How to Make Tape Gloves

The Salathe Headwall on El Capitan, the North Six Shorter in Indian Creek, and Dog Leg in Joshua Tree are all beautiful routes that require just one look before you get a desperate desire to climb them. Cracks are by far the most aesthetic lines in climbing

Crack climbing is beautiful but it also hurts. Anyone who has crack climbed has gobied their hands. The small abrasions on the back of your hands or fingers stem from the sharpness of the rock and systematic wear from jamming.

Kuehl ThrashedHands

Read more: How to Make Tape Gloves

Squamish Bouldering

Summer is just a few months away.  Warm weather, good climbing, and no more raining will be here sooner than you think.  One of the best places to climb during the summer months is in Canada's Squamish in British Columbia.  The cool forest keeps the boulders nice and shady for all the sloping heel hooks.  

Last August, Courtney Miyamato, Will Wollcott, Colin Trenter, Jennifer Szeto, Kim Groebner, James Lucas, and other bay area climbers headed to the amazing granite boulders to check out some of North America's best boulder problems.  Miyamato put together a great video of all the climbers sending some rad problems.  Check out the great footage. Get ready for the summer bouldering season and get pysched!


Heidi Wirtz Slideshow and Clinic

North Face climber and pro athlete, Heidi Wirtz is coming to the bay area to give a slide show and provide some invaluable clinic time at Berkeley Ironworks.

Heidi Wirtz began climbing over twenty years ago and has traveled to Nepal, Morocco, Jordan, Siberia, Tasmania, the Czech Republic and more.  From pioneering new big wall routes to making enormous ascents of snowy peaks, Heidi Almighty not only has pushed the boundaries of female exploration but she's also the co-founder of Girls Education International, an organization that brings education to women and girls in undeserved areas throughout the world.


Read more: Heidi Wirtz Slideshow and Clinic

Rainbow Wall: Trad Climbing Video

The Rainbow Wall in Red Rocks Las Vegas towers high above the rest of the climbing in the desert. A long traditional climb that was freed at 5.12, the Rainbow Wall is a modern testpiece and the Half Dome of the desert. Big wall free climbing godesss, Madaleine Sorkin and her partner Jason Nelson headed up the wall earlier this year and made an ascent of the classic route. If you're tired of the endless barrage of bouldering and sport climbing videos out there, check out this cool video that Fitz Cahall made of the Rainbow Wall.

Castle Rock Saved: For Now

Castle Rock State Park, one of the best climbing destinations in the south bay area, was saved from closure by the Sempervirens Fund, a nonprofit conservation group in Los Altos.  The deal, which is set to be announced today, Wednesday, means the park will receive $250,000.  The donation will help keep the park open for another year.  

Castle Rock1

Read more: Castle Rock Saved: For Now

Climber's Workshop

Want to learn how to become a solid rock climber? One of the best ways to learn about climbing technique is through personal instruction and training.

Justin Alarcon, a 31 year old climber from Berkeley, has climbed the extremely difficult double digit Yosemite boulder problems Pine Box, Yabo Roof, and Narcissus, the latter of which he climbed at 1:20 am on a July morning without spotters. Besides having climbed 8a on three different continents, a number of long Yosemite routes, 5.13 sport routes, and having coached climbing since the early 2000s, Alarcon is finishing up his NASM personal training certification. Most notably, Justin’s climbing has continuously improved over his 12+ years on rock. Part of Justin’s success stems from his training.

Justin Mickeys SexPorp 002


 “The first time I did any kind of structured training program was prior to a two month trip to South Africa's Rocklands. This turned out to be a watershed experience for me because my performance on rock far exceeded anything that I had done before that and it was so obvious what the only difference had been,” said Alarcon.

Justin Pluraity 1666

Beginning April 1st, Alarcon will be holding a 6 week intensive climbing workshop designed to teach climbers the fundamentals of rock climbing.“This workshop will lean more heavily on climbing technique and strategy but will also incorporate typical fitness strategies,” said Alarcon.

Sign up for Alarcon’s climbing training workshop

For questions and more information please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cost: $150 for members, $200 for non-members.

When: Sundays from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, beginning April 1st

Justin Mickeys SexPorp 002

Zero Gravity Takes on Nationals

As climbing moves toward the Olympics, USA Climbing paired up with the US Olympic committee this year to host the Open and Youth Bouldering National Championships in Colorado Springs, CO.  The Open competition was held on February 24th and 25th.  This was easily the strongest depth of field of any Climbing National Championship to date, with the outcome going down to the last attempts on the day.  Touchstone member Ethan Pringle looked to win the comp but dropped to 2nd place as Daniel Woods pulled out the win in the dying moments.  Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team members did well in this strong field with four of the six participating qualifying for Semi-Finals.  Joshua Levin 16th, Cicada Jenerik 17th, Jacquelyn Wu 21st, Sera Busse 23rd, Will Roderick 47th, Rick Gentery 50th.

o gravity 3

Read more: Zero Gravity Takes on Nationals

South East Bro Trip

Bro trips are one of the best parts of climbing. Hanging out with a few other like minded climbers, wrestling awesome rock, and than sitting together drinking beers at night creates some great camaraderie and awesome trips.

From February 28th until March 8th, Jacob Nelson and Ryan Rougeux of Sacramento Pipeworks met up with Ryan Moon and Justin Alarcon of Berkeley Ironworks. The climbers met up with a crew of kids from Salt Lake, a few climbers from Washington, and world traveler, Ethan Pringe for a total bro down ho-down. The climbers rented a cabin in Alabama and than made short commutes to Little Rock City, Horse Pens 40, and sandstone bouldering in Georgia. At night, they rested their sore forearms by drinking beer in a hot tub and watching romantic comedies. Moon described it as being one of his best trips. Not ony did he get to climb with his hero Ethan Pringle, tell a ton of bad fart jokes, but he ate amazing food. The group went to Aretha Drankenstein's "It’s got the best waffles I’ve had in my life and I’m all about waffles," said Moon. Moon put together a video of the trip. Ignore the hail at the beginning and notice the rad climbing.

Friday Night TRS at The Studio

The Touchstone Rope series is kicking off its first comp of the year at the grand opening of the Studio! This Friday night, March 16th, Touchstone's newest gym will have all new routes, and tons of great climbing. This will definitely be one of the most exciting comps ever. The competition will be super interesting as everyone will be onsighting, climbing entirely new terrain. Not only that, but there will be ton of beer, food, a huge shoe sale, and lots of fun.

Read more: Friday Night TRS at The Studio

Shoe Demos and Sale

The next few weeks are a great time to be checking out the newest models on climbing footwear.  5.10, Evolv, and La Sportiva will be heading out to the Touchstone gyms for a series of shoe demos and sales.  There will be a big sale on a selection  of climbing shoes at the opening of the Studio on March 16th.  Check out some of the shoes that will be featured and stop by at your local gym to check out some awesome spring footwear!



There is no better shoe for high-end sport climbing, bouldering or competition climbing. The Hornet is built on a new state-of-the-art low volume last, with a downturned toe and an asymmetrical lacing system that allows for a perfect, custom fit. The upper is synthetic Cowdura™ with a 3-D Polytechnic™ coating that increases durability and abrasion resistance without adding weight. The Mystique™ outsole offers unparalleled grip, precision and durability.

Read more: Shoe Demos and Sale

Access Fund In DC

On March 2, 2012, executive director of The Access Fund, Brady Robinson attended the White House Conference on Conservation. The conference, which was held at the Department of the Interior, was attended by a number of outdoor enthusiasts. Government officials spoke about environmental concerns and President Obama spoke about the importance of conservation in the US. Check out the Access Fund video.

Youth Nationals with Katrina Louie

A national youth climbing competition was held in Colorado Springs this past weekend and a number of Touchstone climbers headed out to compete.  Aubrey Lim of Metal Mark, Hannah Claire Le from Ironworks, the Zero Gravity team, and Katrina Louie all went to pull down with the nation’s strongest climbers.  The Touchstone blog met up with Louie to talk about her experience.

Katrina Louie, a 14 year old freshman at Miraonte High School, headed to her first nationals this past weekend.  The Orinda resident started climbing 2 years ago.  Excited about climbing, she took private lessons at Ironworks and then joined the teen team there a year and a half ago.

Louie prepared for the comp by doing 4 x 4s, working on her endurance, practicing onsighting, training her core, and doing pushups after climbing. “ I'm trying to climb routes that are hard for me because of the holds or the moves, as opposed to climbs that are "my style" of climbing. Also, some friends have helped me make a schedule and have given me tips about how to get better, which has helped me train,” said Louie.

2011Dec10Reno 017
Prior to Nationals, Louie went to three local comps.  Her friend and Ironworks teen team member Elise Buser, joined her at Regionals in Reno, NV and Divisionals in Seattle, WA. Louie placed first at Regionals and 7th in the finals at Divisionals.

23May2011 009
Nationals was a great opportunity for Louie to compete on a bigger scale. “It was exciting and I didn't really get nervous once I started climbing, even though I was beforehand. Once I got out there and started working on the problems it was just really fun. It was my first nationals, and it's my first year competing so I'm glad I got this far.”

Louie took the time to review her performance. “ I could have analyzed the climbs more since it was an onsight competition, but I think what I did well was not giving up on two the climbs, allowing me to finish them with about 30 seconds remaining, and also trying out different beta."

Louie plans on climbing sport routes now that the bouldering competition season is over.  Congratulations to all the competitors!

Past blog entries can be found at



Latest News

Latest Routes

  • BI 10 New Routes 5.10B - 5.12B
  • MM 2 Routes,5.10a-5.10c
  • MM 2 Routes, 5.11a-5.11b

Touchstone's Instagram

Tag your instagram photos with: #touchstoneclimbing