This Saturday: TCS Rope Finale at Mission Cliffs!

  |  Posted in , , , , ,

Climbing Competition at Mission CliffsWhat’s Going On This Weekend?

This Saturday, June 27th will be the fifth and final competition in the 2015 Touchstone Climbing Series for Roped Climbing. Nearly 1000 individual climbers turned up for the four competitions that took place earlier this year at Touchstone gyms in Fresno, Concord, San Jose, and Oakland. On Saturday, the competition comes to Mission Cliffs in San Francisco with a day of open climbing for competitors of all levels, raffle prizes, all the beer and pizza you could want, and a special on-sight finale for the highest-scoring advanced climbers. This comp is FREE for members and just $10 for guests.

What Exactly Is This Competition All About?

The Touchstone Climbing Series is a decade-old tradition that started as a small competition held at a few local gyms to celebrate the climbing community. It has grown into a 10-month long series that takes place in Touchstone gyms across California. With over 2,500 competitors, it is one of the largest climbing comps in the world! For 2015, the series has been divided into two sections, each with its own finale: Roped Climbing and Bouldering. This Saturday the Roped Climbing Finale will mark the end of the first half of TCS 2015.

Best Climbing Gym in San FranciscoWho Should Participate?

“Everyone! Everyone!” says Mission Cliffs Manager, Donna Hawkins. “You don’t have to be strong or experienced. It’s all about having a great time, climbing some amazing routes, enjoying the food and drinks, and then getting to watch local climbers crank it out during the finals.” Participants receive scorecards the day of the comp to keep track of which climbs they get on and how far up the climbs they get before falling. There are three categories you can register to compete in:

Beginner (10d and below)
Intermediate (5.11a-5.11d/12a)
Advanced (5.12a and up)

Claire Miller, who currently holds first place in the Women’s Intermediate category, along with her father, Hugo Miller, who holds first place in the Men’s Intermediate category, have attended every comp so far in the 2015 circuit. “It was my dad’s idea,” says Claire, who considers The Studio in San Jose to be her home-gym even though she currently lives in San Francisco and climbs at Mission Cliffs. “He wanted to visit all the gyms and rack up the points. Going to the comps, you start to see a lot of familiar faces. And a lot of them have the same idea, they all want to rack up points for the finale.”

Whether you grew up climbing, or just took an Intro-to-Climbing class earlier this month, this competition is for you. “The best part of the TCS comps is having this incredible community of climbers come together,” says Donna. “I especially love it when first time participants experience these events.”

What To Expect on Saturday June 27th:

11:30am- 5pm: Registration. Open Climbing. All levels. This comp is FREE for members and just $10 for guests. All participants receive a t-shirt, free beer, free pizza, and are entered into a raffle with the chance to win prizes from climbing companies and local businesses including Alite Designs, Timbuk2, The American Grilled Cheese, Southern Pacific and Friction Labs.

4:30pm: Advanced Climbers turn in scorecards

5pm: All climbers turn in scorecards

5pm: Beer, Pizza, Raffle Prizes

6pm: On-sight Finals In this event, the top three overall men and women from the advanced category along with the top three men and women from just the day’s event will go head to head on a single finals route. Competitors will have four minutes to preview the route and then be put into isolation where they cannot watch each other’s attempts on the route. They will each have six minutes and one attempt at the route.

Whoever gets the highest on the route is the winner. The top three men and women in this final will receive a cash prize of $1000, $500, and $350.

8pm: Closed. Our doors will be closed, but you’ll be in the Mission on a Saturday night!

Go out and celebrate all the climbing you just did!

Routesetting at Mission CliffsHow Will This Affect Climbing The Week Before The Comp?

In preparation for the Finale, the Touchstone Routesetters will be working around the clock in the days leading up to the comp, setting 38 brand new routes. Members should expect parts of the gym to be closed off starting this Tuesday, with most of the routes in the gym closed by Thursday and Friday. “If you see the setters at the comp, give them a nod, a wink, a high five, or even a hug,” says Jeremy Ho, Touchstone’s Director of Routesetting, “There are so many hands involved behind the scenes. A lot of planning and hard work go into these events and none of us could do it alone.”

What Should You Bring?

To speed things up the day of the comp, you should bring TWO things with you: a paper waiver and a comp code. Everyone (even members) needs a new waiver for the comp.

Print a waiver

Get your comp code

You can check out the current standings for the TCS2015 here


• All climbers and belayers must have a valid belay card.
• Competitors may attempt any route.
• Competitors have a maximum of 3 attempts per route.
• When starting a route, your hands must remain in the start box until both feet leave the ground.
• Competitors may watch other climbers, but may not give advice while that climber is climbing.
• Points will be given when a competitor controls the boxed hold.
• Please have your belayer initial your score per attempt.
• You may not work a route. Once you have weighted the rope you must lower to the ground.
• Your final placing in the competition is determined by your three highest scores.
• It is the competitor’s responsibility to turn in their scorecard.
• Lead climbing is only permitted for advanced competitors. Any lead climbing will automatically bump you into the advanced category.
• Climb your hardest! If final score puts you into the higher category, you may be bumped. Congrats!
• Only 1 score from each grade will count towards your final score. Example: You can climb every 5.11a in the gym, but you’ll only be able to count one. Why not go for that 5.11b?

Finale at Mission CliffsGet Excited And Enjoy The Show!

The TCS comps are fun to be in and fun to watch. Claire Miller’s advice to first time participants? “Don’t be discouraged if you fall! You have three tries to get to the top so use them wisely! Remember it’s supposed to be fun so don’t let yourself get caught up in the competitive vibe.” And stick around for the finale at 6pm, where you never know what you’ll get to see. “Watching little Alex Plotnikoff crush the women’s advanced category 3 years ago was pretty rad,” says Jeremy Ho reflecting on past comps. “She was only 9 at the time and she killed it.”

“Every comp is unique and special,” says Donna Hawkins. “Mission Cliffs is turning 20 this year and we have so much to be proud of.”

See you Saturday!