Anchor Clinic with Hans Florine

It was good ol' 100 dolla Benjamin who famously said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Here at Touchstone Climbing, we strive to do just that. Sure, you can watch YouTube videos teaching you how to belay safely, but chances are you're not reeeeally going to retain and learn anything unless you try it out for yourself in a climbing class.

Same goes for any climbing skill. We often hear from our members that they want to climb outside. We are lucky enough to be in California, where the only thing you have to consider when choosing your climbing destination is the season. Too hot out? Maybe it's Tahoe season. Too cold? Perfect temps on the Valley floor... 

But taking the leap from indoor top roping to climbing outdoors can be understandably daunting. What gear do you need? How do you get the rope up there? How do you get the rope down from there? The history of climbing is closely tied to a spirit of mentorship. Someone took us under their wing to teach us the ways of the climber, and we want to share that knowledge, safety practices, and etiquette with you. 

One opportunity to do just that is the Anchors Clinic with Hans Florine offered at Diablo Rock Gym in Concord. Hans is a bit of a rock star in the climbing community, holding the speed record with Alex Honnold for climbing The Nose on El Capitan, bagging countless accents around the country, and literally writing the book on Speed Climbing. 

Hans is the manager Diablo Rock Gym, and his endless energy and psych for pushing personal limits definitely shows. Since becoming the manager in 2011, Hans has inspired countless members and guests to challenge themselves and 'do hard things.' Hans also spends time in front of the desk, teaching skills he has picked up over years of climbing. 

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Last year, Hans began teaching an Anchor Building Clinic at DRG. In this 2 hour clinic, members get a chance to set up, asses, equalize and test anchors in the safety of the gym. "You'll learn sport climbing anchors, trad anchors, multi-pitch anchoring, and more!" said Hans. "Everyone walks away with a tool or two to make their outdoor anchoring safer." 

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If you're interested in signing up for this clinic - click the button below!

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Tying the Perfect Knot at DRG

One of the best parts of climbing is the partnerships that come from it.  Diablo Rock Gym has proudly facilitated a number of life long friendships and recently, a marriage.  

Melinda Armstrong began climbing in middle school. Three years ago, when she became the middle school youth director at Saint Matthew Church in Walnut Creek, she began climbing in earnest.

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“It seems I see Melinda in here every other week with someone new,” said DRG manager Hans Florine. “She’s so good at organizing a group of youths and introducing them to the gym and climbing, hard to believe she’s not on our payroll.” As the youth director, Melinda often takes young adolescents into the gym for the first time. “It is has been great to introduce students to climbing and give us an activity to get to know one another.”

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Ethan Johnson, a Senior Manager of Strategic Planning and Sales Analysis at Kellogs Cereal Company, joined Armstrong on an after church climbing function four years ago. The pair soon became solid climbing partners. “DRG was where Ethan and I became friends and later where a lot of our date nights happened,” said Melinda. The pair traveled to Vegas, Pinnacles, Yosemite, Tahoe, and to crags across California.

On December 29th, the pair tied an even more important knot, marrying at the local Saint Matthews Church in Walnut Creek. After the wedding, Melinda and Ethan took family members to the climbing gym and climbed with them, introducing them to the activity that brought them together.

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The pair climb in the gym regularly. They stopped by three to four times a week to climb but during wedding planning they had to taper done to twice a week. Now that the ceremony is over they’re hoping to get in more often. “There is a strong sense of community there, that’s one of the things I love about it,” said Melinda.  

Climbing at the gym offers not only a great chance to get fit but the opportunity to meet the perfect partner. Just another awesome reason to go climbing!

Ultimate Fitness Experience

This weekend, Saturday January 18th, Diablo Rock Gym will be holding another Ultimate Fitness Experience Event. The three-hour event provides members and non-members an opportunity to check out the other classes at the gym. There will be sport and Swedish masseuses, chiropractors, physical therapists, cycling instructors, yoga teachers, core instructors, and climbing guides all providing short classes on their various disciplines.

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Read more: Ultimate Fitness Experience

Manager's Favorite: The Nose

When the Touchstone blog asked DRG manager Hans Florine what his favorite route was, the question was rhetorical. Hans Florine is Mister Nose. With nearly 100 ascents of the route up the longest section of El Capitan, Florine set the speed record on the formation with a blisteringly fast 2 hours 23 minutes 46 seconds. He's also climbed the route in 4 days 12 hours 23 minutes 23 seconds. With 97 ascents, one rappel descent of the the entire route, and nearly a dozen bails at various heights, Florine knows the route well.

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Florine first attempted the route in 1988 with his partner Mike Lopez. After 12 hours climbing the first 4 pitches, they bailed. A year later, Florine and Lopez climbed the route in 44 hours. His latest ascent on October 30th with Brit Climber Hans Florine was done in under 13 hours without jumars.

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Paul Hara Photo

Why do you like it so much>

Easy access, loads of terrain, good view, nice looking, quality rock, people to chat with along the way, fair ledges to rest at if you are into that, varied terrain-aid crack, face, dihedral, etc.

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Paul Hara Photo

What's the best part of climbing the nose?

It's a quality of rock

Have you met many people? Bootied much gear? Had any epics?

Yes, 100s along the way, I've climbed it with over 100 different people. At least 20 cams, nuts, and over 40 biners. Yes, topped out in sleet with a cotton dress shirt, nearly shivered to death on the last pitch. Aided in a rescue of Korean party that fell onto camp five and broke multiple bones.(I was actually going up the Triple Direct a the time). I descended in a threatening storm off Dolt with an ALS patient. I took a whip myself on a NIAD ascent, on the pitch up to Glowering spot. I nearly knocked myself out from impact. There was a big scar on my face at the time. I managed to top out in a day, but gave over leading. There's loads of other mini epics I'm carefully not remembering.

 

Educate Ethiopia Climb-A-Thon

On September 7th, Diablo Rock Gym will be hosting the Educate Ethiopia Climb-A-Thon. Patagonian ambassador Majka Burhardt, a well-known climber and dynamic inspirational speaker, will be presenting a speaker/slide show in the evening. Along with a raffle and silent auction with gear from The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, and the AAC, there will be Ethiopian food and an awesome presentation.

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Read more: Educate Ethiopia Climb-A-Thon

Educate Ethiopia Climb-A-Thon

On September 7th, Diablo Rock Gym will be hosting the Educate Ethiopia Climb-A-Thon. Patagonian ambassador Majka Burhardt, a well-known climber and dynamic inspirational speaker, will be presenting a speaker/slide show in the evening. Along with a raffle and silent auction with gear from The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, and the AAC, there will be Ethiopian food and an awesome presentation.

 

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Read more: Educate Ethiopia Climb-A-Thon

TBS 8 at DRG

On March 15, nearly 300 climbers headed to Concord to climb at the Touchstone Bouldering Series 8 comp at Diablo Rock Gym.
"It was high energy," said manager Hans Florine. "Folks were stoked on the problems."

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Read more: TBS 8 at DRG

Black Friday Climbing Sale

Friday, November 23 is traditionally known as Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.  Many people prepare for the holiday season by purchasing gifts for their loved ones. For most people in the Touchstone community, that means buying climbing gear. Opening a new set of cams, trying on a brand new pair of shoes, or getting the latest climbing clothes will make the holidays that much better. This weekend, Diablo Rock Gym will be selling all their black gear for 20% off. Get an amazing deal on shoes, guide books, cams, and some tasty muscle brownies.  

 

DRG's First Member: Mycol Holton

This weekend Diablo Rock Gym celebrated their 10th anniversary by having an ultimate fitness morning, a BBQ, and hosting the Reel Rock Tour.  With a crowd of over 150 people, the gym helped raise $1500 for the Access Fund and the ASCA. As part of the festivities, the Touchstone blog sat down with DRG's first member.

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During the construction of DRG, MycolHolton signed up at the very first member of DRG.  "I have loved this gym from day it opened. My favorite part of the gym are the people. I have meet so many great people that have become very good friends of mine."

Read more: DRG's First Member: Mycol Holton

DRG Adventure Race Video

On September 1st, nearly 50 adventure racers headed to Diablo Rock Gym for a day filled with slacklining, swimming, climbing, and intense obstacles and adventure racing. Paul Hara made a great video of the day's adventures. Check it out!

 

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

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