Thousands of red, green, yellow, and blue holds cover the walls of the Touchstone gyms. But where do all the holds come from? The easy answer is from right next to Sacramento Pipeworks, in a white corrugated steel building next to Garlinger Steel. More specifically, Stone Age provides Touchstone with all of its holds. Wes Tite, a climber of 20 years, runs Stone Age and creates all the holds himself. Tite has worked as a climbing guide, a route setter, and a coal miner. For the past 20 years, he has traveled around the world climbing and looking for inspiration to create the best grips for the Touchstone climbing walls.
Read more: The Making of Stone Age
Last week, Tom Addison, a long time climber in the Bay and Sacramento climbing community, pulled the red tag off his long time project at Jailhouse Rock in Sonora. Addison bolted the route in the winter of 2002. "Trying to do the moves on it a decade ago, it was pretty clear that it was out of my league. It still is, but a strong gravitational anomaly on Friday let me clip the chains."
Read more: Aging but Still Raging: 50 Year Old Climber Sends 10 Year Project
Last week, The Touchstone Zero Gravity team climbed at the USA Climbing ABS Youth National Championships.
Zero Gravity brought home the Silver medal as a team, missing the Gold by only 34 points! In the individual categories, they had six podiums and USA National Team bids! On top of that, Zero Gravity had four National Champions!
Read more: Zero Gravity at ABS Youth Nationals
Recently King Middle School visited Berkeley Ironworks and had a chance to give climbing a try! The middle school children sent back these thank you cards along with some glowing reviews.
"Omgosh I had so much fun even though I didn't go all the way up. Thank you for letting us use your beautiful gym" -Mia
"Thank you so much for having us! It was like the funnest field trip. :) -Amanda
"Thank you Ironworks for giving me the opportunity to face my fears. Letting us rock climb was a chance to experience something new. It was a lot of fun and I hope I can come again!" -Emma
"Thank you for letting us climb! I really enjoyed it. I was the guy in the blue sweats." -Jovan
"I had so much fun! It helped me get over my fear of heights." -Mark
"Rock climbing rulez!" -Aamna Ahmed
In the middle of February, the Studio's Cheyenne Sulaski headed out to one of the world's best bouldering destinations, Hueco Tanks, for a brief trip. She sent the Touchstone Blog a report about her trip.
My go-to bouldering trip tends to be Bishop, and I hadn't made it far past there. I've road-tripped across the country multiple times, but never with the intent to climb. So when Brian Hedrick, (who can be found on Instagram under the name bcuzhedrick) invited me to go to Hueco Tanks with him for 10 days, I was pretty excited. Part of what I love about climbing is that it opens up a whole new reason to travel. Previous to climbing if someone would have invited me to Texas, I would have looked at them very un-enthusiastically and probably made some sarcastic remark about how much I don't like Texas. Now that I climb, I look at places like El Paso, and think: there's world class climbing 20 minutes away, well of course I'll go! So with our psych high and my car filled with crash pads we headed out mid day of February 14th, making it all the way to Joshua tree that night. The next day we spent 12 hours driving the most exciting road in the USA (I-10) just in time to get to Hueco for the 20th annual Rock Rodeo Competition.
Read more: Hueco with Cheyenne
Last week, on March 3rd, Touchstone owner Mark Melvin and long time Yosemite wall veteran Chris McNamara saw a chance to climb the Nose on El Capitan. With a forecast of 70 degree temps, the pair nabbed a "winter" ascent of one of the largest granite formations in America. Chris wrote about their ascent.
I'll share a secret just with you guys: you can find summer-like conditions on El Cap even in the middle of winter… as long as you are in the sun.
Read more: The Nose with Mark Melvin and Chris McNamara
We at Touchstone have some exciting news to share with you. With Dogpatch Boulders just days away from opening, we have signed a lease for what will be our ninth gym. This time, we are coming to Southern California. That's right, Touchstone is finally building a gym in Los Angeles.
This week we signed a lease on a building in the Arts District, which will be our first gym in Southern California. Many former Touchstone gym members who have since moved have been pushing us to make this step. The new gym will be in the heart of a community that is a perfect fit for Touchstone. Closely modeled after Dogpatch Boulders, we expect this gym to be fantastic.
Partnering once again with Walltopia will allow us to pursue multiple projects at the same time while bringing our members what we believe are the most exciting walls in the industry. The same design team that brought you features such as the Wave Wall, the Barrel, and the Grand Arch at Dogpatch Boulders will unleash their creative energy on this new gym. We could not be more excited to have a chance to build on everything we learned from Dogpatch Boulders, and we can't wait to become a part of the L.A. climbing community.
We hope to open the L.A.B by the end of 2013 and we'll keep you informed of our progress over the coming months. While our first venture in L.A. will be a bouldering only gym, we are also looking at a taller building near downtown with hopes that we will soon have news of a roped gym as well. You've been asking for it for years and we are excited to finally have good news.
TOUCHSTONE IS COMING TO L.A.!
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This past weekend, September 23 and 24th, ABS Nationals were held in Colorado Springs. Ethan Pringle, Eric Sanchez and a number of Zero Gravity members headed to one of the biggest bouldering competitions in America.
"This was by far the deepest field of amazing climbers at an ABS Open Nationals," said Zero Gravity coach Scot Jenerik. "When you have someone like Ethan Pringle not make the top 20 you know it's tough."
Read more: Bay Area Climbers at ABS Nationals
We are pleased to announce our partnership with Walltopia for the expansion of Mission Cliffs. Why? Because they're rad. If you've checked out Dogpatch Boulders you know what we're talking about. The angles are killer. The look is clean. And gosh darn-it people like them.
After being so impressed with the our experience designing and building Dogpatch Boulders with Walltopia, we're excited to see what they can do with 30 more feet of vertical space. The expansion will add over 5,000 sq ft of new climbing terrain to Mission Cliffs, making it the biggest indoor climbing facility in the Bay Area.
We pored over the feedback from our fall survey, and therefore decided to included an adjustable crack, arêtes, dihedrals, and much more in the design. We're especially excited to design a steep, cresting wave wall similar to the feature at Dogpatch Boulders... but 50ft ft high! Check out some of the initial visualizations.
In the coming weeks we will be finalizing our designs and beginning construction! We'll be sure to keep you up to speed on the process. Thank you for your continued patience and support!