Michael Reynolds at Ironworks

Michael Reynolds, a bay area born and raised photographer has a series of fantastic photographs adorning the walls of Berkeley Ironworks currently.  The east bay gym's artist of the month, Reynolds began hiking and climbing in Yosemite and the Sierra as a teenager.  “My photography was an out-growth of going the mountains and exploring.  I was also a bit of a photography geek in high school.  I was the kid with the camera, taking pictures for the high school yearbook, fussing around in the darkroom, etc.  It really started as a vehicle for sharing my vision of the outdoors.”

Reynolds photography includes images from the Southwest, the mountains of the western United States and the Pacific coastal areas.
Reynolds

Half Dome Moon

Read more: Michael Reynolds at Ironworks

The Man Who Can Fly: Dean Potter

There's never been a better time to be a free soloist. If you're willing to put it all on the line and climb without ropes, there's a ton of amazing footage of the world's best unroped climbers out there. On February 12th, the National Geographic Channel will be airing a short piece about Dean Potter, one of the world's bravest individuals.

 



Potter climbed traversed from Thanksgiving Ledge on Lurking Fear to Round Table Ledge on The Freerider. The footage of him climbing ropeless on El Cap involves some seriously exposed 5.11+ granite ninja work. National Geographic also put together a short piece about making the piece.

Read more: The Man Who Can Fly: Dean Potter

Climbing and Parenting

Climbing and parenting: a balance between hanging on and letting go. Kate Reese McGinnis is a parent with a young child. When Annie was born, Kate thought her lifestyle as a climber would change drastically. The Red River Gorge climber didn't know what to expect. She's learned how to balance the climbing lifestyle with being a parent. Her story is just one of thousands of climbers with children. Across the bay area, climbers with kids crush. It's not an easy task but it's fully doable. Check out her inspiring story.

Pringle In Turkey

Touchstone athlete and renown global rock climbing super star, Ethan Pringle just returned from an exciting trip to Turkey.

After spending the holidays in Norway with friends, Pringle headed to Antalya, Turkey, to climb on the limestone crags of Geyikbayiri for three weeks with his girlfriend, Trine Hollerude-Odden. Daniel Woods, Emily Harrington, Sam Elias and other members of the North Face crew had traveled to the area and made a video series of the area. Pringle had seen the amazing climbing in the area. “It was steep limestone sport climbing with tufas and pockets.  Some cracks too.” said Pringle. “It’s world class. It’s on par with Kalymnos.”

Pringle 2


Read more: Pringle In Turkey

Yosemite Bouldering Videos

Mill Valley resident, Kyle O'Meara transplanted from Washtington earlier this year and has been crushing the boulders in Yosemite. He flashed Midnight Lightning, the Moffat Start to Midnight, the Force, and a number of other classic Yosemite boulder problems. He's documented a number of his ascents. In his latest video, he made a super proud ascent of King Air. This V10 by Leconte Memorial sits next to a short practice aid climb. The boulder problem is higher than the bolt ladder! Check out Kyle going all out on the problem with 4 pads and no spotters. Proud!

The folks over at Louder Than 11, Dave Wetmore, Max Zolotukhin, Natasha Barnes, Rich Crowder, Ryan Silven, and Jordan Shipman, spent ten days climbing in Yosemite earlier this winter. They came out with a rad video featuring some of the best problems in the Valley. Check out their 25 minute long movie of a ton of amazing pebbles.

Warming Up The Community

Winter finally arrived in the Bay area.  The cold wet weather will be around for a few weeks.  There are numerous people in the Bay who have a hard time staying warm through these periods of rain and sleet.  Brittini Tanebaum, an AmeriCorps Program Coordinator and Ironworks member, is conducting a winter clothing drive to benefit the underprivileged youth of Berkeley.   

The clothing drive is being run through an organization called Playworks (www.playworks.org) by a group of AmeriCorps members.  AmeriCorps members dedicate a year to serving communities that are in need.

 

 

Clothing donations

 

From Thursday January 19th until Friday, February 3rd, bins will be located inside Berkeley Ironworks for clothing donations.  The drive has a number of different sites.  When everything is collected, the clothing will be distributed to different elementary schools throughout the East Bay and anything that is left over will be donated to charity.


Take the time to donate some of your warm garments to kids who need them.

Zero Gravity in Seattle

The Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team continued their impressive run of form at the USA Climbing, Division 1 Bouldering Championships.  The event was hosted by the Seattle Bouldering Project http://seattleboulderingproject.com/ in Seattle, WA the weekend of January 14/15, 2012.
Zero Gravity 1


Congratulations to Division 1 Champions Mirko Caballero, Natalia Grossman, and Joshua Levin.
Silver Medalists Hanna Grossman, Jacquelyn Wu and Cicada Jenerik.  Bronze Medalist Rick Gentry.
Zero Gravity 2

And also; Will Roderick 4th, Courtney Ceran 4th, Matt Grossman 5th, Connor Everton 5th, Dylan Meyerhoffer, 6th, Revan Florn 8th, Michael Cohen 8th, Ethan Rogers 10th, Seth Rogers 10th, Gabrial Pine 11th, Sera Busse 13th, Mel Roderick 13th, Daniel Franklin 14th, Nathan Frankel 15th, Mike Humphrey 18th, Cameron Read 19th.  
Zero Gravity 3
Those placing 7th or better, have received an invitation to the USA Climbing Youth National Championships.  The National Championships will be the weekend of March 3/4 at United Stated Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, CO.  This is exceptionally exciting as Climbing is on the International Olympic Committee short list for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.  Coordination between the USO and USAC is a positive step in making this a reality. In addition, many of the older Touchstone's Zero Gravity athletes will be competing at the Adult National Championships the weekend before, February 24/25 at the same venue.      
zero Gravity 4
More information about USA Climbing can be found at http://usaclimbing.net/home.cfm Touchstone Zero Gravity is coached by Scot Jenerik.

Bridges School at DRG

On Wednesday, January 18th, a group of young adults from the Bridges School in Martinez headed over to Diablo Rock Gym. The group learned the basics of rock climbing. They were taught basic rock climbing technigue, knot tying, and the importance of belaying safely.

Bridges School

"We have been coming here for years. The participants always talk about this experience more than any of our other outings,"said the facilitator from the Bridge School. "They are always asking when the next visit will be. Thanks so much for having us."

 

Groups like these come to Diablo Rock Gym and the other Touchstone gyms often. They are a great chance to spend time with a group building team skills and cooperative behavior. They are also a ton of fun.

Eric Sanchez: The DRG Setter

If you've climbed in the bay area gyms in the past few years, you've probably seen a few of the young climbers grow up and turn into strong climbers.  Eric Sanchez has been climbing at the Touchstone for a number of years now and currently works in the gyms.  Sanchez, a 19 years old from Livermore California, works full time as a setter at Diablo Rock Gym, studies graphic design, and crushes in the time in between. The modest crusher said, “Setting, working, and school is pretty much all I do. “

Sanchez1.1

Sanchez began climbing nine years ago. “My mom dropped me off at the gym in Livermore to keep me buy.” Sanchez became immersed in the sport, spending three years climbing with Zero Gravity. In 2009 he won adult nationals for speed and has been to a number of world championships for climbing.

 Sanchez began working for Touchstone in June, helping out with the initial setting at Fesno’s MetalMark gym. “Setting is really fun,” said Sanchez, “I’ve climbed the other setters routes for years and I finally got to meet them.”

 Earlier this year, Sanchez headed to Mickey’s Beach, located just north of San Francisco in Marin. Sanchez dispatched with Dream of White Porsches (5.13b). “I’d been bouldering a lot so it was good to tie into a rope. Id tried it for a few years but it had always shut me down,” Sanchez saif of the climb. “I had been working it awhile with Ben Polanco and Scot Cory. We put our beta together and it kind of clicked.“

Sanchez has also dispatched King Pin, a 5.13b at Jailhouse in Sonora, and Foreignator, an 8a in Ceuse France. Sanchez described the notoriously pocketed area of Ceuse as being specifically difficult for him. Foreignator consists, “primarily of two finger pockets. My fingers aren’t that strong as just two.” Despite his difficulty with pocket climbing, Sanchez made the third ascent of Half Shark Alligator Half Man, one of the hardest climbs at the Sads. “I generally don’t like pocket climbs because my fingers don’t take well to them but it was a really fun climb.”

Sanchez 2.1

Eric on Half Shark Aligator Half Man

 These photos were snapped by Sanchez's friend, Alton Richardson

Next month, Sanchez will be heading to the ABS bouldering Nationals in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Good luck with the climbing Eric.

Going Dark

Today the Facebook profiles of Touchstone and all of the gyms went dark.  We are joining the hundreds of other businesses and individuals that are protesting SOPA & PIPA. These laws, if passed, would forever change the internet in this country and the world.  In effect these laws would create a firewall around the US similar to the one currently in China.  Simply put, we can't allow this to happen.

Please take a minute to tell Congress not to censor the web. 

http://sopa.boldprogressives.org/call/call_sopa_allcongress_craigslist/?source=craigslist

 

 

Past blog entries can be found at  http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/

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