Member of the Month: Ryan Rougeux

By Jason Bove

Sacramento is abuzz with chatter about the Touchstone Climbing Series coming to town TOMORROW, February 21st. At which time, we will all revel in excitement as we merrily eat, drink, adorn new T-shirts, and climb new routes! What you may not remember as you are enjoying all of these things this weekend, is the hard work that goes into bringing together such a magical night of festivities.

One of the many individuals that have spent long hours bringing this event to fruition is this months’ staff pick...Mr. Ryan Rougeux. Besides working at Sacramento Pipeworks and Stone Age Climbing, Ryan has many more talents up his sleeve. First and foremost, he has already climbed most of the routes that you will lay your calloused paws on this weekend...because he helped to set them!


Bove: Some folks describe you as a modern day renaissance man, due in part to all the activities that you participate in. Can you tell us a bit more about what you do around Sacramento Pipeworks for Touchstone Climbing?

Rougeux: I’ve worked behind the desk for over 7 years, and a few years ago I started to diversify my roles at Touchstone. I started working at Stone Age almost 3 years ago assisting Wes Tite in manufacturing the glorious holds that grace every climbing wall in the Touchstone universe. Somehow, they also let me set routes twice a week at Pipeworks. I am mostly in charge of the Pipeworks Facebook page, and for a short stint I was coaching the kids team. Wearing so many hats at Touchstone keeps me from getting burned out on just one job. Oh, and I also teach clinics from time to time.

ryan3Bove: Your rope access duties for ISCC (Industrial Structure Cleaning Company) have taken you to various countries and places around the United States. Do you have a favorite destination thus far? Is there somewhere in particular you would like to go next?

Rougeux: I just got back from 18 days in Houston, TX, and I don’t ever need to go back. By far my favorite destination was Brasil. After a week of work and partying with the Cirque du Soleil crew, myself, Phil (PW member), and Sarah headed to Rio for a week. We then climbed a 4 pitch 5.9 route called K2 up Corcovado that ends at the giant Jesus; it was as awesome as it sounds! My boss is currently working on expanding his business into Dubai, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that trip.

Bove: I know that your busy schedule includes lots of fun things as well. How do you mainly enjoy your free time away from work?

Rougeux: When I’m not climbing I train a lot of different aerial acrobatic skills. Static trapeze is my current favorite apparatus. I’m also hoping to do a lot of mountaineering this spring and summer to complete my quest of all of California’s 14’ers.

ryan2Bove: You have been involved in dance and acrobatics routines for years. Where is the next level that you want to reach in these pursuits?

Rougeux: I really want to put together a routine on the static trapeze--maybe solo, maybe doubles, nothing too crazy, just something polished enough for small shows. I also want to get more climbers interested in aerial acrobatics; it’s great cross training!

Bove: Are there any upcoming shows where we can watch you showcase your skills?

Rougeux: Nothing in the books currently. However, it looks as though I’ll be an extra on stage for the Sacramento Ballet’s production of Carmina Burana on March 27-30. It’s more of a stand there and look pretty role.

Bove: Back to the competition on Friday at Sacramento Pipeworks...are there any format changes that may be different from years past? Are there any particular routes that you are excited about and/or want to see someone climb? Why?

Rougeux: Pink with a black stripe, because I set it! The route clocks in around 12b, and is a compression / heel hook masterpiece--one of those climbs it’s hard to breathe on, because your entire body is squeezing. Really, all of the routes will be worthy of a send! We have received a huge new order of Teknik holds, and Stone Age is debuting a few new lines of holds. If you’re a gym rat that already knows every hold, then there are surprises waiting for you on the wall!


Get Ready for TCS in 5 Easy Steps

The Touchstone Climbing Series - or TCS2014 - is a fun and friendly competition series that will tour all nine Touchstone gyms throughout California. It's a great way to challenge your climbing, have a blast, and visit different gyms. This year, the competition series will rotate between roped climbing and bouldering each month, so everyone gets a chance to climb. On February 21st at Sacramento Pipeworks, we're kicking off the season with ropes!

Comp nights are one big, huge, climbing party. Come prepared to have an absolute blast. This event is FREE for members, and only $10 for guests.

1799947 668026159920428 335734197 o

How to prepare yourself for TCS2014.

#1. Bring a paper waiver.

Yes, you've already signed one. And yes, you get to do it again. A printed paper waiver is required for ALL competitors. You can either print one up ahead of time HERE, or grab one from the front desk of your local Touchstone Climbing Gym.

#2. Register online to get your comp code.

That's right. 21st century baby! Every competitor will get a 3 letter code that will follow you for the rest of your life. To get your code, click HERE to sign in once you're done reading. It will look a little something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 3.06.11 PM

If you've competed in a Touchstone Climbing Competition in the last 2 years, you should already have a code. Click 'Already Registered?' Once you know your code and have registered for the Pipeworks comp, write the 3 letter code on the top of your wavier. You'll need both to pick up a score card on Friday.  

#3. Plan ahead

Think about riding your bike or carpooling to alleviate parking woes! Even though we happily added a ton of parking this year, our lot has been knows to fill up on busy nights like this. The competition will begin at 5pm and end at 10pm. You can come or leave at any point during the night - just remember to turn in your score card when you're done climbing!

#4. Come hungry and thirsty

Climb your little heart out, then feast on local pizza, beer, and beverages. 

#5. Have fun.

That's what it's all about, right? Be sure to post photos and tag them with #tcs2014 to share the magic with all your friends. 

See you at the comp!



Member of the Month - Nicole

Jason Bove, aka Doctor Bove, sat down with Nicole Moffatt for his monthly 'Member of the Month' chat. 

One of the many perks of being a Pipeworks staff member is the connection to the ever-growing Touchstone community. Due to initiation specials and resolutions January is historically our biggest month, so we get to meet lots of new folks and joyfully welcome back some of our beloved Pipeworks family. For our new members it is a refreshing change to experience such a welcoming atmosphere. For the long-term guests, it is a pleasure and a comfort to walk in and be greeted by a familiar smiling face. If you have not yet had the good fortune to meet Nicole Moffatt, it is an honor to introduce you to a wonderful friend, healer, world traveler,and art aficionado.

For more than ten years, Nicole diligently held down the 6am - 2pm front desk shift at Pipeworks. After an impromptu change of gears and a small hiatus which included a trip to India, she has come back to the Touchstone family as the company Human Resources Manager. When asked if it were more comfortable in-front or behind-the-scenes for her now, she responded, “Strangely enough, I find them to be relatively similar. I had a lot of fun working the front desk, our members are awesome! However, getting to know them and how to provide a positive experience while at the gym was an interesting challenge at times. Now being in HR, I’m getting to know a different group of people, how they communicate, and see that their needs are met.”

I asked Nicole if her travels in India changed her view of life in the US. “Yes, it brought to my attention just how happy I am to be a woman living in the US, especially California. I was co-chaperoning a group of students from the University of Alabama and we only had 2 men in our group of 14. We drew a bit of attention when we went out even dressed as modestly as we were, often followed by groups of men. It got unnerving at times. India is an intense place on every level: Great beauty next to great atrocity. You really can’t go there and not experience infinite examples of duality and polarity.” That being said, when I asked Nicole if there was one thing she could do before she died (if money were not an option), what would it be and why? She unhesitatingly replied, “Travel, Travel, Travel! You learn so much by encountering other cultures.”

Time for the nuts and bolts and getting to know more about the quiet woman that sat behind the front desk for so long…”What makes her tick, you ask?” Well, one of the many things that Nicole and I see eye to eye on is the need for art, creativity and good design. “I love Tiffany Bozic! Everything she does speaks on many levels to me. I think she’s pretty brilliant! I’ve been following Rodrigo Luff lately. I really like his compositions and his use of neon colors in his work...and Kazuki Takamatsu, what he does with black and white fascinates me. I’m also a big fan of the many unnamed street artists out there. I had a great uncle who was a painter. He lived in the Netherlands and when he’d come to visit we would always talk about art. Some of my earliest conversations were simply discussing art and how it communicated to me, and how art is everywhere. It’s one of the ways I view the world. It’s one of the ways the world speaks to me.”

Besides enjoying art and travel, Nicole devotes much of her time to the healing of herself and others through Craniosacral Practice. “I think the human body is amazing, and I was drawn to CST because I personally found it to be very helpful. I like that the goal of CST is to use the least amount of pressure to create a change, and the modality stresses listening to the body. You can learn a lot when you simply get quiet and listen.” I believe that all of us can learn lessons from that last statement, Nicole!

Although this story is drawing to a close for now, it is a small introduction to a very long tale that continues to be made daily. I wondered, since it had been over ten years getting to know Nicole thus far, where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? Nicole stated, “Wow! No idea. I have a hard enough time looking at the next year. I hope to have lived a happy life.” At this rate, we can be sure of it!
Please be sure to keep your eyes open for Nicole around the Touchstone gyms and remember to say hello if you see her.
Here’s to many more happy times and smiles shared together, thank YOU!

Manager's Favorite: The West Face of the Leaning Tower

The Leaning Tower rises ominously next to Yosemite's Bridalveil Falls. Described by Royal Robbins as "The steepest wall in North America," the West Face of the Leaning Tower was the site of an impressive 1961 ascent by Warren Harding and one of the first big wall solos by Royal Robbins a few years later.

For many Yosemite climbers, the enormous West Face provides a perfect place to climb overhanging, immaculate rock. "This super steep route has a little bit of everything," said Pipeworks Manager Vaughn Medford who has climbed the route three times. "An airy approach ledge, bolt ladders, moderate aid and some free climbing, along with one of the nicest bivy ledges around - the Ahwahnee ledge is perfectly situated just short of half way up."

DSC07349 Bridalveil and Leaning Tower

Read more: Manager's Favorite: The West Face of the Leaning Tower

Pipeworks Member Profile: Larry Knapp

“You can have 15 minutes with the doctor, but only YOU know what is prescribed for your life.”

Pipeworks Member of the Month: Larry Knapp

By Jason Bove

It is always a pleasure to write a story about someone who found a passion for the outdoors, and actively pursues it year round. I have a chance this month to feature Sacramento Pipeworks member and friend, Larry Knapp. Among many other titles throughout life (Father, CPA, Climber, IPA Connoisseur, etc…) he holds the prestigious honor of being MEMBER NUMBER ONE! Let’s start with the burning question…”Can you tell us a little about how you became member #1, and how does it feel to hold such a noteworthy title?


Read more: Pipeworks Member Profile: Larry Knapp

Women's Empowerment at Pipeworks

The Touchstone Gyms have had amazing opportunities to transform people's lives through fitness. "Sacramento Pipeworks has been working with Women's Empowerment since 2004," said Pipeworks manager Vaughn Medford. "They are headquartered only a couple blocks away from the gym, so it is not unusual to see a group of women 10-15 power walking over to the gym on Fridays. They use the gym to work out in the weight area and do cardio. The members have become accustomed to seeing the group, and we're all supportive of such an important cause."

Womens Empowerment1

Read more: Women's Empowerment at Pipeworks

Member Profile: Victor Bonanno

In our monthly segment - 15 Minutes with the Doctor - Jason Bove of Sacramento Pipeworks sits down with a member to find out what makes them tick.

Victor B.1Today, I was lucky enough to chat with long-time Member, Father, Grandfather, Husband, Climber, Outdoor Enthusiast, and recent Crossfit Participant...Mr. Victor Bonanno. Since 2002, and a couple of different local climbing gyms, Victor has been a part of the climbing community surrounding me in Sacramento.

I figured it was about time to get a small piece of his inspiring story to share with all of you. Enjoy.

Upon turning 50 years young, Victor decided that the time had come to finally get to those hobbies he had been wanting to do for years; amongst them, Abalone Diving and Rock Climbing. Not knowing the first thing about  becoming a rock climber, he and his wife, Mary, began to do some research. A simple belay class purchase from Granite Arch was given as a gift, and piqued his curiosity enough to get into the gym and try things out. Shortly after doing some regular days of indoor climbing, Victor was approached by the owner about an outdoor trip to Phantom Spires and the chance to get on real rock! Hesitantly, an agreement was made and the trip ensued. Getting back out into nature was just what he needed, and by pulling himself to the top of those routes, the thrill he was seeking for so long finally reared its head. Still today, Victor states, “There’s nothing finer than reaching up to that top hold of a pitch.”

Now fifteen years and countless climbs later, Victor has placed both his hands and feet on rocks in outdoor destinations such as: Yosemite, Moab, Red Rocks, Castleton Tower, Joshua Tree, Shasta City, Bucks Bar, and two different Lovers Leaps’. However, like many other climbers, he finds that his favorite climbing has to be down in the Owens River Gorge near Bishop, California.

Victor B.2Segue to 2013…

In February, Sacramento Pipeworks introduced a Crossfit program to add to their already impressive offerings. Around the same time frame, Victor Bonanno was filling out a Kaiser questionnaire that asked him how frequently he works out ‘to the point of breathing very heavy and exhaustion’... perfect timing! Although climbing is a fantastic workout, sometimes the better you get at it, the less heavy the cardio exercise you may get out of it. On the other end of the spectrum, it has been proven that Crossfit includes high-intensity and high-focus workouts designed to focus on specific movements to not only increase strength and flexibility, but the cardio benefits can be HUGE!

For the last five months of his eight years as a Pipeworks regular, Victor has been giving the new-ish Crossfit regimen a try. When I asked of his opinion, he says, “Besides the awesome and well respected instructors, Dustin and Collan, the people in the class (like climbers) are equally great!” He has found that the ‘pain and misery’ he experienced at first has now become ‘not so bad’. Crossfit has not only ramped up his metabolism, but by working on different parts of his body, climbing has become easier. More climbs were able to be accomplished by utilizing better form, having better core strength, and climbing more confidently.

Today, more climbers are making the shift to incorporate cross-training workouts like Crossfit and Yoga to supplement their routines. The strange thing, at least from what I have seen, is that not many of the people brought up in the Crossfit world are attempting climbing. Why the distinct divide, who knows? While both produce beneficial results, I’ll let you be the judge what is best for you.

In closing, I am happy to report that next month, November, Victor will turn 65 and is still going strong!

Mary, his wife, claims that with all of things he does to keep up his physical fitness, she does not necessarily agree with all of them. She is always scared to watch him climb, and thinks he is ‘nuts’ for doing so at his age. We believe, in our circle of friends, that he is perfectly sane, inspiring, and admirable for his choices.                                                                                  

I asked Dustin, his Crossfit instructor, if he had any closing words for this story. He provided without hesitation, “Victor defines the "anti-aging" aspect of living a healthy life! His unstoppable resilience during workouts redefine the possibilities capable of any human body. This leader among men will change your life and leave you with the confidence to conquer anything you put your mind to. Thank you Victor!”

Thank you for spending a few minutes with us Mr. Victor Bonanno, we appreciate YOU! Happy Birthday!

Member of the Month:Nicholas Wray

In our ongoing segment - 15 minutes with Doctor Bove - Pipeworks staffer Jason Bove sits down with a member to get to know a little more about what makes them tick. 
“You can have 15 minutes with the doctor, but only YOU know what is prescribed for your life.” he says. 

Tonight, I sit on the opposite side of a familiar round table to talk with someone who is a long-time Pipeworks member, an influential man behind the camera lens, a smile amongst friends, and a staple of a modern, Sacramento society.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 4.42.27 PMMember of the Month: Nicholas Wray

You ask, “who’s that guy at the end of his rope?” A small play on words has hopefully caught your attention long enough to introduce you to Nicholas Wray. He is, in fact, not at the end of his rope, but sometimes, a rope. More than likely though, he can be found smiling and joking over in the boulder cave while effortlessly sending most peoples’ projects.

Landing in Sacramento by way of Cincinnati in 2006, Nicholas was introduced to both climbing and the Pipeworks community through a friend and co-worker. Little did he know was that he was delving into a land that was completely different than the Civil Engineering world he was living in. With this introduction, Nicholas found a different cast of characters, new friends, and a whole new obsession...rock climbing.

Like most climbers, by way of projected goals and a focus on pulling hard both indoors and out, Nicholas found his new favorite vacation destination, Bishop, California. In this area of the world, things were different, and peoples’ love of nature overtook the necessity to tell you about their day job. Here, it didn’t matter, and it was through this ‘selfish act’ of climbing that everyone found reward. With Bishop being over 4 hours from Sacramento, there needed to be something closer to home to climb on though, so Pipeworks became a weekly ritual. The gym quickly became an escape from daily stress induced by work, and Nicholas says that when he is climbing, “everything else good or bad seems to take a back seat.”

From year to year, what we are seeing in the industry, is that climbing is becoming more mainstream, and increasing attention is being paid to the benefits of it. I asked, “Will this growth in popularity change things for you?” Nicholas responded, “We are drawn to the sport, because it is a very personal challenge, but also for the community. With a smaller, tight-knit circle of motivated individuals, one may find that friends become more like family members. However, I believe that it is the individuals’ personal struggle to climb better or smarter than the last time, and be more efficient, nobody elses’.”

N.WrayHUGE THANKS to Nicholas Wray for being such a big part of Sacramento Pipeworks. Amongst other things, he is a friend, a local photographer, owner of Sacramento Space, a human being, and a rock climber. Remember to say hello to him while he is busy sending all of those hard problems that we wish we could.

Stay tuned for next months installment of 15 minutes with Doctor Bove!

Pipeworks Member Profile: John Martinez

Recently, Pipeworks manager Vaughn Medford sat down with long time Touchstone member John Martinez, who has undergone a huge transformation at the Sacramento gym.  Check out the great write up about John.
We are sad to bid farewell to our friend and long-time member John Martinez, who is being asked to relocate out of town for work. John started his career with the California Conservation Corp in 1978 and for 30+ years he has been promoted through the ranks, spending a good portion of that time at CCC headquarters located here in Sacramento. Recently however he was offered a big promotion: managing a field office and crew in the CCC’s brand new facility located in South Lake Tahoe.


Read more: Pipeworks Member Profile: John Martinez

Staff Profile: Jason Bove

profile You all (hopefully) come to your local gym because you love the climbing, the community, the great work out.. ext. Now imagine going to that same gym every day, BUT GETTING PAID FOR IT! The staff at our various Touchstone Gyms are made up of amazing, passionate people. Want to know what makes them tick? In our new segment 'Better know a staff member,' you'll do just that. To start us off, Jason Bove sits down with himself and confesses his addiction. 

My name is Jason Bove, and almost 7 years ago, I began working as a Desk Staff at Sacramento Pipeworks. Today, let me be the first to express how happy I am to still call Touchstone my employer. Wait a minute, this is starting to sound as if I should be either in a confessional, or standing up in front of a room of other people addicted to something.

To tell you the truth, I suffer from obsession...and one of my addictions is climbing.

My desire for climbing has followed me through the last 19 years of my adult life. I have moved with the industry as it has taken me from working at my hometown gym in Rockford, Illinois to Montana, Virginia, California, and Thailand. Jobs throughout this career have ranged from building indoor rock climbing facilities to shipping packages to happy Prana customers. I have even spent some time solving problems behind the desk of another local gym, Granite Arch!

The most common weekly question I receive is “What keeps you here at Pipeworks?”

The best answer, of course, has to be the community.

The gym has brought me daily smiles and a large number of unmatched personal relationships. Over the years, I have met friends with a very diverse range of upbringings and professions, yet all still have the same common goals...staying fit and having fun. Admittedly, all of these people I would have never met without my selfish love of climbing. Along the road, however, I have learned that pursuits are not necessarily selfish if joy is brought to others by sharing your talents with them. It is the exact opposite.

band playingIn addition to climbing, I enjoy making and selling music and art. My ‘desk job’ allows me sufficient time to pursue all of the professions that round out the individual human that I am, and I am constantly encouraged by my employers to continue to be myself. Eli and the Sound Cult is a project that I have been involved in for the last year. Since the inception of the band, my friend Elijah Jenkins and I have brought our music on tour a couple of times so far, to share with folks in Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Modesto and Los Angeles. We piled all of our belongings, (climbing gear included) into a borrowed van and took to the road. We have played 13 shows over 4 months just to refine the stage performance, constructed a studio in Elijah's basement to record an album, and built a huge sound system and video display to tour the live show. Now that’s ambitious!

We are presently running a Kickstarter project to help fund the ability to continue to share our craft and put out our debut album, ‘Best of Pop’. If you are so inclined, feel free to check us out at

If you still believe that there is some leftover free time in my busy schedule, under the moniker of ‘doctorbove,’ paintings are made and sold by my company/art gallery, Japaints. I have recently been working with the City of Sacramento to create larger scale murals and share art with the public. This year, I was lucky enough to work with local artist John Horton on a 75’ mural behind The Crest Theatre, and am currently busy creating another on ‘The Kay’ (K & 8th Streets). This new project is 150’ x 8’ and will be completed by the end of June. Over the years, you may have even seen a Japaints show or two at one of your local Touchstone facilities. If you have not yet witnessed one of these displays of artwork, in December you can view them when the paintings will be hanging in Berkeley Ironworks!


Check out more at

jason climbingIn life, my goal is to spend time doing the things that will ultimately make me happy. As I have been told time and time again, “You only have one spin around this roller coaster.” So, why not be happy? Personally, I can not think of any reason why not, and will tell you now that I am. Thanks for spending some time with me, see you at the gym!


CrossFit Pipeworks

CrossFit is one of the fastest growing fitness programs in the United States and when Sacramento Pipeworks opened their own box earlier this year, hundreds of people have joined the great new way to get strong.

Since the January opening of the CrossFit Pipeworks, 200-300 new members have joined the new facility and 60-80 people are working out daily. “It is the fastest growing CrossFit Box in the United States without a doubt!” said Dustin Raúl Stumpf, a 23 year old CrossFit instructor from Salinas. Stumpf, who graduated with an Exercise Science degree from Sacramento State, instructs at CrossFit Pipeworks

DustinCrossFit 024

Read more: CrossFit Pipeworks

The Sacramento Smoke Stack

Imagine doing an enormous first ascent in the middle of a state's capital city. For some, this is just a dream. For others, it's a bold and symbolic adventure.

The Sacramento City smoke stack rests at the corner of 7th Street and North B, a mere nine blocks from Pipeworks. A few years ago, gym manager Vaughn Medford walked the base of and saw an obvious line of bolts up the formation.

incenarator 2


“I assumed the bolts were to be used in case they ever needed to maintenance the structure but apparently not,” said Medford.

A few weeks ago, a fit seventy year old nearly crushed Medford’s hand when he shook it and introduced himself as Bill Smale, the man who made the first ascent of the Sacramento Smoke Stack.

Read more: The Sacramento Smoke Stack

Past blog entries can be found at



Latest News

Latest Routes

  • MM 4 Routes, 5.8-5.11c
  • MM 3 Routes, 5.9-5.11c
  • MM 2 Routes, 5.10c-5.12a

Touchstone's Instagram

Tag your instagram photos with: #touchstoneclimbing