Get Tradical: New Trad Climbing Gear at Touchstone

 

Touchstone just picked up a bunch of new gear for those climbers who want to get tradical this summer. In stores now are the TC Pros, high top edging shoes that will shrink El Cap into Swan Slab, 4 step aiders for cruising up Washington Column, ultra light curve nuts, and the standard BD cams including C4s, C3s, and HB brass offsets.

The best place to start building your trad climbing gear is on your feet. High top shoes are nice because they protect your ankles in many of the grueling offwidths in the Valley.

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Chris McNamara reviewed the TC Pro for Supertopo. It's an awesome shoe!

Read more: Get Tradical: New Trad Climbing Gear at Touchstone

Beat The Rainy Days

 

Rain. Rain. Rain. The winters in the San Francisco Bay can be really wet. While winter is nearly over, the last few weeks of the wet season can be hard to maintain. Yosemite is socked in. Mortar Rock can be hit or miss. The slopers at Castle might be drenched. The best way to beat the winter doldrums can be to head out to the crags anyway. Driving over to the east side of the Sierra, to the boulders of Bishop, can almost guarantee dry weather.

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Often times, a hike through the redwoods of Castle can be a great way to get out and exercise. Even in a light rain, the Santa Cruz Mountains are beautiful.

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Another awesome option is to head out to the nearest Touchstone gyms, where it never rains!

A Few From Font: Bay Area Climbers in France

The forests around the French town of Fontainebleau are home to arguably some of the best boulders in Europe, if not the world. Thousands of sandstone blocks with mostly sandy landings litter the forest, making it a prime spot for traveling boulderers. The spring and fall season, read right now, are the best times to go and a few Berkeley locals headed out there to check out the blocks.

Monica Aranda, Justin Alarcon, and Scott Chandler flew out to France together to sample the wine, the chocolate, and most importantly the blocs. By staying in a gite, the small houses near the boulders, and sharing the expenses of a car, the three climbers were able to head out there for a month. They met up with other bay climbers- Ingar, Nora, Beth, Randy, and the ever popular Nevada boulderers Noah and Siemay. The crew is having a blast out there crushing the sloping holds. Check out some of the videos that Scott made of the climbing.

Randy Puro has got more hops than a brewery. Here he is jumping on L'Ange Naif, a classic Dyno at 95.2

L'Ange Naif from scott chandler on Vimeo.

Justin Alarcon, Ironworks desk staff hero, climbing the highball Big Jim at Petit Bois. Justin's been complaining of "wet skin"- whatever that means. Watching Alarcon on this highball made my palms sweat a little.

Big Jim from scott chandler on Vimeo.

Here's some more footage of wet tips Alarcon climbing Onde de choc at Apremont. It's hard not to be jealous.

Onde de choc from scott chandler on Vimeo.

Climbing News

 

A number of Touchstone youth climbers just headed to Nationals. Josh Levin, a member of Zero Gravity, wrote an awesome story on his blog about the team's trip out there. Red more about his story here: Josh Levin Blog.

The blog is always looking for great news articles, trip reports, and events going on in the Bay Area climbing community. If you have something to share, please send an email through the contact page : http://touchstoneclimbing.com/contact.html

Please share some of the great achievements going on around your local Touchstone gym!

Jailhouse Unlocked

 

The Access Fund just released news about the current state of affairs of the Unlock Jailhouse Fund-raising campaign. Not only has $49,000 been raised for Jailhouse, but Touchstone has worked with Craig McClenahan and Fixe hardware to replace all the old bolts, draws, and anchors for the crag.

Check out the press release from the Access Fund.

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Read more: Jailhouse Unlocked

Leave No Trace: Disposing of Waste at the Crag

Rock climbing outside involves spending a lot of time in fragile eco-systems. There's easily disturbed micro-biotic soil in Indian Creek, a fragile desert in Bishop, and the wild life in Yosemite that all need to be considered to ensure a leave no trace impact on the environment.

Leave No Trace, a company out of Colorado, offers some great insight on their website about ways to minimize impact. Check out their article on the subject.

Read more: Leave No Trace: Disposing of Waste at the Crag

Wendy Georges: The Ultra Runner

 

Wendy Georges runs. Georges runs a lot. The 53 year old Berkeley resident took up running 24 years ago and began racing when she was 42. Since then she’s competed in dozens of road races including many marathons and ultra marathons.

“My favorite is 50 miles. It takes 8 hours. It feels like a solid day’s work- long enough that you’re really glad its over but you get such a feeling of accomplishment.” The female grandmaster of last year’s Oakland marathon aims for three ultra marathons a year with a number of shorter races as training. Georges races 9 to 10 months out of the year.

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Georges with ultra running legend and BIW member Ann Trason

Read more: Wendy Georges: The Ultra Runner

New Petzl Gri Gri's At Touchstone Gyms

 

Petzl, a leading company in manufacturing great climbing products, recently released an updated version of their immensely popular GriGri.

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The new GriGri 2 is compatible with ropes from 8.9 to 11mm, has a progressive descent control system designed to offer smooth, even lowering action - there's a larger 'sweet spot' when lowering a climber or rappelling, and is 25% lighter and 25% more compact than the old GriGri.

Read more: New Petzl Gri Gri's At Touchstone Gyms

The Sandbagger: Profile of IW's John Schmid

 

At 5’8” 145 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, the 29 year old John Schmid appears like a mild mannered rock climber. After receiving a biology degree from Colorado College, where he began rock climbing ten years ago, Schmid moved to the bay area to take up a job that would support his climbing lifestyle. Schmid became a murse- a male nurse. During the graveyard shift, Schmid works in the neo-natal intensive care unit of Alta Bates in Berkeley where he saves the lives of sick little babies.

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Schmid on the Tuolumne classic On the Lamb (5.9) photo by Mikey Schaefer

Read more: The Sandbagger: Profile of IW's John Schmid

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.

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

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