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.


Read more: TRS 6 at Ironworks

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

East Bay Betas: Ben Young

 "When can I take the lead test? When can I take the lead test? When can I take the lead test," asked Ben Young. Everyday for almost a year, East Betas member Ben has bugged the GWPC teen team coaches to let him apply for a lead card. Earlier this month, Ben finally turned 14, the required age to apply for a lead card.


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Ben has been climbing for the past 2 years and with the East Betas for a year and a half. Ben has had solid coaching and has managed to climb up to 5.11+. When he stepped up to take the test on Wednesday, June 26, he was ready.

Read more: East Bay Betas: Ben Young

MetalMark Luau

On June 25th, MetalMark celebrate their one year anniversary with a Hawaiian themed luau.  Over 100 members came to participate in the water balloon toss contest, the limbo contest, the hula hooping, and to enjoy the great appetizers.
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During the event, which ran from 5 to 8 p.m., exciting luau music was played and everyone received a lei, a wreath of flowers worn around the neck.

Read more: MetalMark Luau

Honnold and Florine at Touchstone

On June 19th, Sacramento climber, Alex Honnold and stopped by MetalMark to talk about his latest feat on Yosemite's big stone. Just two days before, Honnold and Diablo Rock Gym Manager, Hans Florine shattered the speed record on the Nose of El Capitan, climbing the route in a blindingly fast time of 2:23:46.


Honnold signed posters, chatted with members, talked about his recent speed ascent, and climbed the gym's hardest crack.

Read more: Honnold and Florine at Touchstone

Community Food Hub at Ironworks

Picture this: An amazing local market just opened up—inside Ironworks! 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. We’re teaming up with our friends at Good Eggs to create a Community Food Hub, a space to get the best locally-made foods, in a place you dig!

Here’s how it works: Each week you order the food you want from foodmakers you'll love, all through Good Eggs. Your goods get delivered to Ironworks on Thursdays for you to pick up and enjoy. (And if you come to pick up your food and skip your workout, we won’t judge.) Just order, eat and repeat!

We’re kicking off our Community Food Hub on Tuesday, June 26th from 6-8pm! Come on by to taste samples and find out how you can get in on the


Thank you for choosing Fixe Hardware for your climbing equipment. The pro-deal is a special offer to athletes, guides, and climbing company affiliates to help put the best equipment out on the rock. 

In order to fill the pro-form orders in a timely manner, there are a few requirements:

The minimum order is $100.  Orders may only be placed twice a year.

Back stock orders will be canceled. 

Pricing information is confidential.  Please do not share.

All pro-form orders must be paid for by credit card. 

AMGA guides will be checked for authenticity on the AMGA website.

Most importantly, know your hardware.  Mixing metals seriously decreases strength and leads to corrosion.  When placing bolts use the correct size hanger- ½ inch diameter bolts need ½ inch hangers.  Make sure you use the proper type of bolt for the stone you are drilling.   We all have something to learn.  Stay up to date on the latest hardware.   Inform other first ascentionists, rebolters, land managers, and climbers about the best and safest equipment to use.


Please fill out the attached order form and email it back.


Have fun out there and good climbing

James Lucas



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Climbing Tips from Sharma

Getting climbing tips from a pro are invaluable. World class climber, Chris Sharma offers some great in sight into how to climb better in his latest series of videos from the folks at Rock and Ice.  Check out the great advice that Sharma has to offer.

Summer Training

This summer, COCO Crossfit Stregth and Conditioning will be offering a strength and conditioning class engineered for youths entering 6th-12th grade. This will be a great opportunity for young athletes to learn metabolic conditioning, nutrition, speed development, running form, Olympic lifting, pylometrics, core strength, and a bit about endurance.


The COCO Crossfit Strength and Conditioning series offers athletes the opportunity to train and raise their fitness to an elite level. The program combines resistance, plyometric, Kettlebell, agility, speed and metabolic training to improve strength, running and work capacity.

Read more: Summer Training

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  • MM 2 Routes, 5.9-5.11a 1 Route added 1/29 5.11b
  • MM 2 Routes,5.10a-5.10c 1 Route added 1/29 5.10d

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