Artist of the Month: Andreina Davila

Rock climbing attracts all manners of people.  Artists make a significant contribution to the climbing community.  The Touchstone gyms enjoy celebrating the amazing artwork that many locals climbers produce.  From the great photography of Dan Mottaz at Mission Cliffs to the artistic work of Andreina Davila at Ironworks, amazing art work hangs on the walls of all of the Touchstone gyms.  

This month, Andreina Davila's work is displayed at Ironworks.  Davila was born and raised in Venezuela in 1977. Davila, a painter of 6 years, splits her time between her art and her role as Creative Director for the Diabetes Hands Foundation, a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2008.


andreina davila_cave-in_web


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CRAGS Lobbies to Open Auburn Quarry

Today, CRAGS (Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento) and the Access Fund negotiated an agreement with California's Auburn State Recreation Area to lift a 9-year ban on rock climbing at the Cave Valley Climbing Area, the Auburn Quarry.  While the agreement must still be approved by the California Department of Parks and Recreation,  CRAGS and the Access Fund are working to raise approximately $10,000 to provide critical services to offset climber impacts.  

AuburnQuarry pic1

photo by Jerry Dodrill

Read more: CRAGS Lobbies to Open Auburn Quarry

Golden Rules of Climbing

Proper technique in climbing will help you scale the hardest rock faces.  There are a few Golden Rules of Rock climbing.  

The first, keeping your arms straight, will help you conserve immense amounts of energy.  Bent arms deplete strength quickly while straight arms and hanging on your skeleton will help conserve your energy.  

The second rule, being aware of your center of gravity, helps keep your body in balance.  Knowing that you are stable will help you stay relaxed, help you make moves, and make you climb better.  

The third golden rule of climbing, being mindful of your feet, is especially important for California climbers.  Much of the rock around California is slabby which means standing well on your big toe, pushing with your feet and being precise.

In this video, Adam explains the Golden Rules of Rock Climbing.  Check it out.

TRS Comps with Pettigrew

The Touchstone Rope Series comps are in full force. On Friday, August 10th from 5 until 10 pm,  TRS is coming to Diablo Rock Gym.   In anticipation of the comps, the Touchstone blog talked with Trevor Pettigrew, the 28 year old owner operator of Pettigrew Electric.  Pettigrew has climbed at all the comps to date and talked about the TRS Series. 

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Behind the Paddle: Scott Frye

Eying his opponent from across the nine foot long table, Scott crouched and spun his paddle. The small white ball volleyed towards him. Scott blasted sideways. His paddle smashed the ball. The hit gave the ball topspin and accelerated it towards his opponent in a finalizing blow.

Frye's Coach Xin, 9 year old national champion and Frye's sparring partner Kevin Lee, and Scott Frye

Scott Frye is no ordinary ping pong player. The 53 year old Berkeley native and Touchstone Climbing Gym stock boy is also a father in the era of modern sport climbing. With the same obsession that he now plays ping pong with, he once climbed with.

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Setting Up As the Belayer

Setting up as the belayer is one of the most important aspects of the climbing partnership. Belaying well involves more than just holding the rope for your partner. Using an ATC or GriGri requires a significant amount of attention to the activity of the climber. It's important to pull in and feed out rope at the correct times. In this instructional video, Adam Barczack demonstrates the proper way to belay.


Learning To Offwidth

Ahab, The Steck Salathe, The Harding Slot, Generator Crack, there are hundreds of wide pitches in Yosemite.  From the single difficult pitch Twilight Zone to the sustained 5 inch cracks of long route Mental Block, climbing in the Valley requires a specific set of skills involving off widths. Learning these techniques is far from easy.  Arm bars, t-stacks, leavittation, and chicken winging sound less like climbing moves than a combination of magic and mechanics.


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Good Eggs at Ironworks

Picture this an amazing local food market around the corner.  Berkeley Ironworks is hosting Good Eggs, a community food hub for food and people, organized by the neighborhood and city.Come for a workout and on your way home, pick up fresh bread, Four Barrel coffee, pickles, jams, organic seasonal produce, specialty meats, and delicious ready-to-eat meals, all in one place.

Each week order the food you want from Good Eggs's great local farmers. The goods will be delivered to Ironworks on Thursdays for you to pick up and enjoy. Just order, eat and repeat!

This Thursday, Good Eggs and Ironworks will be hosting Nana Joes Granola, Sow Fresh Juice, I Love Blue Sea seafood, and Harley Richter Meats.  This is a great opportunity to order amazing granola, fresh orange juice, California King Salmon, and amazing bacon.  Come on by to taste samples and find out how you can get in on the deliciousness.


Dogpatch Boulders Walltopia Walls

Last week, Touchstone signed an agreement with Walltopia to have the new San Francisco bouldering gym, Dogpatch Boulders, built by the Bulgarian wall manufacturing company.   

With over 1.7 million square feet of climbing walls built since 1996, Walltopia has led the industry in climbing wall manufacturing.  Stone Gardens in Seattle, Momentum in Salt Lake City, Stone Summit in Atlanta, and numerous other facilities in the United States and Europe have employed Walltopia to create amazing climbing structures.

Walltopia-logo-Web and Print

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Tests of Grip: Ripping a Phone Book

On Friday, August 17th, the Bay Area Grip Challenge will be heading to Diablo Rock Gym for another round of tests of grip strength.  One of the most active members in the Touchstone grip strength community, Daniel Reinard is known for his vast hand strength.  He recently put together a video about one of the most common feats of strength- ripping a phone book apart.  There are two methods used to pull so many pages apart at once, popping and grip and rip.  In this video, he shows you how to do both.  Check it out and get pysched for the upcoming event.

How To Tie In

In this video, Adam Barczack shows you the proper method to tie into a rope.  Being the climber means you must make sure to safely secure yourself to the rope.  Check out Adam's video for details.


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