Zero Gravity at Regional Championships

The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team just won their eighth straight USA Climbing Sport Climbing Series (SCS) Regional Championship. The competition was held at City Beach in Fremont,  on May 11. To say that Zero Gravity dominated the competition is an understatement. Out of the 20 age categories (10 Sport, 10 Speed, where only one competitor per category is scored), the team brought home 14 gold and 4 silver medals. In total, the team brought home 14 gold, 8 silver, and 7 bronze medals. In addition, of the 30 athletes on Zero Gravity, 26 of them will be moving on to the Division 1 Championships which will be held in Seattle on June 15th and 16th. 


Read more: Zero Gravity at Regional Championships

Patience and Persistence

Touchstone Climbing is always eager to support local organizations in our community. This year, we are proud to sponsor Team Specialized Racing, a Junior development team based in the Bay Area. Larry Nolan, the Team Specialized Junior Director, profiled three riders because of their 'Patience and Persistence.' "Development, confidence and humility are values that we discuss as a team," said Nolan. "But reminders are always a good thing! In sharing these three stories I hope to remind our juniors to be patient, yet persistent with their dreams and goals."

Matt"Cycling, like any sport, comes with frustration, anger, determination and glory. This season, I have raced my bike 36 times and have only won once. 36 times where I can say I gave it my all, and tried my best. Even though winning one race so far this season seems to be discouraging, it actually helps put things in perspective. I know I am on the right path to achieving my goals. The win came at Cat’s Hill Classic in the Juniors 17-18 Category last weekend. Although it is not the biggest and most important race of the year, it is surely one of my favorites as I now have won this race two years in a row. This win meant more to me than the last because I was determined to win it the “Billy Innes” way - ride away solo from the field by attacking on the climb, which I did. The win at Cat’s Hill Classic has fueled me to work harder, to never give up and to keep on pedaling." said team rider Matthew Valencia.


Read more: Patience and Persistence

Yosemite's Peregrine Falcons

220px-Falco peregrinus_nest_USFWSYosemite National Park has has been able to foster one of the most symbiotic relationships between peregrine falcons and climbers in the world. Sarah Stock, the wildlife biologist who oversees the bird and mammal projects for the park, works with other ornithologists to monitor the nests and breeding activity of the birds. Since 2009, Crystal Barnes, the full-time raptor monitor in Yosemite, has been assisting Stock with monitoring and managing the climbing closures in the park.

Currently, there are 14 pairs of birds in the park. 10 pairs are breeding and 9 of their nests, known as eyries, have been located. “Of the nesting pairs, 4 have successfully hatched young on The Rostrum, Rhombus Wall, Arch Rock, and Cascade Cliffs. The nest at Wapama Cliffs is suspected to have hatched young, and all other nesting pairs are still incubating with late breeding being observed at El Capitan’s SE Face. This pair is one month behind the typical egg-laying period for peregrines in Yosemite National Park,” said Crystal Barnes.

Read more: Yosemite's Peregrine Falcons

Pringle Crushing Spain

Ten days ago, Touchstone athlete, Ethan Pringle nabbed a speedy ascent of Era Vella (5.14d) in Margalef, Spain. Pringle spoke a little bit about the climb.

This phenomenal Margalef test-piece was put up by Chris Sharma in the winter of 2010. Located on one of Maglalef's steepest and tallest walls, Era Vella has become the most frequently repeated 9a in the world. It features fun climbing throughout, big moves between good, comfortable holds and no boulder problem harder than around font 7b+, but with no good rests or easy sections either... it's just a race to the top! Because of it's beauty and pure resistance style, strong climbers flock from all over the world to test themselves on it, and it has been climbed by over 15 people now in the short time since it's FA. Well, after 8 tries on the route, add my name to the list! I was lucky enough to share the experience with good friends at the cliff that day and even have one of them capture the send on video! Enjoy, and get psyched!



It was such a treat to work Era Vella, a route I could make progress on on every attempt because of its style, and it's a line that every climber who stands at its base marvels at. A true king line!

Besides dispatching Era Vella, Pringle also managed to send an 8c+ (5.14c) second go and has plans to extend his trip so he can work on the infamous Papichulo 5.15a.

Pringle makes the climbing in Spain sound amazing. "Margalef is just stacked with classic routes of all grades. Most of the holds here are pockets though so you better like climbing on pockets if you come here... My skin is pretty sore from them after almost three weeks of climbing here so we might have to go to Rodellar and pull on some tufas to mix things up a bit. Poor us."

Get psyched for more Spain action coming from Pringle soon!

Touchstone Climbers at SCS Open

Last weekend five Touchstone Zero Gravity climbers, Cicada Jenerik, Alexa Nazarian, Hannah Donnelly, Josh Levin and Dylan Barks headed to Boulder, Colorado to exhibit their talent in the USAC SCS Open Nationals where the US Adult National Team is chosen..Zero Gravity climber, Hannah Donnelly wrote a bit about the competition:

There was a substantial amount of both male and female climbers and talent; 44 males and 36 females, including the reigning World Champion, Charlotte Durif.



Read more: Touchstone Climbers at SCS Open

Girls Climbing Trip Video

Recently six Touchstone climbers took a trip to Joe's Valley, a bouldering mecca located three hours south of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The climbed, they camped, they crushed. All normal for a week long trip.

But THIS trip was anything but normal.

This was a GIRLS TRIP.

The Touchstone Blog has been granted viewing rights to this video, along with exclusive commentary from the chix themselves. Watch the video, be amazed, and then read on to find out what happens when six girls are stuck in the desert on a rest day with nothing but a camera and a penchant for late 80's music and lip syncing. 

Chix B4 Dix: Girls from Becky Trafecanty on Vimeo.

Yeah. Go on. You can watch it again. We'll wait....

The 'Chix B4 Dix' trip idea was the brain child of Monica Aranda. "I had been feeling that my psych for climbing was waining, and I wanted to get it back. So I proposed a Girls Only trip to Joe's Valley, and it didn't take long until the team was assembled. During the trip psych was gained, along with hours of embarrassing footage that will now be immortalised on the Internet forever," said Aranda. 

Kim Groebner, who owns the 2006 Dodge Sprinter where some initial scenes were shot, has this to say about the video. "'Girls' - directed, filmed and edited by Becky Alarcón - is a collaborative work exposing women's struggle for identity within our society's patriarchal stronghold. Inspired by the satirical theme of our girls-only climbing trip, Chix B4 Dix, we have shown that we are not merely bad-ass rock climbers. Through dance, pantomime, and the art of lip-synching we have, and will continue to, challenge the status quo." The Touchstone Blog feels a duty to inform our readers that Ms. Groebner went to art school. 

Alarcón, who indeed directed, filmed and edited the video in under 12 hours, is no stranger to amature video production. An impressive catologue of her work can be found on her Vimeo Page. 

It was around the camp fire one night that the girls discovered her talents and demanded they they make a music video. Lindsey Tjian, international super model and Wills of Fire mega crusher, expressed her humility at being being involved in a project of such caliber. "I knew there were lots of stars out there in the universe," said Tjian. "But I never knew I would have the privilege of working with 5 of the best in the making of our music video." Tjian was also responsible for the unnervingly convincing pipe cleaner and felt facial hair, along with the dragon neck tattoos that can be seen throughout the video. 

The video embodied the sense of fun and camaraderie that was experienced on the trip. Lauryn Claassen, who never quite got the hang of a 'sexy face' reported that "This was the perfect way to spend the days when our tips were shot, our muscles ached, and Kim made an amazing batch of margaritas. Too many times climbing videos have too much... climbing. I'd like to see more rest day videos."

Camille Kerr, who left a good luck charm for dude climber Kyle O'Meara at the camp site, was humbled by the experience. "As a relative newcomer to this group of ultra-burly ladies with unparalleled sex-appeal, I was naturally intimated. I realized that my contribution would not come from being the funniest or prettiest, but instead being the most willing fall flat on my face with the camera rolling. [minute 1:58] Having achieved that, I now feel like part of the crew, and I look forward to our many adventures to come. The release of this video is a proud moment for me, my mother, and every woman who has helped me get where I am today" said Kerr. 

While the girls feigned flattery at the insinuation that they always travel to the desert with sparkly dressed stuffed into their duffels next to their antihydral and climbing shoes, such is not the case. The 'girly' attire, flannel robes, and bubbles were purchased while on a trip to the booming metropolis of Price, Utah on a rest day.

"What I loved about making this video is doing all of the silly things and acting like a complete clown," said Alarcon. "You really have to be willing to make a complete fool of yourself knowing that people will see you in ridiculous costumes and doing ridiculous things. I can't count how many times I was in stitches from laughter on those days when we were filming. Editing the video was very difficult for me because there were so many equally funny scenes that we had to cut since the song was so short." [Examples deleted in the interest of a sequel] "I'll look fondly on this video for the rest of my life and remember our awesome girls trip to Joe's Valley and Ibex."

All in all, the trips was a huge success. Meals were shared, projects were sent, and friendships were solidified. The girls would like to thank the following companies they wish they were sponsored by:

Organic Climbing 
Verve Climbing Apparel
Chicks Rock'n Roost 
The Food Ranch
Climbing Narc
La Sportiva
Five Ten 
Top Ramen 

The Touchstone Blog is always interested in hearing from our members. Remember to send videos, trip reports, and bribes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 1.35.07 PM 

Spring Shoe Demos

Each Touchstone Climbing gym is equipped year round with an impressive arsenal of climbing shoes to rent or purchase. But twice a year, we pull out all the stops. Our shoe demo's are always a huge attraction, and they're fast approaching! 

This year the reps from 5.10, Evolv, and La Sportiva will be making the rounds to four of our gyms. Whether you're blowing out your Teams or are still using rental shoes - this night is for YOU. Our reps from each company will bring with them their entire demo fleet - which means you get to test the shoes on the wall to make sure you fit your footsies just right. Ask all your pressing questions. Get all your answers.
PLUS - all shoes purchased or ordered on Demo Night will be 20% off!

Here is the line up! Click on your closest gym to be directed to the Facebook to RSVP. 

The Studio Climbing
April 29th

ShoeDemo Studio

Dogpatch Boulders
April 30th 

ShoeDemo Dogpatch

Sacramento Pipeworks
May 1st

ShoeDemo Pipeworks

Berkeley Ironworks
May 2nd

ShoeDemo BIW

Reasons to Date a Climber

For many climbers, the gyms are a meat market, a place to go pick up the latest bouldering stud or sport climbing babe. For others, the climbing gyms are more of a butcher shop, a place to get shut down.  Either way, there's often good comedy surrounding the dating scene and rock climbing.  Climber relationships may be difficult at times but it's a great idea to be able to share your passion with your partner.  Here's some of the best reasons to date a climber:


Read more: Reasons to Date a Climber

Think Outside the Bottle

There’s thousands of ways to help save the environment. One of the best ways, is to reuse water bottles and keep from using harmful plastic bottles.

Think Outside the Bottle, a coalition of environmentalists, businesses and nonprofit organizations, began a campaign to eliminate the sale of bottled water. Currently, the sale of bottled water is banned in 14 national parks. Think Outside the Bottle hopes to add the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park as the next two parks to the growing list.

AWater bottle

Read more: Think Outside the Bottle

Yosemite Peregrine Falcon Closures

Yosemite National Park represents the highest peregrine falcon nesting area in the Sierra Nevada. The park has played a pivotal role in the birds recovery from an endangered species. There are numerous climbing closures to help protect the birds' nesting areas. When planning your next climbing trip to the national park, make sure to consider the peregrine nesting areas.

220px-Falco peregrinus_nest_USFWS

Read more: Yosemite Peregrine Falcon Closures

The Making of Stone Age

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.

Read more: The Making of Stone Age

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