Tite began working for Touchstone in 2009, beginning as a route setter. As the gyms grew, there became a need for a full time supplier of gym holds. Tite’s experience in an industrial work environment made him an ideal candidate for running Stone Age climbing holds. Tite makes around 1000 holds a month for the Touchstone gyms, including over 14,000 holds for Dogpatch.
Evan Kristiansen Photo
The process of making holds begins with a shaping foam. The blank square piece of foam is sculpted into a desired shape and is designed by our amazing setting crew. This means that our full time setting crew is literally designing routes from beginning to end.
The most common type of hold is a jug but Tite also creates crimps, slopers, pinches, and other large volume holds. After the foam is shaped, a logo is added as well as a bolt hole. The foam is attached to a table and a silicone mold is poured over it. The foam is than removed from the mold, destroying the original shape but a mold is made.
Tite estimates that Stone Age has around 1200 different molds and pours about 800 on a regular basis. After the mold is created, a chemical resin is poured into the mold creating a hold. The hold is removed from the mold, the bolt hole is cleaned out, the hold is sanded, and its ready to put on the walls.
Through years of experience, Tite knows how to make solid shapes for holds. The Touchstone route setters also provide Tite with a lot of hands on information about what shapes are ideal for each gym.
A solid aid climber, Tite has made ascents of some of Yosemite’s biggest walls including the steep West Face of the Leaning Tower and Lurking Fear on El Capitan. This season, Tite hopes to make a few more runs up El Capitan.
Next time you grab one of the many holds at the Touchstone gyms, thank Wes Tite for doing a great job.