:57:37 Jim Herson and Hans Florine, 2001
3:59:35 Timmy O’Neill and Dean Potter, 2001
4:22:00 Peter Croft and Hans Florine, 1992
4:48:00 Dave Shultz and Peter Croft, 1991
6:01:00 Andres Puhvel and Hans Florine, 1991
6:40:00 Dave Schultz and Peter Croft, 1990
8:06:00 Steve Schneider and Hans Florine, 1990

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Thursday, November 3, 2011
  Paperless Waivers at Touchstone
The Touchstone gyms are moving to a paperless waiver system at the climbing gyms. To help save paper and take some of that environmental impact away, Touchstone placed computers at the front of each gym for people to sign waivers with. Waivers expire every 18 months so there is significant work involved in filing and data entry. It is also possible to sign a waiver online and have them show up instantly in our system.

The system began in July at Mission Cliffs and recently a station was installed at Pipeworks. Stop by your gym and check out how Touchstone is getting a little more digital.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011
  Touchstone GroupOn: Amazing Deal On Gym Pass
Currently GroupOn has an amazing deal to help new climbers get started at the Touchstone climbing gyms. With six locations, from Mission Cliffs, Berkeley Ironworks, Great Western Power Company, Sacramento Pipeworks, Diablo Rock Gym, to MetalMark, this is an excellent opportunity to try out the gym. If you have a friend who wants to start climbing or you're pysched, check out this limited time offer.

Choose between the following options:
* For $30, you get a three-day climbing pass (up to a $74 total value). This pass includes:
o One introductory lesson with day pass, if needed (a $28 value)
o Two additional day passes (up to an $18 value each)
o Equipment rental for each visit (a $5 value/day)

* For $75, you get a one-month climbing package (a $168 total value), which includes:
o Introductory class (a $28 value)
o One-month unlimited pass (a $100 value)
o Equipment rental for each visit (a $5 value/day; a $40 average value)

Both options include access to cardio and weight equipment and all fitness classes, which include yoga, indoor cycling, core classes, cardio boxing, and CrossFit at some locations.

Check out the GroupOn website for more details on this great offer.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
  Mountain Project IPhone App
Planning a road trip for Thanksgiving but unsure where you'll be? You could buy a thousand guide books, shuffle through pages of material, and still end up at a different spot. Thankfully, climbing is getting a little more digital these days.

Mountain Project, a leading website for climbing information, announced the release of an IPhone app. The app allows you to access Mountain Project's immense database of route and area information. Browse areas, routes, and photos offline. Tick lists from the website will be easy to sync and bookmarking your favorite area or route will be easy. Maps and directions to climb will be easy to get.

At a reasonable $5 a year, the app is super affordable. Check out the app and get a little more digital with your climbing. While you're at it- bookmark the Touchstone website so you can stay up to date on the latest deals, where the newest routes are, and when the next comp is.

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