Touchstone Setters at MetalMark

The Touchstone setting crew rallied down to Fresno this week to reset the entire gym.  A group of 8 setters descended on MetalMark to establish some amazing new problems and routes.  "We put up about 35 boulder problems yesterday ranging from V0-V7. They all turned out really good, I think we all get psyched to set on terrain that we don't know like the backs of our hands," said setter Jeremy Ho. 

Bay Area Routesetters

Jeremy talked a little about the local setters Travis and Cole. "The guys down here have been doing a killer job, the boulder problems of theirs that we climbed were excellent."  The Touchstone crew got feedback via Facebook about the types of climbs that MetalMark members were looking for- shorter, more powerful boulder problems.  

Jeremy setting lead wall

The Touchstone setters do an amazing job of keeping all the gyms fresh with new routes.  Stop by your nearest gym and check out the newest routes and boulder problems.

Bay Area Rock Guide

The California Bay Area has an immense amount of amazing climbing.  Finding all of it can prove difficult as the climbing, though great, is fairly spread out.  Thankfully there's a new guide to help with that.

Local climber, photographer, and guidebook author Jim Thornburg just released the 7th edition of  Bay Area Rock. The 328 page guide book features amazing photographs of the climbing from Mickey's Beach, Castle Rock, and Mount Diablo.  

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Beside having excellent pictures that make the crags look irresistible, Thornburg included a number of new areas including Kimball Canyon, Table Rock (St helena) Black Sand Beach, Columbia Boulders, Jailhouse, Mt Tam Boulders, Cliff House Boulders, Aquarian Valley and The Rocklin Quarry Boulders. 

The guide offers great directions in a user friendly format. Thornburg included solid information about all the types of climbing in the bay, the bouldering areas, trad zones, and sport routes.  The directions make it simple to find any of the routes.

Thornburg began climbing in the bay area in 1980 and has established first ascents at Mickey's Beach, Mount Diablo, Dry Creek, and the Nut Tree Boulders.  Beyond his significant route development, Thornburg also makes significant contributions to rebolting climbing areas.  This year he replaced many of the sea worn bolts at the coastal climbing areas with SS glue ins. 

Stop by your local Touchstone gym and grab a copy of the new Bay Area Rock from Potlicker Press.

MetalMark Luau

On June 25th, MetalMark celebrate their one year anniversary with a Hawaiian themed luau.  Over 100 members came to participate in the water balloon toss contest, the limbo contest, the hula hooping, and to enjoy the great appetizers.
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During the event, which ran from 5 to 8 p.m., exciting luau music was played and everyone received a lei, a wreath of flowers worn around the neck.

Read more: MetalMark Luau

Cinco De Mayo TRS 6 at MetalMark

On Cinco De Mayo, a solid turn out of Fresno area climbers headed over to MetalMark for another of Touchstone's great rope series comp.  The comp was a ton of fun.  The new routes, the DJ, and the tons of climbers, all added a lot to exciting atmosphere.

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Mark Haymond, a local photographer, was on hand snapping some great pictures of people climbing hard and well.

Read more: Cinco De Mayo TRS 6 at MetalMark

MetalMark Roundup!

Every year during the last week of April, Clovis holds an annual rodeo.  Cowboys and cowgirls come from across the country to compete in various contests from lasso tossing to the exciting sport of bull riding.  This year, MetalMark decided to hold their own rodeo- The MetalMark Roundup!

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The roundup started at 3 pm with a game of horseshoes.  Soon after that came a test of stength as four teams battled against each other in a serious game of tug of war.

Bull riding

The highlight of the event was the bull riding.  Phillip created a "bull" and members were challenged to ride the beast for a lifetime of 8 seconds.  Over 20 people took up the challenge of battling the beast, often with a pretty comical outcome.
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The festivites included barbequing lots of hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs.  The first annual Roundup was a huge success and over 100 people stopped by for the fun.  Stay in touch with all the exciting events happening at MetalMark. And make sure to practice your bullriding for next year!

LivinBob at MetalMark

Some people believe there's not much to do in the Central Valley but Socrates Lozano and Joey Ybarra started a YouTube channel to prove people wrong. Recently they headed over to MetalMark in Fresno to show some of the excitement going on in the Central Valley.

“We’re trying to show people what there is in the Valley and see if we can do it,” Ybarra said. “Our goal with this is to have a great time, make videos and show people that life in the Valley isn’t as bad as some people say it is.”

Read more: LivinBob at MetalMark

Adaptive Sports at MetalMark

A few weeks ago, 12 kids from the Children's Hospital Adaptive Sports program headed over to MetalMark in Fresno. The program provides recreational and athletic experiences for those with disabilities. The kids that came out had an excellent time, fighting their way up the walls.


This young girl was a parapalgeic who managed to campus her way up the wall. The individuals in the groups have physical and health impairments ranging from cerebral palsy to spinal cord injuries. Through hard work and determination, the kids learn that they are able to have athletic lives.
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The students have taken multiple trips to MetalMark and plan on returning again soon. This truly inspiring group had a blast at MetalMark.


Cyclocross with Phillip Green


Phillipp Green, a 27 year old front desk staffer at Fresno’s Metal Mark, competed in the HomeGrown CycloCross race series this year.


The races take place from September to January and consist of numerous laps around a short, a 1.5 – 2 mile course with mixed terrain of wooded trails, grass, steep hills, and pavement. Often, cyclists have to navigate obstacles by dismounting their bikes and jumping over the barrier. Though the courses are short, the race is usually consists of over 20 miles of this type of terrain.

Read more: Cyclocross with Phillip Green

MetalMark Virtual Tour

Dezmond Oliver, an excited Fresno based climber, toured the construction of the new MetalMark gym in Fresno. Check out the footage he took of the gym and get a virtual tour!

MetalMark Climbing Wall Design Complete


Metalmark’s climbing wall design is now complete. Mark Melvin, Touchstone's CEO says, "Our walls in Fresno are the best we’ve ever built -there’s not a bad line in the gym." In a unique collaborative effort, Mark worked on-site full time with a brilliant design team:


Mark Benkert- a 20 year veteran wall builder, artist, and sculptor, who thrives on model-less see-how-it-works building


Read more: MetalMark Climbing Wall Design Complete

Metal Mark Construction Continues


MetalMark, the new Touchstone Gym in Fresno, was named after a California butterfly with distinctive, metallic markings. The name was inspired by the simple idea of metamorphosis, by the physical and mental changes we experience as rock climbers. The form of the Touchstone butterfly is transformed as well; it is modeled on the engineering of aluminum cams used in outdoor climbing.


Read more: Metal Mark Construction Continues

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