Fall Training with Alarcon

The fall climbing season is fast approaching. One of the ways to get a jump start on the upcoming climbing season is to meet with a personal trainer. Last week, I got the chance to meet with NASM trainer and hardman boulderer Justin Alarcon at Berkeley Ironworks.

3326 93048997994_7834403_n

One of my major climbing goals this fall is to send a long, hard free route in Yosemite. Alarcon ran me through a circuit of exercises which required technique as well as strength. Between rowing, planks, bridges, and a medicine ball throw, I performed jumping pull ups. As I fatigued, the pull ups became harder and I needed to focus more on using the power of my legs to get my chin above the bar.

Read more: Fall Training with Alarcon

Reel Rock 7: Bay Area

The Reel Rock Tour is heading through the Bay Area and hitting Yosemite, San Francisco, Berkeley, Concord, Sacramento, Fresno, and Concord.  The tour features amazing climbing footage of the world's best climbers.  This year there will be an amazing story of Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk climbing Meru, a bit about Alex Honnold's latest solo link-up in Yosemite, and than a really exciting short about the two strongest sport climbers in the world- Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra.  Get ready for the Reel Rock 7!

Yosemite Valley East Auditorium                   Tuesday 09/25 at 7 pm

San Francisco   TheVictoria Theatre               Wednesday 09/26 8 pm

Berkeley           The California Theatre           Thursday 09/27 7 pm

San Francisco   The Victoria Theatre              Thursday 09/27 8 pm

Sacramento      Sacramento Pipeworks          Saturday 10/13 7:30 pm

Concord            Diablo Rock Gym                   Saturday 10/20 7:30 pm

Fresno              Metal Mark                            Saturday 10/27 6:30 pm

San Jose           The Studio                            Saturday 11/10 7:30 pm

For more information check out the Reel Rock Tour page.

Mission Cliffs Superheroes

On Tuesday, August 28th a group of the world's fastest, strongest, and funniest superheros stopped by Mission Cliffs for the gym's fun night.  Dozens of local climbers headed to the gym dressed as their favorite superhero to participate in a night of raffle prizes and caped climbing.  Around 40 super heroes got a chance to win free guest passes to the gym, camping chairs, and a $50 gift card to Sports Basement.


Read more: Mission Cliffs Superheroes

Yosemite's Hanta Virus

Labor Day is fast approaching and Yosemite National Park will undoubtedly be busy.  With the influx of new visitors and climbers, park officials are making everyone aware of the latest threat in the park- Hantavirus

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare but serious respiratory illness that has caused two deaths in the park this year and affected two other visitors.  The disease is fatal in a third of all cases.


Read more: Yosemite's Hanta Virus

Bouldering for Beginners

In the latest Rock Climbing for Beginners Videos, Adam Barczack explains the fundamentals of bouldering, an aspect of the sport where the climber ascends a small portion of rock or wall using more gymnastic movement.  Bouldering is well known for building strength and technigue in climbers.  In the current video, Barczack explains how to fall correctly, how to spot and protect a falling climber, and climbing grades for bouldering.


Adventure Race at DRG

Climb, bike, run, lift, crawl, swim, slack line, row.  By themselves, those activities are fun.  Put together, they are awesome.

adventure race 3

On Saturday, September 1, Diablo Rock Gym is hosting the first indoor adventure race.  On a course set up in and around the gym, teams of two will navigate for 25 to 30 minutes through the many activities, testing their strength, stamina, and ability to have a great time.  The  race will have a number of categories and a ton of prizes.

Read more: Adventure Race at DRG

West of the Sun: Derek Powell Interview

Derek Powell, a 42 year old San Francisco paramedic living in Berkeley, splits his time on an ambulance, with his wife and son, and most recently at Pinnacles National Monument establishing new routes.  

Powell started climbing 18 years ago when a friend took him to Remillard Park in Berkeley.  " It was a trade. A friend of mine that was a climber wanted to learn how to surf,  I could surf and I wanted to learn how to climb," said Powell.  "He lives in the midwest now. I got the better end I think."

Earlier this year, Powell made the first ascent of West of the Sun, a 5.14a route on the Monolith at Pinnacles National Monument. Powell took some time to talk about his ascent. 

mono2 copy 
Derek on West of the Sun- photos by Jim Thornburg

Read more: West of the Sun: Derek Powell Interview

Slacklining Clinic

Balance, focus and remaining relaxed are all integral parts of climbing well.  Many people practice these aspects of climbing by slacklining, a version of tight rope walking that has become a pursuit in itself.  


This week, Matt Chavez, from The Studio in San Jose, will be teaching a slack lining clinic on Sunday from 5 pm to 6 pm at The Studio and then he will be heading to Cesar Chavez Park for more slack line adventures from 6 pm to 8 pm. The clinic will focus on balancing and walking a slack line.  

Read more: Slacklining Clinic

Bay Area Grip Challenge

On Friday August 17th, a dozen competitors headed to Diablo Rock Gym to participate in the Bay Area Grip Challenge.  Ripping entire decks of cards, bending nails, grippers, and dead lifts were some of the challenges for the contenders.

grip comp 5

Read more: Bay Area Grip Challenge

Training with Sean McColl

Sean McColl, a world cup climber from Canada, is well known for his regimented training. From counting the number of moves he climbs during a bouldering session at the gym to maintaining a strict diets, McColl's scientific and rigorous approach to climbing has made him one of the best competition climbers in the world.  In this video, he provides a little bit of insight into some good ways to train.  Check out some of his excercises and try them out after your next bouldering session.

How to Grip Holds

In the latest instructional video from Adam Barczack, the basics of how to grip holds is shown. Pulling correctly on holds can be difficult. The difference between a sloper, a crimp, and a jug is not always obvious. Adam shows the proper way to place your hand and pull on a few different types of holds.


Artist of the Month: Andreina Davila

Rock climbing attracts all manners of people.  Artists make a significant contribution to the climbing community.  The Touchstone gyms enjoy celebrating the amazing artwork that many locals climbers produce.  From the great photography of Dan Mottaz at Mission Cliffs to the artistic work of Andreina Davila at Ironworks, amazing art work hangs on the walls of all of the Touchstone gyms.  

This month, Andreina Davila's work is displayed at Ironworks.  Davila was born and raised in Venezuela in 1977. Davila, a painter of 6 years, splits her time between her art and her role as Creative Director for the Diabetes Hands Foundation, a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2008.


andreina davila_cave-in_web


Read more: Artist of the Month: Andreina Davila

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



Latest News

Latest Routes

  • MM 2 Routes, 5.9-5.11a
  • MM 2 Routes, 5.10a-5.11c
  • DRG 3 Routes 5.10a - 5.10b/c

Touchstone's Instagram

Tag your instagram photos with: #touchstoneclimbing