For the past two years, Touchstone has worked hard on expanding San Francisco’s Mission Cliff’s. After dealing with the hurdles of building permits and securing the location next to the current gym, the Mission Cliffs expansion is set to dramatically change the face to Touchstone's original gym. The expansion plans include an enormous roped climbing expansion, new flooring in the bouldering area, a new Yoga studio, additional weight and cardio space, a new cycling room and more.
The Mission Cliffs expansion includes 5,000 feet of space dedicated to more top roping and lead climbing. Walltopia, the company whom we worked with on the design and construction of Dogpatch Boulders, plans to include two adjustable crack systems and a 50 feet cresting wave wall.
Recently six Touchstone climbers took a trip to Joe's Valley, a bouldering mecca located three hours south of Salt Lake City, Utah. The climbed, they camped, they crushed. All normal for a week long trip.
But THIS trip was anything but normal.
This was a GIRLS TRIP.
The Touchstone Blog has been granted viewing rights to this video, along with exclusive commentary from the chix themselves. Watch the video, be amazed, and then read on to find out what happens when six girls are stuck in the desert on a rest day with nothing but a camera and a penchant for late 80's music and lip syncing.
Yeah. Go on. You can watch it again. We'll wait....
The 'Chix B4 Dix' trip idea was the brain child of Monica Aranda. "I had been feeling that my psych for climbing was waining, and I wanted to get it back. So I proposed a Girls Only trip to Joe's Valley, and it didn't take long until the team was assembled. During the trip psych was gained, along with hours of embarrassing footage that will now be immortalised on the Internet forever," said Aranda.
Kim Groebner, who owns the 2006 Dodge Sprinter where some initial scenes were shot, has this to say about the video. "'Girls' - directed, filmed and edited by Becky Alarcón - is a collaborative work exposing women's struggle for identity within our society's patriarchal stronghold. Inspired by the satirical theme of our girls-only climbing trip, Chix B4 Dix, we have shown that we are not merely bad-ass rock climbers. Through dance, pantomime, and the art of lip-synching we have, and will continue to, challenge the status quo." The Touchstone Blog feels a duty to inform our readers that Ms. Groebner went to art school.
Alarcón, who indeed directed, filmed and edited the video in under 12 hours, is no stranger to amature video production. An impressive catologue of her work can be found on her Vimeo Page.
It was around the camp fire one night that the girls discovered her talents and demanded they they make a music video. Lindsey Tjian, international super model and Wills of Fire mega crusher, expressed her humility at being being involved in a project of such caliber. "I knew there were lots of stars out there in the universe," said Tjian. "But I never knew I would have the privilege of working with 5 of the best in the making of our music video." Tjian was also responsible for the unnervingly convincing pipe cleaner and felt facial hair, along with the dragon neck tattoos that can be seen throughout the video.
The video embodied the sense of fun and camaraderie that was experienced on the trip. Lauryn Claassen, who never quite got the hang of a 'sexy face' reported that "This was the perfect way to spend the days when our tips were shot, our muscles ached, and Kim made an amazing batch of margaritas. Too many times climbing videos have too much... climbing. I'd like to see more rest day videos."
Camille Kerr, who left a good luck charm for dude climber Kyle O'Meara at the camp site, was humbled by the experience. "As a relative newcomer to this group of ultra-burly ladies with unparalleled sex-appeal, I was naturally intimated. I realized that my contribution would not come from being the funniest or prettiest, but instead being the most willing fall flat on my face with the camera rolling. [minute 1:58] Having achieved that, I now feel like part of the crew, and I look forward to our many adventures to come. The release of this video is a proud moment for me, my mother, and every woman who has helped me get where I am today" said Kerr.
While the girls feigned flattery at the insinuation that they always travel to the desert with sparkly dressed stuffed into their duffels next to their antihydral and climbing shoes, such is not the case. The 'girly' attire, flannel robes, and bubbles were purchased while on a trip to the booming metropolis of Price, Utah on a rest day.
"What I loved about making this video is doing all of the silly things and acting like a complete clown," said Alarcon. "You really have to be willing to make a complete fool of yourself knowing that people will see you in ridiculous costumes and doing ridiculous things. I can't count how many times I was in stitches from laughter on those days when we were filming. Editing the video was very difficult for me because there were so many equally funny scenes that we had to cut since the song was so short." [Examples deleted in the interest of a sequel] "I'll look fondly on this video for the rest of my life and remember our awesome girls trip to Joe's Valley and Ibex."
All in all, the trips was a huge success. Meals were shared, projects were sent, and friendships were solidified. The girls would like to thank the following companies they wish they were sponsored by:
Organic Climbing Verve Climbing Apparel Dodge Chicks Rock'n Roost The Food Ranch Climbing Narc La Sportiva Five Ten Top Ramen
Each Touchstone Climbing gym is equipped year round with an impressive arsenal of climbing shoes to rent or purchase. But twice a year, we pull out all the stops. Our shoe demo's are always a huge attraction, and they're fast approaching!
This year the reps from 5.10, Evolv, and La Sportiva will be making the rounds to four of our gyms. Whether you're blowing out your Teams or are still using rental shoes - this night is for YOU. Our reps from each company will bring with them their entire demo fleet - which means you get to test the shoes on the wall to make sure you fit your footsies just right. Ask all your pressing questions. Get all your answers. PLUS - all shoes purchased or ordered on Demo Night will be 20% off!
Here is the line up! Click on your closest gym to be directed to the Facebook to RSVP.
Ever wonder what happens to the ropes after the gyms use them? Touchstone repurposes retired ropes in various ways.
Recently, Mission Cliffs donated some ropes to a local Boy Scout Troop unit 29, based at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. The troop has approximately 30 boys, ranging from 11-17 years old, and 5 adult leaders who help run the program.
"The core mission of the Boy Scouts is to teach character, citizenship, and fitness, and we often use the outdoors as our classroom," said Troop Leader Brian Chu. "As someone who knows the lessons that climbing can teach about courage and perseverance, I wanted to share that with the boys, None of them have been climbing before, so it'll be an exciting experience for all."
The boy scouts use the retired ropes to practice knots and belay technique before venturing to the climbing gym. "If it goes well, we'll plan an outdoor trip to Pinnacles or Castle Rock this summer," said Chu.
For many climbers, the gyms are a meat market, a place to go pick up the latest bouldering stud or sport climbing babe. For others, the climbing gyms are more of a butcher shop, a place to get shut down. Either way, there's often good comedy surrounding the dating scene and rock climbing. Climber relationships may be difficult at times but it's a great idea to be able to share your passion with your partner. Here's some of the best reasons to date a climber:
There’s thousands of ways to help save the environment. One of the best ways, is to reuse water bottles and keep from using harmful plastic bottles.
Think Outside the Bottle, a coalition of environmentalists, businesses and nonprofit organizations, began a campaign to eliminate the sale of bottled water. Currently, the sale of bottled water is banned in 14 national parks. Think Outside the Bottle hopes to add the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park as the next two parks to the growing list.
On March 1st, MetalMark held the first Touchstone Wine tasting. Over 50 members headed to the Fresno gym to taste wines from Ceja Vineyard, a Napa Valley Winery, and Englemann Cellars, a local Fresno Winery.
MetalMark Climbing and Fitness is under an hour from the Valley floor, and yet many Fresnopians have never made the drive, let alone climb there. Having a world class climbing gym in the Central Valley allows people who would never consider climbing to give it a try with our friendly and helpful staff.
On February 27th, the Madera Adult School came to MetalMark to climb. They have made several trips to the gym over the past year as part of a program to introduce their students to unique extracurricular activities.
Aurora Garcia is a teacher at MAS, and brought the group of students to MetalMark this month. "I work with the students ages 18-22, and our program is designed to assist special education adults in providing them with transitioning skills to adulthood. Two of the components of our program are community and fitness." Climbing is a great chance for the students to build confidence and challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
Daniel, a staff member at MetalMark, worked with the teachers before hand to teach them to belay, so that when the students arrived they were able to climb with instructors that they knew and trusted. "It was super fun," said Daniel. "Especially to see everyone working together to cheer each other on."
Climbing for the first time can be both physically and mentally demanding, but the feedback from the students was positive. "I feel like I was on top of the mountain," said one student. "It was my first time climbing, it was awesome. I enjoyed climbing all the way to the top."
"I was very excited to see our group gain more confidence with each climb and challenge themselves to do something new. Students continue to set new goals to reach higher each time," Said Garcia. This has been a wonderful experience for our students and staff."
Each Touchstone Climbing and Fitness gym has a strong commitment to outreach and supporting their local community. If you have a group you would like to bring to the gym, please contact the gym manager for details!
Yosemite National Park represents the highest peregrine falcon nesting area in the Sierra Nevada. The park has played a pivotal role in the birds recovery from an endangered species. There are numerous climbing closures to help protect the birds' nesting areas. When planning your next climbing trip to the national park, make sure to consider the peregrine nesting areas.
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."
Want to break through a plateau? Want to improve your footwork or general technique? World class boulderers, Lisa Rands and Wills Young will be heading to Dogpatch to provide specific instruction on how to improve your climbing.
For over 20 years Lisa Rands has climbed across the world from Alpine spires in Argentina’s Patagonia to first ascents in the boulders of South Africa’s Rocklands. In 2002, Lisa was the first American to win a World Cup Bouldering Competition, and was ranked world number one in competitive bouldering the same year. She went on to break ground for women with ultra-bold ascents of “E8” gritstone test-pieces in England and super-highballs in Bishop, California.
One of the best technical climbers in the world, Wills Young has made an enormous impact on the US climbing scene. Wills wrote the book on bouldering in Bishop- literally. Beyond climbing thousands of problems in the Bishop area for his guidebook, Wills has climbed across the globe, spending significant time in Rocklands South Africa, in the south east US, and of course in Bishop.
In the video below, Wills shows his impeccable technigue as he casually hikes professional climbers Chris Sharma and Tony Lamiche's project.
The clinics will be held on Sunday April 28th from 6-7:30pm and Tuesday April 30th from 5-6:30pm. To ensure personal attention classes are limited to 14 climbers per class. The clinics are $40 for members and $50 for non-members. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from a pair of highly accomplished climbers and instructors.
This weekend, Saturday, March 23, 2013, The studio is hosting a USAC Northern California division Sport Climbing Series comp. This comp provides a great opportunity for young climbers in the South Bay to begin climbing competitions.
USA Climbing is the national governing body for competition climbing in the United States and is responsible for sanctioning the American Bouldering Series (ABS), the Sport Climbing Series (SCS) and the Collegiate Climbing Series (CCS).
The Studio comp marks the second of the six regional comps. The Regional Championships will be held in May at City Beach in Fremont. Divisionals will take place in June at Vertical World in Seattle and Nationals happen in early July at Stone Summit in Atlanta.
$30 for USAC members ($35 for non-members)
Youth-B and above will need to get a Touchstone Lead Certification. You can get this done at any Touchstone Gym prior to the comp. You can do it at The Studio before the comp, but there might be a line. f you plan to Lead, please bring your own rope.