Touchstone Interview: Dave Altman

Every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., a scraggly haired fellow helps climbers and exercisers in the weight section of Berkeley Ironworks.  Dave Altman, a 60 year old climber, has been working for Touchstone since it began.  Altman began helping people with their strength training technique in August of 1992 when the gym was CityRock.  In between introducing people to weight training, helping people rehab their injuries, and teaching outdoor climbing classes, Altman is an obsessive mathematician, enjoying low-dimensional topology and physics-related differential geometry.

More notably, Altman and his friend Ray Jardine, made early ascents of Tales of Power, Separate Reality, Crimson Cringe, and Cosmic Debris, all hard 5.12 Yosemite cracks.  Altman talked to the Touchstone blog about his long time climbing career.

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Read more: Touchstone Interview: Dave Altman

East Bay Betas: Ben Young

 "When can I take the lead test? When can I take the lead test? When can I take the lead test," asked Ben Young. Everyday for almost a year, East Betas member Ben has bugged the GWPC teen team coaches to let him apply for a lead card. Earlier this month, Ben finally turned 14, the required age to apply for a lead card.


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Ben has been climbing for the past 2 years and with the East Betas for a year and a half. Ben has had solid coaching and has managed to climb up to 5.11+. When he stepped up to take the test on Wednesday, June 26, he was ready.

Read more: East Bay Betas: Ben Young

MetalMark Luau

On June 25th, MetalMark celebrate their one year anniversary with a Hawaiian themed luau.  Over 100 members came to participate in the water balloon toss contest, the limbo contest, the hula hooping, and to enjoy the great appetizers.
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During the event, which ran from 5 to 8 p.m., exciting luau music was played and everyone received a lei, a wreath of flowers worn around the neck.

Read more: MetalMark Luau

Honnold and Florine at Touchstone

On June 19th, Sacramento climber, Alex Honnold and stopped by MetalMark to talk about his latest feat on Yosemite's big stone. Just two days before, Honnold and Diablo Rock Gym Manager, Hans Florine shattered the speed record on the Nose of El Capitan, climbing the route in a blindingly fast time of 2:23:46.


Honnold signed posters, chatted with members, talked about his recent speed ascent, and climbed the gym's hardest crack.

Read more: Honnold and Florine at Touchstone

Community Food Hub at Ironworks

Picture this: An amazing local market just opened up—inside Ironworks! Come for a workout and on your way home, pick up fresh bread, Four Barrel coffee, pickles, jams, organic seasonal produce, specialty meats, and delicious ready-to-eat meals, all in one place. We’re teaming up with our friends at Good Eggs to create a Community Food Hub, a space to get the best locally-made foods, in a place you dig!

Here’s how it works: Each week you order the food you want from foodmakers you'll love, all through Good Eggs. Your goods get delivered to Ironworks on Thursdays for you to pick up and enjoy. (And if you come to pick up your food and skip your workout, we won’t judge.) Just order, eat and repeat!

We’re kicking off our Community Food Hub on Tuesday, June 26th from 6-8pm! Come on by to taste samples and find out how you can get in on the


Thank you for choosing Fixe Hardware for your climbing equipment. The pro-deal is a special offer to athletes, guides, and climbing company affiliates to help put the best equipment out on the rock. 

In order to fill the pro-form orders in a timely manner, there are a few requirements:

The minimum order is $100.  Orders may only be placed twice a year.

Back stock orders will be canceled. 

Pricing information is confidential.  Please do not share.

All pro-form orders must be paid for by credit card. 

AMGA guides will be checked for authenticity on the AMGA website.

Most importantly, know your hardware.  Mixing metals seriously decreases strength and leads to corrosion.  When placing bolts use the correct size hanger- ½ inch diameter bolts need ½ inch hangers.  Make sure you use the proper type of bolt for the stone you are drilling.   We all have something to learn.  Stay up to date on the latest hardware.   Inform other first ascentionists, rebolters, land managers, and climbers about the best and safest equipment to use.


Please fill out the attached order form and email it back.


Have fun out there and good climbing

James Lucas



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Climbing Tips from Sharma

Getting climbing tips from a pro are invaluable. World class climber, Chris Sharma offers some great in sight into how to climb better in his latest series of videos from the folks at Rock and Ice.  Check out the great advice that Sharma has to offer.

Summer Training

This summer, COCO Crossfit Stregth and Conditioning will be offering a strength and conditioning class engineered for youths entering 6th-12th grade. This will be a great opportunity for young athletes to learn metabolic conditioning, nutrition, speed development, running form, Olympic lifting, pylometrics, core strength, and a bit about endurance.


The COCO Crossfit Strength and Conditioning series offers athletes the opportunity to train and raise their fitness to an elite level. The program combines resistance, plyometric, Kettlebell, agility, speed and metabolic training to improve strength, running and work capacity.

Read more: Summer Training

The Secret to Climbing 5.15

Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra, Sasha Diguilian, the world's elite climbers all manage to claw thier way up the hardest rock climbs in the world.  They spend thousands of hours training, skipping out on dessert, and living just to climb.  While it'd be amazing to be a world class climber, having the dedication and the work drive is much harder.  Thankfully, a group of level 10 engineers discovered a way that you too can climb 5.15d.  Imagine being in the upper echelon of climbing and being able to spend half your training time drinking beer from the couch.

Rings with Alarcon

Are you looking to maximize your training?  One of the best pieces of training equipment for climbing is a pair of gymnastic rings.

"Watch an Olympic gymnast's rings routine and you'll  see how much shoulder power and core stability can be developed training with rings," said Touchstone trainer Jusin Alarcon. "The good news is that you don't need to be an Olympic caliber athlete to utilize ring training to benefit your climbing."  Check out Alarcon's video to learn some great exercises.

Alarcon holds clinics and private training sessions.  Email him with questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Nose Speed Record

This morning, Alex Honnold and Diablo Rock Gym Manager, Hans Florine set a new speed record for the Nose of El Capitan.  The 3,000 foot vertical granite cliff has been the home of the Grand Prix of Yosemite speed climbing.  The pair started at 6:30 a.m. and topped out just before 9 a.m., setting a new record of 2:23:51.  This is 8% faster than the previous record held by Dean Potter and Sean Leary. 

Florine has been a long time contender for the Nose speed record.  Florine has owned the fastest times on the route with Steve Schneider, Yuji Hirayami, and others. 

The Nose

Read more: New Nose Speed Record

Ironworks Yoga Teacher Alok Rocheleau

Berkeley Ironworks has a new yoga teacher for Friday evenings. Alok Rocheleau, will be joining the staff of amazing yoga instructors at the gym.

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 From a young age Alok Rocheleau has been interested in this  union, finding it in nature and the arts.  Alok started his journey with asanas 12 years ago with a background as a personal trainer and athlete. In 2004, he took the 200-hour yoga teacher training at Mount Madonna Center, which focuses on classical Ashtanga yoga through the teachings of Baba Hari Das. Hari Das is a master yogi whose silent example and emphasis on karma yoga inspired Alok to stay at the community and teach yoga for a year. Since then he has been back to MMC three times to assist the yoga teacher training.  In the last 5 years he traveled extensively, studying a variety of yoga styles including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Anusara, Shadow, Acroyoga, and Hatha. He likes to creatively blend all styles, emphasizing the union of breath, body and mind infused with a sense of play.   Alok has also taught regularpranayama (breathing practices) and meditation classes.

Read more: Ironworks Yoga Teacher Alok Rocheleau

Pipeworks Video

Recently, long-time member Collin Poseley shot a cool video of Sacramento Pipeworks.  When Posseley is not busy producing media content for the Sacramento area news, he has photographed and shot video for a number of the Pipeworks comps. 

Past blog entries can be found at



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