SpiderDan Takes on SF Courts

Local climber Dan "SpiderDan" Goodwin climbed the Millennium Tower in San Francisco on September 6th, 2010. Goodwin, 54, made an ascent of the 58 story residential building with suction cups, beginning his climb around 2:15 and reaching the summit around 5:30 pm. During his ascent, residents opened their windows and offered him water. At the top, he was taken into police custody and cited for trespassing and public nuisance before being released. On January 25th, Goodwin faced a San Francisco court for his actions. Goodwin testified that he climbed the 301 Mission St. high rise before a large Labor Day crowd to draw attention to what he sees as a national lack of preparedness to fight skyscraper fires. He also said that he wanted to make the point that if he, a cancer survivor, can beat the deadly disease and scale tall buildings, other survivors can do daunting things, too. Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson was not so receptive, asking the jurors to determine only if Goodwin trespassed, created a public nuisance and evade arresting police. was his stunt a nuisance to the public, and did he try to evade arresting officers. The SFGate will be reporting on the event. Closing arguments will be made on the 24th and the jury will decide Goodwin's fate soon. Goodwin has given slideshows at the local gyms promoting his book Skyscraper Man -Defender of Tall Buildings..

Tips For Redpointing at TRS 5: Pipeworks 1/21/11


The Touchstone Rope Series comps is entering its fifth year and the first of the series will be this Friday, January 21 at Sacramento Pipeworks. The rope comp will have beer, pizza, and a ton of fun! It's a great time to meet other climbers, enjoy a competitive setting, and check out a lot of new top rope and lead routes.

Ethan Pringle, an accomplished rope climber who just redpointed Spicy Dumpling 5.14d and one of the hardest routes in China, provided some insight into the best way to perform at a rope climbing comp.


One of the most important things is staying relaxed under pressure. "Don't let the pressure of the crowds and the onlookers get to you. Treat it like any normal day in the gym," said Pringle. Being calm will lower your heart rate and help you perform at a higher level.


Pringle continued with some excellent technique advice, "Breathe and take your time. Don't rush moves and sequences. Deeeeeep breaths. Again, stay relaxed. BUT, at the same time..."


"Don't hang out in any one spot and shake out for too long. I see people (especially people who only boulder) shake out for like a full five minutes at a rest a third of the way up the wall... WRONG. Of course if you get to some good holds and you are pumped you can take a sec to compose yourself, shake each hand a few times, slow your breathing, and set off. A good rule of thumb for me is not to shake for half as long as it took me to get to that spot on the wall. I usually try not to shake out more than three or four times with each hand unless it's a really casual stance. I try to treat routes in the gym like long boulders problems because usually they don't have good rests on them, especially when the setters put some thought into them."

Pringle will be heading to Spain soon to try his redpointing skills on some of the world's hardest sport climbs. For those of you who want a great chance to try out your redpointing skills- check out the Touchstone Rope Series- this Friday at Pipeworks. The next rope comp will be at Great Western Power Company on February 18!

Interview with Mission Cliffs Climber Karl Aguilar


Karl Aguilar, a 37 year old hardware store manager in San Francisco, has been climbing for 13 years at Mission Cliffs. Aguilar has traveled across the world climbing, sport climbing in Austria, making an ascent of El Capitan’s Zodiac, and clipping bolts on the sandstone of the south east with his wife, Audrey Bodisco. Aguilar took some time off his busy days at the Papenhausen Hardware to talk with the Touchstone blog about how to be a better rock climber and about his trips.

How has Mission Cliffs changed?

When I joined, there we so few active members that it was rare to see people that you didn't see regularly. Now, I am often shocked when I look around a very full gym and realize that I don't recognize most of the people there. Back then, most people climbed routes and bouldered to improve their route climbing. Now, it seems like most members primarily boulder. Mission Cliffs used to be a place to climb and possibly lift a weight or two, but it is slowly growing into a full service gym.

Karl stepping high in Austria

What's the best way to get better at climbing?

Don't get injured. But seriously, DON'T GET INJURED. You progress much faster when you are not nursing an injury. But, if you do get hurt, be smart about it. Take some time off, your body is probably begging for some rest. Take that time to do the things that you put off. Try to enjoy it. Then, do your rehab and take the time to work back up to full strength (it takes less time than you think). You have a lifetime of climbing to do, so treat your body right.

Karl high on El Cap's Zodiac

Now that you are injury free, you can use the following tips to get better quicker:
• Climb with someone better than you (not stronger, but with better technique).
• Watch how other people climb the climbs/problems you are having trouble with.
• Work on climbs that work your weaknesses (basically ones that make you say, "I hate climbs with...").
• Rest.
• Lastly, remember to enjoy the process. Even when the numbers are not going up, you are building a base for your next big breakthrough.

What's your favorite place to climb? Why?

Europe. The limestone, the food, and the distance between the two.

Karl pulling down on the sandstone of the Red River Gorge's Mother Lode

But, over here it is The Red River Gorge, because it is as good as everyone says! Wait... scratch that... it has really really terrible rock and they have copperhead snakes and everyone who climbed there smells really bad, so no one should ever go there.

What else are you passionate about?

My wife.

Karl and Audrey at the Red River Gorge

Mission Cliffs Featured in SF Gate


The San Francisco Chronicle featured Mission Cliffs in a feature in the Health & Fitness Section of their paper. Chris Holt wrote Bustling Mission Cliffs Attracts Sociable Climbers. Check out the article online at the SF Gate Website or read below:

Like many rock climbers, Christine Ambrose, a project manager at the San Francisco-based Save the Redwoods Foundation, learned the "ropes" later in life. First drawn to climbing through canopy research - the process of collecting scientific data in treetops - Ambrose, 43, was formally introduced to the sport when a friend took her climbing in June. It was then, she said, "a passion was born." On a recent weekday night she was hanging out at Mission Cliffs Climbing & Fitness on 19th and Harrison streets, enjoying the social aspect of the sport. "I've met so many nice people climbing," she said.


Read more: Mission Cliffs Featured in SF Gate

Eric Ahnmark "Wonder of Rock"


An exhibit of fourteen photos depicting landscape photography across the United States, "Wonder of Rock: Images of the West" will be displayed on the walls of Berkeley Ironworks for the month of January. The exhibit is Eric Ahnmark's second showing at the gym.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Ahnmark became obsessed with the western United States taking many spring and summer trips to the desert southwest. Ahnmark spent two years working for the National Park Service in Tuscon, where his passion for the desert mixed with a new found desire to photograph. Ahnmark worked to capture the silhouettes of Saguaro cacti, the colors of the rock, and the beauty of the Grand Canyon State.


Stop by Berkeley Ironworks to see Ahnmark's wonderful pictures.
To see more of his work, check out Ahnmark's website.

Local Climber Receives the Berbie Leadership Award


On January 5, 2011 The Access Fund recognized the 2010 winners of the Sharp End Awards. El Cerrito climber Tom Addison, a 48 year old environmental lobbyist, was awarded the Bebie Leadership award for his outstanding efforts in protecting Jailhouse Rock in Sonora.


The Bebie Leadership Award honors America's activists who help preserve climbing access and the environment. Since the early 1990s, Addison worked with multiple owners, the county, and the climbing community to ensure permanent access and a permanent easement to the crag. Addison is currently working to help build a new parking lot, trail, and start a fund to ensure permanent access to Jailhouse. Please support Tom and the Unlock Jailhouse Fund.

Tom Addison, the Warden, at Jailhouse Rock.

There will be a number of upcoming fundraisers as well as online auction to support the crag. Touchstone is a big supporter of the Unlock Jailhouse foundation.

Congratulations to Tom for his continued support of great issues in the climbing community.

Zero Gravity Crushes in Reno

The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team once again showed it's dominance at the USA Climbing, Bouldering Regional Championships. The competition was held at the Rocksport gym in Reno, NV on December 10th, 2011. In addition to winning the Team award for the sixth straight year, Joshua Levin, Cicada Jenerik, Matt Grossman, Natalia Grossman and Mirko Caballero were Regional Champions; Dylan Meyerhoffer, Courtney Ceran, Jacquelyn Wu, and Rick Gentry were Silver Medalist; Revan Florn, Seth Rogers, Hannah Grossman and Nathan Frankel were Bronze Medalists. Over all, the team won half of the ten categories, one third of the podiums and received 23 bids to the Division 1 Championships which will be held in Seattle, Washington on January 14th and 15th, 2012. The Divisional Championships will determine the invitations for the National Championships which will be held in Colorado Springs at the US Olympic Training facility. The Adult Bouldering Nationals will be February 24th and 25th and the Youth Nationals will be March 3rd and 4th.


Zero Gravity is coached by Scot Jenerik, Scott Cory and Cicada Jenerik with additional mentoring by Joshua Levin.

For more results from the comp check out the comp page. Congratulations to the Zero Gravity team.

The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym: By Jason Gay


Jason Gay, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, posted a great blog about the 27 Rules For Conquering The Gym. The list is great for everyone who's made a New Year's Resolution to hit the gym a little bit more this winter. Check out Jason's article at the Wall Street Journal:

This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.

Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you're going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:


1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.

2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.

Guide Tennies at Ironworks


Getting to the crag can be a chore. Hiking down the North Dome Gully, descending the East Ledges, or even trying to stumble out of the boulders after a long day of pebble crushing can be a laborious task. It's important to treat your feet well as they care you to and from your next rad rock climb. One of the best things you can do for your feet is get some solid approach shoes. Stop stubbing your toes in flip flops, and don't be burdened with enormous boots.


Read more: Guide Tennies at Ironworks

Climbing Off The Couch


The holidays are over. The massive meals, the family obligations, and the hordes of visitors and cluster are weeks away. Chances are that with the busy holiday season, you haven't been able to get to climb very much. Heading to the crag, you're probably climbing "off the couch."

Not too much unlike this guy.

Read more: Climbing Off The Couch

The Studio Comes Together


Construction at the Studio is coming together quickly. Holds from Stone Age have been delivered. The adjustable cracks are being put together. The majority of the exercise machines have been delivered. Things are coming together.
altThe ship's prow in the bouldering area looks awesome. The setters will be able to establish some rad problems up this steep section.

Read more: The Studio Comes Together

Past blog entries can be found at  http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/



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