Nutrition for Climbers

Nothing tastes as good as sending feels.  If Kate Moss was a climber, I’m sure that would be her mantra.  Many sport climbers follow this mantra living off a diet of brocoli crowns and Diet Coke while many hard core aid climbers live off of a six pack of King Cobra and potato chips.  So what’s the best diet for a climber?  Fortunately, it’s neither starving yourself nor non-stop gorging. 

Proper climbing nutrition starts with eating a balanced and appropriate diet with a focus on healthy nutrition.  A basic climbing diet should consistent of plenty of fresh vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and unprocessed foods, plus a limited amount of refined sugar and unhealthy fats.  The most important part of a solid climbing diet is to be knowledgeable about what you’re putting into your body.

Fred Nicole
Even superstar boulderers like Fred Nicole have to balance out their diets.  Behind the bread and wine is ton of fresh veggies, lean meat, and other good food.

Several hours before heading out to the crag or to the boulders, it’s important to give your body plenty of fuel to start with and then help it sustain that level of energy throughout the day.  Plan on eating small amounts of food throughout your climbing session to help sustain your energy and performance. 

Three Pitfalls to Avoid

Extreme weight loss: While strength to weight is a crucial part of rock climbing, losing a ton of weight or starving your muscles will decrease your long term performance and increase the likelihood for injury and exhaustion.

 Dehydration: Athletes lose a huge amount of performance potential while dehydrated.  Make sure you drink regularly.  Replace the electrolytes in your body and stay well hydrated.

Bonking: Bonking is what happens when a climber’s blood sugar drops during long term exercise.  The phenomenon occurs often on long wall routes or long trad climbs.  Suddenly, you just can’t move.  Avoid bonking by eating frequently and regularly through your workout.

There’s a number of different ideas about maximum performance.  Some climbers caffeinate their bodies for long term endurance, others prefer a vegan diet, and still others adhere to the paleo diet.  Stay informed about your health.  Eat well and climb better.  Check out the great bars, foods, and protein drinks that each Touchstone gym has to offer.

Here's One Climbers Diet:


A big scramble:

2 eggs cooked in a little coconut oil
4 oz salmon or turkey sausage
1 cup  veggies (broccoli, greens, peppers, whatever we have)
1/4 avocado
small piece of fruit
lots o’ water
4 g L-glutamine (it helps sugar cravings, recovery and gut health and I love it)

If I get hungry for a snack, which I usually do, it’s about 2 hours after breakfast after I’ve done about 3 climbs.

1 oz pemmican or about 2 oz jerky and a handful of berries

As Mark Sisson likes to call it, a Big Ass Salad. Even though we’re camping, we have a giant, fully stocked cooler at our disposal all day, so I bring plenty of veggies. Spinach, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, squash or zucchini, sliced turkey or ham, lemon juice and avocado.

Or I’ll get lazy and just eat about 5 oz of meat, a bit of avocado and a piece of fruit.

Lately it’s been a banana berry nut paleo muffin made with a mix of coconut flour, almond flour and tapioca flour with a LOT of fruit and nuts mixed in. It’s about 240 calories, 25 g carbs, 14 g fat and 6 g protein. I’ll put the recipe up soon because they’re aMAZing.

Last weekend this is what we made.

1 lb grass fed ground beef
1 jar marinara
1 green pepper
1/2 yellow squash
5 oz mushrooms



How to Rodeo Clip

There's an oft told climbing story that Tony Yaniro won a City of Rocks climbing competition in 1989 by not climbing the entire route. The rules stated that in order to win, the anchors needed to be clipped.  Legend has it that Yaniro rodeo clipped the anchor from a stance below the crux. WIN!

What happens if you don't have a stick clip and don't feel safe doing the moves to the bolt? Well, if it ain't your first rodeo, you know how to lasso that clip. A great advanced sport climbing trick to learn is the rodeo clip. Rodeo clipping involves swinging a bight of rope into a prehung draw over head allowing for a toprope. The technique is simple in theory but much harder in practice. Head to the gym when it's quiet and try it.


Read more: How to Rodeo Clip

CalClimb at Touchstone


If you've been in the gym lately, you've probably seen their yellow shirts.  A number of Cal students have started a climbing team.

The California Climbing Team at Berkeley (CalClimb) was started at the beginning of Fall 2011. The team, which had 40 members last semester, has grown to over 100 members.  The team was formed with the intent of forming a competitive climbing team to participate in the CCS (Collegiate Climbing Series) and introduce students to the sport.

Sonoma State2

The team meets Tuesdays and Thursday at Berkeley Ironworks with Casey Zak and than Tuesdays and Fridays with Tom Ogasawara.  The team has a group meering on Wednesday nights from 6:30 - 7:30 at La Vals/La Burrita on the north side of Cal.  The meetings involve trip planning, social events, and too discuss work shops through out the semester.  Team officers hold clinics on technique, training, lead climbing, belaying and more.

The team has had numerous trips and has made it to the latest Touchstone Rope comp, Castle Rock, the Gold Wall, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, a ton of other great comps and a number of other classic outdoor climbing areas.

Any student, employee, staff, or alumni can join the team but only registered students can compete in the CCS puyt on by the USA Climbing.  The team hopes to earn a National titile in the CCS in the next few years

For more information check out the climbing team web page or find them on Facebook

How to Make Tape Gloves

The Salathe Headwall on El Capitan, the North Six Shorter in Indian Creek, and Dog Leg in Joshua Tree are all beautiful routes that require just one look before you get a desperate desire to climb them. Cracks are by far the most aesthetic lines in climbing

Crack climbing is beautiful but it also hurts. Anyone who has crack climbed has gobied their hands. The small abrasions on the back of your hands or fingers stem from the sharpness of the rock and systematic wear from jamming.

Kuehl ThrashedHands

Read more: How to Make Tape Gloves

Squamish Bouldering

Summer is just a few months away.  Warm weather, good climbing, and no more raining will be here sooner than you think.  One of the best places to climb during the summer months is in Canada's Squamish in British Columbia.  The cool forest keeps the boulders nice and shady for all the sloping heel hooks.  

Last August, Courtney Miyamato, Will Wollcott, Colin Trenter, Jennifer Szeto, Kim Groebner, James Lucas, and other bay area climbers headed to the amazing granite boulders to check out some of North America's best boulder problems.  Miyamato put together a great video of all the climbers sending some rad problems.  Check out the great footage. Get ready for the summer bouldering season and get pysched!


Heidi Wirtz Slideshow and Clinic

North Face climber and pro athlete, Heidi Wirtz is coming to the bay area to give a slide show and provide some invaluable clinic time at Berkeley Ironworks.

Heidi Wirtz began climbing over twenty years ago and has traveled to Nepal, Morocco, Jordan, Siberia, Tasmania, the Czech Republic and more.  From pioneering new big wall routes to making enormous ascents of snowy peaks, Heidi Almighty not only has pushed the boundaries of female exploration but she's also the co-founder of Girls Education International, an organization that brings education to women and girls in undeserved areas throughout the world.


Read more: Heidi Wirtz Slideshow and Clinic

Rainbow Wall: Trad Climbing Video

The Rainbow Wall in Red Rocks Las Vegas towers high above the rest of the climbing in the desert. A long traditional climb that was freed at 5.12, the Rainbow Wall is a modern testpiece and the Half Dome of the desert. Big wall free climbing godesss, Madaleine Sorkin and her partner Jason Nelson headed up the wall earlier this year and made an ascent of the classic route. If you're tired of the endless barrage of bouldering and sport climbing videos out there, check out this cool video that Fitz Cahall made of the Rainbow Wall.

Castle Rock Saved: For Now

Castle Rock State Park, one of the best climbing destinations in the south bay area, was saved from closure by the Sempervirens Fund, a nonprofit conservation group in Los Altos.  The deal, which is set to be announced today, Wednesday, means the park will receive $250,000.  The donation will help keep the park open for another year.  

Castle Rock1

Read more: Castle Rock Saved: For Now

Climber's Workshop

Want to learn how to become a solid rock climber? One of the best ways to learn about climbing technique is through personal instruction and training.

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


 “The first time I did any kind of structured training program was prior to a two month trip to South Africa's Rocklands. This turned out to be a watershed experience for me because my performance on rock far exceeded anything that I had done before that and it was so obvious what the only difference had been,” said Alarcon.

Justin Pluraity 1666

Beginning April 1st, Alarcon will be holding a 6 week intensive climbing workshop designed to teach climbers the fundamentals of rock climbing.“This workshop will lean more heavily on climbing technique and strategy but will also incorporate typical fitness strategies,” said Alarcon.

Sign up for Alarcon’s climbing training workshop

For questions and more information please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cost: $150 for members, $200 for non-members.

When: Sundays from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, beginning April 1st

Justin Mickeys SexPorp 002

Zero Gravity Takes on Nationals

As climbing moves toward the Olympics, USA Climbing paired up with the US Olympic committee this year to host the Open and Youth Bouldering National Championships in Colorado Springs, CO.  The Open competition was held on February 24th and 25th.  This was easily the strongest depth of field of any Climbing National Championship to date, with the outcome going down to the last attempts on the day.  Touchstone member Ethan Pringle looked to win the comp but dropped to 2nd place as Daniel Woods pulled out the win in the dying moments.  Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team members did well in this strong field with four of the six participating qualifying for Semi-Finals.  Joshua Levin 16th, Cicada Jenerik 17th, Jacquelyn Wu 21st, Sera Busse 23rd, Will Roderick 47th, Rick Gentery 50th.

o gravity 3

Read more: Zero Gravity Takes on Nationals

South East Bro Trip

Bro trips are one of the best parts of climbing. Hanging out with a few other like minded climbers, wrestling awesome rock, and than sitting together drinking beers at night creates some great camaraderie and awesome trips.

From February 28th until March 8th, Jacob Nelson and Ryan Rougeux of Sacramento Pipeworks met up with Ryan Moon and Justin Alarcon of Berkeley Ironworks. The climbers met up with a crew of kids from Salt Lake, a few climbers from Washington, and world traveler, Ethan Pringe for a total bro down ho-down. The climbers rented a cabin in Alabama and than made short commutes to Little Rock City, Horse Pens 40, and sandstone bouldering in Georgia. At night, they rested their sore forearms by drinking beer in a hot tub and watching romantic comedies. Moon described it as being one of his best trips. Not ony did he get to climb with his hero Ethan Pringle, tell a ton of bad fart jokes, but he ate amazing food. The group went to Aretha Drankenstein's "It’s got the best waffles I’ve had in my life and I’m all about waffles," said Moon. Moon put together a video of the trip. Ignore the hail at the beginning and notice the rad climbing.

Friday Night TRS at The Studio

The Touchstone Rope series is kicking off its first comp of the year at the grand opening of the Studio! This Friday night, March 16th, Touchstone's newest gym will have all new routes, and tons of great climbing. This will definitely be one of the most exciting comps ever. The competition will be super interesting as everyone will be onsighting, climbing entirely new terrain. Not only that, but there will be ton of beer, food, a huge shoe sale, and lots of fun.

Read more: Friday Night TRS at The Studio

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