Peregrine Falcon Openings

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.  

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Jake The Reaper's Touchstone Origins

Climbing is a great way to exercise after work and find much needed relief from the office grind.  “The escape, the physical and mental challenge, constantly finding new ways to tweak my body just-so, and doing it with friends who share my passion for it—all add up to a complete package for me,” said Kenneth Woodruff, a Bay Area designer, animator, and developer.  

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Read more: Jake The Reaper's Touchstone Origins

Ten Week Training Workshop

Looking to improve your climbing and gain a solid head start on the fall season? On Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m., Justin Alarcon, a long time climber and trainer at the Touchstone gyms, is offering a ten week work shop designed to motivate and train climbers interested in climbing specific training.

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Rock Climbing Gear

Rock climbing requires a significant amount of gear. A harness, shoes, belay device, and more are all needed to get started. In this video, the basic climbing gear needed for getting started is described. Check it out. 

Road Construction at Ironworks

Beginning Wednesday, July 18th, there will be road construction between Berkeley Ironworks and Grainger. The crew will be working on rebuilding a sewer line that runs from 7th to Ashby. The construction will begin near the parking lot and extend to Ashby's freeway entrance.  Be aware of the increased traffic and a road closure because of the work.


Support Relay For Life At TRS 6

This Friday night, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Berkeley Ironworks will be holding the next climbing competition in the Touchstone Rope Series.  For this great event, Touchstone will be giving a little back by donating all proceeds from non-member entrants to the American Cancer Society through Relay For Life.  At the comp, Relay For Life will be providing climbers with  info, great gifts, and places to donate during the comp.


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Introduction to Climbing

Want to learn a little bit more about climbing and the best ways to move across the walls? Adam Barczak, a rock climbing instructor, helped produce a number of great instructional videos on how to rock climb. Check this one out.

Climbing North Facing Routes

The North Face of any formation is often the most intimidating.  North facing rocks receive less sun, tend to be steeper, and more dangerous. In this video, the classic Monty Python crew tackles the North Face of Uxbridge Road.  These techniques are essential for harder climbing. Watch in amazement.

TRS 6 at Ironworks

On Friday the 13th from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Berkeley Ironworks will be holding their TRS 6 comp. This will be one of the best comps in the Touchstone Rope Series. Pyramid Brewery will be there pouring a Hefeweizen, an Apricot Ale, Thunderhead IPA and the new Curve Ball Summer Blonde Ale. There will also be a ton of food, new routes, and a lot of fun. 

As part of the comps preparation, the routes on the back slabs and in the lead cave will be closed on Tuesday. Most of the rope climbing will be closed from Wednesday night on.  The cllosures are so the route setters can set some great climbs for the comp.


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Pringle and the Eye of Odin

In late June, Ethan Pringle flew to Norway to compete with Dani Anrada and Magnus Midtobe for a purse of 15,000 Norwegian Kroner, roughly $2500.  The three world class climbers went to a famous cave in the county of Flatanger.

“If Jailhouse and Mickey’s Beach had a baby, and that offspring was artificially inseminated with rock sperm from Rumney and Column of the Giants at the same time… then THAT baby grew up subsisting on nothing but muscle milk, steroids and acid it would be the Flatanger cave,” said Pringle. “The texture of the rock feels much like Rumney and some of the big slopey jugs and cracks remind me a little of California granite. I hate to say it, but it also reminds me of coastal rock, particularily Courtney, an 11d route at Mickey's Beach.”

A crowd of 150 people watched Dani, Magnus, and Ethan attempt the big spans and the move into an evil looking eye. After a few redpoint attempts and a night off, the three climbers tried the route again.  Ethan climbed the route first. He described the climb saying, “Dani and Magnus obviously climbed the route with style and grace, while I climbed with wild desperation... but it worked. I don't think I've ever topped out a route after becoming so terminally pumped on it.” The climbers named the route The Eye of Odin, giving the route 8c+ ( 5.14c). 

Pringle has had a productive trip to Norway already. Pringle bolted and redpointed the line Nordic Plumber 8c and he met Adam Onrada!  Check out Ethan’s blog for the latest.

4th of July Closures

All of the Touchstone climbing gyms will be closed for the 4th of July.  Wednesday would be a great day to check out the climbing around Tahoe Lake.  There's excellent bouldering, top rope climbing, trad, and sport.  Take the day to celebrate the United State's Independence and head to the crag!


Touchstone Interview: Dave Altman

Every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., a scraggly haired fellow helps climbers and exercisers in the weight section of Berkeley Ironworks.  Dave Altman, a 60 year old climber, has been working for Touchstone since it began.  Altman began helping people with their strength training technique in August of 1992 when the gym was CityRock.  In between introducing people to weight training, helping people rehab their injuries, and teaching outdoor climbing classes, Altman is an obsessive mathematician, enjoying low-dimensional topology and physics-related differential geometry.

More notably, Altman and his friend Ray Jardine, made early ascents of Tales of Power, Separate Reality, Crimson Cringe, and Cosmic Debris, all hard 5.12 Yosemite cracks.  Altman talked to the Touchstone blog about his long time climbing career.

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Read more: Touchstone Interview: Dave Altman

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  • MM 3 Routes, 5.9-5.12a/b 1 Route Added 10/29 5.10c
  • MM 2 Routes, 5.10b-5.10c 1 Route Added 10/29 5.11a
  • MM 5 Routes, 5.8-5.11c 1 Route Added 10/29 5.10c

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