For Justin Alarcon this fall has been a very good season. On October 27th, he married his long time love Becky Trafecanty. Then on October 29th, the Giants swept the world series. A week later, he went to Kalymnos, Greece for a honeymoon sport climbing trip. And upon his return, Touchstone announced that Alarcon had been selected as the Manager of Dogpatch Boulders, our newest gym.
“Should I buy a lottery ticket before the year is over!?” Alarcon joked in an interview with the Touchstone blog.
Picture one of California's best climbing areas. A place with nearly a hundred routes, that is climbable through rainy winter days, and features some of the most difficult climbing in the state. Now, imagine the access to that amazing crag was in trouble of being closed. For nearly 20 years, Jailhouse Rock has struggled with access issues. But recently, thanks to a few individuals and a large amount of support from the climbing community, access to Jailhouse has been unlocked.
The Access Fund made a great video about unlocking the crag.
Looking for holiday gift ideas for the climber in your life? All Touchstone gyms carry a wide array of items. From stocking stuffers to that amazing present, stop by your favorite gym and check out some of our goods!
For stocking stuffers, the gyms sell small items like chalk, Clif and Luna bars, and hand warmers. Headlamps also make a great small gift item. There are a number of amazing chalk bags available that can become stocking themselves!
Friday, November 23 is traditionally known as Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Many people prepare for the holiday season by purchasing gifts for their loved ones. For most people in the Touchstone community, that means buying climbing gear. Opening a new set of cams, trying on a brand new pair of shoes, or getting the latest climbing clothes will make the holidays that much better. This weekend, Diablo Rock Gym will be selling all their black gear for 20% off. Get an amazing deal on shoes, guide books, cams, and some tasty muscle brownies.
Thanksgiving came fast this year. For those looking to sneak in to the gym before and after the holiday meals, the times of the gyms have changed slightly.
Diablo Rock Gym- Open November 22, Thanksgiving Day, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Berkeley Ironworks- Closed November 22, Thanksgiving Day Weekend hours on Friday, November 23
Great Western Power Company- Closed November 22, Thanksgiving Day- *CrossFit will be doing a special Thanksgiving trail run: 9AM @Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Friday, November 23: NO CLASSES, gym hours 10AM to 6PM (*CrossFit will have 10am, Noon & 5pm Classes) Sacramento Pipeworks- Closed November 22, Thanksgiving Day, Open Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Studio- Closed November 22, Thanksgiving Day, Open Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. MetalMark- Closed November 22, Thanksgiving Day, Open Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Have you ever dreamed of bouldering above sand on a gorgeous beach? Do you think of jamming your hands in a long desert splitter? Are your day dreams filled with visions of snowy far off mountains? The American Alpine Club along with Touchstone Climbing wants to make your dreams a reality with the Live Your Dream Grant.
For some, climbing is a hobby. For people like Monica Aranda, climbing is a passion.
Monica, a 26 year old Berkeley Ironworks desk staffer, instructorer, graphic designer, and woman of all trades has worked for Touchstone for the past 7 years. She began climbing over 8 years ago when she joined a summer rock climbing camp and went top roping at Castle Rock in Saratoga. After high school, Monica signed up at Diablo Rock Gym and began a solid and prolific bouldering passion.
Monica’s passion for climbing comes from three distinct aspects of the sport.
Climbing at night can be unbelievably fun. The temps for climbing get better in the dark hours. Utilizing a headlamp means there is no exposure beyond the distance of the light. Also, climbers tend to keep it a little more light hearted when climbing at night. It's just fun!
To share in this nocturnal fun, once a month, MetalMarks holds a Black Out Night. All of the lights in the gym turn off. The boulders and routes light with headlamps and members have a great time. The desk staff sells headlamps for 10% off. The big open windows let in some natural lighting but the gym itself is dark. Next month MetalMark will show a movie in the cycling room during Black Out Night- another reason to join the fun.
The Holidays mean a time for visitng friends and family, spending time together. For some, the holidays spell hardship with the cold winter weather. To help those less fortunate, Mission Cliffs colloborates with the San Francisco Food Bank for an annual Food Drive. Donate at Mission Cliffs food box between now and November 19th and receive an awesome incentive.
Donate one bag of food and name a route. Donate five bags of food and name a section of routes. Donate eight bags of food and set a boulder problem.
Climbing requires a number of skills. One of the most important and an often overlooked facet skill set is balance. When climbing aretes, slabs, or vertical faces, having a good center of gravity and weight over your feet is crucial for success. In this video, a few British climbers demonstrate a great way to improve balance by attaching a pendulum point to your harness. They also suggest placing coins on footholds to improve precise footwork. Using these methods will turn you into a delicate climber capable of ascending anything.
Head out to your nearest Touchstone gym and work those climbing skills.
One of the best parts about rock climbing is that it is really fun. A few years ago, a pair of Quebecois climbers headed to the slabs in Squamish with plans to take their passion for climbing and skate boarding to the next level. Check out their exciting take on descending slabs.