Youth Nationals with Katrina Louie

A national youth climbing competition was held in Colorado Springs this past weekend and a number of Touchstone climbers headed out to compete.  Aubrey Lim of Metal Mark, Hannah Claire Le from Ironworks, the Zero Gravity team, and Katrina Louie all went to pull down with the nation’s strongest climbers.  The Touchstone blog met up with Louie to talk about her experience.

Katrina Louie, a 14 year old freshman at Miraonte High School, headed to her first nationals this past weekend.  The Orinda resident started climbing 2 years ago.  Excited about climbing, she took private lessons at Ironworks and then joined the teen team there a year and a half ago.

Louie prepared for the comp by doing 4 x 4s, working on her endurance, practicing onsighting, training her core, and doing pushups after climbing. “ I'm trying to climb routes that are hard for me because of the holds or the moves, as opposed to climbs that are "my style" of climbing. Also, some friends have helped me make a schedule and have given me tips about how to get better, which has helped me train,” said Louie.

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Prior to Nationals, Louie went to three local comps.  Her friend and Ironworks teen team member Elise Buser, joined her at Regionals in Reno, NV and Divisionals in Seattle, WA. Louie placed first at Regionals and 7th in the finals at Divisionals.

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Nationals was a great opportunity for Louie to compete on a bigger scale. “It was exciting and I didn't really get nervous once I started climbing, even though I was beforehand. Once I got out there and started working on the problems it was just really fun. It was my first nationals, and it's my first year competing so I'm glad I got this far.”

Louie took the time to review her performance. “ I could have analyzed the climbs more since it was an onsight competition, but I think what I did well was not giving up on two the climbs, allowing me to finish them with about 30 seconds remaining, and also trying out different beta."

Louie plans on climbing sport routes now that the bouldering competition season is over.  Congratulations to all the competitors!

Climbing Mindfulness

Climbing at your limit is a significantly mental game. Performing well has as much to do with staying relaxed in the moment as it does with training hard before the route or boulder problem. In this video by Prana, pro climber and high end athlete Chris Sharma talks about the balance needed to perform your best.

The All Diary Diet: Pringle In Bishop

Touchstone athlete Ethan Pringle loves ice cream. “I don’t like Reese cup ice cream. It tastes too artificial to me. There’s too many emulsifiers or something I really like peanut butter and I really like marshmallows,” he said of the Ben & Jerry’s Clusterfluff Ice cream. “It’s kind of hurting my teeth though.”

Pringle fueled a two week sending spray in Bishop California on a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s.  The ice cream certainly helped him send the Mandala Sit, The Swarm, and Mordecai. Pringle also attributes his crushing ability to a few other things.   “I have confidence. That’s why I climb so well. And also because I drink lots of water,” Pringle said.  “Also climbing for 17 years helps too... Being tall and lanky doesn't hurt either."

Pringle headed to Bishop for a few days with his friend Randy Lee to check out some of his projects over the last weekend of January.  Pringle found the lines he wanted to climb and then stuck to a rigorous training schedule.  “I’m gonna eat a pint of ice cream every night,” he said of his preparation for his longer two week trip to Bishop. “I’m gonna train a little bit in the gym, do some campus board, and  train crimps. I don’t consider crimping my strong suit.”
Pringle managed to put down the sit start to the Manadala, a long term project for him.  A few years prior, Pringle made it to the relatively easy v7 finish and fell.  The pad placement was less than ideal and when he fell he smashed his ankle, which caused a hair line fracture.   Pringle returned to the problem over the years, making it back to his high point 8 times in 5 days worth of effots.  Pringle had found excellent beta for the problem and a number of climbers sent the route using the techniques that he figured out.  The problem remained elusive though.  This winter, after a season bouldering in Font, Pringle stuck the razor blade crimps at the bottom of the climb, reached his highpoint, and fought through to the summit.
Next on Pringle’s tick list was Mordecai, a highball V11 on the back side of the High Plains Drifter boulder.  Pringle nabbed the second ascent of this monster line after a few efforts.  Heading to the Happy boulders, Pringle made the first ascent of the V10 Don't Forget the Lube. 

The Orphius

Finally, Pringle put away the mega crimp fest, The Swarm, a v13/14 near the- Secrets of the Beehive.  This problem was far from easy for Pringle as it tested his crimping.  He tried the problem for the first time in 06 and managed to stick the crux second move.  Unfortunately, he let go because the shoulder dyno fourth move seemed impossible.  Pringle tried it again on that trip but didn't near his highpoint.  This year, when he finally stuck the second move he took it to the summit.

After his Bishop trip, Pringle headed to the ABS Nationals in Colorado where he placed 2nd.  

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Not only did he climb well on plastic but he would also like it to be noted that prior to his crushing in Bishop, he visited the Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream factory in Vermont with fellow V14 boulderer and rock stud Matt Wilder. Pringle plans on continuing his crushing spree though he claims it will be difficult. "It's gonna be real hard to quit sugar now that it's part of the training Regimen."
Pringle Icecream

How To Choose a Climbing Rope

Climbing ropes are the biggest safety between you and the ground. Choosing the right one is not an easy task.  Rock and Ice editor and Evening Sends web Master Andrew Bisharat put together a great article about how to choose the best climbing rope out there: Check out the beginning of his article below ore click here to read the full piece.

The climbing rope
is responsible for saving thousands of climbers’ lives every single day. No piece of gear more important than the rope. It’s not only your lifeline, but a link to your partner—and your ticket to a wild, high place. It’s a metaphor for everything that is truly meaningful in this vertical sport. It’s also a pretty cool piece of gear.


Read more: How To Choose a Climbing Rope

Big Wall Climbing with Blonde Ambition

"It's not about being blonde, it's about having more fun." - That's the motto that Steve Schneider has lived by since he began his guide service- Blonde Ambition Guiding. Naming his guide service after Madonna's hugely successful 1990 tour of America, Steve and his blonde haired partner, Hans Florine, began to guide clients across the globe. As one of the few guides in the Bay area with American Guide Association status, Steve has a vast amount of experience in teaching the nuances of rock climbing. He has made over a hundred ascents of El Capitan and has spent as many nights on Yosemite's colossal granite wall.


Steve climbing Lurking Fear with Touchstone setters Cuz and Jim

Read more: Big Wall Climbing with Blonde Ambition

Training for Climbing

Has your climbing hit a plateau? Are you looking for new ways to improve? Touchstone climbing is offering a new workshop taught by one of the companies best climbers.

Justin Alarcon, a 31 year old climber from Berkeley, has climbed the extremely difficult double digit Yosemite boulder problems Pine Box, Yabo Roof, and Narcissus, the latter of which he climbed at 1:20 am on a July morning without spotters.  Besides having climbed 8a on three different continents, a number of long Yosemite routes,  5.13 sport routes, and having coached climbing since the early 2000s, Alarcon is finishing up his NASM personal training certification.  Most notably, Justin’s climbing has continuously improved over his 12+ years on rock.   Part of Justin’s success stems from his training.

 Justin Mickeys SexPorp 002

Read more: Training for Climbing

Lyn Barraza: Ironworks's Manager

“I heard a clink clink clink.” Lyn Barraza, the manager of Berkeley Ironworks was not excited about the noise. Lyn was high on the Steck-Salathe on Yosemite’s Sentinel and exiting the notorious chimeney section of the Narrows. “My #6, my one and only piece of pro, had come out while I was climbing around in there trying to figure out how to exit.”

How in the world did a person whom college friends called conservative and straight edged ever find herself in such a predicament? Lyn’s trip to the base of the Sentinel began in 2001 when her son Cam started kindergarten.

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Young Cam

While Cam was at school, Lyn was learning to climb at Berkeley Ironworks. A year after starting to rock climb, Lyn began working the desk at Touchstone’s Class 5 gym in Marin. Lyn was hooked.

Read more: Lyn Barraza: Ironworks's Manager

Yosemite Falcon Closures

Beginning March 1st, a number of Yosemite crags will be closed until the end of summer for Peregrine Falcon preservation.

Peregrine falcons are recovering from population decline. To protect this species, the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park is designating peregrine nesting cliffs as areas closed to visitor use, including climbing and slack-lining activities, until peregrine chicks have fledged and dispersed from those areas in 2012.

By order of the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park and under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1.5(a) and Section (a)(1): The following areas are identified as cliffs closed to visitor use, including climbing activities beginning March 1, 2012 and remaining in effect until August 1, 2012, or until further notice:

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Read more: Yosemite Falcon Closures

Big Oak Flat Closure

On January 22, 2012, an enormous bouder fell across the Big Oak Flat Road just west of the highway 120/140 junction. The National Park Service made a recent announcement that they will be closing the road for a six week period to fix the damage.  The road closure begins on February 29th and is expected to continue until early April. 
Big Oak Flat Road

Read more: Big Oak Flat Closure

Yoga For Beginners

Want some strenghth and flexibility? Need an active way to stay fit and healthy? Berkeley Ironworks is offering a 4 weeks series of classes called Yoga for Beginners.  The class will be taught by Eleni Gekas.

The Yoga for Beginners Series is perfect for people who are new to the practice of yoga as well as more seasoned students who want to review the basics. The classes will build on each other and will include basic postures, alignment, breathing and meditation techniques.  Yoga is an ancient tool for self-awareness, strength, and flexibility; it is a way to explore, open, and calm bodies and minds
.bikram-yoga-postures1

Read more: Yoga For Beginners

Bishop Access Concerns

The Access Fund recently released an important note about the climbing on the East Side of the Sierra.  Bishop area is seeing more and more climbers every year as its popularity continues to grow. Increased use is causing concern for sensitive cultural and natural resources, especially in the Tableland area north of Bishop. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Bishop Field Office is calling on the climbing community to help protect these resources and to ensure continued climbing access. We need your help to answer the call. Climbers can drastically reduce impacts at Bishop by educating themselves and by following some simple guidelines:


Bishop post

Read more: Bishop Access Concerns

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