Intro to Aid Climbing- Zion Style

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

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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 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!


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Check out more at www.japaints.com.

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

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Young Crusher Hannah Donnelly Profile

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. 

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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."

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“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."noname-5

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!

Got a story to share? Tell us all about it! Email your trip reports, bios, and tales of woe to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

East Betas at Indian Rock

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. 

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SFIHS Students at Dogpatch

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. 

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Pringle Tears Spain Apart

This spring, from March 26th until May 14th, Touchstone climber Ethan Pringle headed to the Spanish of Oliana for some of the incredible climbing. Pringle crushed the sport routes on the steep rock and wrote a bit about his trip for the blog.

So... Oliana! First off, I was supposed to leave Spain on April 30th with most of our American crew, but I decided extend my trip for two extra weeks to climb at Oliana, and Walker did the same. Unfortunately it rained for like four days straight right before we moved from Magalef to Oliana, so a bunch of the cliff was drenched when we got there, but it dries relatively quickly.

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Climbing Half Dome for the Wounded Warrior Project

Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the soldiers who have given their lives to protect our nation, but why stop there? Various programs focus on supporting our veterans year round. The Wounded Warrior Project dedicates itself to helping soldiers of America’s Armed Forces that have been wounded in war by raising awareness, providing aid and creating programs for returned soldiers. 

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Zero Gravity at Regional Championships

The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team just won their eighth straight USA Climbing Sport Climbing Series (SCS) Regional Championship. The competition was held at City Beach in Fremont,  on May 11. To say that Zero Gravity dominated the competition is an understatement. Out of the 20 age categories (10 Sport, 10 Speed, where only one competitor per category is scored), the team brought home 14 gold and 4 silver medals. In total, the team brought home 14 gold, 8 silver, and 7 bronze medals. In addition, of the 30 athletes on Zero Gravity, 26 of them will be moving on to the Division 1 Championships which will be held in Seattle on June 15th and 16th. 

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Patience and Persistence

Touchstone Climbing is always eager to support local organizations in our community. This year, we are proud to sponsor Team Specialized Racing, a Junior development team based in the Bay Area. Larry Nolan, the Team Specialized Junior Director, profiled three riders because of their 'Patience and Persistence.' "Development, confidence and humility are values that we discuss as a team," said Nolan. "But reminders are always a good thing! In sharing these three stories I hope to remind our juniors to be patient, yet persistent with their dreams and goals."

Matt"Cycling, like any sport, comes with frustration, anger, determination and glory. This season, I have raced my bike 36 times and have only won once. 36 times where I can say I gave it my all, and tried my best. Even though winning one race so far this season seems to be discouraging, it actually helps put things in perspective. I know I am on the right path to achieving my goals. The win came at Cat’s Hill Classic in the Juniors 17-18 Category last weekend. Although it is not the biggest and most important race of the year, it is surely one of my favorites as I now have won this race two years in a row. This win meant more to me than the last because I was determined to win it the “Billy Innes” way - ride away solo from the field by attacking on the climb, which I did. The win at Cat’s Hill Classic has fueled me to work harder, to never give up and to keep on pedaling." said team rider Matthew Valencia.

 

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Yosemite's Peregrine Falcons


220px-Falco peregrinus_nest_USFWSYosemite National Park has has been able to foster one of the most symbiotic relationships between peregrine falcons and climbers in the world. Sarah Stock, the wildlife biologist who oversees the bird and mammal projects for the park, works with other ornithologists to monitor the nests and breeding activity of the birds. Since 2009, Crystal Barnes, the full-time raptor monitor in Yosemite, has been assisting Stock with monitoring and managing the climbing closures in the park.

Currently, there are 14 pairs of birds in the park. 10 pairs are breeding and 9 of their nests, known as eyries, have been located. “Of the nesting pairs, 4 have successfully hatched young on The Rostrum, Rhombus Wall, Arch Rock, and Cascade Cliffs. The nest at Wapama Cliffs is suspected to have hatched young, and all other nesting pairs are still incubating with late breeding being observed at El Capitan’s SE Face. This pair is one month behind the typical egg-laying period for peregrines in Yosemite National Park,” said Crystal Barnes.

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Partner Parties at GWPC

Working at the front desk at the gym means you hear this question a lot. 'How do I find a belay partner?' While bouldering is easy to jump into, finding a belay partner to rope up with can be more of a challenge. "It's such a shame when people cancel their membership because their belay partner has moved or is injured," said Berkeley Ironworks staff Monica Aranda. "Especially when I know we get requests for belay partners nightly. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be psyched for a new climbing partner!"

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Stephanie Jim, who works at Great Western Power Company as the Kids Camp director, is trying to tackle the problem. "When I was younger, I loved watching the TV show Cheers," said Stephanie. "It made me happy to see a place where someone knows your name. I see this gym as my very own Cheers. It's a not just a work out facility or my job, it's a community. I want everyone to feel like a part of it." This was the motivation behind 'Partner Parties'; fun events where members and guests can meet new climbing partners. 

GWPC Partner Party 

If you're interested in participating, the next Partner Party at GWPC is on May 22nd from 6pm-8pm. If you're a member, swipe your magical membership card and you're in! If you're a guest, simply pony up for your day pass and no one will be the wiser. To get started, head over to the smoke stack in the middle of the rope walls. There, you'll find snacks to lure you in, and new friends to keep you coming back for more! 

"One you pick up a partner card, and write your name on the top," explains Stephanie. " For each new person you climb or belay with, you'l write their names down and check in at the partner table to get a raffle ticket." Boulderers are also encouraged to come out! For each new person you meet in the bouldering area (ie. give beta to, high five, etc), add their name to the card and exchange it for a ticket. Raffle winners will be announced every 20 - 30 minutes. You'll win anything from a t-shirt to a chalk bag!

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This is just one example of the fun events that Touchstone employees put on for their communities. "Wouldn't it be great if the minute you stepped into the gym, you recognized 5-10 friendly faces that immediately made you feel at home?" said Stephanie. To find out more about the upcoming Partner Party at GWPC, be sure to check out the Facebook page and invite your friends. 

Other partner finding events are on the calendar at The Studio in San Jose, Berkeley Ironworks, Mission Cliffs and Diablo Rock Gym. Find new partners and make the gym a place where everyone knows your name! 

 

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

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