Columbia Bouldering: Sonora's Compact Marble

The Gold Rush of 1940 brought unearthed lots of gold in the Sierra Foothills. The hydraulic mining also uncovered a mother lode of bouldering near Columbia College in Sonora. The rock in Columbia is a highly compacted marble requiring body tension and an ability to hang open handed on many of the holds. "It's like walking through the Castle Gray Skull," said Kim Groebner who checked out the boulders with Ironworks desk staffer Ryan Moon.

Read more: Columbia Bouldering: Sonora's Compact Marble

Castle Rock Bouldering: How to Mantle

In the hills just south of San Jose are a cluster of sandstone boulders. When the winter days are cold, the friction on these rounded Font like blobs becomes amazing. For those looking to do some weekend bouldering near the bay area, Castle Rock is a great option. One of the most important skills required at Castle Rock is the mantle, or pressing out the top of a boulder. The rounded rocks don't have big jugs at the top, instead they have precarious mantles. Check out this instructional video on how to mantle.

A frequent member of the Berkeley Ironworks crew, Michele Lombardo Goodhew climbs at Castle Rock State Park-. Here's a video of her crushing The Lost Keys Traverse(V6). Check out the smooth moves she executes through the crux and through the hard mantle finish.

A single hueco followed by a series of bad slopers below the Magoo Boulders was a long term John "Yabo" Yabolonski problem until a few years ago when Santa Cruz local, Chris Sharma dispatched the first ascent of "Ecoterrorist" (V10/11). Here's some footage of Scott Chandler hiking the problem. Watch the way he tops out the difficult problem.

Ecoterrorist [v10] from scott chandler on Vimeo.

Below Indian Rock are a number of less developed and very good boulders. There's good information about them on a Supertopo Thread. There's some awesome new mantle problems down the hill. Get out there and check them out.

Thick Rope Climbing


In fifth grade, the gym teacher lined up the kids in my class to take turns climbing a thick rope hung down from the middle of the ceiling. The exercise encouraged forearm, abdominal, and bicep strength. I wasn't much good at it. When I joined Touchstone, I found a great asset to strengthen these weaknesses in my body through the thick rope at the climbing gym.


The standard way to climb a rope is to use your legs, arms, and core to move upward. At the bottom of the rope is a knot, which helps people mount the rope by placing their feet on either side of it. Using your arms to keep your body steady, move your feet up the rope, cinch your feet tightly around the rope and move your hands up. Your body should be able to stay upright if you use the friction between the rope and your feet well. Repeat the process of clamping your legs and moving your hands until you reach a comfortable height. A belay is necessary for going more than a few feet off the ground.

Power climbing is the same idea as working on a campus board. The feet are positioned straight in front of you in an L shape while climbing the rope. This style further works the abdominal muscles and requires a fair bit of strength to perform. Simply grab the rope and climb it hand over hand.

If you can't perform the standard climb but want to work up to it, simply hang on the rope in a locked off or bent elbow position for as long as possible. Keep practicing until you're strong enough to do this easily. It also helps to visualize yourself climbing. When I was in fifth grade, I imagined myself as Batman when I climbed the rope. I have gotten much stronger at rope climbing since but every time I grab the rope I hear, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,, na, na, na, na, Batman!"

Berkeley Ironworks has a rope in the middle of the gym- check it out!

Read more: Climbing Rope Exercise

This video demonstrates the offensive amount of strength involved in rope climbing. The climber hit the world record for power climbing the rope.



Crazy Sick World Record Check Out the One Arms! from Rock & Ice on Vimeo.

SpiderDan Takes on SF Courts

Local climber Dan "SpiderDan" Goodwin climbed the Millennium Tower in San Francisco on September 6th, 2010. Goodwin, 54, made an ascent of the 58 story residential building with suction cups, beginning his climb around 2:15 and reaching the summit around 5:30 pm. During his ascent, residents opened their windows and offered him water. At the top, he was taken into police custody and cited for trespassing and public nuisance before being released. On January 25th, Goodwin faced a San Francisco court for his actions. Goodwin testified that he climbed the 301 Mission St. high rise before a large Labor Day crowd to draw attention to what he sees as a national lack of preparedness to fight skyscraper fires. He also said that he wanted to make the point that if he, a cancer survivor, can beat the deadly disease and scale tall buildings, other survivors can do daunting things, too. Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson was not so receptive, asking the jurors to determine only if Goodwin trespassed, created a public nuisance and evade arresting police. was his stunt a nuisance to the public, and did he try to evade arresting officers. The SFGate will be reporting on the event. Closing arguments will be made on the 24th and the jury will decide Goodwin's fate soon. Goodwin has given slideshows at the local gyms promoting his book Skyscraper Man -Defender of Tall Buildings..

Local Climber Receives the Berbie Leadership Award


On January 5, 2011 The Access Fund recognized the 2010 winners of the Sharp End Awards. El Cerrito climber Tom Addison, a 48 year old environmental lobbyist, was awarded the Bebie Leadership award for his outstanding efforts in protecting Jailhouse Rock in Sonora.


The Bebie Leadership Award honors America's activists who help preserve climbing access and the environment. Since the early 1990s, Addison worked with multiple owners, the county, and the climbing community to ensure permanent access and a permanent easement to the crag. Addison is currently working to help build a new parking lot, trail, and start a fund to ensure permanent access to Jailhouse. Please support Tom and the Unlock Jailhouse Fund.

Tom Addison, the Warden, at Jailhouse Rock.

There will be a number of upcoming fundraisers as well as online auction to support the crag. Touchstone is a big supporter of the Unlock Jailhouse foundation.

Congratulations to Tom for his continued support of great issues in the climbing community.

Zero Gravity Crushes in Reno

The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team once again showed it's dominance at the USA Climbing, Bouldering Regional Championships. The competition was held at the Rocksport gym in Reno, NV on December 10th, 2011. In addition to winning the Team award for the sixth straight year, Joshua Levin, Cicada Jenerik, Matt Grossman, Natalia Grossman and Mirko Caballero were Regional Champions; Dylan Meyerhoffer, Courtney Ceran, Jacquelyn Wu, and Rick Gentry were Silver Medalist; Revan Florn, Seth Rogers, Hannah Grossman and Nathan Frankel were Bronze Medalists. Over all, the team won half of the ten categories, one third of the podiums and received 23 bids to the Division 1 Championships which will be held in Seattle, Washington on January 14th and 15th, 2012. The Divisional Championships will determine the invitations for the National Championships which will be held in Colorado Springs at the US Olympic Training facility. The Adult Bouldering Nationals will be February 24th and 25th and the Youth Nationals will be March 3rd and 4th.


Zero Gravity is coached by Scot Jenerik, Scott Cory and Cicada Jenerik with additional mentoring by Joshua Levin.

For more results from the comp check out the comp page. Congratulations to the Zero Gravity team.

The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym: By Jason Gay


Jason Gay, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, posted a great blog about the 27 Rules For Conquering The Gym. The list is great for everyone who's made a New Year's Resolution to hit the gym a little bit more this winter. Check out Jason's article at the Wall Street Journal:

This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.

Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you're going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:


1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.

2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.

Climbing Off The Couch


The holidays are over. The massive meals, the family obligations, and the hordes of visitors and cluster are weeks away. Chances are that with the busy holiday season, you haven't been able to get to climb very much. Heading to the crag, you're probably climbing "off the couch."

Not too much unlike this guy.

Read more: Climbing Off The Couch

Past blog entries can be found at



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