Denise Miller, a 36 year old school teacher in Forest Hill outside of Auburn, has been climbing for the past 9 years. A long time Sacramento Pipeworks climber, Miller’s tenacity is well known in the climbing community. With a strong work ethic, Miller has successfully climbed many difficult rock climbs in California.
“Friends of mine thought I’d be interested in climbing,” said Miller about her first time climbing at Sacramento Pipeworks. “I was hooked the first day I went. I thought of myself as pretty good at athletics. I got my butt kicked and got a membership.”
Denise on Electric Chair (5.12d) at Jailhouse Photo by Ben Ditto
Read more: Denise Miller: The Tenacious Teacher
Dezmond Oliver, an excited Fresno based climber, toured the construction of the new MetalMark gym in Fresno. Check out the footage he took of the gym and get a virtual tour!
Metalmark’s climbing wall design is now complete. Mark Melvin, Touchstone's CEO says, "Our walls in Fresno are the best we’ve ever built -there’s not a bad line in the gym." In a unique collaborative effort, Mark worked on-site full time with a brilliant design team:
Mark Benkert- a 20 year veteran wall builder, artist, and sculptor, who thrives on model-less see-how-it-works building
Read more: MetalMark Climbing Wall Design Complete
Last week, Brian "Cuz" Hedrick, a 24 year old route setter at Touchstone Climbing, made the second ascent of the Impossible Wall Traverse at Berkeley's Mortar Rock. First established by Chris Sharma seven years ago, the V13 problem has bouted many of the strongest local climbers.
The hardest boulder problem within a 100 miles of the bay starts on an obvious jug in the middle of the face and traverses right into the Impossible Wall (v8). "It's big moves on bad holds," says Hedrick, who sent the line after working it seven days over two years.
Read more: Touchstone Climber Crushes Mortar
If you've been to Ironworks, chanches are you've seen climbers busting out pull-ups. A lot of the tougher rock jocks will attempt one armed pull-ups with marginal degrees of success. Catch Cisco at the gym though and you'll see some impressive feats.
As a young kid in california, Cisco was no stranger to the monkey bars and rooftops, scrambling around buildings and dangling from the monkey bars. Since he was in pre-school, Cisco Gonzalez, a 32 year old gymnastic instructor from Berkeley, has been involved in gymnastics. In 6th grade he enrolled at Windmill Gymnastics in Richmond and later began coaching there. Cisco currently works at MEGA, Marin Elite Gymnastics Academy since early 2002 and has coached gymnastics for the past 17 years.
Read more: A Gymnast in The Climbing Gym: Cisco Gonzalez
MetalMark, the new Touchstone Gym in Fresno, was named after a California butterfly with distinctive, metallic markings. The name was inspired by the simple idea of metamorphosis, by the physical and mental changes we experience as rock climbers. The form of the Touchstone butterfly is transformed as well; it is modeled on the engineering of aluminum cams used in outdoor climbing.
Read more: Metal Mark Construction Continues
For the past two weeks, hardcore rock jock and Touchstone climber Ethan Pringle has been climbing on the amazing limestone of Spain.
“The mode here has been muy tranquillo,” said Pringle.
Pringle flew over to Spain, where he met with hardcore sport climber and ex-pat Chris Sharma. The pair settled into Sharma’s crag side home of Oliana, the second largest town in the comarca of the Alt Urgell in Catalonia Spain. Chris and Ethan, along with Chris’ lady friend Dalia, have been climbing in town. “We’ve only gone to Oliana but even on the ‘hot’ days (which are nothing like most days at Jail House past 2 pm) it gets nice and cold and breezy as soon as the sun goes behind the cliff which happens around 3 pm this time of year,” wrote Pringle on his blog. “Because of the late hour in which the cliff goes into the shade we’ve been getting really late starts- waking up around 10, leaving for the cliff around 11 and starting the warm-up around noon- 1pm.”
The Spanish town where Ethan is staying.
Read more: Pringle Gets Muy Tranquillo: Touchstone Climber Goes to Spain
Touchstone just picked up a bunch of new gear for those climbers who want to get tradical this summer. In stores now are the TC Pros, high top edging shoes that will shrink El Cap into Swan Slab, 4 step aiders for cruising up Washington Column, ultra light curve nuts, and the standard BD cams including C4s, C3s, and HB brass offsets.
The best place to start building your trad climbing gear is on your feet. High top shoes are nice because they protect your ankles in many of the grueling offwidths in the Valley.
Chris McNamara reviewed the TC Pro for Supertopo. It's an awesome shoe!
Read more: Get Tradical: New Trad Climbing Gear at Touchstone
Rain. Rain. Rain. The winters in the San Francisco Bay can be really wet. While winter is nearly over, the last few weeks of the wet season can be hard to maintain. Yosemite is socked in. Mortar Rock can be hit or miss. The slopers at Castle might be drenched. The best way to beat the winter doldrums can be to head out to the crags anyway. Driving over to the east side of the Sierra, to the boulders of Bishop, can almost guarantee dry weather.
Often times, a hike through the redwoods of Castle can be a great way to get out and exercise. Even in a light rain, the Santa Cruz Mountains are beautiful.
Another awesome option is to head out to the nearest Touchstone gyms, where it never rains!