Carpooling to the Crag

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

Raptors at Pinnacles

Birds of prey are a common sight at Pinnacles National Park. From January to August, over 20 species of raptors reside within the park with 10 species nesting on a yearly basis. The raptor nesting means that climbers need an increase awareness to protect the endangered birds.

peregrine-falcon-head-web wttjzzok


Read more: Raptors at Pinnacles

Hasta La Vista with Ethan Pringle

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.

DS2 2157-Edit

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

New CrossFit Pipeworks

“People are always looking for the quickest way to get results,” said Dustin Stumpf. CrossFit is the ANSWER!”

There's great news for Sacramento Pipeworks members.  On Wednesday, January 23rd from 5 until 8 pm, CrossFit Pipeworks will open their new program with a BBQ to welcome new and existing members.

CrossFit Picture

Read more: New CrossFit Pipeworks

Evilution: Ho's Bishop Highball Ascent

Imagine climbing at your limit. Now picture soloing a crumbling slab. For many climbers these are just dreams or more accurately, nightmares. For Touchstone route setter Jeremy Ho this was a reality.

On Tuesday January 15th, Berkeley climber, Jeremy Ho made a coveted ascent of Evilution, a 60 foot V11 highball on the Grandpa Peabody boulder in the Buttermilk Boulders of Bishop, California.

Read more: Evilution: Ho's Bishop Highball Ascent

A Bishop Bouldering Report

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

Setting at Dogpatch

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.

dogpatch setting 5


Read more: Setting at Dogpatch

Live Your Dream Grant

It. Is. ON!

WR LYD Low Res


Free money to climb?? What?! Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Live Your Dream Grant! Get yours in before the application period closes on March 1st, 2013! Click HERE and download the simple application for the Western Region. Show your ambition, fill it out well, follow the instructions, email to the appropriate place, and you're done. Bam.

The American Alpine Club's "Live Your Dream" Grant is a program that supports climbers in realizing their climbing ambitions and dreams. The AAC is seeking to sponsor climbers of all ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines including, but definitely not limited to, trad climbing, mountaineering, sport climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, ski mountaineering, gym climbing and any and all other worthy mountain pursuits! The emphasis of the grant is on projects that have significant positive impact on grantees’ progressions as climbers and/or the development of their skills. Show them how your project will take you to the next level or get you ready for it. The purpose of the "Live Your Dream" Grant is to encourage climbers to pursue their dreams and to fund those individuals (or individuals that are part of small teams) to make it happen. This is for real. Think of your dream climbing trip.... the AAC and Touchstone want to help you get there! 

The Western Region Live Your Dream Grant is supported in part through a partnership with Touchstone Climbing and Fitness. We are so happy to be a part of this project and can't wait to see where is takes the recipients! Our contribution, coupled with local fundraising means that the AAC has a TON of money to give away this year. Award amounts will vary independently depending on scope of project, but will likely fall in the $500 to $1000 range - unless your project is super, super cool and you need more.


These grants are developed and administered locally with community support. Application period runs 1/1/13 through 3/1/13. Grant recipients will be announced 4/1/13. Grant awards must be used within one calendar year of date of award. To qualify for the Western Region Grant, the applicant must be a resident of California, Nevada, Arizona, or Hawaii. If you have specific questions, please email Western Regional Coordinator Jeff Deikis.


Zero Initiation Fee in January!

Oh 2013, how quickly you are upon us! It's that magical time of year again, when all the turkey and stuffing is but a distant memory in our minds, memorialized only by the few extra pounds we managed to pack on during the holidays. It's no wonder our resolutions for the new year tend to trend towards fitness goals to make up for all the seasons indulgences. So whether your goal is to shed a few pounds, to get hooked on a new fitness class, or to climb a little more often; we want to make your closest Touchstone Gym a little easier to be a part of. 

Which is why we're offering....

0 InitiationPoster
That's right! Take advantage of the many benefits to membership by joining any of our eight gyms any time in January and paying Zero Initiation fee. And frankly, being a member is pretty darn cool. Just think of all the unlimited fitness classes you could enjoy! All the Touchstone Climbing comps you could come party at for free. All the fun you could have and friends you could make.... And your very own membership card?!?!? *swoon* Check out the perks of being a Touchstone member:

  • Free Introduction to Climbing Class (this includes your gear rental for the day!)
  • One free guest pass each month, plus an EXTRA guest pass on the 4th Friday of each month. 
  • Reciprocal use of all other Touchstone Gyms throughout Northern California.
  • FREE fitness, indoor cycling and yoga classes. (Check out our online calendar for class schedules.)
  • Great discounts at our Pro-Shop: Just getting into climbing? Members receive 15% off on the Full Climbing Package - harness, shoes, chalk bag, locking carabiner and belay device. You also receive 10% off any purchase over $75.
  • Discounts on many of our climbing technique clinics!
  • Free entrance to the monthly member competitions that take place at one of our 8 locations. These competitions always include free food, beer, tons of climbing and a great chance to meet other Touchstone members. 
  • And don't forget about our newest gym Dogpatch Boulders, currently under construction in San Francisco! Enjoy member-only climbing nights and sneak peaks of the biggest bouldering gym in the country!

Find out more about our amazing gyms on our website join us on our social media sites to become a part of the conversation. Hope to see you soon! 

Climbing Challenges with Grace Kane

For many people climbing is more than a sport. It is a passion. Fitting climbing into life can be a serious challenge though.

Grace Kane, a 13 year old 8th grader at Granite Ridge Intermediate, loves climbing. “I love the challenge. I love the craziness.” But a few years ago, her climbing hit a block. There was nowhere to climb in Fresno!

image (2)

Read more: Climbing Challenges with Grace Kane

Pinnacles to be National Park

On Sunday, December 30, 2012, the Senate met for a rare Sunday session during which they passed a bipartisan bill creating a new 25,000 acre park. Pinnacles National Monument will be joining Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Zion, and over 50 other destinations as a national park. In 1908 at the urging of environmentalist John Muir, President Theodore Roosevelt established 2,500 acres 80 miles southeast of San Francisco in the Gabilan Mountains as a National Monument. Since Pinnacles’ inception, the area has served as hub for rock climbing.


Read more: Pinnacles to be National Park

Inspecting Harnesses

The New Year provides a great time to reflect on the previous season’s climbing goals and equipment.

After enough time climbing, the rubber on climbing shoes wears thin, ropes become frayed, and harnesses become worn. Identifying a hole in the shoe or a soft spot rope provide an easy way to know when to retire them. Climbing harnesses provide another challenge. Even experts make mistakes when retiring gear and unfortunately the costs are significant.


Read more: Inspecting Harnesses

Past blog entries can be found at



Latest News

  • Thanksgiving Climbing Options MORE >>
  • Southwest Loop - Part 2: Zion MORE >>
  • Hollywood Boulders Location Announcement MORE >>

Latest Routes

  • MC 30 new boulder problems V0 - V9
  • BI 23 New Boulder problems V0 - V9
  • MC 16 problems V1-V9

Touchstone's Instagram

Tag your instagram photos with: #touchstoneclimbing