Thousands of red, green, yellow, and blue holds cover the walls of the Touchstone gyms. But where do all the holds come from? The easy answer is from right next to Sacramento Pipeworks, in a white corrugated steel building next to Garlinger Steel. More specifically, Stone Age provides Touchstone with all of its holds. Wes Tite, a climber of 20 years, runs Stone Age and creates all the holds himself. Tite has worked as a climbing guide, a route setter, and a coal miner. For the past 20 years, he has traveled around the world climbing and looking for inspiration to create the best grips for the Touchstone climbing walls.
Evan Kristiansen snapped a couple of pictures of Wes at work.
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. Titeâ€™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. This past year has been a busy year for him with the openings of MetalMark and the San Jose gyms as they both needed a ton of new holds.
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.
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/