Planet Granite

Jul 282014

Guest post by PG Routesetter Shannon EK Joslin

Buying your first pair of climbing shoes can be a daunting endeavor. Buying your second pair can be even more stressful!

This blog post is a quick guide in how to streamline your shoe buying experience. We want to help you get out of the shop, into shoes and on the wall!

Planet Granite offers a variety of shoes for climbers of various different levels. Certain subsets of shoes are highly specific to the style of climbing and the climber’s ability level.


Q – What type of terrain will these shoes be primarily used on?

Sticky rubber is essential for climbing at your limit both inside and outside. We all want a shoe with “the stickiest” rubber!

However, when it comes to adhesion on rock there isn’t ‘one-size-fits-all’. Yosemite’s granite is vastly different than Mortar Rock’s basalt. The top of the line rubbers that rate well on multiple stone types are Vibram® rubber (used in many La Sportiva shoes), Stealth® C4™ rubber (used in 5.10’s shoes) and,  most recently, TRAX rubber (used in Evolv shoes).  You will find all of these brands and rubber in PG’s gear shops.


You can typically find the type of rubber on the bottom of the shoe. From right to left are the emblems for VIBRAM® rubber, Stealth C4 rubber, and TRAX rubber.

Q – How many climbing sessions a week are you getting in?

If climbing is more than just a ‘hobby’, and you find yourself climbing multiple times a week and on the weekends, buying a 2nd (and even 3rd pair!) might be a good idea.  Having multiple pairs of shoes can be a really effective way of not only catering to the variety of indoor and outdoor terrain, but can also increase the longevity of the shoes.  Rotating through your shoes can make the rubber and fit last longer!

Some people choose to train with an older, worn-in shoe and then save a pair of their favorite shoes for an upcoming competition or a redpoint session outside.

For those on a budget, Evolv offers a great subset of cheap (but sticky!) climbing shoes. Planet Granite currently stocks the Addicts, Elektras, and Defys - all of which have TRAX rubber and are under $100.


Q – What style of climbing will you be doing?

Think about the degree of wall you normally climb on. Vertical, overhanging, slabs, or a mixture?

Vertical and Slab -

If you climb primarily on vertical and slab routes a shoe with a good edge is essential. A good edge allows you to stand on your feet while using ‘bad’ foot holds As you may have experienced, us route setters, we like to use tiny feet on slab routes. Look for shoes that market their “edging power.” Good shoes for vert and slab climbers are La Sportiva’s Miura’ and Katana’s, 5.10 Anasazi’s Velcros and Pink Lace-ups and Evolv’s Defy.

Shoes 1

On the right is an aggressive, down-turned La Sportiva Solution ideal for steep terrain; and on the left is a flat Five Ten Anasazi Velcro (available in Sunnyvale) ideal for vertical climbing.

Overhanging – 

If you climb primarily on overhanging routes you will want a shoe that is marketed as aggressive. An aggressive shoe has a downturned sole and is usually asymmetrical in their toe box. Subtle difference in a shoe’s toe box and heel cup make a world of difference for overhanging routes. I have found that I particularly enjoy having a shoe with rubber extended far over the toe. Great shoes for overhanging climbing are La Sportiva’s Solutions (my personal favorite), Five Ten’s Dragons and Team, and Evolv’s Nexxo.



When trying on new shoes look for a shoe that fits like a glove.

A shoe that fits well should have no air pockets, nor should it crunch your foot into looking (and feeling) like you are practicing binding your feet. I can’t stress this enough, especially if you are trying to develop new technical skills like finicky heel hooks, technical toe hooks or the ever-strenuous smear.

The two most temperamental air pocket areas are heel cups and toe boxes. Use your newly developed strong climbing fingers and poke around a bit to feel for the pockets.


Pictured on the left is the La Sportiva Mythos with a unlined leather upper; on the right is a Evolv Defy with a synthetic upper. The leather shoe will stretch upon breaking in whereas the synthetic will mostly stay true to the purchase size.

It’s important to take note if the shoes that you are purchasing are lined or unlined leather or synthetic materials (you can find this information in the technical specifications for each shoe).

Unlined leather shoes (LaSportiva Mythos) will stretch as you break them in whereas synthetic shoes (5.10 Dragon Lace-up and Teams) generally stay the same size. Lined leather shoes (LaSportiva Katana Velcro) fall somewhere in the middle, giving a bit of stretch with time but nowhere near as much as an unlined leather shoe.

Factor this into how the shoe initially fit. I like my big toe to be fairly bent in my new leather aggressively shaped shoes, so when they stretch my toe will be left with a tiny bend—a quality I have found valuable when grabbing the rock with my feet.

I like my vertical shoes to be very snug with no bend in the toe. I like my trad shoes (shoes I know I will be spending a full day in) to be very comfortable. Tight but not overtly so, as I know that one can spend all day climbing long multi-pitches in the heat of summer and feet will inevitably swell.




Here Shannon is testing her fits by heel hooking in South Africa and smearing on tiny edges in Yosemite.

Another factor to consider when buying climbing shoes is your current and projected climbing level. Are you just starting out and don’t know if climbing will be your hobby of choice?

Go for a more all-around shoe—the Evolv Defy or Elecktra will do you a solid. Think the sport of rock climbing (and your feet) will stick? Get some of the stickiest rubber out there and grab an advanced pair of Scarpa’s, LaSportiva’s or 5.10’s.

Are you trying to branch into steep, hard boulders? Try the La Sportiva’s Solution or Five Ten’s Dragon.

To close, the most important aspect of buying a climbing shoe is making sure that your foot is happy. If your feet feel great you can spend less time worrying about when you get to take off your shoes between burns and more time having fun climbing.

And remember kids, With great rubber comes great responsibility.

*Check out Shannon in action in our Tip of the Week video!

Shannon bioBorn under a smoldering Mars, it is rumored that Shannon began setting routes as a young girl in the gaudy playpens at the Sultan’s palace in Delhi on walls of pure velvet and pinches of wrought gold. As word of her startling talent spread she was adopted by a traveling English sugar baron and quickly inducted into the glittering halls and silk petticoats of London’s new rich, where she lived for a time before stowing away on the four-master Santa Guadalupe, bound for the Americas. What transpired aboard the vessel can only be guessed at by a tremor in her root-like thumbs—though many have of course cited the numerous horrific diaries discovered among the wreckages of two Japanese whalers. How she at last came to Planet Granite remains unknown…

*What is known* about Shannon is that she is an ambassador of La Sportiva, Organic Bouldering Mats, Joshua Tree Skin Care, Flux Coffee, and Solo Eyewear. She chooses to wake up in the morning with a Flux and a snuggle with her dog/black bear, Philia. She is a wealth of information about climbing products, training for climbing, climbing holds and outdoor climbing and eagerly invites you to seek out or rival her Valerian steel sharpened advice. She’ll likely have a smile and snacks for you too!


*Follow Shannon’s adventures on her personal BLOG and Facebook athlete PAGE.*
Jun 252014


We’re just a few months away from opening our new Portland gym!

BY THE NUMBERS:             

30,500 - Total square footage of the gym

20,000 - Square footage of wall space for climbing on ropes

10,000 - Square footage of wall space for bouldering

55 - Height in feet of our world-class climbing walls

18 – Cracks, because, well, we are crack fiends!

4 – Hydraulically adjustable cracks

2 – Off-width cracks

2 - Number of top-notch yoga and fitness studios

1 - Custom designed adjustable systems board

4th – Planet Granite’s position nationwide based on total climbing wall area(!)

WHEN: Fall 2014

WHERE: Between NW 14th and 15th Ave. on NW Pettygrove Street


  • Looking for work or know someone looking in the Portland area? We’re hiring!
  • Want to stay up-to-date on the latest in Portland including sneak peaks and invite-only events?

Design plans

Jun 242014

 Health & Wellness @Planet Granite

In Part 1 Caroline discussed shoulder health and listed out “The 4 Tests Every Climber Needs to Pass“. 

Now for Part 2 she shares with us her favorite exercises and stretches to prevent shoulder injuries and imbalances.

*Don’t miss Caroline’s special offer for PG Members! *

Schedule your first appointment with her during the month of June and receive 20% OFF your visit!

 ** The information in these articles are submitted by various professionals in the industry who are not employed by or representatives of Planet Granite.   If you have an injury or more questions regarding the topics addressed on our blog,  please consult a qualified medical practitioner.  Before beginning any fitness program, you should have a complete physical examination by your physician.**

 My Favorite Exercises for Climbers

Guest Post by Caroline Bourcier, MSPT

(Please note that ALL of these presume you have no injuries.)

1) Standing forward bend with shoulder stretch

Forward Bend

What it does - stretches the hamstrings, decompresses the low back & neck, and stretches the biceps and anterior delts. This helps prevent biceps and labral problems. (Note: this stretch is not for anyone with a history of anterior shoulder dislocations).

Hold for 30 seconds.

Goal - Able to rest chest on thighs with a slight knee bend, with your hands clasped and your shoulders >40 degrees behind your butt.

2) Sleeper stretch

Sleeper Stretch

What it does - Stretches the posterior capsule helping to prevent impingements and biceps tendonitis.

Hold for 3 sets of 20 seconds.

Goal - Forearm angle towards the floor in >70 degrees AND symmetrical right to left.

3) External Rotation Strengthening

Theraband Strengthening

What it does - Creates balance in the strength of the posterior to anterior muscles, helps prevent impingements and is the most important of the rotator cuff strengthening exercises.

Goal - 3 sets to fatigue or burning.

4) Plank to Side Plank and Back
Plank and Side Plank

What it does - This is a great exercise for training your entire core AND your shoulder blade stabilizers. Note that this is NOT a beginner exercise. If it feels too difficult to move through the sequence, break down each of the moves separately before putting them all together.

Goal - 5 sets of 15 second holds.

Parting Thoughts 

1.  Your exercise routine should never be what causes your injury. If it hurts, stop. If it hurts for more than two weeks seek out advice.

2.  Work out smarter, not harder. Focus on your weaknesses.

3.  Remember,“Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” (Geothe)


Schedule your 1st appointment with Caroline during the month of June
and receive a special 20% OFF discount! 



ABOUT – Caroline Bourcier, MSPT is the owner of Thrive Physical Therapy in Mill Valley, CA.  She has over 25 years experience in the fitness and physical therapy fields and is a former competitive and life-long athlete.

She is passionate about all activities in the outdoors, helping athletes stay young and injury free, and raising money and awareness for the Breast Cancer Fund.

She can be reached at (415) 497-6557 or if you have any questions about aches and pains that are slowing you down.

Jun 162014



Crux of the WeekBlue V4 @PG Sunnyvale

LOCATION:  Bouldering Slabs
SET BY: Danny (DH)
CLIMBER: Evan Pearce, Instructor @PG Sunnyvale


Jun 092014



This WOW features 4 exercises to improve shoulder stability and strengthen core. 

Planet Granite Workout of the Week Logo

DIFFICULTY:  All levels
FOCUS: Injury prevention, Warm-up, Stability, Core



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Planet Granite Workout of the Week Logo

IMPORTANT: Climbing and climbing training, such as the exercises in the WOW, are inherently dangerous activities.  Participation in these exercises is done at your own risk.  If you have any injuries, we recommend you do not attempt a WOW.  If you have any concerns about your abilities or the exercises, consult a qualified medical practitioner or athletic trainer. Before using the fitness area, equipment, classes or any other training at Planet Granite, it is your responsibility to read and understand the posted gym rules and Safety Guidelines found here:
Jun 022014



A popular piece of gear for sport climbers is a stick clip – a device that is attached to a painters pole that enables the climber to pre-clip the first bolt so as to reduce the risk of a ground fall. 

The Superclip is one of the few stick clips that can not only place the rope into a pre-existing draw, but also put up and take down a draw from a hanger. We find this device really useful when hitting up our local sport climbing crags!

Check out this quick tip video for the 3 ways the Superclip can be used.

The SuperClip is sold in all of our PG gear shops and PG Members get 10% OFF!