Ebbetts Pass Century

In late September, long time BIW member Deborah Georges completed the Ebbet's Pass Century. The 100 mile bike ride takes some of the best roads in the Sierra Nevada. Georges wrote about her bike ride for the Touchstone blog.

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Member Profile: Victor Bonanno


In our monthly segment - 15 Minutes with the Doctor - Jason Bove of Sacramento Pipeworks sits down with a member to find out what makes them tick.


Victor B.1Today, I was lucky enough to chat with long-time Member, Father, Grandfather, Husband, Climber, Outdoor Enthusiast, and recent Crossfit Participant...Mr. Victor Bonanno. Since 2002, and a couple of different local climbing gyms, Victor has been a part of the climbing community surrounding me in Sacramento.

I figured it was about time to get a small piece of his inspiring story to share with all of you. Enjoy.

Upon turning 50 years young, Victor decided that the time had come to finally get to those hobbies he had been wanting to do for years; amongst them, Abalone Diving and Rock Climbing. Not knowing the first thing about  becoming a rock climber, he and his wife, Mary, began to do some research. A simple belay class purchase from Granite Arch was given as a gift, and piqued his curiosity enough to get into the gym and try things out. Shortly after doing some regular days of indoor climbing, Victor was approached by the owner about an outdoor trip to Phantom Spires and the chance to get on real rock! Hesitantly, an agreement was made and the trip ensued. Getting back out into nature was just what he needed, and by pulling himself to the top of those routes, the thrill he was seeking for so long finally reared its head. Still today, Victor states, “There’s nothing finer than reaching up to that top hold of a pitch.”

Now fifteen years and countless climbs later, Victor has placed both his hands and feet on rocks in outdoor destinations such as: Yosemite, Moab, Red Rocks, Castleton Tower, Joshua Tree, Shasta City, Bucks Bar, and two different Lovers Leaps’. However, like many other climbers, he finds that his favorite climbing has to be down in the Owens River Gorge near Bishop, California.

Victor B.2Segue to 2013…

In February, Sacramento Pipeworks introduced a Crossfit program to add to their already impressive offerings. Around the same time frame, Victor Bonanno was filling out a Kaiser questionnaire that asked him how frequently he works out ‘to the point of breathing very heavy and exhaustion’... perfect timing! Although climbing is a fantastic workout, sometimes the better you get at it, the less heavy the cardio exercise you may get out of it. On the other end of the spectrum, it has been proven that Crossfit includes high-intensity and high-focus workouts designed to focus on specific movements to not only increase strength and flexibility, but the cardio benefits can be HUGE!

For the last five months of his eight years as a Pipeworks regular, Victor has been giving the new-ish Crossfit regimen a try. When I asked of his opinion, he says, “Besides the awesome and well respected instructors, Dustin and Collan, the people in the class (like climbers) are equally great!” He has found that the ‘pain and misery’ he experienced at first has now become ‘not so bad’. Crossfit has not only ramped up his metabolism, but by working on different parts of his body, climbing has become easier. More climbs were able to be accomplished by utilizing better form, having better core strength, and climbing more confidently.

Today, more climbers are making the shift to incorporate cross-training workouts like Crossfit and Yoga to supplement their routines. The strange thing, at least from what I have seen, is that not many of the people brought up in the Crossfit world are attempting climbing. Why the distinct divide, who knows? While both produce beneficial results, I’ll let you be the judge what is best for you.

In closing, I am happy to report that next month, November, Victor will turn 65 and is still going strong!

Mary, his wife, claims that with all of things he does to keep up his physical fitness, she does not necessarily agree with all of them. She is always scared to watch him climb, and thinks he is ‘nuts’ for doing so at his age. We believe, in our circle of friends, that he is perfectly sane, inspiring, and admirable for his choices.                                                                                  

I asked Dustin, his Crossfit instructor, if he had any closing words for this story. He provided without hesitation, “Victor defines the "anti-aging" aspect of living a healthy life! His unstoppable resilience during workouts redefine the possibilities capable of any human body. This leader among men will change your life and leave you with the confidence to conquer anything you put your mind to. Thank you Victor!”

Thank you for spending a few minutes with us Mr. Victor Bonanno, we appreciate YOU! Happy Birthday!

Yosemite Government Shutdown

“Government shutdown. Yosemite National Park will be closed for recreating.” The loud speaker boomed up onto the granite walls. My partner and I rappelled into the middle of El Capitan’s Freerider at 6 am to work on free climbing the granite monolith. I managed to stick the crux boulder problem twice before the NPS loudspeaker shouted up from the meadow. On the corner pitch below the headwall, I fell. I would do the route soon if I could figure out how to deal with the Shutdown.

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Power Training Through Campusing

Often rock climbs come down to a single move- the crux of the climb. Being strong enough to get through the cruxes can be difficult.

“if you cannot pull a single hard move, you have nothing to endure,” said Tony Yaniro, one of the founders of modern climbing training. Yaniro spoke of having power to make sure you could have the endurance to maintain on longer climbs. Endurance is easier to train- it involves simple tenacity. Power training requires a right amount of recovery and exercise. There are a few different ways one can train power.

”I think there are a couple ways to gain power for climbing but the quickest and most efficient way, as long as your elbow tendons and shoulders are prepared for it, is to campus,” said professional climber Ethan Pringle.

In this video, Touchstone's Sam Schwartz provides instruction on how to effectively use a campus board.

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Indian Rock Clean-Up

Want to help out at one of the best local climbing areas in the San Francisco area? On October 26 and 27th from 10 am until 4 pm, a group of local climbers will be organizing a raffle, free food and a chance to clean up the famous Indian Rock area.

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Lost Rocks Video

Austin Zimmerman, who has been a smiling face behind the front desk at Great Western Power Company and Berkeley Ironworks for a little over a year now, recently took a trip to Lost Rocks and shot this short bouldering flick. Lost Rocks is located in Northern California, near Arcata. "The original plan was to spend a week driving down the coast and climbing at a new spot every other day," said Austin. "However, keeping true to our road-trip track record, we found it too hard to leave the Lost Rocks and decided to spend the entire week in just the one area instead."

The footage was taken with a rebel T2i. "We shared one camera and focused on climbs that we could do quickly and repeat several times for extra angles," said Austin. 95% of the footage is hand held except for the intro scene which was filmed using a Joby tripod with Cineskate wheel attachments. 

Austin said they made the film for mostly for fun and to get a little practice filming and editing climbing movies. "My girlfriend, Emily, and I got a camera about two years ago for a road trip that we took across the country. About a year ago I started getting more interested in photography and videography and since then I have devoted most of my free time to making movies." 

Check out their flick and get psyched on California coastal climbing! 


 

Lost Rocks from Austin Z on Vimeo.



10th Annual Yosemite Facelift

This week marks the tenth annual Yosemite Facelift.  For the past decade, the Yosemite Climbing Association has organized climbers to help with a park wide clean-up.  Trash, old ropes, debris, and litter are all collected by volunteers, who receive a raffle ticket at the end of the day for helping out.  A number of climbing companies support the event as well as New Belgium Brewery.  The prizes are awesome and the beer at the nightly events rocks.  Plus, the Facelift brings together the community of climbers and helps gather thousands of pounds of trash every year. 

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Staff Bio: Steven Roth

Here at Touchstone Climbing, we're lucky to be surrounded by crushers of all kinds. Today Berkeley Ironworks staffer Ryan E. Moon sits down with a fellow co-worker Steven Roth to find out more about developing a new route at Mickey's Beach, what it's like to be from Florida, and his legal troubles with Nickelodeon

IMG 0753RM: How long have you been climbing?
SR: I started climbing competitively about nine years ago, but had to take off a few years due to pesky injuries and bad luck.

RM: How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
SR: I moved out to the Bay about a year ago from Florida to go to Cal.

RM: What’s your favorite thing about Berkeley living? Bike boulevards? Berkeley Bowl? Hippies? Indian food? Passive aggression?
SR: Well, there’s nothing like the average hipster looking Joe being able to hike your projects. The food’s tasty, but not really for me.

RM: Tell us about climbing in Florida, aka not climbing?
SR: How do you compare the Bay Area scene with the Florida scene? The climbing in Florida is limited to plastic. Even so, the indoor scene there has produced some big names like Matt Segal and Megan Martin. People in the Bay Area actually assume that I’m a climber when I tell them I climb rocks rather than what I get from Floridians: “What do you climb, palm trees?”

RM: How far back can you trace the Jimmy Neutron joke? Would you prefer that people call you that from now on?
SR: After suing Nickelodeon and losing, I was forced to change my name from Jimmy to Steven. It’s sort of a sore subject, I try not to talk about it too much…

RM: What’re some of your favorite routes/boulder problems in the area?
SR: Climbing on Meldicott Dome in Tuolumne this past summer with Ben Polanco was outstanding. As for bouldering, I almost exclusively boulder at Mortar Rock in the Berkeley hills. Castle Rock is pretty stellar and my complete anti-style. I hope to get out more this fall for some bouldering in Yosemite and that awesome looking Columbia area.

1053529 10200873038081868_1044017739_oRM: How do you like working at BIW? Isn’t Ryan just the BEST?!
SR: I love it! It allows me to maintain a flexible schedule for school and for climbing trips. And yes, Ryan is pretty great.

RM: Do you do anything to train besides belaying children?
SR: My training pretty much consists of of core workouts, ring exercises, bouldering at Mortar Rock, made up problems at the gym, and going rope climbing outside on the weekends. A non-rigid regime and rests keep me from getting burned out.

RM: Belaying isn’t all you do for Touchstone though, right? Don’t you also coach?
SR: I am one of the coaches for the East Betas at GWPC which is really exciting. I basically act as a climbing partner for the kids while giving tips and insight.

RM: What do you like about coaching?
SR: It allows me to pass on helpful advice that I learned when I was young(er).

RM: Is it true you’re on the ‘Colorado Diet’?
SR: Yup! My typical dinner is three pieces of air popped popcorn, salt for flavor, gauze pads for filling, and a stick of gum for dessert.

RM: What originally drew you to ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’?
SR: From Surf Safari and Endless Bummer, the Emperor Boulder sits down the hill near the water. It’s impressively tall (around 60ft) compared to the routes up the hill. The line itself became obvious to me because of the big jug ledge about 10 feet off of the ground. I figured the start would be a ‘Superman jump’ to the beginning hold which turned out to be true and AWESOME! The line hugs the obvious arete up the middle of the boulder. All in all, the beautiful scenery and the orange lichen speckling the rock make for an unforgettable experience.

1008917 10151750371290070_1201346296_oRM: How long did it take you to clean it?
SR: I spent quite a while hanging in my harness. Prior to cleaning, I top roped the line and thought that it would go a certain way. About 12 hours later, after cleaning and sussing, the route was totally different.

RM: How many redpoint burns until the FA?
SR: I figured out all of the moves during the cleaning process and worked the sections quickly on self belay. By the time it was bolted, I was optimistic that I would get it on my first redpoint attempt, which I did. The process emphasized that really figuring out and remembering body positions and beta in little sections is the key to efficient climbing and huge gains in progress.

RM: Any plans for new routes in the future?
SR: On the Emperor Boulder there is a spectacular 5.10+/5.11- that be an instant classic once it’s bolted. That route alone would make a trip out to the coast well worth it. I’m also working on a climb that hasn’t been done on the Main Rock at Mickey’s Beach. Challenging large moves on small holds has kept it from being climbed so far. I hope that I can be the one to do it as it’s the first route I’ve been truly interested in projecting.

RM: What’s the secret to getting big hands and long fingers? Over zealous high fives? Chinese finger traps perhaps?
SR: Definitely the Chinese finger traps. Those things get the job done for sure!!!
 

The Dogpatch Community: Nilo and Lars

Even with hundreds of crushers going in and out of Dogpatch Boulders, Nilo and Lars are easily noticed. “In a gym dominated by people in the 20-40 age range, everyone knows them as the kids who will climb with anyone, not just other kids," said Dogpatch manager Justin Alarcon. We took a moment to find out more about these young climbers who are already a huge part of the Dogpatch climbing community. 

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Remi Meets Remi

We are happy to announce that Remi Moehring, formerly of Mission Cliffs, will be managing the LA.B in Los Angeles, California. While those of us in the Bay Area are lucky enough to know her well, we wanted to give everyone a sneak peak at what an awesome gal we are sending south to manage our first LA gym.

photo 3Remi took a few moments out of her day to sit down with... herself... and give you the scoop on her hopes, dreams, and love of all things Touchstone.

RM: How did you get into climbing? 

RM: Two years ago my trajectory was: art school, work at industrial design firm, get rich making fancy things. Then I took an Intro to Climbing class with my boyfriend who couldn't hold onto a jug to save his life and I was instantly hooked. I got a job at Mission Cliffs a month later and never looked back. At the boyfriend or at art school.

RM: What are you going to miss about MC?

RM: ALL OF MY BUDDIES! The friends I've made there are amazing, so I plan on having a couch big enough to fit all of them. They might have to stack, but we'll make it work. The great thing about Touchstone is that wherever you are, you always feel like part of the family. I plan on being the maniacal aunt who calls you repeatedly in the middle of the night to have you remind her where she put her wig.

RM: You guys sure have had some crazy times over at MC. Hey, remember that time you all took shots of hot sauce and then free soloed the--

RM: Nope. No. I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about

RM: What are you looking forward to about LA?

photo 1-1RM: In my fantasy world, LA.B would be frequented by RuPaul or Bill Murray and we would sit on the edge of the mats and clink champagne glasses and laugh wildly about times passed. I don't know much about LA, so mostly I'm excited about a new adventure into the unknown. There will be beaches, world-class climbing, a great comedy scene, and the Getty museum, which happens to be my favorite in the country, so I think I'll survive.

RM: Is it difficult to have both a stinging wit and devilish good looks?

RM: No.

RM: Where do you think LA.B will fall on a scale from one to insanely epic?

RM: I'm unfamiliar with the insanity-based scale, but I'd say, based on the 3D renderings, location, people involved, and Touchstone's track record, we're looking at a low-end projection of blowing-your-mind-all-over-your-face.

To stay up to speed on the LA.B, be sure to follow us in Facebook and Instagram. We are only a few months out and can't wait to keep you informed on the play by play. 

Member of the Month:Nicholas Wray

In our ongoing segment - 15 minutes with Doctor Bove - Pipeworks staffer Jason Bove sits down with a member to get to know a little more about what makes them tick. 
“You can have 15 minutes with the doctor, but only YOU know what is prescribed for your life.” he says. 

Tonight, I sit on the opposite side of a familiar round table to talk with someone who is a long-time Pipeworks member, an influential man behind the camera lens, a smile amongst friends, and a staple of a modern, Sacramento society.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 4.42.27 PMMember of the Month: Nicholas Wray

You ask, “who’s that guy at the end of his rope?” A small play on words has hopefully caught your attention long enough to introduce you to Nicholas Wray. He is, in fact, not at the end of his rope, but sometimes, a rope. More than likely though, he can be found smiling and joking over in the boulder cave while effortlessly sending most peoples’ projects.

Landing in Sacramento by way of Cincinnati in 2006, Nicholas was introduced to both climbing and the Pipeworks community through a friend and co-worker. Little did he know was that he was delving into a land that was completely different than the Civil Engineering world he was living in. With this introduction, Nicholas found a different cast of characters, new friends, and a whole new obsession...rock climbing.

Like most climbers, by way of projected goals and a focus on pulling hard both indoors and out, Nicholas found his new favorite vacation destination, Bishop, California. In this area of the world, things were different, and peoples’ love of nature overtook the necessity to tell you about their day job. Here, it didn’t matter, and it was through this ‘selfish act’ of climbing that everyone found reward. With Bishop being over 4 hours from Sacramento, there needed to be something closer to home to climb on though, so Pipeworks became a weekly ritual. The gym quickly became an escape from daily stress induced by work, and Nicholas says that when he is climbing, “everything else good or bad seems to take a back seat.”

From year to year, what we are seeing in the industry, is that climbing is becoming more mainstream, and increasing attention is being paid to the benefits of it. I asked, “Will this growth in popularity change things for you?” Nicholas responded, “We are drawn to the sport, because it is a very personal challenge, but also for the community. With a smaller, tight-knit circle of motivated individuals, one may find that friends become more like family members. However, I believe that it is the individuals’ personal struggle to climb better or smarter than the last time, and be more efficient, nobody elses’.”


N.WrayHUGE THANKS to Nicholas Wray for being such a big part of Sacramento Pipeworks. Amongst other things, he is a friend, a local photographer, owner of Sacramento Space, a human being, and a rock climber. Remember to say hello to him while he is busy sending all of those hard problems that we wish we could.

Stay tuned for next months installment of 15 minutes with Doctor Bove!

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

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