“You can have 15 minutes with the doctor, but only YOU know what is prescribed for your life.”
Pipeworks Member of the Month: Larry Knapp
By Jason Bove
It is always a pleasure to write a story about someone who found a passion for the outdoors, and actively pursues it year round. I have a chance this month to feature Sacramento Pipeworks member and friend, Larry Knapp. Among many other titles throughout life (Father, CPA, Climber, IPA Connoisseur, etc…) he holds the prestigious honor of being MEMBER NUMBER ONE! Let’s start with the burning question…”Can you tell us a little about how you became member #1, and how does it feel to hold such a noteworthy title?
On November 24th, a crew of Touchstone members and staff ran the Berkeley Half Marathon. The race followed a beautiful and scenic course through Berkeley and helped to raise funds fro Berkeley Public Schools Fund, Berkeley Food and Housing Project, and Berkeley Partner for Parks. Touchstone manager, Lyn Verinsky wrote a bit about the race for the Touchstone blog.
When I first heard that the city of Berkeley was going to host their first-ever half marathon, I thought, how cool would it be to get a team of runners from Berkeley Ironworks to run the race? So BIW created a team and since we are such an eclectic place, I decided that spots on the team would be based not on running ability, speed or anything related to performance, but rather by folks inspiring us by overcoming challenges or making us laugh with their funny stories or just telling us about why they love BIW a whole heck of a lot. Here are snippets from the essays written by three of the member-runners who made the team:
Most of the team assembled pre-race. Evangeline Black, Danielle Parfitt, Robin Puro, Zach Stauffer, Lyn Barraza, Amy Stauffer, Jessica Reddit, Sam Schwartz, Pat Hastings, Peter Marietta, Chris Ahlgren, Ponon Shyu, Phil Yip, Ari Oppenheimer.
This summer Ryan Moon had his eye set on a project. He submitted this report to the Touchstone Blog. Me: Wanna go out and try Endless Bummer with me this weekend?!Potential Sport Climbing Partner: No thanks, that thing’s way too bouldery for me.Potential Bouldering Partner: No thanks, sport climbing sucks.These were the conversations that were most popular when trying to try Endless Bummer out near Mickey’s Beach on the California coast. It was my first time trying a sport route for more than one visit (or more than one try) and finding a partner was almost as hard as climbing the route itself. At the time of my first attempt, I had been working at Berkeley Ironworks for 2(ish) years and had heard local cat artist and co-worker, Scott Frye, go on and on about the route. Although I normally only sit in a harness to clean boulder problems, something about Scott’s enthusiasm and the fact that it was “bouldery” got my attention. What I remember most about my first attempt was the horrifying experience of being on top of the 'surf board'. It's a feature on the climb near the end of the route, where gale-force coastal winds, the inability of your belayer to hear your whimpering or requests to take or give slack, and the fact that you’re crouched atop a surface no larger than an ironing board with a short overhanging wall literally pushing you backwards, makes it memorable. It feels like there’s a decent chance of you losing your balance and bashing your teeth out on the edge of the rock. Are we having fun yet?What was most interesting about the projecting process of EB is that what was sometimes more important than having your beta sussed out, was knowing the ideal conditions. As a boulderer, I’ve mastered the art of complaining about temperatures and wind speeds. It’s part of the game. This was a different beast altogether. I've taken time to compile a list of the only beta you’ll need for this specific route: DON'T GO IN THE SUMMERAnyone living in the Bay Area long enough can recall wearing a down jacket to most Fourth of July BBQs because the marine layer has spoiled any chance of them sporting the tank tops they purchased at the end of May. It’s hella cold. Too cold to climb! Your best bet is trying during the Indian Summer while the sun is shining and the marine layer has subsided.TAKE CAREFUL NOTE OF WIND SPEEDSAnything faster than 10mph wind speeds will send your quickdraws spinning like an airplane’s propellers. There’s nothing lamer than watching a climber pump out on the third bolt of his or her project because it looked more like they were trying to catch butterflies than clipping draws.DON'T GO WHEN IT'S TOO HOTLemme guess. You’ve been stymied by the wicked winds and freezing temps of the “summer” conditions, so you’ve been fooled into thinking that hotter is better. Wrong. Remember, this is a bouldery route. Anything hotter than 75 degrees is going to make your burns feel like you’re desperately clawing at an overhanging wall made of melting butter. And the most important, non-weather related factor…STAY PSYCHEDI’m pretty sure that after almost every failed session out at Endless Bummer I muttered (sometimes yelled) the phrase “I’m never sport climbing again!” Although this was obviously a lie, there were about a thousand times when I wanted to give up. Even in the countless bouts of frustration, I was always able to enjoy the projecting process.And for a long time... I didn’t send.So what?Every time I didn't send, at least I had spent the day climbing a boulderery route in one of the most beautiful spots in California. On almost every visit I was able to point out seals, a multitude of different birds, dolphins, and on a very special day, a whale and an unforgettable view of the Farallon Islands. Ending every session with a beer, a sunset, a new highpoint, and subsequent ‘failure milkshakes’ (originally intended to be ‘send milkshakes’) almost makes me miss not sending.....Almost.On a rare ‘perfect’ day out on the coast with BIW manager, Lyn Barraza, something strange happened. I warmed up by hanging the draws and doing the slab-overhang boulder problem a few times, as I usually do to begin the session. After a nice gossip-filled rest, I was ready for my first redpoint burn of the day. Just as I clipped the fifth draw a familiar feeling set it in: I’m going to fall, I’m going to fall, I’m going to fall. In a freak moment, I stuck the stab move to the slopey pinch with tension for the very first time. I can’t recall another time in rock climbing when I literally climbed the hardest section of a route or boulder problem smiling ear-to-ear, but there I was, grinning like an idiot on the way to the top of my project.There’s something special about trying a route so many times that everyone you know and work with wants an answer to the same question:“Well…did you send?”I’ll never forget the overwhelming support from my friends and coworkers as I answered this question, every time bearing a guilty smile followed by 'yup'. The only thing better than projecting on the California coast around dolphins, your best friends, and a tall cold one at sunset, is the invigorating feeling of completing a project.And ‘send milkshakes’.Those too.
When the Touchstone blog asked DRG manager Hans Florine what his favorite route was, the question was rhetorical. Hans Florine is Mister Nose. With nearly 100 ascents of the route up the longest section of El Capitan, Florine set the speed record on the formation with a blisteringly fast 2 hours 23 minutes 46 seconds. He's also climbed the route in 4 days 12 hours 23 minutes 23 seconds. With 97 ascents, one rappel descent of the the entire route, and nearly a dozen bails at various heights, Florine knows the route well.
Florine first attempted the route in 1988 with his partner Mike Lopez. After 12 hours climbing the first 4 pitches, they bailed. A year later, Florine and Lopez climbed the route in 44 hours. His latest ascent on October 30th with Brit Climber Hans Florine was done in under 13 hours without jumars.
Paul Hara Photo
Why do you like it so much>
Easy access, loads of terrain, good view, nice looking, quality rock, people to chat with along the way, fair ledges to rest at if you are into that, varied terrain-aid crack, face, dihedral, etc.
What's the best part of climbing the nose?
It's a quality of rock
Have you met many people? Bootied much gear? Had any epics?
Yes, 100s along the way, I've climbed it with over 100 different people. At least 20 cams, nuts, and over 40 biners. Yes, topped out in sleet with a cotton dress shirt, nearly shivered to death on the last pitch. Aided in a rescue of Korean party that fell onto camp five and broke multiple bones.(I was actually going up the Triple Direct a the time). I descended in a threatening storm off Dolt with an ALS patient. I took a whip myself on a NIAD ascent, on the pitch up to Glowering spot. I nearly knocked myself out from impact. There was a big scar on my face at the time. I managed to top out in a day, but gave over leading. There's loads of other mini epics I'm carefully not remembering.
On Mondays, a group of children from three to fifteen years old head to Sacramento Pipeworks for the afternoon. Mustard Seed, a free, private school, provides a safe nurturing and structured environment for children who do not attend school because of their homelessness state. The climbing gym provides a great venue for the kids.
“The older kids are having such great experiences that now the younger kids are begging to come too!” said Maedlyn Tomolillo, a fourth/fifth grade teacher at Mustard Seed. “Their self-confidence, willingness to face their fears, and interest in physical fitness has all drastically improved!”
A number of students wrote to Pipeworks about why they enjoyed their gym visits. “I like Pipeworks because it is really fun and there are very nice people there. Plus you get to exercise and you get to learn how to trust people,” said Justin, an eleven year old Mustard Seed student. “We also learn how to be patient and we learn a lot of things so in the future we will know what to do.”
“I like Pipeworks because it is very fun and it is very good exercise,” added Reymundo, a 10 year old student. “We look forward to it every Monday. It helps us do stretches and helps us grow strong bodies and hard bones. We really appreciate you guys for letting us come to Pipeworks every Monday, and letting us climb and boulder. Pipeworks is important to me because I like P.E. and exercise.”
“I like Pipeworks because it helps us overcome our fears and it's really fun,” said Noah an eleven year old student. “I think it's important because it helps us stay fit and in good shape. It also makes us build up our muscles and helps us learn to trust the person holding us. It helps us with stretches and makes you think about what rocks you have to climb.”
Mustard Seed provides an excellent place for the kids to grow and their visits to Pipeworks add an element of fun and exercise to the program. “Their faces really light up when they talk about Pipeworks and all they have accomplished there. They even talk about participating in climbing competitions someday,” added Tomolillo.
Chances are, without knowing it, you've climbed in an area that Access Fund has protected and kept accessible for climbers. With regionally significant successes as the Jailhouse Rock Conservation Easement of 2010, Access Fund has been hard at work keeping the gates open to our favorite crags. This is no easy task, and as with most organizations of this nature, raising money can be a daunting task. That's why Berkeley Ironworks is calling November 'Access Fund Month' with a goal of raising $10,000. We know, it sounds tough. If you've been to BIW recently, you may have noticed some tables near the front desk. They represent three ways you can donate to our Access Fund Month' AND get a little sumptin'-sumptin' in return. Here's what they've got going on: HOLDS TABLE: The Touchstone Climbing routesetters are parting with old grips, and our loss is your gain! You won't find a better or cheaper way to get SWEET holds for your home climbing wall. RAFFLE TABLE: Did we catch your eye with the amazing goodies on this table? Donate a mere $5/ticket to get a chance to win, win, WIN! SILENT AUCTION (last, but not least): Have you seen these faces? Of course you have. They want to climb with YOU! They really, really do. For a small/medium/big bid, you can experience the rare opportunity to climb with a literal 'rock star' and have him/her share their almighty technical advice. Athletes include Alex Honnold, Beth Rodden, Joe Kinder, and Ethan Pringle!Get it while you can! Remember, this all goes towards an organization that keeps the future of climbing alive! Bidding ends December 1st!
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/