The L.A.B is Coming

We at Touchstone have some exciting news to share with you. With Dogpatch Boulders just days away from opening, we have signed a lease for what will be our ninth gym. This time, we are coming to Southern California.  That's right, Touchstone is finally building a gym in Los Angeles.

This week we signed a lease on a building in the Arts District, which will be our first gym in Southern California. Many former Touchstone gym members who have since moved have been pushing us to make this step. The new gym will be in the heart of a community that is a perfect fit for Touchstone. Closely modeled after Dogpatch Boulders, we expect this gym to be fantastic.

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Partnering once again with Walltopia will allow us to pursue multiple projects at the same time while bringing our members what we believe are the most exciting walls in the industry.  The same design team that brought you features such as the Wave Wall, the Barrel, and the Grand Arch at Dogpatch Boulders will unleash their creative energy on this new gym. We could not be more excited to have a chance to build on everything we learned from Dogpatch Boulders, and we can't wait to become a part of the L.A. climbing community.

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We hope to open the L.A.B by the end of 2013 and we'll keep you informed of our progress over the coming months. While our first venture in L.A. will be a bouldering only gym, we are also looking at a taller building near downtown with hopes that we will soon have news of a roped gym as well. You've been asking for it for years and we are excited to finally have good news.  
TOUCHSTONE IS COMING TO L.A.! 

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Bay Area Climbers at ABS Nationals

This past weekend, September 23 and 24th, ABS Nationals were held in Colorado Springs. Ethan Pringle, Eric Sanchez and a number of Zero Gravity members headed to one of the biggest bouldering competitions in America. 

"This was by far the deepest field of amazing climbers at an ABS Open Nationals," said Zero Gravity coach Scot Jenerik. "When you have someone like Ethan Pringle not make the top 20 you know it's tough."

Read more: Bay Area Climbers at ABS Nationals

Touchstone CrossFit Invitational

Have you become hooked on CrossFit? Ready to test your skills?

On Saturday, March 2nd CrossFit East Bay will hold the first Touchstone CrossFit Invitational. Members from CrossFit East Bay of GWPC, CoCo CrossFit of Diablo Rock Gym, and CrossFit Pipeworks in Sacramento, plan to meet at Great Western Power Company to compete in CrossFit as 'The Sport of Fitness.'

“For those who are interested in getting their feet wet in competition, it provides a friendly atmosphere to try it in,” said CrossFit instructor Maximus Lewin. “CrossFit competitions can be pretty intense and intimidating to the uninitiated. For our members who are doing the 2013 CrossFit Open it is a peaking opportunity.”

 

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Read more: Touchstone CrossFit Invitational

Bishop Petroglyphs Recovered

Climbing involves more than just rocks. The areas we climb in are important too. Climbers can make a significant impact to help preserve the areas we climb in.

On October 31st, the Bureau of Land Management reported that vandals removed four petroglyphs from a sacred Paiute site in the Tablelands area of Bishop, California. The vandals defaced a fifth with deep saw cuts, removed and broke a sixth petroglyph during the theft and scarred other ancient Indian art with hammer strikes and saw cuts.

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Read more: Bishop Petroglyphs Recovered

Carpooling to the Crag

It’s midnight on the snow covered 395 and your turbo charged climbing partner hits repeat on the Justin Bieber song... again.

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Bishop, Joshua Tree, Las Vegas, even the local climbing areas like Yosemite, Sonora, and Tahoe reside a few hours from the Bay Area and the Touchstone climbing gyms. The climbing in California requires a serious amount of driving. To avoid co-pilot homicide when Bieber sings the same song for the hundredth time, here is a helpful survival guide. 

Read more: Carpooling to the Crag

Raptors at Pinnacles

Birds of prey are a common sight at Pinnacles National Park. From January to August, over 20 species of raptors reside within the park with 10 species nesting on a yearly basis. The raptor nesting means that climbers need an increase awareness to protect the endangered birds.

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Read more: Raptors at Pinnacles

Hasta La Vista with Ethan Pringle

Touchstone athlete Ethan Pringle travels across the world. Norway, China, South Africa, and his home in San Francisco provide great climbing escapes for him. This fall he traveled to one of his old climbing crags to try one of the United States' hardest routes.

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There's something special these days about having a crag to yourself. When you're alone at Mt Charleston's most famous crag, The Hood, just a 45 min drive from downtown Las Vegas, all you hear is the wind blowing through the pine trees, the birds chirping and the occasional tourist on the main hiking trail below - it’s quite refreshing. To be alone at any sport climbing cliff is a rarity now with climbing becoming as popular as it is, and especially so at a steep limestone cliff in prime conditions with hard routes. In the fall, when the temperatures in Vegas fall to the high 70s and the temps at The Hood get perfect, nobody goes. Besides the fact that all the locals are so thrilled that Red Rocks finally isn't an oven anymore and they can climb there without getting heat stroke, there is another reason Mt. Charleston is no longer a destination for traveling sport climbers: it carries the stigma of having chipped holds, and chipped holds are so 1990s. For me the routes are still fun: they are gymnastic, the moves work one of my biggest weaknesses - shallow pockets - and the scenery is beautiful.

Read more: Hasta La Vista with Ethan Pringle

Evilution: Ho's Bishop Highball Ascent

Imagine climbing at your limit. Now picture soloing a crumbling slab. For many climbers these are just dreams or more accurately, nightmares. For Touchstone route setter Jeremy Ho this was a reality.

On Tuesday January 15th, Berkeley climber, Jeremy Ho made a coveted ascent of Evilution, a 60 foot V11 highball on the Grandpa Peabody boulder in the Buttermilk Boulders of Bishop, California.


Read more: Evilution: Ho's Bishop Highball Ascent

A Bishop Bouldering Report

Recently, Touchstone member and obsessive climber, Jordan Shackelford traveled to the bouldering mecca of Bishop. Jordan sent the Touchstone blog a trip report of his winter bouldering excursion.

I’m sure you’ve heard the name Jordan Shackelford before. When Ryan Moon made the first ascent of Gentleman’s Club in the Columbia Boulders, I spotted him. My handsome mug can be found in the winter issue of California Climber.

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 Now that we are acquainted, let me tell you about my recent 16 hour drive from the Bay Area to Bishop, CA. (why did you drive 16 hours? Did you drive to tahoe first and then drive through Bakersfield?) That’s not a typo, that’s what happens when you chart your course to Bishop through Bakersfield, by way of Tahoe, during a major blizzard in the Sierras. I guess sometimes that’s the price you pay for twelve days of butter-milking, pocket-pulling, hot-springing, snow-camping, igloo-collapsing, teeth-chattering fun.

Read more: A Bishop Bouldering Report

Live Your Dream Grant

It. Is. ON!

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Free money to climb?? What?! Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Live Your Dream Grant! Get yours in before the application period closes on March 1st, 2013! Click HERE and download the simple application for the Western Region. Show your ambition, fill it out well, follow the instructions, email to the appropriate place, and you're done. Bam.

The American Alpine Club's "Live Your Dream" Grant is a program that supports climbers in realizing their climbing ambitions and dreams. The AAC is seeking to sponsor climbers of all ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines including, but definitely not limited to, trad climbing, mountaineering, sport climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, ski mountaineering, gym climbing and any and all other worthy mountain pursuits! The emphasis of the grant is on projects that have significant positive impact on grantees’ progressions as climbers and/or the development of their skills. Show them how your project will take you to the next level or get you ready for it. The purpose of the "Live Your Dream" Grant is to encourage climbers to pursue their dreams and to fund those individuals (or individuals that are part of small teams) to make it happen. This is for real. Think of your dream climbing trip.... the AAC and Touchstone want to help you get there! 

The Western Region Live Your Dream Grant is supported in part through a partnership with Touchstone Climbing and Fitness. We are so happy to be a part of this project and can't wait to see where is takes the recipients! Our contribution, coupled with local fundraising means that the AAC has a TON of money to give away this year. Award amounts will vary independently depending on scope of project, but will likely fall in the $500 to $1000 range - unless your project is super, super cool and you need more.

APPLY NOW!  GET CASH!  GO CLIMBING!

These grants are developed and administered locally with community support. Application period runs 1/1/13 through 3/1/13. Grant recipients will be announced 4/1/13. Grant awards must be used within one calendar year of date of award. To qualify for the Western Region Grant, the applicant must be a resident of California, Nevada, Arizona, or Hawaii. If you have specific questions, please email Western Regional Coordinator Jeff Deikis.

 

Zero Initiation Fee in January!

Oh 2013, how quickly you are upon us! It's that magical time of year again, when all the turkey and stuffing is but a distant memory in our minds, memorialized only by the few extra pounds we managed to pack on during the holidays. It's no wonder our resolutions for the new year tend to trend towards fitness goals to make up for all the seasons indulgences. So whether your goal is to shed a few pounds, to get hooked on a new fitness class, or to climb a little more often; we want to make your closest Touchstone Gym a little easier to be a part of. 

Which is why we're offering....

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That's right! Take advantage of the many benefits to membership by joining any of our eight gyms any time in January and paying Zero Initiation fee. And frankly, being a member is pretty darn cool. Just think of all the unlimited fitness classes you could enjoy! All the Touchstone Climbing comps you could come party at for free. All the fun you could have and friends you could make.... And your very own membership card?!?!? *swoon* Check out the perks of being a Touchstone member:

  • Free Introduction to Climbing Class (this includes your gear rental for the day!)
  • One free guest pass each month, plus an EXTRA guest pass on the 4th Friday of each month. 
  • Reciprocal use of all other Touchstone Gyms throughout Northern California.
  • FREE fitness, indoor cycling and yoga classes. (Check out our online calendar for class schedules.)
  • Great discounts at our Pro-Shop: Just getting into climbing? Members receive 15% off on the Full Climbing Package - harness, shoes, chalk bag, locking carabiner and belay device. You also receive 10% off any purchase over $75.
  • Discounts on many of our climbing technique clinics!
  • Free entrance to the monthly member competitions that take place at one of our 8 locations. These competitions always include free food, beer, tons of climbing and a great chance to meet other Touchstone members. 
  • And don't forget about our newest gym Dogpatch Boulders, currently under construction in San Francisco! Enjoy member-only climbing nights and sneak peaks of the biggest bouldering gym in the country!


Find out more about our amazing gyms on our website join us on our social media sites to become a part of the conversation. Hope to see you soon! 
 

Past blog entries can be found at  http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/

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