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Training for Your Trip with PDX Asst Manager JB

 Portland, Staff  Comments Off on Training for Your Trip with PDX Asst Manager JB
Jan 112015
Written by PDX Marketing Coordinator Alec Carrier

I sat down with PG Portland’s Assistant Manager JB, who also happens to be an amazing personal trainer, to talk about the training he’s been doing for his upcoming climbing trip. He shared his weekly training routine, as well as how to approach fitness and curate it for your climbing goals.

ALEC – I hear you’re planning an epic to Mexico this February. What are you plans?

JB -Yeah, I’m headed down to Potrero Chico, Mexico. An old climbing partner and I, he actually taught me how to climb eight years ago [laughing] have always wanted to make this trip happen. The past five years we’ve been taking 1-2 trips a year together.

Most of our trips have been alpine style tradition routes, we’ve done a lot of work in Yosemite and the High Sierras. Which is why a trip like this where we’ll be doing big wall, all sport bolted routes is going to be great.

JB snow

LEFT: JB climbing the Regular Route up Fairview Dome in Tuolumne Meadows. RIGHT: Spring Mountaineering on the Leuthould Couloir, Mt. Hood.

ALEC – So how is this style of climbing different than your previous climbing adventures?

JB – It’s all a little less committing, a little less scary, but the climbing is going to be hard. We want to top out El Toro several times and get on things like El Sendoro Luminoso so that means consecutive pitches of 5.12+ climbing.

With travel and everything we’ve only got 12 days of climbing so were looking at volume and asking ourselves, “how many pitches can we get in?” My partner has been there about six times before so he knows the area and the routes, which is nice. He’s always been the type of partner that pushes me which is really inspiring. We’re just looking to get some sun and have as much fun as possible.

ALEC – Woah! Consecutive pitches of 5.12+ that’s awesome- what sort of training are you doing for this?

JM – I keep a high level of fitness but this is a different style of climbing goal for me. For my alpine style climbing, I’m normally carrying winter gear, with long approaches, but since Potrero is so accessible, and the weather is warm, I’m concentrating on long days of hard climbing. I approached the setting team for help and they all agreed I needed to work on Power Endurance.

JB rock

LEFT: JB bouldering in Leavenworth. RIGHT: Climbing on Rock Wars, 5.10a in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

ALEC – That must be exciting for you! What does your weekly routine look like? How are you training for power endurance specifically?

JB – Our Headsetter, Josh, helped me put together a weekly routine to develop a strong base of power endurance before I go. You can essentially break my workout into three different parts: Cardio, Climbing, and Push-Pull. 

Blog Photo 1

The routine breaks down like this:

Climbing: 4 x a week

For my training, I run four by fours. This recreates leading long multi-pitch routes for me.

To run a four by four, pick four different routes about two grades beneath your onsight level. Climb them consecutively with as little rest time between routes as possible. That is one set. Repeat three more times for a complete four by four.

Cardio: 2 x a week

For my cardio, I like to do an hour long, low intensity run. This helps with weight management as well as upping my general fitness endurance.

Push-Pull: 2 x a week

These are actually two workouts. One is push and one is pull. The push workout is chest, shoulders, triceps, core and lower back, all in a variety of body weight exercises. The pull workout I think of as maintenance. It is band workouts, balance, and resistance exercises. These help keep my shoulders in good condition, and balance muscles refined.

I structure it so I’ve got two days on, one rest day in the middle of the week, and weekends off. For example, Monday I might do four by fours and my Push workout. Tuesday would be four by fours and Cardio, resting on Wednesday. Thursday would be four by fours and Pull. I would end on Friday with four by fours and cardio again.
JB 123
ALEC – What advice would you have for anyone looking to incorporate these exercised into their workouts?

JB – Consistency and longevity. Viewing it as a lifestyle, and a lifelong pursuit; I am very passionate about that. I try to instill that there is not one program for everyone, and everyone is unique: in his or her body type, injuries, and history. It very much so runs on year to year, and rest is super important. Running cycles is crucial to reach peak performance when you’re training. Keeping things realistic and balancing life with your workouts.

ALEC – Any other climbing goals beyond the trip? Anything you’ve on your radar?

JB 5

JB escaping Horseshoe Falls on the East Fork of the Lewis River.

JB – I’m newest to the ski-mountaineering scene so I’m pretty excited about my goals there. In the spring I hope to get on the SW Chute of Mt. Adams, a super classic ski-mountaineering area. The enchantments are where my alpine style traditional climbing goals are, climbing big granite alpine walls is where my background is so I always love that. I also have some goals in California with some climbing partners. I got rained off of the NW face of Half Dome a few years ago, that just haunts me so I’m dying to get back. Also something on El Cap, anything on El Cap [laughing]. The Evolution Traverse is near Bishop, it’s an 8 mile ridge traverse that covers 6 different 13,000 ft. peaks, that’s the big spring goal. I can just dream all day about my goals. [laughing]

ALEC – Well, have a good trip, and be sure to take some photos for us!

JB – Yeah of course! Thanks so much for the time. I’m always around the gym if anyone ever has questions about training for a trip, or if anyone who’s been to Potrero has any recommendations, let me know!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alec is the Marketing Coordinator for Planet Granite Portland. When he’s not behind the desk, you can find him adventuring around the west coast snapping photos and shooting video.

Be sure to follow Alec on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vimeo.

Jan 112015

Written by Jesse Schouboe, the Youth Program Coordinator at PG Belmont


2014 has been an awesome year @PG!  We’ve welcomed new managers to the team, launched community events, had successful youth climbing team seasons, opened a brand new location in Portland, and as always we have donated $1/member/month to charitable organizations. None of this could have succeeded without our hard-working staff and passionate member community!

This blog post is a highlight reel of our best 2014 projects, and a BIG thank you to those who made these projects a success!


New community events are everywhere! Trivia Night has become a monthly fixture in Sunnyvale, the Beta Babes began crushing together in San Francisco, and Golf Night and 80s Night fired up the walls in Belmont. These events have all spread from their original home gyms, so check your local gym’s event calendar to see what’s coming next.

This year has also seen the start of Planet Granite’s first ever Youth Writing Competition. Submissions are closed, and judging will take place in the New Year. Get ready to be blown away by these young climber authors’ poems, essays, and short stories.

Finally, the year would not be complete without the return of Team of 2’s skilled coaches, and fantastic turnouts of beginner & expert climbers alike for our Bouldering League, Friction Series, and Bloc Party competitions. Thanks again to all our sponsors for these events!

Events 3

LEFT: PG’s Beta Babes meet once a month to climb and CRUSH together. RIGHT: The lip-sync crew from 80’s Night at PG Belmont.


Bouldering League, Friction Series, and Bloc Party all featured awesome climbs and strong turnouts from the community.

Team 1

Photo credit: 100% Raw Media

The youth climbing teams from San Francisco, Belmont and Sunnyvale are all climbing super strong! Many members have moved past Regionals, and are currently training hard with their sights set on Divisionals and Nationals. If you see these young rock stars around the gym wish them luck, and if you’re feeling really ambitious see if you can keep up with their workouts.


PG is growing! The fourth Planet Granite location is now open in the distant and wondrous city of Portland, Oregon. PG Portland has really cool walls built by Walltopia, a great management team lead by Jeff Ceccacci and JB Graham, strong and creative setters including head setter Josh Haynes, and a great community.

PG Portland 2

Clockwise from upper LEFT: Ueli Steck drops by PG Portland; A strong turn-out for Singles and Swingers; The gym’s walls are full of creative routes and pretty colors; PG Portland’s awesome staff full of smiles.

*PG GIVES BACK – Helping the ASCA Re-bolt Around the World*

Every year, Planet Granite donates $1/member/month to organizations that support climbing, community, and the environment.

A portion of this year’s PG Gives Back funds went to the American Safe Climbing Association, as a result of our successful fundraiser auction in which PG matched member donations dollar for dollar. Star guest auctioneers Alex Honnold and Chris McNamara auctioned off vacations in Tahoe and Yosemite homes, a Half Dome climb, a day of climbing with pro climber Ethan Pringle, outdoor gear of all types, and many great SuperTopo books autographed by Alex himself.

All in all PG and our member community raised $60,000 for the ASCA, which will go towards replacing old bolts in popular climbing areas around the world! For those of you who haven’t heard about the ASCA, check out their work!


LEFT TO RIGHT: Chris, Alex, and PG Staff auctioned prizes to a packed house; A compelling argument to support the ASCA; One of our star auctioneers, Alex Honnold, ready to autograph some guidebooks.


We have two fantastic additions to our management team in the Bay Area: Bret Johnston is PG’s new Director of Setting, and Dan Norgan is PG Belmont’s new Gym Manager.

You may remember Bret from this interview, but Dan remains a mystery. Until now, that is!

I got the opportunity to ask each of them each a few questions. Here’s what they had to say…

QUESTION – Who is someone that inspires you, in climbing or otherwise?

Dan: Reinhold Messner. Not only for his great climbing achievements but also for his drive and passion to share the sport and the outdoors with others.

Bret: As a setter I have a handful of setters that have influenced me greatly throughout the years. Guys like John Muse and Mike Helt taught me how to be a professional route-setter. Kyle McCabe showed me what it means to work really, really hard. Chris Danielson and Tonde Katiyo helped me explore my creativity of movement and my own personal style. There are also many climbers that I draw inspiration from. Jonathan Siegrist is one of my favorite people to climb with. He has always inspired me to try a little bit harder.

QUESTION – What are you especially excited about working on in your new position with PG?

Dan: I’m really excited to be more of an active part in the climbing community. Up until now, I only got to be a participant but my new role here will allow me to influence and improve our local climbing community.

Bret: I am really excited to be in a new place and working with new people. The PG setting crew is full of super talented climbers that aren’t half bad at setting either. I’m learning a lot about this community and I’m honored to be become a part of it. The bay area has such a rich history in the climbing gym industry and I’m psyched to bring my experience here and try to influence it in any way I can.


Bret Johnston doing this thing on the left and Dan Norgan ready for climbing rocks on the right.

QUESTION – For those of us staff or members who want to get to know you better when we see you around, what is something besides climbing that you’re always excited to talk about?

Dan: I am always willing to talk about gear with people, but Backpacks in particular. A little known side gig I have is hand making Mountaineering packs for myself and for friends. Because of this, I can talk for days about the ins and outs of packs and pack design but really, I love talking about any and all climbing gear.

Bret: Besides climbing I really enjoy Golf. I’ve played since I was a little kid and I feel like it has so many similarities to climbing in respects to challenging oneself in skill and concentration. Golf constantly challenges me. I have never tried so hard at something and still been so mediocre! I think that’s why I keep coming back to it. I just want to be good at it! 

QUESTION – If you owned a fortune-cookie-making machine, what would you put on the inside of your fortune cookies?

Dan: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.

Bret: Have a positive attitude and positive things will happen.

*Well that’s a wrap!
*As always a big THANK YOU to all our members, staff, and visiting climbers who made this year such a great one!

Jesse Bio Pic
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jesse Schouboe has a passion for education, climbing, and being outdoors with friends. Now back in the Bay Area after several years of traveling, he can often be found talking with friends and drinking tea in the gym between climbs. He loves the PG community, and is psyched to take both his training plans and the PG Belmont youth programs and community events to the next level. 

TEAM OF 2 – January Camp + Private Sessions

 Beta, Events  Comments Off on TEAM OF 2 – January Camp + Private Sessions
Jan 072015

The Coach and The Trainer return to PG!

Offering TWO Training Camps PLUS One-on-one Private Sessions!

Justen & Kris each bring a unique style of training and coaching to their programs. They can effectively target your individual needs, catering to your specific goals for climbing.

Team of 2 is back and ready to push YOU harder!


Defining & Training

In this 3 hour camp you’ll be exposed to the complexity and intertwined relationship of the 10 main technical skills for climbing. *It would be wise to be prepared to take written notes!
To2 Camp Poster

BALANCE = Footwork, Body Position, Straight-Arm

THOUGHT = Breathing, Scanning, Sequencing

MOVEMENT = Relaxation & Tension, Momentum, Coordination

 RATE = Tempo

1. You will walk away with a clear understanding of what technique is to a climber.
2. Ways to improve these 10 skills.

We will chat about each of the 10 skills of a climber’s technical world. Then you’ll experience first hand a few drills that will help you hone them. Some folks will be doing basic drills and others will be doing advanced drills depending on your skill level in a specific skill.


  • PG SAN FRANCISCO – Tuesday, January 27th, 3-6pm 
  • PG SUNNYVALE – Thursday, January 28th, 3-6pm 
Why & How

The system board is an amazing tool for training and in this 3 hour camp you will learn how to use this complex board.

1. Understand how to refine & balance your movements.
2. Specific ways to train for bouldering and rope climbing

We will use video analysis to review our movements and charts to track that progress.


  • PG San Francisco – Thursday, January 29th, 8-11am
  • Member – $120
  • Non-member – $130
  • 3 Hour Camps – Ratio of 1 to 6, instructor to student.
**TO SIGN-UP email Justen!**



  • PG San Francisco – Tuesday, January 27th from 9am-2:30pm
  • PG Sunnyvale – Wednesday, January 28th from 8am-2:30pm
  • PG San Francisco – Thursday, January 29th from 11:30am-2:30pm


  • PG San Francisco – Tuesday, January 27th from 9am-6pm
  • PG Sunnyvale – Wednesday, January 28th from 8am-6pm
  • PG San Francisco – Thursday, January 29th from 8am-2:30pm
Climbing CoachImproving Skills

If you need a complete evaluation of your current climbing skills, sign up for a one-on-one with Justen Sjong!

You’ll gain a clear understanding of what skills you need to focus on to further your climbing and reach your goals.
To2 Private Session Poster

Athletic TrainerImproving Strength

If you want to take your climbing to the next level, Kris Peters is your trainer!

Current trainer of top climbers consisting of Matt Segal, Daniel Woods, Emily Harrington, Alex Puccio and many more! Get a session designed around your specific goals and get a program that will be designed to your specific needs.


  • Members – 1 hour $75 | 2 hours $145
  • Non-Members – 1 hour $85 | 2 hours $155
**Email Justen or Kris to book your session!**

*Questions about private session availability? Email Justen or Kris directly.

The Muscle Behind the Hustle – By Walker Emerson

 Staff, Trip Report  Comments Off on The Muscle Behind the Hustle – By Walker Emerson
Jan 072015


An unknown climber in the evening light at Oliana. Photo Walker Emerson.

It’s March 2014, I have been living in Spain for the past three months, in the small Northern town of Oliana, a farm town at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains. 

The mountains shoot out of the ground in long ridges capped with limestone spines for as far as you can see. And at the forefront of the range is a blue wave poised to crash on the grassy fields below. This cliff is known in the climbing world as Oliana, and has been in the spotlight ever since Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra battled the hardest sport climb in the world and won.

The wall is stacked with the highest concentration of the world’s hardest climbs side by side. Although most of the choice lines have been bolted and climbed, there still remain a few open lines. At 150 feet with barely any rests, Oliana is a stamina beast forcing you to climb fast and efficiently.

The wall is so large that it swallows everyone up like a huge deafening wave, and one can find tranquility as they ride the blue stone to the top.

Upon arrival in Spain, I was a bit rusty. I had been climbing in Yosemite Valley and was used to low angle slabs. However, I quickly found my groove and built up enough fitness to send one of the classic lines at the cliff, El Gran Blau 5.14a, or The Big Blue in Catalan, the language spoken in this region of Spain. I began working on a more difficult route called Fish Eye 5.14b. Within a few days I was making it to the crux.


Walker sticking the final move of the middle crux on Fish Eye 5.14b. To the right is the American Hustle. Photo Andy Bardon

My friend Sam Elias soon joined me in Spain. He had brought one hundred bolts and hangers with the intention of putting up routes in Morocco the following month. Feeling beat down from climbing on Fish Eye and falling so many times at the crux, I was ready for a break.

I suggested we bolt a line up the center of Oliana, just to the right of Fish Eye. The route was obvious but would require a lot of work. Most of the existing lines follow water streaks. The water from frequent rainfall runs down the cliff and coats the wall with a hard blue shell forming colinets and tufas. Our line climbed through the orange rock which needed more attention in order to be climbable.

Sam 3

LEFT: Sam drilling cleaning the new line. Photo by Walker Emerson. RIGHT: Sam drilling bolts with the town of Oliana in the background. Photo Andy Bardon.

The following day we climbed an existing route to the summit of the cliff and anchored a rope to a few small trees near the edge. Using hooks and adjustable daisies to gain position on the steep wall, we placed removable bolts and rigged a static line down the intended climb. As I lowered from the top, I could see that the climb was going to go. It seemed hard, but the holds were there. I only had to look two routes to the left at an existing 5.15b to see that the holds I was finding were far better.

Sam and I tag teamed the project, keeping each other psyched and the work moving forward; we HUSTLED. 

Having never bolted something so big before, I was ignorant as to the amount of time this project was going to take. It turns out one hundred and fifty feet of limestone is a lot of rock to make ready for climbing!

We visited many hardware stores and practiced our Spanish to buy tools and glue for the project. Making friends in the process, we borrowed the drill from a local climber who was also bolting a new line at Oliana. We sacrificed climbing days to hang in our harnesses, cleaning and glueing, our fingers cracked and bleeding from the difficult labor.

But in the end we stood back proud, and we marveled at our creation, knowing that we had put in all the work needed to make this route the best it could be.


Sam getting in the evening light on what would become American Hustle. Photo Andy Bardon.

Sam sent the new route a few weeks later, and we called it American Hustle, 5.14b.

Having my friend send the route was spectacular. Watching the project come full circle was an experience I will not soon forget. It felt good to give something back to this beautiful place that has given so much to me and to many others. Watching people climb on the new route brought a smile to my face. American Hustle will be at Oliana for a long time and I hope it brings smiles to many more faces.

Sam 2

LEFT: Sam keeping calm after making it through the crux of the route. RIGHT: Sam cruising on American Hustle. Photos by Andy Bardon.

Sam left for Morocco, but I had three more weeks in Spain and still had not sent Fish Eye.

On one of his last days I broke through the middle crux that had stopped me so many times before but fell on the notorious thin section at the chains. I needed another break.

I went to Siurana for a bit and crimped the bleep out of some routes. Siurana has the most slippery razors I have ever experienced. It was fun hanging out with friends and climbing many easier routes. In a week, I climbed more routes than I had my whole two months in Oliana, but Fish Eye began to tempt me back.

With two weeks left, my friend Hazel Findlay wanted to meet up to climb. She got excited to try Fish Eye with me, so we headed back to try it again. Feeling a renewed psych, I sent Fish Eye my second day back. Maybe it was my stronger fingers from the week in Siurana or maybe it was the week of rest. Pero la lucha ha terminado. Hazel also sent the route in good style a few days later. I finished up my trip climbing on American Hustle.

I’ll have to return next year to send it, or maybe I’ll find myself bolting some new lines…

 *Check out Andy Bardon’s video for the full story:


walker bio photo
Walker Emerson is a contributing writer for the PG Blog. He also sets routes at Planet Granite under the alias ‘Smash’. When he’s not plugging grips and jugging lines, he can be found on weekends clipping bolts at Jailhouse or sailing the granite seas of Yosemite.

To keep up with Walker’s adventures, follow him on the PG Blog, join him on InstagramVimeo and Facebook.

A Visit From St. Nicholas at PG San Francisco ~ by Reinhard Cate

 Gear, San Francisco, Staff  Comments Off on A Visit From St. Nicholas at PG San Francisco ~ by Reinhard Cate
Dec 262014

Written by PG San Francisco Instructor Reinhard Cate 

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through San Francisco PG, not a climber was stirring not even ‘EAC’. (Eliot A. Carlsen)

Ropes were hung from the anchors with care, in hopes that psyched climbers soon would be there.

The staff were bivvied all snug in their beds; while visions of shiny new gear danced in their heads.

The gym’s doors were locked, headlamps dimmed down low, I started my ride and prayed for no snow.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bike to see what was the matter.

When what to my chalk caked eyes did appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer!

He rapped down from the roof so nimble and quick, in astonishment I gasped, “That’s one jacked old St. Nick!”

He unclipped his ATC and ran over to my ride, I knew in a moment he wanted inside.

“Now gym, now bouldering, now sport, now trad, I need new climbing gear for nice children that aren’t bad.”

So nervous I started to stutter and shake, “Uh that’s no problem dear Santa your rope we can flake.”

Dressed in all fur from his head to his foot, he followed me inside leaving a trail of soot;
First Gus we awoke from his long winter nap,

each staff member should tell Santa what they want from his sack.

Anasazi Moccasyms for crack climbing topped off Gus’s list. So Santa took note, no presents would be missed.

Carter wanted La Sportiva Solutions for bouldering, Rob a Mammut backpack for the crag, Jonathan wanted a Patagonia rucksack and Petzl quick draws that looked rad.

fotor 1
Abbey dreamt of a new Bluewater rope and Elliot some shiny new Black Diamond cams,

Santa was happy with the inspiration from the big PG fam.

Jackie was nestled in with a sweet So-iLL boar brush,

while Justin was tucked into a bright crash pad that Petzl made extra large just for us.

Fotor 3
But it was when Santa reached Stephanie he came to a halt, for it was her Christmas wish that nobody could fault.
“I just want my body to heal so once again I can crush. My weekends can be spent in the mountains, so please it’s no rush.”

Santa smiled and promised some Christmas magic with care and we all hoped for healing vibes to flow through the air.

Our gear shop nearly empty Santa headed back toward his sleigh, he had houses to visit before the break of the day!

Outside he cheerfully clipped into his line with ascenders back up to the roof, I knew no one would believe me if I didn’t have proof.

I just wanted a selfie, but I was too slow. He was gone in flash, his sack of presents in tow.

But I heard him exclaim, as he jugged out of sight – “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Reinhard photoABOUT THE AUTHOR: Reinhard Cate is a Planet Granite Instructor, graduate student, and a freelance multimedia journalist. His work has appeared in Alpinist Magazine, BBC World News, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, New York Daily News, and Santa Clara Magazine. He currently is pursuing a M.S. in International and Development Economics at the University of San Francisco.

Golf Night @PG Belmont

 Belmont, Community  Comments Off on Golf Night @PG Belmont
Dec 182014

Golf Night collage
Thanks to all who attended Golf Night last Tuesday, December 9th at PG Belmont!

Over 40 members participated and tried their hands at climbing using as few holds as possible. Many climbers scaled our toprope walls using 2, 1, or 0 handholds, and between their arête-hugging, stemming, slab balancing, and creative use of naturals the gym felt more like an outdoor crag than an artificial wall.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to try the golf routes, there is still time!

Here are all routes from the Belmont Golf Night toprope course and their corresponding par values. Come try this new approach to gym climbing, and let us know what you think.

PG Belmont Golf Night Toprope Course

Hole 1: Rope #49/Orange/5.6      3/5/7       (advanced/intermediate/beginner pars)

Hole 2: Rope #33/Blue/5.8           5/7/9

Hole 3: Rope #73/Green/5.3        0/2/4

Hole 4: Rope #69/Pink/5.10c       1/3/5

Hole 5: Rope #66/Pink/5.7           3/5/8

Hole 6: Rope #65/Blue/5.4           1/3/5

Hole 7: Rope #32/Green/5.6        1/3/5

Hole 8: Rope #45/Pink/5.8           5/7/9

Hole 9: Rope #4/Green/5.9          5/7/9



  • Climb, staying on one route, using as few handholds as possible.



  • Each different plastic hold you touch with your hands counts as a stroke.
  • Climbers must start at the start hold and end on the finish hold. The start and finish holds do not count towards strokes.
  • Retry routes as many times as you want with no penalty, but the score you record must be from a clean attempt (no falls).
  • Climbers may not crimp bolt holes or jam cracks. Other than that all naturals are on and do not count as holds even if grabbed with the hands.

See ya next time at Golf Night!