By Amanda Robinson
I found myself on the car ride back from my post-Thanksgiving Joshua Tree trip with a little bit less skin, a lot less pride, a lot more dirt, and just the right amount of necessary introspection.
Let me explain.
Climbing has always been a multifaceted sport for me, as I must assume it is for many of those that spend their holidays, weekends, and free evenings partaking in it. No other sport pushes me in so many aspects; after a good climbing session, I am mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.Most of the time I just leave it at that – I like climbing because it requires more than brute strength. Climbing requires more than technique. I’ve always known that, but what I learned this past weekend is that I love climbing because it is honest.
Once again, let me explain.
Read more: Climbing is Honest: Joshua Tree Trip Report
It's well known that the Touchstone Bouldering Competitions are a great chance to get some amazing climbing in, but they also act as the social event of the season. After TBS 8 hit Berkeley Ironworks and The Studio in San Jose, the fun continued at MetalMark Climbing and Fitness in Fresno.
Read more: TBS8 at MetalMark
Climbing involves more than just rocks. The areas we climb in are important too. Climbers can make a significant impact to help preserve the areas we climb in.
On October 31st, the Bureau of Land Management reported that vandals removed four petroglyphs from a sacred Paiute site in the Tablelands area of Bishop, California. The vandals defaced a fifth with deep saw cuts, removed and broke a sixth petroglyph during the theft and scarred other ancient Indian art with hammer strikes and saw cuts.
Read more: Bishop Petroglyphs Recovered
Bouldering season is in full effect. In between weekend trips to Sonora and Bishop, the gym provides a great place to train. The campus board provides an ideal training surface.
In this video, Touchstone's Sam Schwartz provides instruction on how to effectively use a campus board.
Read more: Campus Board Training
One of Touchstone's founding principles is supporting local communities. All our gyms regularly open their doors to local schools and organizations to give kids a chance to climb. In December a group of children from Guadalupe Elementary School visited Mission Cliffs in the city and had a great time climbing with their teacher. Donna, the manager of Mission Cliffs, was trilled to receive the following Thank You letters in the mail.
Here are some of our favorite excerpts from the thank you letters we received.
"After a few climbs I got enough confidence to climb those walls 40 feet high!" -Alex
"I had a great time rock climbing at Mission Cliffs today. And thank you for belaying for me too. This is so far my favorite field trip of all time." -Raul
"Thank you for being our volunteer. You gave us some really hard walls to climb. Nothing that I couldn't handle. I want to make rock climbing a hobby of mine. I really loved those two hours of my life." -Kevin
"Thank for for being my belayer. Thank you for not letting me fall. Well I did fall because I was tired, and then you told me to stand up. Thank you because you did not let me give up." -Ruby
"Before we got to Mission Cliffs I was really shaky and scared. The first 2 walls were really scary and I coudn't climb to the top. Then I got confident and on the last 2 walls I got to to top! Thank you for belaying me." -Ingrid
"Thank you for beleying for us. Without a belayer I would have been dead." -Jonas
"Thank you for letting us rock climb at the gym. If you wouldn't have let us climb I wouldn't have had my first experience. Now my life is rock climbing." -Carol
"When I went climbing indoors I felt scared going down but determined going up." -Raymond
Teaching kids to climb for the first time is such an amazing experience and we're so glad to be a part of the community in the Misson. If you've brought a group to one of our gyms, please share your photos or stories with us!
It’s midnight on the snow covered 395 and your turbo charged climbing partner hits repeat on the Justin Bieber song... again.
Bishop, Joshua Tree, Las Vegas, even the local climbing areas like Yosemite, Sonora, and Tahoe reside a few hours from the Bay Area and the Touchstone climbing gyms. The climbing in California requires a serious amount of driving. To avoid co-pilot homicide when Bieber sings the same song for the hundredth time, here is a helpful survival guide.
Read more: Carpooling to the Crag
Touchstone athlete Ethan Pringle travels across the world. Norway, China, South Africa, and his home in San Francisco provide great climbing escapes for him. This fall he traveled to one of his old climbing crags to try one of the United States' hardest routes.
There's something special these days about having a crag to yourself. When you're alone at Mt Charleston's most famous crag, The Hood, just a 45 min drive from downtown Las Vegas, all you hear is the wind blowing through the pine trees, the birds chirping and the occasional tourist on the main hiking trail below - it’s quite refreshing. To be alone at any sport climbing cliff is a rarity now with climbing becoming as popular as it is, and especially so at a steep limestone cliff in prime conditions with hard routes. In the fall, when the temperatures in Vegas fall to the high 70s and the temps at The Hood get perfect, nobody goes. Besides the fact that all the locals are so thrilled that Red Rocks finally isn't an oven anymore and they can climb there without getting heat stroke, there is another reason Mt. Charleston is no longer a destination for traveling sport climbers: it carries the stigma of having chipped holds, and chipped holds are so 1990s. For me the routes are still fun: they are gymnastic, the moves work one of my biggest weaknesses - shallow pockets - and the scenery is beautiful.
Read more: Hasta La Vista with Ethan Pringle
Recently, Touchstone member and obsessive climber, Jordan Shackelford traveled to the bouldering mecca of Bishop. Jordan sent the Touchstone blog a trip report of his winter bouldering excursion.
I’m sure you’ve heard the name Jordan Shackelford before. When Ryan Moon made the first ascent of Gentleman’s Club in the Columbia Boulders, I spotted him. My handsome mug can be found in the winter issue of California Climber.
Now that we are acquainted, let me tell you about my recent 16 hour drive from the Bay Area to Bishop, CA. (why did you drive 16 hours? Did you drive to tahoe first and then drive through Bakersfield?) That’s not a typo, that’s what happens when you chart your course to Bishop through Bakersfield, by way of Tahoe, during a major blizzard in the Sierras. I guess sometimes that’s the price you pay for twelve days of butter-milking, pocket-pulling, hot-springing, snow-camping, igloo-collapsing, teeth-chattering fun.
Read more: A Bishop Bouldering Report
The walls at Dogpatch Boulders in San Francisco are nearing completion. In the past week, Walltopia workers have been installing the panels, followed closely by the Touchstone setting crew. The setters have established hundreds of problems ranging from VB to V11 on the terrain of slabs, vertical walls, and steep roofs. Dogpatch manager Justin Alarcon, setters Cole Zuelke of Fresno, Jeremy Ho of Berkeley Ironworks, and Anthony Vicino of Ironworks talked about the setting happening at the new gym.
Read more: Setting at Dogpatch