By: Jason Bove
This month, I proudly introduce...Suleka Sun-Lindley. You may have seen her upside-down in a yoga class, climbing, cooking, painting, designing, smiling, or bringing the local community together through some other ambitious pursuit. I have had the pleasure of knowing Suleka for many years now, and I am constantly impressed that one woman can accomplish so many things, while keeping a positive attitude and staying grounded. She is, among many other things, the owner/manager of Thai Basil; a restaurant voted “Best Thai Restaurant” by readers of Sacramento News and Review consecutively since 2001.
Member of the Month: Suleka Sun-Lindley
How long have you been a member here at Sacramento Pipeworks, and how did you initially find out about us?
Suleka) I started practicing yoga at Pipeworks in 2009, and I became a member a year after. Two of my favorite yoga teachers are at Pipeworks, and had invited me to practice there. I loved the space so much, I became a member.
You have a very active lifestyle that includes both yoga & climbing. Are there any other hobbies that you enjoy as much as these?
I like all outdoor activities: camping, backpacking, etc. I love Snowboarding a lot! I recently tried paddle boarding and really like it too. I windsurfed and kitesurfed, and I look forward to trying it again. And, of course cooking is one of my passions, along with painting whenever I have time.
Recently you went on an outdoor excursion to Bishop, CA with Blue Aspen Adventures. Do you wish to highlight any exceptional moments of the trip?
The trip was awesome! It was so low key. Everyone was easy going, and no one stressed out about anything, even when we had two cars with flat tires in the middle of nowhere and had to change a tire in the dark. Another car broke down twice in one night. Robert and Rich were great and fun. I helped out with cooking, and everyone was really appreciative. We climbed all day and went to Wild Willie Hot Spring at night. It was epic.
In Sacramento, you own/manage a restaurant, Thai Basil. Would you care to tell us how you came to the restaurant business by way of a background in architecture?
After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in environmental design, I was working as a designer/project manager for various architecture firms for 12 years. My sister and my mom asked me to help them to open a restaurant. I thought I was just helping with the design and construction, but when we opened Thai Basil in Roseville in 1994, I realized I was needed to run both the front and the back of the house. We later opened another one in Elk Grove in 1998, and one in Midtown in 2001. (We decided not to stay in Elk Grove when the lease was up in November of last year).
Since there are many locations to enjoy the authentic Thai cuisine offered to us by Thai Basil, are there any differences between the menu options/ambiance at each location?
There are currently three locations in the Sacramento area: Roseville, Cameron Park and Midtown. Each location is individually owned and operated by each sister, and offers different specialties and unique ambiance. The key items from the original menu are offered at all locations.
Level Up is a lounge that exists upstairs from the midtown restaurant. The lounge includes a full bar and great happy hour specials! More than that, it supports local music, local art, and our local community. What musicians and artists do you find inspirational as of recent, and why?
As part of the Midtown community, we embrace the local art and music. One of our favorite artists is John Krempel, who was our 1st featured artist when we opened Level Up seven years ago. And, Clemon Charles is our favorite musician. Both John and Clemon are very professional and have great personalities, which makes them fun and easy to work with.
Do you make frequent trips back to Thailand, and do you still have friends/family living there?
My mom moved back about 8 years ago, after she retired. I have been visiting Thailand about every three years. This year, I plan on going in November and staying there for a few months, and possibly planning a cooking and yoga retreat.
Your daughter, Hanna, seems to enjoy similar athletic endeavors as yourself. Does she find climbing to be fun?
She is a very active young girl, and I have to work hard to keep up with her. We enjoy snowboarding together. She likes climbing whenever I bring her to Pipeworks.
There is a cute dog that accompanies you on your visits to the gym sometimes. What is the name of the animal, and what does a normal day in the life your pet entail?
“Charcoal” is a three-year-old terrier/poodle mix. He’s friendly and loves riding in the car with me. He’s a mommy’s boy; you can hear his whimper sound when I start climbing. We adopted him from a rescue center in Walnut Creek when he was 6 months old. He goes to the gym with me sometimes, and to the restaurant on the day I work in the office. He also has a play date with his BF, Charlie, down the street on Wednesdays. Our neighbor, Libby, picks him up for a dog run at 6 am on Sat. & Sun. He’s a busy boy!
If YOU could be any animal, what would it be and why?
Big smile ;)! My daughter thinks I should be a mama bear, because I like taking care of people and making them happy. But, I think I would be a big Whale. It would be cool to explore the undersea, where no man has gone, and not be eaten by sharks.
Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the soldiers who have given their lives to protect our nation, but why stop there? Various programs focus on supporting our veterans year round. The Wounded Warrior Project dedicates itself to helping soldiers of America’s Armed Forces that have been wounded in war by raising awareness, providing aid and creating programs for returned soldiers.
In the second week of September, Bay Area natives, Brian Santilena and Jimmy Redo will climb the shear Northwest Face of Half Dome. The 2,000 foot granite wall sits 4700 feet above the Valley floor. First climbed by Royal Robbins, Mike Sherrick, and Jerry Gallwas in 1957, the route is considered a classic in the world and remains an imposing challenge. The team is taking donations to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project through their climb. As of August 1st, the pair have raised over $3,000 for the WWP.
Brian Santilena, 44, and Jimmy Redo, 46, grew up together in Alameda and became close friends. They were excited about the opportunity to raise awareness about The Wounded Warrior Project and to climb an amazing granite face in the process.
“Jim is quite experienced and did the route 20 years ago,” said Brian. The team plans to spend a few nights on the wall, carrying haulbags and bivy gear with them on their ascent. “Having fun, realizing a dream and helping people along the way is what this adventure is all about."
The pair attempted the climb last year but had to bail when Brian hurt his left arm. "I'm trying to train and strengthen around it and I'd say I'm back to 90%." Brian has fought to recover from the injury and be more fit to attempt the climb this year. "I'm working on both strength and cardio. I'm climbing 2-3 times a week at Ironworks plus walking the Oakland hills with a 40lb. pack on. I'm going to Mt. Diablo, Pinnacles, Yosemite and I'm heading to Boulder CO in 2 weeks for a dry run gear-practice"
Donating as little as 3 cents per foot will help the Wounded Warrior Project immensely. "I've never done anything like this before," Brian said. "But if some of these injured heroes wounded over there are pushing themselves to merely walk across the room, scared or not I sure as hell can't see any reason why I can't make it up that mountain." "The climb is a personal challenge and adventure plus a chance to raise a few bucks for a great cause," said Brian. "I have a brother that was a Marine and is currently in the Army National Guard and other family members that were active in WW2, Vietnam, Iraq 1 & 2 and Afghanistan. I'm very fortunate to have dodged that bullet but I have a ton of gratitude to them and other Vets." Check out Brian's page about ways to donate.
For a more direct way to donate, check out their Go Fund Me Page
to keep us up to date on your adventures.
At Diablo Rock Gym in Concord, fitness is fun again. If you don't believe us, just take a look at what they've got planned in September!
"We've done an Adventure Race around the gym for the past two years," said Manager Hans Florine. "It's a great way for our members to see how much HARD WORK you can get done right here at DRG. Plus - it's a ton of fun." Check out the video from last years race!
Diablo Rock Gym Adventure Race 2013 from Paul Hara on Vimeo.
'Climb, Run, Bike, Lift, Hop, Balance, Climb, Crawl, Drag, Row, Jump, Pull, Step, Climb, Throw, Carry, Run, and more' screams the posters - and they couldn't be closer to the truth. Along with having far and away the most productive morning of your gym life, there are OODLES of prizes up for grabs. "Sponsors near and far are stepping up to sweeten the pot,' said Florine. "I'd say that participating means you are getting more in prizes than you paid to register!" Ready to sign up? Don't wait! There is only room for 30 teams for this event which goes down Saturday, September 6th. Diablo Rock Gym is accepting Teams of Two in the following categories:
-Combined age under 40
-Combined age over 80
-One female and one male
$50 per team for the first 20 teams
$100 per team for the remaining 10 slots.
Additional $25 per team mate for non-members.
Don't miss out on those coveted early bird price slots! Sign up at the front desk or call the gym right NOW to sign up your team!
They're up with the sun, chain coffee-drinking and working hard to bring you the routes you love to send, project, and crush. 'Touchstone Routesetting' is an industry term for excellence, and each member of the crew brings a little somethin' somethin' to the team. In our ongoing segment, Better Know a Setter, we bring you a closer look at what makes 'em tick. In this weeks installment, we sat down with Sacramento Pipeoworks setter Ryan Rougeux.
How long have you been route setting?
Officially about 2 1/2 years, but I started learning with the old school crew of Andreas, Craig and Peter back in the day at Pipeworks.
How did you get into route setting?
I've worked the desk since 2007, and kept bugging the setters to teach me their magical craft.
What is your favorite gym to set at and why?
The future Pipeworks bouldering expansion will be my favorite.
What are your route setting pet peeves?
When climbers would rather try grabbing a foot chip then learning how to climb slopers. The gym exists so you can work on your climbing weaknesses in a controlled environment, don't gravitate to what you're good at!
What is in your route setting bag right now?
Random Stone Age holds, some bolts, maybe a step ladder and ascender.
What inspires your routes?
Climbing outside on real rock and the motivation to stump the regulars on my routes. It brings me great inner joy to watch someone fall off my routes.
What's the hardest thing about route setting?
Staying motivated and being creative. Imagine spending 8 hours in the gym setting routes... and then spending another hours putting your own time into training for climbing. I live at the gym.
What is your favorite memory setting with the Touchstone Crew?
Many years ago after a rope comp at Pipeworks the keg still had beer in it (sounds crazy right?) and Fernando and Josh did their part to try and empty it. Eventually Fernando felt 'motived' decided to lead the 13b comp route and broke a hold at the 2nd clip that sent him cartwheeling upside down to josh. We threw a helmet on him and he promptly sent the hardest route in the gym.
Where is your favorite place to climb outside?
Right now it's a few secret boulders I'm trying to develop around Donner Summit, there are still so many unclimbed blocks out there.
What is your advice for aspiring setters?
Don't get discouraged. Your routes will be bad for a longtime. Even when your routes start to get better we're still going to tell you they're awful. It's a tough-love tactic.
How many cups of coffee do you consume on a weekly basis?
All of them.
On August 8th, Clif Bar held a $30,000 drag race between 32 of the world’s best climbers in Park City Utah. The second annual PsicoComp pitted climbers in a head to head battle on a 55 foot tall wall above an Olympic pool. With former winner Sasha Digulian on the mend with a finger injury, the women’s field was an open to dark horse climber Claire Branff, last year’s winner Delaney Miller and power house climber Alex Puccio. In the men’s competition, everyone wondered if Sharma would win his own comp or would it be incumbent Jimmy Webb, or World Cup winner Sean McColl. Regardless of who won, the comp promised to be more action packed and spectator friendly than any other climbing competition in history.
The PsicoComp idea originated from Chris Sharma and Mike Call, who were deep water soloing in Mallorca Spain four years ago. The climbers realized the excitement of climbing high above the water and wanted to transport the experience to a US audience. When the opportunity arose to use the ten foot deep Olympic pool at the Park City training area, the pair seized the opportunity to build a 55 foot wall over the water with Walltopia.
Within six months, the PsicoComp established an amazing event. 5,000 people watched live with and an audience of 55,000 viewed the excitement online, making the PsicoComp the most viewed climbing competition in history. This year’s PsicoComp promised to be better with the increased sponsorship and support. The Louder than 11 production crew ran a half dozen cameras over the pool and wall, shooting between amazing shots of the climbers and the commentators, Brian Runnels and Chris Weidner. Jonathan Thesenga returned to MC the event while two DJS spun beats to the climbers.
Spanish climbing legend Dani Andrada and the Godfather of Deep Water Soloing, Miguel Riera set the 5.13 route for women and 5.14 route for men. They set for a much deeper and more elite field of climbers including Chris Sharma, Nalle Hukatavalle, Ashima Shiraishi, Sasha Digulian and other. “The route was hard at the top,” said World Cup winner Sean McColl. “It was perfectly set,”
The style of the climbing is “Not like a route climbing comp,” said executive producer Mike Call. “Or like a long boulder problem comp. It’s a new comp genre in terms of length and fitness. If you want to win you have to climb the wall multiple times and faster than the other person.” The climbers will be raced elimination style.
The women’s field started with young Texas climber Claire Buhrfiend racing Salt Lake local, Jacinda Hunter. The women fought up the wall, completing the route in approximately 3 minutes, hitting wild gaston moves and feet cutting dynos. Claire pulled away to the top and advanced to the next round.
In the first round thirteen year old, Ashima Shirashi seeded against Alex Johnson, a woman twice her age and height. Despite the big differences in size and age, Ashima pulled away, giving the incredible V13 crusher a pass into the next round.
In the last light, Alex Puccio beat out Ashima. In one of the most exciting matches of the night, Buhrfiend raced Puccio in semi finals. The pair topped out a second apart and judges referred to Louder Than 11 footage to catch Buhrfiend’s half second win.
In a rematch of last year’s women’s finals, Redbull forgot to give their sponsored athlete Sasha Digulian wings. Delaney Miller crushed Digulian and advanced to meet fellow Texas climber Buhrfiend for women’s finals.
The first race for the men pitted Isaac Caldiero against Sean McColl. Caldiero suffered a bad fall the previous day. When he fell from high on the wall, he flipped and smashed into the water, hitting the side of his head. He left the pool with poor equilibrium and holding his ear. A doctor diagnosed him with a ruptured ear drum. Despite the injury, the doctor cleared Caldiero, who raced with a large earplug in. The falls rattled some of the competitors. The next day, Daniel Woods suffered serious bruising on his arms from not tucking his arms in when he fell from the wall. There was a serious need for the climbers to fall well into the water. The crowd did countdowns from the top of the wall and many of the competitors did pencil dives into the pool. Climbing on the wall was extremely terrifying to say the least! But at the same time it's exhilarating and a ton of fun. Especially in front of the crowd during finals! “ said Kyra Condie, As the sun set in the quarterfinals between Ashima and Puccio, the women topped out and then down climbed the head wall together to shorten the jump. The heights obviously affected the climbers.
“It's a little bit scary,” said Sean McColl who took a spinning fall the day before. Despite the obvious dangers of the climbing Sean Mccoll dropped his chalkbag at the base and left the competition in his dust. Where the women had completed the route in two minutes, the men ran up the wall in 60 seconds and less. McColl clocked in times of sub 40 seconds on the wall. In a race against last year’s winner Jimmy Webb, McColl campused across the top.
Racing against favored winner, Chris Sharma, McColl performed a footless cross 40 feet above the water. Sharma must have felt the pressure. He threw for the last hold and made a huge splash into the pool.
Racing neck and neck in Men’s semi finals, Daniel Woods barely pulled ahead of Carlo Traversi. This pitted him against McColl for the prize of the Men’s 2014 PsicoComp championship.
In the women’s Delaney Miller fought to take first this year against Claire Buhrfiend to win the women’s. The pair topped out seconds apart. They stood on top held hands and jumped into the water together. Buhrfiend swam out of the pool the winner of this year’s PsicoComp while Miller made a strong second place.
The Men’s final came to McColl and Woods. McColl showed off his consistent performance. He climbed fastest on his last lap on the wall and handily beat Woods for the win.
The PsicoComp brought thousands of climbers to Park City and tens of thousands more watched the live broadcast. The excitement of watching some of the world’s best climbers race up an overhanging wall made the event popular. The competition ran much smoother than last year’s and if climbing can continue on this path, it stands a strong chance of being in the Olympics soon.
Sonora’s Gold Country contains an amazing variety of climbing from limestone bouldering to traditional basalt cracks to blocky sport climbing. Spring and fall are the best times to climb in Sonora but the overhanging rock of Jailhouse stays dry in even the most savage winter storm. In the summer, escaping the heat can be easy at the columns of the Grotto. With solid weather throughout the year and an awesome range of climbing, Sonora offers a perfect destination for a long weekend on the rocks.
Day 1 Columbia College Bouldering
The Gold Rush of 1940 unearthed a large amount of precious minerals in the Sierra Foothills. The hydraulic mining also uncovered a mother lode of highly compacted marble boulders near Columbia College in Sonora. The hundreds of problems in the labyrinth of boulders require body tension and a solid ability to climb on sloping holds in a wild setting. "It's like walking through the Castle Grayskull," said Kim Groebner, a Berkeley boulderer.
Triple Cracks (V6), which John Sherman described in The Stone Crusade as “possibly the best single limestone problem in the country” sits below the college. Great problems like The Gold Wall (V4), Lobster Claw (V4), and the All American Finger Crack (V2) reside just meters away. The high concentration of boulder problems requires a fair amount of navigating and Columbia College Bouldering by Dean Fleming helps significantly.
Poison oak guards many of the boulder problems at Columbia and remains an issue around Sonora. Be aware of what the plant like and remember even the leafless winter branches can cause an allergic reaction.
For more info also check out: Columbia Bouldering
Day 2 The Grotto
The Grotto features amazing basalt cracks and blocky sport climbing just outside of Lake Melones on Table Mountain. The BLM land trail outside of Jamestown takes climbers drops them thirty feet into a pit with routes surrounding them. With trad routes on one side and sport routes on another, the Grotto provides a perfect opportunity for climbing.
The classic compression route AC Devil Dog (5.10c) involves refrigerator style wrestling up a perfect double arête. Go With the Flow is a perfect 5.9 hand crack to warm up for Rawhide (5.10d). For those looking for more of a challenge, there are extensions that climb the basalt columns and into steeper terrain as well as short challenging routes surrounding the Grotto. There are a number of more moderate sport climbs as well that provide a great opportunity for the budding lead climber.
The Grotto stays much cooler than the area around it because of its recessed nature and offers a perfect summer escape.
Check the MountainProject page for online reference.
Day 3 Jailhouse
One of California’s best sport crags remained locked on private land for years until the Access Fund negotiated with landowners for permanent access. Now California climbers have nearly a hundred overhanging routes in a giant basalt amphitheater to keep them busy. The climbing at Jailhouse remains difficult with the easiest route being 5.11d and the average route checking in at 5.13.
Check out the power endurance route Fugitive (5.13a), the sustained Alcatraz (5.13b) and the heart breaking ending of Jailbait (5.13c). Climbers in the 90s invented kneepads, sticking stealth climbing shoe rubber on neoprene pads, to help conquer the overhanging blocky terrain of Jailhouse. Once seen as a form of aid, kneepads are a standard and almost necessary part of climbing at Jailhouse.
Due to the easement agreement with landowners, a gate code is required to enter the park. Check in at the Access Fund website for the code.
For those that want to skip out on the hardman sport climbing, head back for another day of bouldering at Columbia, try more lines at the Grotto, or go swimming at Natural Bridges located off Parrots Ferry Road and across the bridge from Lake Melones.
Mountain Project Jailhouse
How to Get There
Located in the Sierra foothills, Sonora sits two hours east of San Francisco. Follow the 580E to Highway 120, which merges with Highway 108 and heads directly into Sonora.
For the Columbia Boulders, drive north through Sonora on highway 49 for 2.3 miles. Head north on Parrots Ferry road for a tenth of a mile before turning east on Sawmill Mill Flat Road. Follow signs for 1.2 miles to Columbia College, and purchase a one-dollar student-parking pass. Campus maps will provide directions to the Lower Arboretum.
To get to the Grotto, drive southwest on highway 108 from Sonora towards Jamestown. Turn onto Rawhide road and drive west for two miles before turning south on Shell Road. Drive through two horse gates with a high clearance vehicle at the end of Shell Road or park outside and the gate and walk to the BLM parking area and pit toilet.
Park in student parking Rawhide to shell and a couple horse gates you can park outside the horse gates
To get to Jailhouse, follow the 108 south for 8 miles, turn west on O’Byrne’s Ferry Rd/ CO Rd E15, this is less than a mile after the Yosemite Junction, where Highways 108 and 120 diverge. Drive 3.7 miles and turn right at a double gate. Enter the gate code and close the gate behind the vehicle. Do not park outside this gate at any time, as the owner does not want to draw attention to this gate. Turn left and follow the dirt road ¼ of a mile to a fenced parking area on the right and close the gate after entry. Horses graze the land surrounding Jailhouse. Be considerate of the animals.
Where to Stay
First settled in 1848 by Mexican miners, Sonora remains a bit of a rough and tumble town with a historic feeling. Century old brick buildings line downtown. The town offers modern conveniences and provides a solid feel of California Gold Rush times.
The Sonora Inn in downtown offers nice hotel rooms ranging from $60 to $80 a night.
Tuttle Town Campground, located above Lake Melones, charges a more modest $22 and provides flush toilets, showers, drinking water, picnic tables and fire rings at each campsite. Bring a tent and sleeping bag for the car camping there.
What to Bring
A crash pad or two would be ideal for bouldering around Columbia College. For the roped climbing, a sixty-meter rope, climbing shoes, harness, belay device, and a set of quick draws will get you up the majority of the routes at the Grotto. A double set of cams and some stoppers will help with the traditionally protected routes. A seventy-meter rope will allow you to lower off most routes at Jailhouse. Bring kneepads for the overhanging rock. 90% of the routes are fixed and only a dog draw is necessary.
Wear lightweight long pants as the Sonora area has a significant amount of poison oak.
Sierra Nevada Adventure Company, located on Washington Street in downtown Sonora, offers great supplies for climbers and hikers. SNAC sells copies of A Climber’s Guide to Sonora Pass by Brad Young, which offers route topos to the Grotto, Columbia College Bouldering by Dean Fleming provides navigation for the limestone bouldering, and Bay Area Rock by Jim Thornburg contains an overview of each area as well as the only topo to Jailhouse.
Food & Drink
The Diamondback Grill, located on Washington Street in downtown Sonora, offers steak, salmon, great burgers, vegetarian options, and the best dining around the area. Mellow with a solid range of beer and wine options, The Diamondback Grill provides a perfect post climb dinner. Washington Street’s Bagel Bin provides great breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and coffee. A few Mexican restaurants dot Sonora and C & C’s taqueria in Jamestown offers cheap eats near the Grotto. Groceries and supplies can be purchased at the grocery stores in Sonora.
The Quick & Dirty
Where to Climb: The Grotto
Where to Stay: Tuttletown Campground
Where to Eat: Diamondback Grill
The Touchstone Climbing Series, AKA TCS2014, has been bringing beer, pizza, climbing, prizes and 'da party' to each of our six of our nine gyms over the past year. The comp series rotates back and forth between rope climbing and bouldering, with on-sight finals at Mission Cliffs and Dogpatch Boulders.
There is one last Friday night comp left at Great Western Power Company in Oakland. Be sure to come on Friday, August 22nd ftom 5pm-10pm to compete. As always, this comp is FREE to our beloved members and only $10 for guests.
If you weren't around for the finales last year, here is a breakdown of what to expect.
The bouldering comp and on-sight finals will be held a Dogpatch Boulders on Saturday, September 27th. It will be an open comp from 12pm-5pm, which is just like any other comp you've come to know and love. Anyone can compete in beginner, intermediate or advanced categories. There will be pizza, beer, food trucks for snacks, and more.
Once the clock strikes 5, it's finals time! We will select the TOP 3 advanced climbers from the entire series, and the top 3 climbers from the day, to go head to head in On-sight finals.
There are three finals problems and the top 6 male and female finalists will have 5 minutes for each of them. "It's pretty exciting," said Routesetter Ben Polanco. "Bouldering finals at Dogpatch are super fun to watch."
There is a cash purse of $1,000 for 1st place men and women. $600 for 2nd place, and $350 for third.
Prizes will also be awarded to the overall winner in all categories. So the more comps you went to, the better your chances of reaching the podium!
To check your overall rope standings, click here:
The roped comp and on-sight finals will take place on October 25th at Mission Cliffs. The new expansion walls lend themselves perfectly to competition climbing and spectating.
The comp will function in the same format. Open climbing will take place throughout the day between 12pm and 5pm. We will select the TOP 3 advanced climbers from the entire series, and the top 2 climbers from the day, to go head to head in On-sight finals.
Each competitor will have 1 chance to climb 1 route, and the climber with the highest 'highpoint' wins. If there is a draw, there will be a tie breaker route.
There is a cash purse of $1,000 for 1st place men and women. $600 for 2nd place, and $350 for third.
Prizes will also be awarded to the overall winner in all categories. So the more comps you went to, the better your chances of reaching the podium!
For bouldering and roped standings, we take your top two or three results, respectively, for the series, add them together, and rank you within your computed category. If you were ever bumped during the series during a bouldering/roped comp, you are "bumped" for the series.
For the series standings, we take each of your scores, divide it by the maximum possible points for that competition, and multiply it by 10000. That is your "normalized" score for the competition. We take your top 5 normalized scores, add them together, and that is your series score. Then you are ranked by gender and category.
Mission Cliffs, which is about to celebrate it's 20th anniversary, has been undergoing a massive expansion project for the past two years. The gyms has added 9,000 ft of roped climbing terrain, gained a stretching and viewing mezzanine, moved the front desk, and is currently finishing construction on two brand new programming rooms. "It's been a crazy year," said General Manager Donna Hawkins. "But it's so cool to be able to grow with our membership base. The Mission Cliffs expansion has transformed the gym from what was the best 20 years ago, to what will be the best for years to come."
We knew that with such a dramatic change to the physical gym, the logo could use a little makeover as well. So of course, we turned to our friends Mark Fox and Angie Wang of Design is Play.
Mark has been climbing at Touchstone Gym's since 1993 and the two of them joined Mission Cliffs in 2009. Not only are they regular crushers around the gym, they are talented designers as well. They have worked with us to design the identities for our past four gyms; MetalMark 2010, The Studio Climbing in 2011, Dogpatch in 2012, LA. Boulders in 2013, and now Mission Cliffs in 2014. The MetalMark, The Studio, and the LA. Boulders identities all include original typeface.
We're also proud to find out that their trademark for Dogpatch Boulders is included in the Graphis Design Annual 2015!
"Out of all nine Touchstone Gym logos, you can definitely tell which ones Mark and Angie designed," said Sr. Manager Markham Connolly. "They are clean, bold, and easily identifiable. You can really see that that each unique logo is a part of the same company."
The two are highly renowned designers in the Bay Area. Mark was President of the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1995–1996, and served on the board of the Architecture + Design Forum of SFMOMA from 1998–2000. In 1995 Fox chaired the Design Lecture Series: “5ive Iconoclasts” featured Tibor Kalman, Vaughan Oliver, the Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, and Diller + Scofidio. In 2004 Fox was designated a Fellow of the San Francisco AIGA for personal and professional contributions to the San Francisco design community.
Fox is a Professor of Graphic Design at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco where he has taught since 1993. He served as Chair of Graphic Design at CCA on two occasions, from 2003 to 2007, and most recently from 2013 to 2014. He earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1985, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Angie's work for March Pantry, Anson Mills, One Catering, and others has won numerous awards from the Type Directors Club, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, and Print magazine. In 2013, Design is Play was one of forty-four design firms interviewed for Steven Heller and Lita Talarico’s book Design Firms Open for Business (Allworth Press).
More recently, Angie is quoted in Design School Wisdom, an anthology of tips from veterans in the industry (Chronicle Books). Her work is also featured in New Modernist Type (Thames & Hudson); Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type (Rockport); and Typography Sketchbooks (Princeton Architectural Press.) In 2014, Angie served as one of five jurors for Communication Arts’ Design Annual, an international competition of the best design created over the last year.
Angie is a Senior Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she has been teaching in the Graphic Design Program since 2005. She has taught “Typography 3: The Book,” created the curriculum for the foundational course “Typography 1: Form,” and co-taught the Summer study abroad class “Amsterdam: Dutch Utopia” with Mark Fox. She graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley, and with distinction from the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC). She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
"We climb at Mission Cliffs, as do our children Elias, Cate, and Lukas," said Angie. "MC is a bit of a second home for us, so to design an identity for a place and a community of people that we have an affinity for is an honor"
We asked the pair to give us a bit of insight to how they tackle the task of creating our gym logos. "Our process is fairly simple: we sketch at a small size. If a sketch works at half an inch, it typically works well as a finished symbol. Extraneous details are eliminated, and the essential structure of the symbol is clearly established," said Mark. "Once a sketch shows promise, we refine it further and then ink the refinement at a size of 3.5 inches with a Rapidograph pen. We then build the symbol in Illustrator for presentation; if the client selects it, we typically hone the design further, reinking the symbol at a size of 7 inches, and rebuilding it in Illustrator. Our process is laborious, but we believe it yields superior results."
"One final note: we can’t do great work without great partners. We have to thank and acknowledge Mark Melvin, in particular, for entrusting us with this assignment," said Angie.
Several of the original concepts were presented to a team at Touchstone, who then decided on the winning design. "Working with Mark and Angie to select the final identity for Mission Cliffs was such an honor, said Touchstone Graphic Designer Heather Campbell. "Their experience and professionalism really shone through. I can't WAIT to use this new logo!"
The new logo, which will be unveiled in the coming months, has an urban, industrial feel: concrete floors, steel Ibeams, and that massive crane hook—20 tons of capacity! "We thought the identity should feel empathetic and so we relied on simple, constructed forms," said Angie. "The design is the kind of nononsense trademark that could be stamped out of metal, or stenciled on a machine."
We owe a HUGE thank you to Mark and Angie for not only working with us on our previous gym identities, but for taking on the challenge of re-creating an existing logo. We're SO happy with the final product and we can't wait to see it in use.
...So do you want to see the new logo?!
Patience young padawans. It's coming soon!