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Mission Accomplished! Event Recap – ASCA Fundraiser with Alex Honnold

 Community, Events  Comments Off on Mission Accomplished! Event Recap – ASCA Fundraiser with Alex Honnold
Dec 042014

For a fourth straight year, Planet Granite committed to match up to $20,000 for donations to the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA).Well, we’re thrilled to announce that for a 4th time, thanks to the generous support of our members and the wider climbing community, we have surpassed our goal! In fact, total donations to the ASCA totaled more than $38,000 over two months!! Including the PG Gives Back match, that means the ASCA has almost $60,000 to put towards replacing bolts worldwide  and making outdoor climbing safer for everyone! We are so thankful for everyone that attended our two main fundraisers and donated to the online auction. Below find out how professional climber (and local) Alex Honnold got involved, plus how Planet Granite Portland kicked it all off!


Alex Honnold was running late.

But he couldn’t really complain, at least it was raining. Drought-plagued California needed the torrential downpour. Even if it meant the notoriously impaired San Francisco, “I-don’t-know-how-to-drive-under-anything-but-sun-and-fog,” drivers were making traffic a nightmare.


Alex jumped. “Dude! Aren’t you late for your Planet Granite presentation!” yelled the guy in the car next to him. “Oh, and nice op-ed in the New York Times,” the man finished as he passed Alex’s car. “I’m writing my notes for the presentation now!” Alex protested. After showing up wet as a dog (and late), the ever-modest climber kicked off our 4th Annual ASCA Auction by sharing that story with the crowd gathered to hear him speak about his latest adventures in Yosemite. A shout from behind the San Francisco top-out boulder suddenly split the air, “Hey, that was me!”

Left: A wet Alex Honnold signs Supertopo books for the auction. Right: Planet Granite Auctioneers are psyched to have Alex join them!

Such is the life of the globally renown, yet beloved local (and slightly stinky – hey he just got off El Cap!) auctioneer…err, free soloist. Planet Granite was honored to have Alex and Supertopo founder Chris McNamara help auction off some of the more than 150 items donated to PG for the ASCA fundraiser. The two expertly rattled off numbers, bidding up everything from McNamara’s Tahoe home rental to El Cap speed fiend (and Alex’s record-holding partner) Hans Florine’s Yosemite home. “I’ve stayed there, I promise it’s cool,” affirmed Alex. When it came to auctioning off a day of climbing with another pro-climber, local Ethan Pringle, Alex acknowledged Ethan always beat him at youth comps when they were kids. “He’s, like, really strong.”


Other auction highlights included the Bay Area designed, folding Oru Kayak, which Alex graciously modeled and gear from Goal Zero, Patagonia, Prana, and dozens of other local and national sponsors (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!). Planet Granite Manager (and Chief Auctioneer) Eliot Carlsen got especially flustered when when his employee and co-auctioneer attempted to win the Half Dome in a Day with Jim Herson. Unfortunately, the $100 in her bank account was no match for the $800 Mr. Herson ultimately commanded. All in all, thanks to the AMAZING community that showed up, the live auction raised more than $10,500 in ONE NIGHT!

After the auction shenanigans, Alex gave a compelling presentation on his recent adventures ranging from climbing expeditions to the work he is doing with his non-profit, The Honnold Foundation, for instance bringing solar energy to remote areas of the Navajo Nation. The ever-professional Alex, then stayed for an extra hour and a half simply answering questions, signing books, and taking hundreds of selfies with community members.

Alex on Instagram ASCA 2

The auction in San Francisco may have brought in the big bucks, but it was our Portland community that kicked it all off!


Planet Granite Portland opened the first week of November and scores of people from the greater pacific northwest came to check our our latest gym for free and learn more about the ASCA impact in Oregon. Volunteer re-bolters from Oregon manned the booth and answered questions, while Stumptown Coffee provided the drinks. Dozens of raffle tickets were sold raising more than $1300 over two days. Importantly, new and experienced climbers alike learned more about the valuable work being done by the ASCA and their army of volunteers in making sure beloved local areas like Smith Rock and Broughton’s Bluff  stay safe.

 To our HUGE Planet Granite community. We are so thankful for all of your time, donations, and excitement over the last two months in raising money for this organization that we believe is so vital to our sport.



 *Let’s get a round of applause for all the support we received from these amazing companies! Thank you all so much for your generous donations!*


SIC Grips


Rock and Ice

Joshua Tree Climbing Salve

Team of 2

St. George’s Gin

Public Bikes

Black Diamond 

Fixed Pin Publishing



Goal Zero

Steve Daweson



The Roaring Mouse Cycle Shop

Sender One


Outdoor Adventure Club


Fixe Hardware


Jim Herson

Dandelion Chocolate

Lulu Lemon

Sports Basement

Organic Climbing

Accelerate Sports Medicine


Oru Kayak

Hans Florine

Escape Campervans

Ethan Pringle

Warrior’s Way

Mad Rock


Scratch Labs

The North Face

BigUp Productions

Flux Cold Brew Coffee


House of Air

…and many more!


THE PG HOLIDAY TICK LIST – Gear|Style|Art – Gifts For Every PG Member!

 Gear, Retail  Comments Off on THE PG HOLIDAY TICK LIST – Gear|Style|Art – Gifts For Every PG Member!
Dec 022014


Created just for YOU by Planet Granite!

*Don’t forget! All PG Members receive 10% OFF in the Gear Shop!




  •  Want to know a little secret of the setting team’s ability to crush hard boulder problems?
  • A RAD looking pack on their back!  Looking good at the crag really is half the battle…

Calendars 1

  • Get PSYCHED for the new year with our selection of inspiring 2015 Calendars!

El Cap topo

  • More than just wall candy, these topos show new and historical routes on 2 of the world’s most iconic rock faces.

El Capitan –  $24.95 | Half Dome –  $15.95


PG Gift Cards

  • Give the gift of FUN & ADVENTURE! 
  • More than just a PG day pass, these little red cards are perfect for Membership, Classes, Private Lessons and Gear!

Give the Gift of Gear! PG’s HOLIDAY GEAR SALE

 Gear, Retail  Comments Off on Give the Gift of Gear! PG’s HOLIDAY GEAR SALE
Dec 022014


Give the gift of brand new gear!


Holiday 2

*SPORT CLIMBERS: Quickdraw Packages just for YOU!*   
  • 40% OFF CAMP Photon Wire Rack Pack ($59.95)  |  SALE PRICE $35.97
  • 40% OFF CAMP Mixed Express Quickdraw 5-pack ($89.95)  |  SALE PRICE $53.97
  • 15% OFF when you buy 6 or more Petzl Quickdraws
*TRAD CLIMBERS: Intro Trad Rack – $415 + tax – SAVE OVER $100!*

Includes: Camelot C4 #’s.4 – #3; an Oz Rack Pack, a Stopper Set & a 60cm Dyneema Sling.

BD Cams

  • We all need a few more cams in our rack. Now’s the time to get them and save BIG!



    • Cassian PIU 2 Belay Device + the HMS Compact Locker =
      SALE PRICE $25.14
  • Support old school businesses! 

camp acronym

  • This belay device is forged with aluminum alloy making it lightweight and long lasting.
  • The design allows you to belay two climbers easily and can be used both for single and multipitch routes – also makes for smooth rappels.
  • Pair it with the Camp HMS Compact Locking Carabiner and you’ve earned yourself 40% OFF!


Holiday 5

  •  Never stumble in the night again with a brand new headlamp strapped to your head!
  • An essential item for every outdoor enthusiast!

Holiday 4

  • Step out in STYLE with PG Logo Wear!
  • Rep’ your PG community with our in-house designed t-shirts & hoodies.


Sales start Dec. 1st and end Dec. 15th.

Offers cannot be combined with other discounts.

Limited to stock on hand. 

Push-ups at the Belay – by Walker Emerson

 Community, Staff, Trip Report  Comments Off on Push-ups at the Belay – by Walker Emerson
Nov 212014

Welcome to Yosemite – By Walker Emerson

Walker Pushups 1

My first multi pitch climb was the Nose of El Cap; 3,000 feet of difficult climbing.

While most seasoned climbers take three to five days to climb the route, we did it in just 29 hours!

It was not because of me that we accomplished this; the show was entirely run by my friend Fernando Motta. I would later learn that finding partners in Yosemite is difficult, and I had hit the jackpot.  

I work at a climbing gym. It was the end of the week, and I had stowed my tools in my locker. I was planning to drive to Tahoe, to escape the summer heat, when Fernando asked me if I wanted to climb El Cap with him. I hesitated and blinked at him. “No.” I said. “I don’t think I can?!”

Two weeks later he asked me again. Ever since I had declined his offer, I had been wondering what it would be like to climb the huge wall; I agreed.

Walker Pushups 2

Me, realizing what I had just gotten myself into. Photo by Walker Emerson.

It was June 17th, and it was hot; hot as if the earth had been pushed closer to the sun. El Cap is so large that the temperature varies as much as twenty degrees from the base to the summit. Fernando’s plan was to begin at dusk and climb through the night, thus avoiding the sun on the lower half of the wall. Which meant we would drink less water, and our packs would be lighter. With lighter packs, we would move faster.

Fernando 1

LEFT: Fernando making tape gloves at the base of the Nose. RIGHT: Fernando feeling it ‘maybe just a little’ on El Cap Tower, less than halfway. Photos by Walker Emerson.

This was to be my first multi-pitch climb. I had led a 5.9, a 10b, and an 11a on gear, none of which were confidence building. But I wasn’t going to have to lead anything. I couldn’t believe it; I was going to climb El Cap with a pair of jumars, and in my tennis shoes.

We set off at 8:15pm. Once on the wall, it sank in. Can we make it I thought? We’re going pretty slowly. I’ll just jug this next pitch in the hopes that we might bail.

Walker Pushups 5

Me following the Great Roof. Photo Walker Emerson.

I tried everything I could think of to distract myself from the widening gap between me and the ground. I forced myself to not look down and I distributed my weight gingerly as I ascended the rope. Climbing ropes are tested to over 5000 pounds of force. My measly 180 pounds wasn’t tipping any scales. I backed myself up three times at the anchor. But this was not a fear to be reasoned with. My mistrust would only subside with time.

At 2:00am on June 18th, 500 feet from the top, I sat on a large slanting ledge – Camp Six. Fernando was working his way through a long sustained aid section, the Changing Corners. I flicked my headlamp off and on to conserve battery and let my eyes adjust to the dark. The smell of urine filled my nose. I was growing impatient and cold. When we left the ground, it had been so hot I neglected to bring anything but my thin jacket.

Walker Pushups 6

Tom Evans pretty much summed it up with this shot and quote “Fernando leading Pancake Flake on their 29 hour push on the Nose. Ouch!!!!” Photo by Tom Evans.

I yelled up to Fernando, “I’m getting cold!”

He shouted back down. “Do some push-ups!” This felt like a ridiculous thing to do after 2500 feet of climbing but I laughed and did a few push-ups. It helped.

Walker Pushups 7

On top of the world. Photo Walker Emerson

The final pitches of the route are steep, and I would swing far out from the wall after removing each piece of gear. I was thankful that it was dark and all I could see was the small bubble of light that my head lamp illuminated around me.

I jugged past impossible looking cracks. In awe, I asked Fernando how hard was the last pitch. “That one was 5.10, dude.” he said. As Fernando led the final steep bolt ladder to the summit, I watched the shape of Half Dome become slowly visible in the East. I couldn’t wait to get off of El Cap. After 29 hours I was done – mentally and physically; my mouth was dry and my brain fried.

Fernando climbed out of sight. We made it! I thought to myself. The rope pulled faster and faster and then it stopped. I paused and waited for him to yell down that the rope was secure and that I could begin jugging, but I heard nothing. I placed my jumars on the rope and began to weight them. The rope went taut and I prayed it would hold me just one more time.

As I began to jug, a whooshing sound shot straight past me. I watched as a person with their arms stretched out plummeted to the ground below. My mind began to race. Had I just pulled Fernando off the summit?

No, the rope was still taught. Had Fernando base jumped off the summit, and left me to find my own way down? Maybe. The base jumper shot out away from the wall as their suit caught the air and propelled them forward. The parachute deployed, and they glided into the meadow below.

I jugged to the summit as the glow in the east crossed the sky, bringing the base into view, now 3,000 feet below. The exposure sank in, and I relished the final minutes of the climb. On top of the world, with nothing but air below me, I pulled onto the summit.

Fernando lay in an exhausted heap next to the tree he had tied the rope to.

“Thank you Fernando”, I said. “Thank you.”

I watched the sun rise above Half Dome. My legs rushed with blood as I jumped up into the air to catch the first rays of sun on my face. I was happy to be alive.

Two years ago Fernando Motta died in a tragic base jumping accident.

Fernando is my hero. Everything I first learned about climbing big walls was from him. He showed me how to be calm and calculated on the wall. He believed that minimum gear and a fast pace is the way to climb in Yosemite.

Today I have climbed El Cap 15 times and even in a casual sub ten hours. Words can’t accurately express how grateful and lucky I feel to have learned from one of the best.

Fernando 2

LEFT: Fernando on the summit ready for me. RIGHT: Evening light on El Cap. Photos by Walker Emerson.

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.

6 Tips for Your Hangboard Session – Guest post by Neely Quinn

 Beta, Community  Comments Off on 6 Tips for Your Hangboard Session – Guest post by Neely Quinn
Nov 202014

This article was written by Neely Quinn, the founder of, a complete resource for training programs, articles, videos, and podcasts.

In this article she talks about how she’s made her fingerboarding sessions way more entertaining and bearable! Training finger strength is one of the most important aspects of becoming a stronger climber. 

TrainingBeta recently released their Bouldering Strength and Power online subscription program, and you as a Planet Granite climber get a special discount THIS MONTH.   

Read to the bottom for more details!

Enter Neely…

As a person who’s spent some long hours on a fingerboard, hangboard, or whatever you want to call it, I can tell you that it sort of sucks. Sometimes, depending on the day, it really sucks.

(By the way, “I” am Neely Quinn. You can read more about me here if you want.)

Anyway, there’s a reason that Jonathan Siegrist is making this ridiculous face during his fingerboarding session. I mean, granted he’s doing a two-finger one-arm on the most heinous pocket ever, but still. It looks painful and hard.


Because it is!

But we know that training on a fingerboard will improve your climbing ability.

That, along with campusing, training power endurance, and overall strength, will make you send harder boulders and routes without question. If done systematically, your fingers will get stronger, your callouses will get built up even more than they already are, your tolerance for pain while climbing will increase, and grabbing small crimps will feel downright easy.

How to Train on The Fingerboard

Luckily, we have a systematic training program that tells you exactly how and when to use the hangboard, campus, boulder, and lift weights – our new Bouldering Strength and Power Program. Definitely check it out if you want some help with all of those aspects of training!

Back to the task at hand, though.

How do we make fingerboarding less like waterboarding and more like fun?

Even if we need to do it to get stronger, if it’s laborious and time-consuming, we’re going to make up any excuse to not do it. So…

Here are 6 tips to make a hangboard session more awesome.

1. Music

Music might sound obvious and simple, but it’s so important!

To each his or her own, but really intense electronic music always does the trick for me.

Check out Jonathan’s playlist for some really good tracks (I don’t think he knows that music outside of EDM exists).

Sometimes I’ll switch things up and listen to some Michael Bublé (don’t ever do that and have J-Star walk in on you, though, because the taunting will be relentless – not that I would know). Maybe try some death metal or rap or just anything that makes you PSYCHED.

You will have to endure pain and overcome your body’s overwhelming messages to stop what it is you are doing. So you’d better have something outside of you telling you to continue the masochism.

I'd sliced the tip of my finger off, so I wasn't using all my left fingers - that's not normal form! :)

See the speakers pointed directly at me? The volume was up so loud I couldn’t hear my body telling me to stop. BTW, I’d sliced the tip of my finger off, so I wasn’t using all my left fingers – that’s not normal form! 🙂

2. A Pulley System

Conveniently, the picture above demonstrates my need for music AND a pulley system while torturing myself. Taking weight off during a fingerboarding session can make it:

a) Possible to finish the workout and

b) More systematic and easier to track progress

When you’re doing, say, 7 seconds on, 3 seconds off on a small crimp 7 times in a row, it can get really hard to finish the reps. Even after a 3 minute break before your next set, you’re still tired from the last set, so it can be impossible to get through the workout.

Taking weight off can, like I said, makes it possible to get through the workout because you’re not actually having to deadhang with your entire fat ass pulling you toward the earth.

The pulley system is a reliable way to track your progress, too.

If you’re just using a rope, a rubberband, or a dirty pair of underwear to take weight off (like Chris Webb Parsons does in this video), it’s really hard to tell how much weight you’re taking off. Plus, you’re going to want to take more weight off when you’re tired, and that’s totally possible to do when your holding on to a piece of rope for dear life.

With the pulley system, though, you can directly measure how much weight you’re taking off (or putting on, whatever the case may be), and how your sessions improve over time. Because with any luck, you’ll be taking off less and less weight each session (or putting more and more on).

So you just get a pulley system – the Anderson brothers made the Rock Prodigy Pulley Kit that works really well – hang it up like the picture shows, get some weights (or a small child or whatever) and strap them and yourself onto the system with slings and harnesses, and you have yourself a system.

Don’t take off too much weight, you cheater. Just enough so that you can get through your session!

3. A Boar’s Hair Brush

Like the one below!

boars hair brush


Your board is going to get slimy and chalky and gross, and it’s going to become harder and harder to stay on those little grips if you don’t brush them off. Boars hair, though old fashioned, is all the rage among climbers now because it’s really effective at absorbing grease, sweat, and chalk.

Brush off your holds after every set! It’ll give you something to do to take your mind off the session, it’ll keep your board in better shape for longer, and it’ll help you finish your session.

4. A Fan

You see that fan strategically hung right at the level of my fingers in the photo above?

Definitely do your best to mimic that because it makes a huge difference in whether or not you can grip the tiny crimps on your hangboard. Your fingers are constantly sweating and creating heat on the board, and thus it gets harder and harder to hold on. The fan will continuously dry off the holds and keep them as cool as possible so you can, in turn, continuously inflict pain on yourself.

The other thing is to have your hangboard in a cool room. The point of hangboarding is to train your fingers to hold on to small holds for longer – to strengthen your finger muscles and tendons. It’s not to strain your fingers and hands by trying to keep them on a slippery hangboard. The cooler the room, the less you’ll sweat and the better the friction will be.

Translation, you’ll be able to hold on longer and put more force on your fingers before slipping off!

5. The Right Hangboard

For God’s sake, don’t use the hangboard on the right in the photo above if you don’t want to cry yourself to sleep after your sessions. That’s the Moon Fingerboard, and it’s great if you’re Jonathan Siegrist (or my mutant husband, Seth), who seem to not have pain sensors in their fingers or feet.

But for me – I’m a 5.13 climber who likes the skin on my fingers to stay mostly intact – it’s just too much. I like the Beastmaker – the one I’m hanging on in the photo – because it has holds of all sizes and shapes. Not just razor-sharp 1/8 pad crimps. But as always, to each his/her own!

Find a board that you can get through an entire session on without bleeding. The point here is to strengthen your fingers and to continue to do the fingerboard sessions on a regular basis. So if your board is too hard (or too easy) for you, get one that suits you better.

J-Star did a really nice review on the best hangboards out there for us – check it out here. He tells you which boards are good for which level of climber and why he likes or dislikes them, so it should help you choose one for yourself.

6. These Things

These acupressure rings are amazing for finger recovery!

finger acupressure rings

I got mine on Amazon here, and they’re seriously amazing!

When you get done with a fingerboard session, your fingers are swollen, hot, and painful. That is, if you’ve done a good job in your session… They’re painful and these things take away a lot of the pain. Each of the rings has a different amount of give to it, so it puts a different amount of pressure on your fingers.

When you roll them up and down your fingers, you can finally find peace in the world. Highly recommended!


There you have it! I hope this makes your finger training sessions a little more bearable.

And remember, if you want some direction for your hangboarding sessions, as well as a full training protocol for strength and power for boulderers, check out our Bouldering Strength and Power Program. You get 3 new workouts every week for as long as you subscribe, and there’s a free 14-day trial so you can check it out before you commit to anything.

*Special Discount for ALL Planet Granite Climbers!*

From 10/27 until SUNDAY 11/30, ALL climbers at Planet Granite can get 25% OFF ANY of the programs on!  

You just need to use the coupon code “PlanetGraniteat checkout to get the discount!

We love to chat!

We’d love to have your feedback if you do try it out, and if you ever have any questions about anything training or TrainingBeta, just email us at

Whether you train with our programs, with a personal trainer, or on your own, we wish you the best with your climbing!




Alex Honnold Coming to PG for the 4th Annual ASCA Live Auction Fundraiser

 Community, PG Gives Back  Comments Off on Alex Honnold Coming to PG for the 4th Annual ASCA Live Auction Fundraiser
Nov 032014

asca 2014

For the months of October and November, Planet Granite has pledged to match up to $20,000 of funds raised for the American Safe Climbing Association – this means your $1 will become $2!

Plus, join us on Wednesday, November 19th at 7pm at PG San Francisco for a LIVE AUCTION FUNDRAISER with special presentations by well-known soloist and local climber, ALEX HONNOLD and CHRIS MCNAMARA of SuperTopo and founder of the ASCA.

The ASCA is responsible for much of the rebolting projects that have occurred in the West and have even contributed as far east as Thailand!

Largely a volunteer-run organization, the ASCA depends entirely on donations to purchase bolts. These bolts are the reason we can still climb at many of our favorite crags!

As more and more ‘early sport climbing’ areas move into wholesale replacement of all bolts, this year the ASCA sent out far more than ever before – over 5,000 bolts!

*Here’s a short version list of bolts sent out so far in 2014, by state:  

  • California – 1244
  • Colorado – 1100
  • Wyoming – 800
  • Nevada – 450
  • Oregon – 350
  • Kentucky – 250
  • Arizona – 214
  • Utah – 200
  • Tennessee – 200
  • Alaska – 150
  • Washington – 100
  • North Carolina – 50
  • West Virginia & Virginia – 50
  • Pennsylvania – 150 links/rings

*Learn more about this year’s projects HERE.

Have items to donate to the auction?



*Wondering why PG is able to donate $20,000 towards a company match? 

This is a part of our PG GIVES BACK program.

Planet Granite has committed to donating $1 for each member every month to one of three areas: climbing, community and the environment.

SO this is all made possible because of YOU, our amazing members, that we’re able to support these essential organizations.