This year, Touchstone Climbing Gyms partnered with the American Alpine Club for the Live Your Dream Grant, which funds unforgettable experiences that give ordinary climbers the skills and confidence to realize their climbing ambitions and allow them to dream even bigger next time. This spring, two Touchstone Climbing staff members, Maura La Riviere and Stephanie Jim, received the grant for their trip to Zion National Park, where they explored the big walls. Here is Maura's trip report from the amazing experience!
Intro to Aid Climbing, Zion Style
Read more: Intro to Aid Climbing- Zion Style
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.
In 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 www.eliandthesoundcult.com.
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 www.japaints.com.
In 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 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
Read more: CrossFit Pipeworks
Here at Touchstone, we are lucky to be surrounded by such a diverse and talented group of climbers and fitness enthusiasts. Every once and a while we love to sit down and profile a member who's got a great story to tell. Up this month... Hannah Donnelly, a 16 year old Zero Gravity climber.
Donnelly, a Sacramento Waldorf High School Student and Sacramento resident, began climbing with the youth team nearly 3 years ago in September of 2010. Climbing often at Sacramento Pipeworks and now Diablo Rocks in Concord, the young climber has a solid resume with 4 national championships competitions and a couple of V8 boulder problems!
“I live and breathe climbing,” said Donnelly in a recent conversation with the Touchstone Blog. “Training 4 days a week and trying to hold a 4.0 in school is tough, but in the end it's worth it. I love climbing because....... wow that is hard to put in words. Climbing, for me, is not always about the competition. It is about having amazing moments that you have complete control over every body position; every moment and any second can change the result. When I grab onto a plastic hold or a small edge of granite, everything stops for a moment, letting me take a deep breath... knowing and believing that I am able to move my body and have the strength to complete the thing that in that moment seems like the biggest challenge."
“Hannah is a highly motivated, passionate athlete. She is focused and determined to develop her technical, physical and mental ability to an elite level,” said Zero Gravity Coach Scot Jenerik.
In November 2011, Donnelly trained at Claudiu Vidulesu's US Nationals camp. “I felt wonderful for the two weeks and the time flew by.” Donnelly enjoyed the climbing immensely but then she had an unfortunate injury. “I had a blast, but while warming up my left shoulder started to bother me, I climbed anyways....bad idea. On some move, on some climb... I tore my labrum, front and back, and also slightly tore my bicep.” For fifteen months, Donnelly recovered from surgery on her labrum. “Looking back, I am weirdly kind of happy that I got injured, it allowed me to truly understand the reasons I love to climb, not to win, not to send anything hard (even though those things are great and drive me to train,) but I most of all I enjoy the atmosphere climbing brings; friends, food, laughter, and being outside."
“One of my most exciting achievements [this year] is that I have fully recovered and I'm training at full strength with the goal of competing in Youth World Championships in August 2013. Through the deep dark stages of surgery and recovery, I have learned that even though there are crappy days climbing, embracing them is better than sitting on the couch or watching from the crowd.”
Jenerik reiterated her point, describing Donnelly’s attitude towards recovering from the shoulder injury. “Coming back from shoulder surgery has really tested her resolve, patience and commitment. But it has also shown her that any day climbing is better than any day broken.”
Donnelly climbs outside often, exploring Maple Canyon in Utah, Smith Rocks in Oregon and the bouldering in Bishop and Tahoe. She has numerous goals in her climbing. “My biggest personal goal is to always try hard, give 100% every time I step up to the wall. I also try to stay positive, allowing myself to fail and also allowing myself to get angry... to push my own limits. My performance goals consist of small goals in daily training and big goals competition related . Some daily goals could be finishing all my laps or learning to breath while my pump is getting unbearable. I am able to strive and push myself to the limit each day...even if each day the limit is different."
"My big goals, which are making US national team, competing in a world championships, and climbing 14a, keep me focused on a bigger picture."
Donnelly provides a perfect example of a climber who balances hard climbing and having fun. We're proud to call Hannah one of our own and can't wait to see where her climbing career is going! Keep up the great work Hannah!
Fresh from raising $700 in a bake sale, GWPC teen team, The East Betas, trudged up the Berkeley Hills to test their plastic beast strength on the polished boulders of Indian Rock and Mortar Rock. All the typical gromits were in full attendance led by the good looking, super talented coaches Ryan Moon, Sam Schwartz, and Ari Oppenheimer. Moon, perhaps the MOST modest of the crew, submitted this trip report to the Touchstone Blog.
Read more: East Betas at Indian Rock
On May 24th, 45 students from San Francisco International High School, a public school for recent immigrants, headed over to Dogpatch Boulders to check out the new gym. The students, who are adjusting to a new life in the United States, had never been climbing before! We caught up with them to see what they thought of climbing.
Read more: SFIHS Students at Dogpatch