In the hills just south of San Jose are a cluster of sandstone boulders. When the winter days are cold, the friction on these rounded Font like blobs becomes amazing. For those looking to do some weekend bouldering near the bay area, Castle Rock is a great option. One of the most important skills required at Castle Rock is the mantle, or pressing out the top of a boulder. The rounded rocks don't have big jugs at the top, instead they have precarious mantles. Check out this instructional video on how to mantle.
A frequent member of the Berkeley Ironworks crew, Michele Lombardo Goodhew climbs at Castle Rock State Park-. Here's a video of her crushing The Lost Keys Traverse(V6). Check out the smooth moves she executes through the crux and through the hard mantle finish.
A single hueco followed by a series of bad slopers below the Magoo Boulders was a long term John "Yabo" Yabolonski problem until a few years ago when Santa Cruz local, Chris Sharma dispatched the first ascent of "Ecoterrorist" (V10/11). Here's some footage of Scott Chandler hiking the problem. Watch the way he tops out the difficult problem.
Ecoterrorist [v10] from scott chandler on Vimeo.
Below Indian Rock are a number of less developed and very good boulders. There's good information about them on a Supertopo Thread. There's some awesome new mantle problems down the hill. Get out there and check them out.
In fifth grade, the gym teacher lined up the kids in my class to take turns climbing a thick rope hung down from the middle of the ceiling. The exercise encouraged forearm, abdominal, and bicep strength. I wasn't much good at it. When I joined Touchstone, I found a great asset to strengthen these weaknesses in my body through the thick rope at the climbing gym.
The standard way to climb a rope is to use your legs, arms, and core to move upward. At the bottom of the rope is a knot, which helps people mount the rope by placing their feet on either side of it. Using your arms to keep your body steady, move your feet up the rope, cinch your feet tightly around the rope and move your hands up. Your body should be able to stay upright if you use the friction between the rope and your feet well. Repeat the process of clamping your legs and moving your hands until you reach a comfortable height. A belay is necessary for going more than a few feet off the ground.
Power climbing is the same idea as working on a campus board. The feet are positioned straight in front of you in an L shape while climbing the rope. This style further works the abdominal muscles and requires a fair bit of strength to perform. Simply grab the rope and climb it hand over hand.
If you can't perform the standard climb but want to work up to it, simply hang on the rope in a locked off or bent elbow position for as long as possible. Keep practicing until you're strong enough to do this easily. It also helps to visualize yourself climbing. When I was in fifth grade, I imagined myself as Batman when I climbed the rope. I have gotten much stronger at rope climbing since but every time I grab the rope I hear, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,, na, na, na, na, Batman!"
Berkeley Ironworks has a rope in the middle of the gym- check it out!
Read more: Climbing Rope Exercise
This video demonstrates the offensive amount of strength involved in rope climbing. The climber hit the world record for power climbing the rope.
Crazy Sick World Record Check Out the One Arms! from Rock & Ice on Vimeo.
Local climber Dan "SpiderDan" Goodwin climbed the Millennium Tower in San Francisco on September 6th, 2010. Goodwin, 54, made an ascent of the 58 story residential building with suction cups, beginning his climb around 2:15 and reaching the summit around 5:30 pm. During his ascent, residents opened their windows and offered him water. At the top, he was taken into police custody and cited for trespassing and public nuisance before being released.
On January 25th, Goodwin faced a San Francisco court for his actions. Goodwin testified that he climbed the 301 Mission St. high rise before a large Labor Day crowd to draw attention to what he sees as a national lack of preparedness to fight skyscraper fires.
He also said that he wanted to make the point that if he, a cancer survivor, can beat the deadly disease and scale tall buildings, other survivors can do daunting things, too.
Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson was not so receptive, asking the jurors to determine only if Goodwin trespassed, created a public nuisance and evade arresting police. was his stunt a nuisance to the public, and did he try to evade arresting officers.
The SFGate will be reporting on the event. Closing arguments will be made on the 24th and the jury will decide Goodwin's fate soon.
Goodwin has given slideshows at the local gyms promoting his book Skyscraper Man -Defender of Tall Buildings..
The Access Fund released news about the National Park Services Bolt and Fixed Anchor Policy proposal. Below is a draft of the Access Fund's press release as well as NPS's climbing specific proposal. Check out the changes, and stay tuned to the Access Fund to voice your opinion on NPS's changes.
Read more: NPS Releases New Bolt Policy Proposal
The Touchstone Rope Series comps is entering its fifth year and the first of the series will be this Friday, January 21 at Sacramento Pipeworks. The rope comp will have beer, pizza, and a ton of fun! It's a great time to meet other climbers, enjoy a competitive setting, and check out a lot of new top rope and lead routes.
Ethan Pringle, an accomplished rope climber who just redpointed Spicy Dumpling 5.14d and one of the hardest routes in China, provided some insight into the best way to perform at a rope climbing comp.
One of the most important things is staying relaxed under pressure. "Don't let the pressure of the crowds and the onlookers get to you. Treat it like any normal day in the gym," said Pringle. Being calm will lower your heart rate and help you perform at a higher level.
Pringle continued with some excellent technique advice, "Breathe and take your time. Don't rush moves and sequences. Deeeeeep breaths. Again, stay relaxed. BUT, at the same time..."
"Don't hang out in any one spot and shake out for too long. I see people (especially people who only boulder) shake out for like a full five minutes at a rest a third of the way up the wall... WRONG. Of course if you get to some good holds and you are pumped you can take a sec to compose yourself, shake each hand a few times, slow your breathing, and set off. A good rule of thumb for me is not to shake for half as long as it took me to get to that spot on the wall. I usually try not to shake out more than three or four times with each hand unless it's a really casual stance. I try to treat routes in the gym like long boulders problems because usually they don't have good rests on them, especially when the setters put some thought into them."
Pringle will be heading to Spain soon to try his redpointing skills on some of the world's hardest sport climbs. For those of you who want a great chance to try out your redpointing skills- check out the Touchstone Rope Series- this Friday at Pipeworks. The next rope comp will be at Great Western Power Company on February 18!
Karl Aguilar, a 37 year old hardware store manager in San Francisco, has been climbing for 13 years at Mission Cliffs. Aguilar has traveled across the world climbing, sport climbing in Austria, making an ascent of El Capitan’s Zodiac, and clipping bolts on the sandstone of the south east with his wife, Audrey Bodisco. Aguilar took some time off his busy days at the Papenhausen Hardware to talk with the Touchstone blog about how to be a better rock climber and about his trips.
How has Mission Cliffs changed?
When I joined, there we so few active members that it was rare to see people that you didn't see regularly. Now, I am often shocked when I look around a very full gym and realize that I don't recognize most of the people there. Back then, most people climbed routes and bouldered to improve their route climbing. Now, it seems like most members primarily boulder. Mission Cliffs used to be a place to climb and possibly lift a weight or two, but it is slowly growing into a full service gym.
Karl stepping high in Austria
What's the best way to get better at climbing?
Don't get injured. But seriously, DON'T GET INJURED. You progress much faster when you are not nursing an injury. But, if you do get hurt, be smart about it. Take some time off, your body is probably begging for some rest. Take that time to do the things that you put off. Try to enjoy it. Then, do your rehab and take the time to work back up to full strength (it takes less time than you think). You have a lifetime of climbing to do, so treat your body right.
Karl high on El Cap's Zodiac
Now that you are injury free, you can use the following tips to get better quicker:
• Climb with someone better than you (not stronger, but with better technique).
• Watch how other people climb the climbs/problems you are having trouble with.
• Work on climbs that work your weaknesses (basically ones that make you say, "I hate climbs with...").
• Lastly, remember to enjoy the process. Even when the numbers are not going up, you are building a base for your next big breakthrough.
What's your favorite place to climb? Why?
Europe. The limestone, the food, and the distance between the two.
Karl pulling down on the sandstone of the Red River Gorge's Mother Lode
But, over here it is The Red River Gorge, because it is as good as everyone says! Wait... scratch that... it has really really terrible rock and they have copperhead snakes and everyone who climbed there smells really bad, so no one should ever go there.
What else are you passionate about?
Karl and Audrey at the Red River Gorge