Ethan PringleTouchstone Climbing Athlete
Born and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco, Ethan was introduced to the wonders of nature before he could walk. He first set foot in Mission Cliffs at age eight. Mission Cliffs was, and still is, one of the premier climbing gyms in the country, and happens to be only four blocks from his home.
Ethan met some amazing people at the gym who had a profound effect on him. He was very lucky to meet climbers willing to take a snotty but enthusiastic little kid on outdoor climbing trips to places like Pinnacles, Mickey’s Beach, Bishop, Owens River Gorge, Red Rocks, and Mt. Charleston. He remains forever indebted to those people.
Since climbing is still such a small community, as a youngster Ethan had the opportunity to climb and become friends with people who inspired him—people who he read about in magazines and were his heroes at one time, like François Le Grand, Jason Campbell, Liv Sansoz and Chris Sharma. At twelve he began to compete. Since then he has been on the U.S. climbing team every year, placing top three in almost every comp he has entered, and winning a few national and international level competitions.
Beth RoddenTouchstone Climbing Athlete
Beth was born in San Francisco and grew up in Davis, California. The mountains were always important to her family and she spent most of her family vacations exploring the Sierras. At the age of 14 she started climbing in her local climbing gym. She quickly rose to the top of competitions, winning Junior Nationals three years in a row and traveling to World Cups across the globe. Mission Cliffs became one of her favorite training spots during her teenage years.
After five years of competitions she turned her focus to outdoor climbing. She redpointed To Bolt Or Not To Be (5.14a) during her “semester off” of college, becoming the youngest female at the time to redpoint a 5.14. She never went back to UC Davis, instead taking the opportunity to travel to Madagascar with her climbing idol Lynn Hill.
Over the years she has become one of the most accomplished climbers out there. She’s free climbed three El Cap routes (Lurking Fear, The Nose and El Corazon), established 5.14 sport climbs, and established one of the hardest traditional climbs in the world, Meltdown (5.14c) in Yosemite Valley.
She’s currently focused on her hardest pursuit yet, motherhood. When she’s not chasing after Theo, she can be found either in Berkeley or Yosemite.
Natasha BarnesTouchstone Climbing Athlete
Natasha has been climbing since 1991 and has been a professional athlete since 2001. She has earned a spot on the US World Cup Team for both bouldering and sport climbing multiple times, and has sent several V11’s and 5.13d/14a’s outdoors. She earned the Bouldering National Champion title in 2005 and was a gold medalist in the 2005 Teva Games (now GoPro Mountain Games/IFSC Vail World Cup). She now competes in powerlifting and has qualified for the 2018 National Championships, with personal bests of a 290lb squat, 167.5lb bench press, and 355lb deadlift.
Natasha first set foot in a Touchstone gym 17 years ago at an ABS bouldering event; slept in her car behind Mission Cliffs the first time she came to compete at a Touchstone comp. Touchstone has been a large part of her growth and development as a climber and she has met lifelong friends climbing at some of Touchstone gyms since she joined in 2005. She has been living in San Francisco, California for 13 years and has a private sports medicine practice at Motus Clinic in SoMa. She is excited to continue to be a part of the Touchstone community!
Elise BuserTouchstone Climbing Athlete
Elise was born and raised in majestic Oakland, California. Before setting foot in a climbing gym she had already put up various first ascents of local poles, trees, and doorways, but her formal introduction to the climbing world happened at age twelve when she went to a kids’ camp at Berkeley Ironworks. She was instantly hooked and has been climbing ever since.
She loves how climbing allows her to constantly push and surprise herself. Elise’s favorite places to climb are Bishop, Donner Summit, and Great Western Power Company. She is also a routesetter for Touchstone and enjoys trying to stump people with confusing sequences.
She has podiumed multiple times in ABS regionals and divisionals, participated in Nationals three times, and has podiumed in several Touchstone Climbing Series. Outside, she is most proud of her ascents of Pimp Juice (V9), White Lines (V8), and Nat’s Traverse (V8), as well as Cannibals (5.12d) and Warp Factor (5.13a).
Elise is currently a sophomore at UC Davis and is pursuing a major in Biological Sciences. When not climbing, she is likely studying redox reactions, drinking coffee, slacklining, drawing geometric cats, or tending to the mushrooms in her closet.
Canaan VallejosTouchstone Climbing Athlete
Canaan has been a Touchstone member since 2014, has worked the front desk at Dogpatch Boulders on and off since 2015, and is now Touchstone’s first running athlete. He grew up in southern Colorado where he discovered running at age 13. By age 15, he had earned four performances at the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships with three Top 12 finishes in the two events. He continued training and improving, eventually gaining invites from various collegiate teams. Although Western Colorado University and Adams State University were his favorite invites, Canaan chose to run NCAA Division 2 on scholarship with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; but in 2005 during his Freshman year, he sustained an injury that took him out of the sport completely.
Canaan relocated to California in 2013, where he was introduced to cycling and climbing. He quickly became obsessed with cycling and spent the majority of his free time riding gravel and pavement. All that changed on December 25, 2016 when he suffered a serious cycling accident. After months with a busted body and a totaled bike, Canaan needed to find some stoke—so he strapped on a pair of running shoes for the first time in 12 years. Missing the gravel, he took it slow on trails and diligently practiced his PT exercises. On June 23rd, 2018 he competed in the Rodeo Valley Trail Run 50k, where he finished with a winning time that got him accepted into the Elite field of one of the country’s most competitive trail races, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championship. All of the sudden, he’s back in it and couldn’t be more thankful.
Kelly BirchTouchstone Climbing Athlete
Kelly was first introduced to climbing through a summer camp in her hometown of Scottsdale, AZ when she was 11 years old. She quickly joined the competitive youth team and competed in sport, speed, and bouldering for 6 years, including multiple national and world championships. She moved to San Diego, CA in 2012 to attend college, where she eventually obtained her degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. During this time, she took a long break from climbing, and ended up pursuing competitive powerlifting for a couple of years. The experience of strength training for a new sport reignited her passion for physical fitness. In 2017, she re-joined the climbing community and threw herself into training. She now focuses primarily on hard bouldering outdoors and takes frequent trips to California destinations such as Bishop, Tahoe, Black Mountain, and the Palm Springs Tramway. As a result, she’s ticked off over 30 double-digit boulder problems since she began climbing again.
Kelly joined the Touchstone community in 2018 when she relocated to Los Angeles. One of her first Touchstone experiences was competing at the Woman Up 2018 competition just a couple of weeks after starting to climb at Cliffs of Id. She was incredibly stoked to take second place in a stacked field and excited by Touchstone’s level of engagement with the community. In just the past year, she’s grown immensely as a climber and made some of her closest friends at the Touchstone gyms in the Los Angeles area. In addition climbing and training, she is currently in her second year of her Master’s degree in Epidemiology at UCLA.