The Zebra Pants Girl

A few nights every week at Berkeley Ironworks, a young girl in zebra striped pants crushes the lead cave and in the Wave boulder at the Touchstone gym. "Zebra Girl", Touchstone desk staff's nickname for Kat Gentry, made a big impact recently when she won the Touchstone Rope Series comp.


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Climbing in The Olympics

Imagine competing with the best climbers on a world class climbing wall.   The Touchstone rope series comps, which are in their sixth year, are a demonstration of what climbing could be like in the upcoming Olympics.  The comps are also an important part in climbing's move towards global recognition. 


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How To Clip A Rope

One of the most important parts of lead climbing is clipping the rope correctly. While this seems simple and straight forward, it is easy to back clip, z-clip, and make mistakes that could jeopardize the climbers safety. In this video, Chris Linder shows the proper way to clip a rope. While Linder's video shows the details in a sport climbing aspect, the same rules apply when traditional climbing.

Yosemite Climber Christina Freschl

The Touchstone gyms have a lot of pysched members, climbers who climb non-stop. Christina Freschl, a 29 year old Berkeley resident, climbs non-stop. Freschl teaches at Hillcrest, an Oakland public school.  "This year I have 21 3rd graders who are excited to read stories and learn about thousands of places." Between her work weeks and after classes Freschl climbs often. Actually, Freschl doesn't climb often, she climbs a lot. Just a week after placing second in the Touchstone Rope Series, Freschl started heading up the Nose of El Capitan.  Freschl crushes in the gym and in all aspects of climbing outside. 

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Freschl attacking the wide bits of the Vendetta.

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Bay Area Rock Guide

The California Bay Area has an immense amount of amazing climbing.  Finding all of it can prove difficult as the climbing, though great, is fairly spread out.  Thankfully there's a new guide to help with that.

Local climber, photographer, and guidebook author Jim Thornburg just released the 7th edition of  Bay Area Rock. The 328 page guide book features amazing photographs of the climbing from Mickey's Beach, Castle Rock, and Mount Diablo.  

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Beside having excellent pictures that make the crags look irresistible, Thornburg included a number of new areas including Kimball Canyon, Table Rock (St helena) Black Sand Beach, Columbia Boulders, Jailhouse, Mt Tam Boulders, Cliff House Boulders, Aquarian Valley and The Rocklin Quarry Boulders. 

The guide offers great directions in a user friendly format. Thornburg included solid information about all the types of climbing in the bay, the bouldering areas, trad zones, and sport routes.  The directions make it simple to find any of the routes.

Thornburg began climbing in the bay area in 1980 and has established first ascents at Mickey's Beach, Mount Diablo, Dry Creek, and the Nut Tree Boulders.  Beyond his significant route development, Thornburg also makes significant contributions to rebolting climbing areas.  This year he replaced many of the sea worn bolts at the coastal climbing areas with SS glue ins. 

Stop by your local Touchstone gym and grab a copy of the new Bay Area Rock from Potlicker Press.

Rest Days

Climbing. Climbing. Climbing.  One of the best things about rock climbing is to climb more.  Unfortunately, climbing too much can also make you tired and decrease your performance. Taking rest days is vital to improving.   Allowing your body to recover from the abuse you place on it will make your performance stronger.  In this video, pro-climber Chris Sharma talks a bit about rest days. 


Upgrade at GWPC

The Touchstone gyms are always looking to make improvements on their facilities.  As part of the company's dedication to making a better climbing environment, the walls over at Great Western Power Company are a new shade.  The formerly orange walls are now white. 


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Yosemite Facelift

It's that time of year again.  Time to clean up one of the world's greatest national parks.  Yosemite Valley sees significant impact through the year from visitors and park users.  For the past nine years, Ken Yaeger and the Yosemite Climbing Assosciation have organized the Yosemite Facelift, a great opportunity for climbers to come and be stewards of the crags.  

Alison Ousis reported at Rock and Ice.Com, "Last year’s 8th Annual Yosemite Facelift only netted 4,000 pounds of “small trash,” as opposed to the typical 30,000 in the event’s early years. Meanwhile, the Facelift is only growing.

Ken Yager, event founder, reported 1,345 volunteers last year, logging nearly 9,000 hours.


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Serious Projecting

Imagine setting up for one of the hardest rock climbs of your life. That's what's going through this man's mind as he tackles a grit style route in the South East. He places a few careful nuts close to the ground so as not to deck and then he enters the crux.  Watch this captivating short and remember, don't take climbing too seriously.


Belay Glasses

Long belay sessions at the climbing gym can take their toll.  Sitting in your harness for long periods can become uncomfortable, straining your neck to watch your partner dog up a route can be painful, and often your patience can be taxed.


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The El Cap Report

Since October of 2007, Tom "Ansel" Evans has stood at the bridge of El Capitan and watched thousands of climbers scale Yosemite's largest granite monolith. Evans focuses his many large camera lens on the climbers tackling The Nose, Zodiac, and other classic routes on El Cap and than reports the teams progresses on his website The El Cap Report

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DRG Adventure Race Video

On September 1st, nearly 50 adventure racers headed to Diablo Rock Gym for a day filled with slacklining, swimming, climbing, and intense obstacles and adventure racing. Paul Hara made a great video of the day's adventures. Check it out!


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