Adventure Race at DRG

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

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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. 

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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

CRAGS Lobbies to Open Auburn Quarry

Today, CRAGS (Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento) and the Access Fund negotiated an agreement with California's Auburn State Recreation Area to lift a 9-year ban on rock climbing at the Cave Valley Climbing Area, the Auburn Quarry.  While the agreement must still be approved by the California Department of Parks and Recreation,  CRAGS and the Access Fund are working to raise approximately $10,000 to provide critical services to offset climber impacts.  

AuburnQuarry pic1

photo by Jerry Dodrill

Read more: CRAGS Lobbies to Open Auburn Quarry

Golden Rules of Climbing

Proper technique in climbing will help you scale the hardest rock faces.  There are a few Golden Rules of Rock climbing.  

The first, keeping your arms straight, will help you conserve immense amounts of energy.  Bent arms deplete strength quickly while straight arms and hanging on your skeleton will help conserve your energy.  

The second rule, being aware of your center of gravity, helps keep your body in balance.  Knowing that you are stable will help you stay relaxed, help you make moves, and make you climb better.  

The third golden rule of climbing, being mindful of your feet, is especially important for California climbers.  Much of the rock around California is slabby which means standing well on your big toe, pushing with your feet and being precise.

In this video, Adam explains the Golden Rules of Rock Climbing.  Check it out.

TRS Comps with Pettigrew

The Touchstone Rope Series comps are in full force. On Friday, August 10th from 5 until 10 pm,  TRS is coming to Diablo Rock Gym.   In anticipation of the comps, the Touchstone blog talked with Trevor Pettigrew, the 28 year old owner operator of Pettigrew Electric.  Pettigrew has climbed at all the comps to date and talked about the TRS Series. 

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Read more: TRS Comps with Pettigrew

Behind the Paddle: Scott Frye

Eying his opponent from across the nine foot long table, Scott crouched and spun his paddle. The small white ball volleyed towards him. Scott blasted sideways. His paddle smashed the ball. The hit gave the ball topspin and accelerated it towards his opponent in a finalizing blow.

Frye's Coach Xin, 9 year old national champion and Frye's sparring partner Kevin Lee, and Scott Frye

Scott Frye is no ordinary ping pong player. The 53 year old Berkeley native and Touchstone Climbing Gym stock boy is also a father in the era of modern sport climbing. With the same obsession that he now plays ping pong with, he once climbed with.

Read more: Behind the Paddle: Scott Frye

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