Touchstone Blog Archive
Thursday, December 29, 2011
  A Little Video Humour
It's almost Friday. The holidays are almost over but in between all the family obligations, the huge meals, and are some hopefully good laughs. These two videos have a solid mixture of the Berkeley lifestyle, the Yoga way, and plenty of laughs.

Do you ever feel like you're lost at the grocery store after going to the gym? This video about the Whole Foods Parking Lot is a great example of that.

The Yoga classes at Touchstone can be a little intimidating but all the stretches can really help. This video of Hank from King of the Hill is a classic example of a stranger entering a strange world.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
  Zero Gravity Crushes in Reno

The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team once again showed it's dominance at the USA Climbing, Bouldering Regional Championships. The competition was held at the Rocksport gym in Reno, NV on December 10th, 2011. In addition to winning the Team award for the sixth straight year, Joshua Levin, Cicada Jenerik, Matt Grossman, Natalia Grossman and Mirko Caballero were Regional Champions; Dylan Meyerhoffer, Courtney Ceran, Jacquelyn Wu, and Rick Gentry were Silver Medalist; Revan Florn, Seth Rogers, Hannah Grossman and Nathan Frankel were Bronze Medalists. Over all, the team won half of the ten categories, one third of the podiums and received 23 bids to the Division 1 Championships which will be held in Seattle, Washington on January 14th and 15th, 2012. The Divisional Championships will determine the invitations for the National Championships which will be held in Colorado Springs at the US Olympic Training facility. The Adult Bouldering Nationals will be February 24th and 25th and the Youth Nationals will be March 3rd and 4th.

Zero Gravity is coached by Scot Jenerik, Scott Cory and Cicada Jenerik with additional mentoring by Joshua Levin.

For more results from the comp check out the comp page. Congratulations to the Zero Gravity team.

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Monday, December 26, 2011
  The Sexiest Sport: Climbing
If you’ve spent much time in the rock climbing gym, you’ve probably noticed how good looking most of the people are there. Fit, healthy, and energetic, climbers tend to live a healthy lifestyle and it’s reflected in how they look.

Not only that but it’s a well known fact that if you want to climb good you got to look good. That’s why so many sport climbing studs rip off their shirts before they start climbing. Primping and preening your hair is just as import as crimping and cleaning a hold. There is even evidence to support how attractive climbing is.

Quirkology, a website devoted to the curious science of everyday life, conducted a study of over 6000 people to indicate which sporting activities would make a member of the opposite sex more attractive. 51% of women found hiking attractive, 52% found football to be exciting, 56% found men participating in extreme sports to be attractive. Rock climbing won the competition with 57% of women finding climbing attractive, making it the sexiest sport from a female perspective. Bottom of their list came aerobics and golf, with just 9% and 13% of the vote respectively.

In contrast, men were most attracted to women into aerobics (70%), followed by yoga (65%), and going to the gym (64%). Bottom of their list came bodybuilding (5%), rugby (6%), and golf (18%).

'Our findings suggest that women who've been pounding the pavements in search of love would do better taking up aerobics, while men seeking women need to ditch the weights and get on the climbing wall,' said fitness expert Sam Murphy, who teamed up with Quirkology on the study. 'That said, the best way to find happiness - not to mention a long-lasting fitness regime - is to do what you love. Unless, that is, it's golf!'

Interestingly enough, there had also been some thoughts that climbing is too sexy. Alex Johnson, a noted female boulderer, commented on her blog about a comp she was in. The female participants were scantily clad in part due to the heat. Johnson felt it was over the top. Climbing can get too sexy.

Regardless, climbing is a great way to meet other healthy, active, and good looking people.

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Friday, December 23, 2011
  El Cap Challenge at Metal Mark
On Wednesday, December 21st, the Suvanto brothers made an impressive assault on the routes at Metal Mark. In just a few hours, the pair each climbed 150 routes 5.10a and harder, climbing over 6,000 feet of vertical terrain.

The Suvanto brothers arrived at the gym before sunlight. While they waited for MetalMark to open, they made oatmeal in the back of their Subaru. Spencer, a 16 year old attending Buchanan High School in Clovis, and Danny, a 20 year old who just began a job working the front desk at MetalMark, began climbing in the past year.

Danny began climbing after taking a climbing class at the California State University of Fresno. Danny enjoyed the class immensely and joined the old rock gym immediately.His brother soon joined him.

At 5:11 am, the pair started an El Cap challenge. They climbed 75 routes each, completing 150 routes between them, in 2 hours 37 minutes. After taking a break, showering, and resting, they did another El Cap Challenge, finishing their day at 1:10pm.

The pair were motivated for a couple of reasons. “I knew that my mom would do my lunch,” said Spencer. “And I knew that a fence had blown over in our yard and we would have to repair it if we weren’t doing anything that day.” They have the makings of solid dirtbag climbers.

They hope to keep their record for awhile. “There’s some guys nipping at the heels of our speed record so we might go back and do it again,” Danny said.

There have been numerous Fresno climbers getting after the El Cap challenge. Check out the MetalMark Facebook page for the latest highlights.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
  Holiday Hours
Mission Cliffs
December 24th- 9am - 7pm No Studio Classes
December 25th- Merry Christmas- Closed for the day
December 26th- 6:30am - 10pm No Studio Classes
December 31st- 9am- 7pm No studio Classes
January 1st- Happy 2012- Closed for the day

December 23rd- 5am - 10pm No Evening Classes
December 24th- 10am - 6pm No Studio Classes
December 25th- Merry Christmas- Closed for the day
December 26th- 5am - 10pm Regular Class Schedule
December 30th- 5am - 10pm No Evening Classes
December 31st- 10am - 6 pm No Studio Classes
January 1st- Happy 2012- Holiday Hours 12 pm to 6pm

Great Western Power Company
December 24th- 10am - 6pm No Yoga Classes
December 25th- Merry Christmas- Closed for the day
December 26th- Regular Hours/Classes
December 31st- 10am- 6pm Regular Classes
January 1st- Happy 2012- Closed for the day

Sacramento Pipeworks
December 24th- 9am - 6pm No Classes
December 25th- Merry Christmas- Closed for the day
December 26th- 6am - 10pm Regular Classes
December 31st- 9am- 6pm No Classes
January 1st- Happy 2012- Closed for the day

Diablo Rock Gym
December 24th- 9am - 6pm Normal Classes
December 25th- Merry Christmas- Closed for the day
December 26th- 5:30am - 10pm Regular Classes
December 27th and 29th- No 7am Yoga
December 31st- 9am- 6pm No Classes
Healthy New Years Eve Event from 6:30pm - 12:30am
January 1st- Happy New Year's- Reduced Hours 11am - 5pm

Berkeley Ironworks
December 24th- 9am - 6pm No Studio Classes
December 25th- Merry Christmas- Closed for the day
December 26th- 9am - 8pm No Fitness Classes and Intro to Climbing Classes on Weekend Schedule
December 31st- 9am - 6pm No studio Classes
January 1st- Happy 2012- Closed for the day

And just for something a little more exciting than the gym hours...Here's a video of a Florida Santa getting his beard and hair stuck in his rappel device.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
  Gregor Peirce: On a Mission
Gregor Peirce, a 19 year old Touchstone route setter for the past year, has had a very successful season in Bishop this year.

After making the 6 hour drive from the Bay to the Buttermilk boulders, Gregor hiked directly to the classic crimp fest The Swarm a V13/14 in fading light.

“I didn't warm up because I was running out of daylight and I had to make every try count because I was running back and forth between the camera and the base of the climb,” said Gregor. “A few tries in I found myself standing on the top. It was an amazing feeling to send it all by myself with no one around.”

On the drive back to his campsite, he stopped by the Grandma Peabody, and Direction, a V13. “I had no expectations, but I threw on my headlamp and a couple tries later I had sent the thing,” said Gregor.

The Swarm from Gregor Peirce on Vimeo

In between setting at the Touchstone gyms and taking classes at Diablo Valley College, Gregor back packs, boogie boards, and plays a mean game of ping pong. “Watch out Scott Frye,” he warned the current Touchstone ping pong master.

Gregor first went to Diablo Rock Gym when he was ten years old. The family trip with his two older brothers and his dad was a memorable one. “I cried my way up a 5.7 on my first day.” Gregor began climbing in earnest two years later. “. I remember begging my parents to drive me to the gym. Fortunately, my mom liked to read so she would sit in the car and read a couple nights a week while I climbed.”

Gregor got strong fast. At 15, he won the Youth Nationals, at 16 he made the adult finals, and at 18 he won Youth Nationals again. In between he climbed Scott Frye’s classic Surf Safari, a 5.13d near Mickey’s Beach. He also climbed The Buttermilker, a V13 at the Buttermilks and Crusader For Justice, a V13 at Moe’s Valley.

“It is a mystery how I ever got strong enough to do these thing,” said Gregor. “I have been climbing much less than I used to. I only climb when I am motivated now and I think that that helps a lot. I also do some core exercises and focus on getting quality climbing sessions in. There really is no training or anything scientific about what I do. Just climb and have fun!”

On February 8th,Gregor leaves to serve full time as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Joao Pessoa Brazil Mission. “But before I leave I have a few boulder projects to take care of,” said Gregor. When he returns he plans on continuing his schooling and climbing for fun.

Good luck Gregor and keep crushing!

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Monday, December 19, 2011
  Tips on Highballin
There are a lot of tall boulder problems out there. Problems on the Grandpa Peabody boulder at the Buttermilks, the problems at the Woodyard Arete in Yosemite, and other climbs in between all blur the line between bouldering and soloing.

John Sherman, the author of the second edition of Better Bouldering, put together a video with some useful tips on how to approach highballs.

Lyn Barraza, the manager at Berkeley Ironworks, climbed the highball Secrets of the Beehives at the Pollengrains. Lyn crushed through the bottom difficulties and then carefully climbed through the top sequence. Notice how she searches for the best possible sequence and isn't afraid to return to a rest jug. Lyn climbed this problem ground up and employs tactics similar to onsight climbing on a route.

Secrets of the Beehive [v6] from Paul B on Vimeo.

Earlier this season, Sonnie Trotter made an ascent of the super highball Ambrosia on the Grandpa Peabody. The V11 boulder problem has a difficult start off the ground involving some hard crimps on razor blade holds. Rather than destroy his skin on the initial moves, Trotter used his rocket box to pull on mid way through the problem. He climbed through the next hard sequence and then jumped down. This rehearsal helped him for his send.

When Alex Honnold made his ascent of Ambrosia,he had toproped the top section a number of times. This allowed him to feel confident and move efficiently through the less difficult but scarier top sections. Inspecting the holds, breaking off loose rock, and chalking the rock helps a lot with confidence and moving well high off the ground.

Be careful when you're high balling. The large the fall, the more likely you are to injure yourself. Have lots of pads and spotters. Be comfortable on the grade of the problem you are trying and stay relaxed up there. A calm mind climbs significantly better than a worried one.

Stay safe and have fun!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011
  Healthy New Years at Diablo Rock Gym
Diablo Rock Gym will be having a great evening of fun and excitement on New Year's eve. On December 31, from 6:30 pm to 12:30 am, the staff and a ton of climbers will be gathering at the the Concord gym for lots of awesome events, games, gift give aways, and more. The gym will be providing lots of healthy food and beverages for the evening.

This is an excellent opportunity to start the New Year off right. The cost for members is $20 and $35 for none members. Please RSVP to the Diablo Rock Gym front desk.

Get amped for a fun evening of activities. Stop by Diablo Rock Gym and hear more about the great event.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011
  TBS 7 At Mission Cliffs

Mission Cliffs just had an awesome turnout for the latest TBS 7 comp. 409 climbers stopped by to turn in scorecards. The comp series has been greatly successful this season with over 1300 different climbers stopping by to compete.

The Touchstone setters spent a solid amount of time establishing new problems for the comp. The great boulder problems had everyone pysched.

There was a photo booth were climbers stopped by to get some classic candid pictures.

There was a chair bouldering competition during the evening. Climbers rallied around a small chair and tried to climb around the piece of furniture without touching the ground or knocking the chair over.

There's more great pictures of the event at the Touchstone Flickr Page.

The fun at the TBS 7 comps is coming close to an end.

On Saturday January 28, Touchstone's newest gym, The Studio will have it's grand opening. The TBS 7 Finale will be held at the new gym.

Not only will the new gym have free food, t-shirts, beer, and tons of new problems but there will also be an onsight final with cash prizes. The men and women's winners will receive $400 for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third.

Get pysched for The Studio's opening and the TBS 7 Finale!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  Pipeworks Runners Club
The program began in May 2009, when 12 Pipeworks runners, and former Pipeworks bicycle club members, decided to run in the fund raising event The Relay. The 199 mile race from Calistoga to Santa Cruz helped raise awareness for organ donation. With each racer running 3 different 10k legs, the team finished the race in just under 30 hours.

Scott Clark, a devoted runner, came up with the name Pipeworks Runners because the initials, PR, also stand for personal record. Initially the 14 members from The Relay comprised the group but the numbers soon expanded and so did the races.

In 2010, the group organized their own relay run inspired by the Relay. Scott Clark, the most organized person in the group said, “We could coordinate a run like that and add our own twist!” Ideas were being tossed around, when Sacramento Pipeworks manager Vaughn Medford said, “We could do a run that would tag all the Touchstone gyms. Starting in San Francisco at Mission Cliffs, we could run to Oakland’s Great Western Power Company, Berkeley Ironworks, Concord’s Diablo Rock Gym and then end in Sacramento at Pipeworks”. They laughed at the absurdity. “I have a name already,” said Will Harris, “We’ll call it Touch ‘Em All!” This garnered the biggest snicker. The next day, several hours of pouring over Google Maps produced a rough sketch of the possible route. After driving sections of the route and thinking about it for several weeks, they were convinced that it could be done. On the third scouting trip, they drove the entire 125-mile length with a GPS unit and finally had an official map. Though the spring had been mild, summer means hostile temperatures in the Central Valley. The race would have to happen quickly. Within a couple weeks, a ten-person team was assembled, with seven out of ten being veterans of the prior Calistoga to Santa Cruz relay run.

PRs are regular participants in many of the local races. A few runners do ultra marathons, the 50- 100 miles races and two of them won the lottery to do the Western States this year. The club made a strong showing at the local half-marathon and the team regularly participates in CIM, either running the whole thing or doing it as a relay team.

Myles Smythe and Harlan Reymont, two of the more notable runners, have left a large impression on the club. Myles ran his first 100 mile race recently and Harlan recently started his own trail running event management company. Will Harris also finished his first marathon. The members post many of their events and trip reports on the PR Facebook page.

The runners meet regularly. Check out out their Facebook page for more information.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011
  Climbers in The New York Times
With the ever increasing popularity of rock climbing and the expansion of digital services, the internet world has become a larger presence on the mountain. Where once, Yosemite was a vast wilderness, now it is possible to update your Facebook status from the side of El Capitan.

Alex Lowther, a climber living in New York City, recently wrote an article about the phenomenon of increasing media presence in climbing. The New York Times piece sites Tommy Caldwell’s recent attempts at freeing the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. Caldwell spent 19 days on the side of El Cap almost but not quite alone. Caldwell kept a constant stream of how he was climbing, what the next difficult pitch was, and what the weather was like on the side of the face. The route, when finished, will be one of the most difficult lines on El Capitan with 3,000 feet of climbing, seven pitches of 5.14, seven of 5.13, and 14 more difficult leads.

There is some criticism of the phenomenon or live action climbing feeds. In the New York Times article, Katie Ives, the editor of Alpinist Magazine, quotes, “instead of actually having the experience be the important part, it’s the representation of the experience that becomes the important part — something is lost.”

You can read more about Caldwell’s ascent and the rest of the New York Times article here:
Caldwell's push ended in a article.

The New York Times article can be found here.

It’s not quite the commercials that were posted last week, but it is certainly something to consider.

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