One of the most important skills in rock climbing is learning to stand on your feet. Solid footwork and balance will help you climb the most difficult climbs around. Yosemite Valley, with its long low angle pieces of granite, provides a perfect place to practice slab climbing and working on your footwork. The Camp 4 boulders contain a number of great difficult slab problems including Initial Friction, Blue Suede Shoes, Kumba, and more.
Located right behind the Wine Boulder, just a few minutes from the Camp 4 campground, Blue Suede Shoes is an area classic. Just to the left is the more difficult Red Suede Shoes. Check out Andy Liu's smooth footwork.
The Touchstone Bouldering Series Comps kick off this Friday evening at Berkeley Ironworks. In their 8th year, the TBS comps are some of the best climbing competitions in the United States. With free food, free beer sponsored by local breweries, and tons of awesome climbing, these comps offer an amazing chance to have fun with the climbing community in your area.
Never been to a Touchstone Bouldering Competition? Check out this hilarious video where GWPC staffer Andrew Jackson walks us through a day in the life of a Bouldering Competition. We dare you to watch this without cracking up.
The climbing comps will roll through each of the Touchstone gyms. Below is a schedule of the upcoming comps. For further information check out our comp page.
Friday, November 9th, 2012 • Ironworks in Berkeley • 5pm-10pm
Friday, December 7th, 2012 • The Studio in San Jose • 5pm-10pm
Saturday, January 26th, 2013 • Metalmark in Fresno • 12pm-5pm
Friday, February 22nd, 2013 • Sacramento Pipeworks • 5pm-10pm
Friday, March 15th, 2013 • Concord Diablo Rock Gym • 5pm-10pm
Friday, April 19th, 2013 • Oakland Great Western Power Co • 5pm-10pm
Saturday, May 4th, 2013 • FINALE at Dogpatch Boulders! 12pm-5pm
Recently, Touchstone released the logo for their newest climbing gym designed by Mark Fox. Dogpatch is Fox's fourth identity he has created for Touchstone. Fox designed the logos for the Studio, Metal Mark and the former Class 5. Fox took some time to talk about the designs he has done with Touchstone.
The state of our public lands, our national parks, and the places we climb concern many people including legendary climber Lynn Hill. In this video, Lynn addresses the issues of the environment we live and climbing in as the election approaches.
The fall weather arrived. Perfect cool days with beautiful leaves on the ground make for great climbing days and amazing experiences. An important part of being a climber is being a steward of places we get to climb. The gorgeous crags can be overrun with litter and debris if we neglect to take care of them. The Access Fund made a funny little video about litter. Next time you head to Indian Rock, Yosemite, or Castle Rock make sure to pick up after yourself. Grab those little pieces of tape, the bar wrappers, and any extra trash. Keep climbing areas beautiful.
On September 12th through the 16th the World Climbing Championships took place in Paris, France. Over 500 athletes representing 60 countries entered the competition. Jaime Quintana, a Mission Cliffs climber for the past 3 years, headed out to France to represent his home country of Peru in the comp. Quintana works as an IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations) and AMGA (American Mountain Guides Associations) guide leading climbing expeditions in the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru during the summer.
Quintana talked to the Touchstone blog a bit about his experience.
Recently, the Children's Hospital Adaptive Sports Program stopped by MetalMark. The climbing at the Fresno gym is an integral part of the program, which recreational and athletic experiences for those with disabilities. Based out of the Central Valley, the program takes disabled people of all ages and health impairments and encourages them to take part in athletic activities and exceed expectations.
During the last visit to MetalMark, 12 kids got to climb through their various handicaps. The kids climbed out of their wheelchairs, walkers, and leg braces and had a ton of fun. Approximately 15 volunteers, came in, took the belay class, and facilitated and encouraged the kids in their climbing.
Katie Walker, who wears a prosthetic leg and climbs regularly at MetalMark, volunteered to encourage the kids as well.
The program scheduled another visit for the middle of November. The kids are definitely excited as it is a great opportunity for them to get an incredible experience.
Earlier this year, three men climbed the Zodiac on El Capitan. This striking aid line climbs through one of the steepest parts of Yosemite's quintessential granite monolith. While this aid climb sees a number of ascents through out the season, the Gimp Monkey's ascent is a little different as all three of the men are amputees. They made an inspiring video about their ascent.
This weekend, from October 26th to the 28th, Oakdale is having its first climber's festival. The festivites, which will be held at the Oakdale Community Center at 110 South 2nd Ave in Oakdale, promise to be a great opportunity to learn about some of the vibrant California climbing history.
On Friday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m., there will be a discussion of John Salathe. Allen Steck will be talking about his first ascent experience on the Sentinel with Salathe, Ken Yaeger will talk about Salathe's experience in Camp 4, and Doug Robinson will address Salathe's commitment to boldness and style.
Climbing outside is a ton of fun. The wind, the fresh air, the entire atmosphere is part of what makes climbing enjoyable. It's important to protect the environment that climbing is in. Part of being a good steward at our crags is not using excessive tick marks, lines to show where holds are. If you do decide to use a tick mark on a route or boulder problem be responsible and brush them off after you are done for the day. The Access Fund made a great little video of a climber getting a little too zealous with his ticks.
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.
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."