The Touchstone gyms have a lot of pysched members, climbers who climb non-stop. Christina Freschl, a 29 year old Berkeley resident, climbs non-stop. Freschl teaches at Hillcrest, an Oakland public school. “This year I have 21 3rd graders who are excited to read stories and learn about thousands of places.” Between her work weeks and after classes Freschl climbs often. Actually, Freschl doesn’t climb often, she climbs a lot. Just a week after placing second in the Touchstone Rope Series, Freschl started heading up the Nose of El Capitan. Freschl crushes in the gym and in all aspects of climbing outside.
Freschl attacking the wide bits of the Vendetta.
Freschl, a prolific Yosemite climber, began climbing eleven years ago. “When I was a junior in high school my family went on a vacation to Yosemite valley. My parents were trying to occupy me and my two younger brother. They signed us up for a day of climbing at Swan Slab with the mountain school. After first practicing on the boulders and then hitting the slabs, I was very intrigued. My father said that when I went to college in Madison Wisconsin I could join the Hoofers, an outdoor group. And this is what I did. The Hoofers Mountaineering club members taught me a ton and I starting climbing on the sharp-edged purple quartzite of Devil’s Lake (the local crag) I learned more and then began taking trips out west and to the Red River Gorge. I returned to climb in Yosemite in 2007 when Dan, my husband, and I moved to California and the story comes full circle.”
This photo shows Freschl, far left green shirt, on Dolt Tower on the Nose of El Capitan. Freschl climbed the route in an all female team of 3, taking two days off work to make a quick ascent of one of the world’s largest big walls.
Since returning to Yosemite, Freschl has made a number of significant ascents of the notorious wide climbs in the Valley including Blind Faith on the Rostrum (5.11d), Twilight Zone at the Cookie (5.10d), and the classic long wide test piece of the Steck-Salathe on the Sentinel (Grade IV 5.10b).
This last week, Freschl made an ascent of the Nose of El Capitan (Grade VI 5.9 A2) with two other women. “Even though I had never been up there before, I had enough skills and great teachers to guide me through the experience. It took us one day of fixing and hauling, and then all day Thursday-Saturday to complete the climb. We hiked down on Sunday morning. The climbing is spectacular It is not just the first route up el cap, but a bad-ass one at that. The climbing is thought-provoking, interesting and splitter. The exposure is fierce. “
Freschl talk about her upcoming climbing plans, hoping to climb “More walls on the Captain and maybe take these skills to other big walls in the world. I need to get on Astroman sometime soon; it is my unicorn.”