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PG Staff + Yosemite Conservancy by Cody Blank

 Community, PG Gives Back, Trip Report  Comments Off on PG Staff + Yosemite Conservancy by Cody Blank
Nov 032014

John Muir once mused, “If I were so time-poor as to have only one day to spend in Yosemite I should start at daybreak…for the top of Liberty Cap.”

Bay Area climbers know better – he should have started earlier. Just ask PG member Luke!

You see, climbers around the world are wont to quote Muir when evoking their impassioned devotion to rocks, but for those of us lucky enough to live here, Muir’s words aren’t just literature. They are our weekends.

The Planet Granite community is a diverse group of weekend warriors that for the past two decades have explored every possible reach of Yosemite National Park. From rapping into the steep sport climbs on Killer Pillar, to establishing new lines in Tuolumne, to epics on El Capitan, our members and employees have done it all!

And our PG Gives Back Program is the key part of what makes our community so unique and special – we are not only passionate about and humbled by the areas we climb in, we also seek to support the organizations that help conserve that special land.

That’s why over the last 3 years Planet Granite has donated over $15,000 to the Yosemite Conservancy’s Restoring Climbing Trails Program led by climbing Rangers Jesse McGahey, Ben Doyle, Eric Bissell and others.

In addition to funding, volunteers from our staff @PG have worked to restore popular trails to crags such as Sunnyside Bench, Cookie Cliff, Pat & Jack’s Pinnacle, Royal Arches, Olmstead Canyon and many more!

*Below you’ll find a trip report from PG San Francisco Instructor Cody Blank about a recent weekend in the valley doing trail work under El Capitan.

 TRIP REPORT – OCTOBER 23rd – 26th – El Cap Trail Work

By PG San Francisco Instructor Cody Blank

Recently Ben Doyle, one of the Yosemite Rangers, extended an offer to Planet Granite to come to Yosemite Valley and do some trail work at the base of El Cap.

In exchange we got free camping over the weekend, which also would not count towards your yearly 2 week limit.(YES!) Being able to leave a positive and long lasting mark on one of my favorite places in the whole world, AND I get to climb for free in the Valley. COUNT ME IN!

Those of us from PG included San Francisco Gym Manager and trad crusher Eliot, Primo, a trad curious boulder-er, Samea who is relatively new to climbing outside and Me, an average trad climber who likes to run it out on below average stuff.

Our rushed Thursday night departure,and trying to shove all of our gear into Eliot’s Subaru Impreza, made for a cozy trip.

View and Climbing

LEFT: The Three Brothers was the view out of our tents. RIGHT: Sam on his first outdoor climb, killing it.

Friday morning we were greeted with Yosemite’s usually breathtaking majesty.

We then headed off to Pat and Jack Pinnacle to meet up with PG Sunnyvale staffer Marika and her friend Sam. We found out that this was to be Sam’s first time outside. Not many places better to first climb outside!

One of the cool things about being in The Valley, depending on your point of view, is how if you really want you can find some ‘city comforts‘ easily.

So all of us being huge Giants fans we HAD to watch the World Series while we were in The Valley! So for Friday night we headed over to Curry Village to partake in pizza and rooting for the Giants. If you go to the pizza deck get the spicy hawaiian, putting jalapenos on hawaiian pizza takes it to the next level!

On Saturday morning we met up with more PG staffers, Chelsea and Sara, and had Climbing Ranger Ben Doyle give us the briefing on what we would be doing that day.

We were also greeted by the pleasant surprise that THE ALEX HONNOLD would be joining us for trail work. (!)

Trail Work 1

LEFT: Getting gloves, eye protection and helmets. ALEX HONNOLD forgos the protection!  RIGHT: Primo and the trail builder Max rolling a step into place as Chelsea provided additional weight to a rock so other steps didn’t shift.

The work we would be doing was essentially making stone stairs up the base of El Cap on the east side. This would reduce erosion caused by the small trails that wound through the trees.

Luckily professional trail builders were there to guide us and provide essential know-how to make long lasting stone trails.

Trail work 2

LEFT: Alex and I excavating down to get a solid bed for our section of steps. RIGHT: A member of the trail crew explaining the next step in his section.

Trail work 3

LEFT: Ranger Doyle supervising, making sure he didn’t have to fill out any paperwork for injuries. RIGHT: Eliot manning one of the grip-hoists.

Trail work 4

LEFT: Samea rolling some trail material . RIGHT: The trail building crew really could work magic with the rock bars and the grip-hoist!

Doing this work really made us appreciate and realize how HUGE the projects were that were undertaken in the National Parks during the Great Depression.

Next time you’re in the valley, take a look around and process the fact that most of the stone trail work was done without any mechanized assistance!

After a solid day’s work we again had to support the Giants but this time over at The Mountain Room Lounge. A much more solid showing of the Giants that night with the 11-4 finishing score!

On Sunday we went to a relatively newer crag, Mecca, which sits at climbers left of Lower Cathedral Rock. Meeting up with a PG San Francisco regular Danny, we tackled some cool slab style climbs.

 I managed to accidentally sandbag Eliot by misreading the topo and directing him to go up King and I (5.11c) since it was easy at the start. He was able to traverse back over to Mecca Lite (5.10c) the route we originally intended to climb.

A nice advantage to climbing Mecca Lite is that at the anchors you can tension traverse over to the Mechanical Advantage (5.12a) anchors and top rope it. Don’t be scared off by the grade though as most of the climb is 5.10 slab with good rests. The crux is a v4 problem at the last bolt which protects you well. No scary whippers here if you decide to lead it.

Mechanical Advantage

LEFT TO RIGHT: Eliot about half way up his lead of Mechanical Advantage.  An unnecessary but funny double “thumb-dercling.” Or as I like to call it ‘thundercling’. Then Eliot getting stoked below the last bolt.

Then we walked over to a little better known section of Lower Cathedral and climbed 76 Degrees in the Shade (5.10c).

Eliot got back at me by leading up Mac Daddy (5.11a) and saying that it was just “high 5.10”. I was without a guidebook to educate me otherwise and found out it was sustained 5.11a crimps and thin liebacking.

We then made our way back to the Bay listening to the Giants put themselves yet one more game closer to winning the World Series.

What a great way to cap off an already fantastic weekend!

*GET INVOLVED with the Yosemite Conservancy’s Climbing Trail program! Reach out to Heather Boothe at to set up your own volunteer group!

More Pics from the trip:

yosemiteABOUT CODY: Cody is Bay Area native and loves all of California. The way trad climbing allows him a unique perspective of the most beautiful places in the state draws him to getting scared on gear. Even though he loves climbing in all it’s forms he can never decide on one perspective of California so he also kiteboards, surfs, mountain bikes, and skis.

To learn more from Cody, enroll in the Crack Clinics or the Beginner Rock Climbing Course at PG San Francisco. 

Trip Report – Facelift 2014

 Community, PG Gives Back, Trip Report  Comments Off on Trip Report – Facelift 2014
Nov 032014

*Trip report written by PG Managers Cris Valerio and Eliot Carlsen.*


For almost a decade now, climbers and Yosemite National Park staff have joined forces for one of the most unique public-service events held worldwide – The Yosemite Facelift

For one week in September, the park provides programming, prime camping spots, and more in exchange for climbers help in picking up trash after the busy tourist season. And it’s been wildly successful!
Facelift 1
Last year alone, 1,600 Yosemite Facelift volunteers collected more than 22,000 pounds of trash and debris!

Free camping, raffles with prizes, beer AND climbing celebrities?

It’s no wonder a couple dozen PG members and employees including PG San Francisco Manager Eliot Carlsen, Setter Mark Heal, Marketing Manager Cris Valerio, and PG’s most understated member, valley crusher Lucho Rivera showed up to participate in the festivities.

Over the course of several days the team set out with different partners to clean up areas that would cause John Muir to roll over in his grave.
Facelift 2
A few memorable highlights:

  • TWO – the number of dirty diapers (!) found in Eliot’s trashbag after a particularly grimy rappel session at the Wawona Tunnel View overlook.
  • 14 lbs : 1 lb – Going to weigh the trash you picked up throughout the day and realizing Eliot picked up 14 pounds while Cris picked up 1…
  • FAME – Eliot finally having his moment of fame as tourists from around the world asked to take pictures of a man picking up trash in a (gasp!) harness.

Facelift 3

  • FIRST ASCENTSFriday night’s packed auditorium to hear both PG member Lucho Rivera talk about the many first ascents he’s put up throughout Yosemite as well as former PG employee and current Big Wall superstar David Allfrey give context behind his El Cap speed ascents.
  •  PRIZES – Winning daily raffle prizes!
  • CLIMBING – And…. getting the opportunity to do some awesome rock climbing throughout the event!


*Want to join in the fun?

Learn more about the Yosemite Climbing Association and their annual Facelift event HERE –

Or join them on Facebook.

More Pics from the trip:

IMG_3416Written by Eliot, Manager of PG San Francisco – A native of Sonoma, Eliot’s dad introduced him to camping, backpacking and mountaineering at an early age. After taking a rock-climbing course in Leavenworth, Washington, he immediately became hooked. While studying the last few years at UC San Diego, Eliot made the granite laden foothills of Mt. Woodson a home away from home. He’s always looking for enthusiastic climbers to share a rope or crash pad.

ROPE SALE – November 1st – 15th

 Gear, Retail  Comments Off on ROPE SALE – November 1st – 15th
Nov 022014

Tis the season to buy ropes!

Everything from Gym ropes to 80 meter ropes and tag lines, all 20% OFF.

winter ROPE SALE

Your Guide to Ropes @PG

 Gear, Retail, Staff Picks  Comments Off on Your Guide to Ropes @PG
Nov 022014
Gear Guide by PG San Francisco Instructor Cody Blank

So you’re interested in buying either your first rope or maybe working on expanding your rope quiver!

I’ll go through the 5 most common rope buying experiences we get here in at Planet Granite.

Then I’ll list the ropes we sell that are fit for each situation and my personal favorites. There is a lot of other things to know about ropes and specialized situations so this is not a comprehensive guide by any means!

*And for those of you that don’t want to sweat the details, I’ve included a short ‘TL,DL’ guide at the end of the post. (too long, didn’t read)

1. Your first rope
2. Your second rope
3. Gym lead rope
4. Dedicated “sending” rope
5. A bigwall/aid rope

Features to look for: Durability, Low Cost
Common Diameters 9.9mm-10.5mm

Your first rope just like your first set of climbing shoes should not be too specialized and should be durable.

You’re more than likely going to be doing a lot of top roping on it and when you get into leading it will take plenty of abuse doing that as well. Also don’t worry about advance features like dry treatment, bi-color or bi-weaves which I’ll explain later. I’d recommend something between 10mm to 10.2mm for the diameter as your first rope and at a length of 60m.

  • Mammut: Galaxy Classic (10mm) *personal favorite*
  • Bluewater: Eliminator (10.2mm) or Pulse (9.9mm)
  • Sterling: Marathon Pro (10.1mm)
  • Maxim: Equinox (10.2mm)
  • Petzl: Mambo (10.1mm)

photo 5 (1)

Features to look for: Lightweight, Durability, Length
Common Diameters 9.4mm-9.8mm

You’ve probably been climbing for a little while and now are starting to lead climb, now you can start building your quiver of ropes. Since you already have durable 60m rope that you can use for top roping or easy cragging its time to look for a more specialized rope. A lighter rope can help you make the most of your developing climbing career.

Also this is the time when getting some extra features might be helpful. A 70m length might be something you want if you are climbing longer pitches that require one. Dry treatment/ dry coating will protect a rope from weakening when wet but for most people not on alpine or ice climbs it lets the rope feed nicer through a belay device and carabiners.

Another feature is bicolor and biweave which makes it much easier to find the middle of a rope when setting up a rappel. The difference between the two is that in bicolor one or more the yarns of the rope change color halfway. But in a biweave there is only a change the order of the yarns as to create a different pattern halfway.

photo 1 (3)

*This picture shows the difference between the two, on the left is a bicolor and the right is a biweave.

  • Mammut: Infinity (9.5mm) *personal favorite* or Tusk/Transformer (9.8mm)
  • Bluewater: Lightning Pro (9.7mm) or Wave (9.3mm)
  • Sterling: Velocity (9.8mm) or Fusion Ion (9.4mm)
  • Maxim: Glider (9.9mm) or Pinnacle (9.5mm)
  • Petzl: Contact (9.8mm) or Arial (9.5mm)

*Some of the thicker ropes on the list:
photo 3 (1)
*And some of the thinner recommendations:
photo 2 (3)

Features to look for: 35m Length, Durability
Common Diameters: 9.5mm-10.5mm

If you do a lot of lead climbing in the gym you might want to grab a dedicated rope for all that training.

This is because you’re going to be putting much more mileage, and probably falls, when you are leading in the gym. So that makes durability an essential feature to have in this rope, but honestly any rope will do.

If you are buying new look for ropes that are already cut into 35m or more. By having a gym rope in your quiver you will dramatically increase the life of your other ropes.

Don’t assume that an old 30m rope, cut from half of a 60m, is going to be enough for some of Planet Granite’s taller routes. Ropes do get shorter over time! If you are not 100% CERTAIN that your rope will reach check first by mock leading with it.

  • Bluewater: 37M Gym (10.1mm)
  • Maxim: 35M Equinox (9.9mm) *personal favorite*

Features to look for: Lightweight, Impact force, Lightweight (yes a second time)
Common Diameters 8.9mm-9.3mm

Now you’re getting on serious projects or are looking at longer climbs where those grams counts.

A nice light thin rope might be the slight advantage that can help you send. 70m or even 80m ropes in this category are especially popular and handy for long single pitch climbs or linking multiple pitches together. Also the dry coating on lots of the ropes will allow a smoother belay, or if you are going to use it for long trad/ alpine routes were a storm might roll through it’s nice piece of mind.

  • Mammut: Norwand (9.3mm) or Revelation (9.2mm)
  • Bluewater: Wave (9.3mm) or Icon (9.1mm)
  • Sterling: Nano (9.2mm) *personal favorite*
  • Maxim: Airliner (9.1mm)
  • Petzl: Volta (9.2mm)


Features to look for: Durability
Common Diameters 10mm-11mm

Most of the things that make a good first rope make a good bigwall rope. There isn’t too many other things that put more wear and tear into your gear like bigwall climbing can do, so don’t worry about getting a expensive one either.

But one of the differences is that you might want to look at getting a 70m length for linking up shorter pitches.

  • Mammut: Supersafe (10.2mm) or Sensor (10mm)
  • Bluewater: Eliminator (10.2mm) *personal favorite*
  • Sterling: Marathon Ultra (10.1mm)
  • Maxim: Equinox (10.2mm)
  • Petzl: Mambo (10.1mm)


10mm and up for your first rope or a rope for big wall climbing

9.4-9.8mm for an all around lead rope

9.4mm and under for a ‘trying hard to send’ rope

Anything 35m long and above 9.5mm is a good gym rope

Mammut has been doing some interesting things with rope manufacturing technology recently and I’ll touch on two of the ropes that are notable.
photo 5 (4)
Sensor (10mm)
This is an interesting concept where you can not only tell where the middle and ends of the rope are by sight, but also by touch. The sight bit comes from a standard bicolor weave, but the touch aspect comes from changing the yarns to be thicker at the middle and ends of your rope. This can definitely be handy for those long days and when they turn into long nights where your brain not might be %100.

Transformer (9.8mm)
Mammut in an effort to be green is starting to take their off color yarns and odd length fibers and making ropes sheaths and slings with them. What you get is a one of a kind color pattern kind of like heathering but with the bonus eco points. If you’re worried about potential performance issues don’t fret, the rope performs almost identical to one of their bestsellers, the Tusk.

ABOUT CODY: Cody is Bay Area native and loves all of California. The way trad climbing allows him a unique perspective of the most beautiful places in the state draws him to getting scared on gear. Even though he loves climbing in all it’s forms he can never decide on one perspective of California so he also kiteboards, surfs, mountain bikes, and skis.

To learn more from Cody, enroll in the Crack Clinics or the Beginner Rock Climbing Course at PG San Francisco. 

Planet Granite’s First Youth Writing Contest

 Community, Kids  Comments Off on Planet Granite’s First Youth Writing Contest
Oct 302014

As an Event Staffer, then as a climbing coach, and now as the Youth Programs Coordinator at PG Belmont I have met so many inspiring young climbers during our youth programs!

These young climbers constantly remind me to live in the present, and they inspire me to climb better. Now, the most appropriate thank-you I can imagine is to hand them microphones so we can all hear what they have to say.

Please contact me with any questions, comments, submissions, or sponsor inquiries.

Good luck, and Climb On!

~Jesse Schouboe –



Planet Granite’s First Ever…

Essay, Short Story, and Poetry Contest

For young rock climbers

to share their stories


I am excited to announce the launch of Planet Granite’s first ever Youth Writing Contest!

*This contest is open to anyone ages 6-18 who has climbed at Planet Granite, regardless of experience or ability level.*
Writing Contest Blog Picture
Each month Planet Granite climbing teams, after-school programs, birthday parties, and other events attract hundreds of young climbers to our walls. Some of these young people are first-time climbers and some are nationally ranked in their age divisions.

If you or someone you know is between the ages of 6 and 18, has climbed at Planet Granite, and has a story to tell, then WE WANT TO HEAR IT!

You can write about a climbing challenge you have faced, a goal you have reached, friends you have made, or you can even create a fictional story about climbing.

Submit your story to me via email BEFORE NOVEMBER 24TH, and in December we will post all entries anonymously so PG members can vote for their favorites!

All entries are welcome, and winners from each age category will receive PRIZES!

Sponsors of Youth Contest

Get psyched for awesome PRIZES from these generous sponsors!

So, download the CONTEST RULES, find an inspiring topic, and start writing!

Jesse Bio Pic
ABOUT JESSE: Jesse 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. 

Get the Beta on Training – Guest post by Neely Quinn

 Beta, Community  Comments Off on Get the Beta on Training – Guest post by Neely Quinn
Oct 272014

“How can I properly train for climbing?”

That’s usually the hot question for most climbers. And then even finding the right training program for your body (and your lifestyle) can be really challenging!

This was the same question on Colorado climbers Neely Quinn and her husband Seth Lytton minds’ when they created

Their site has a TON of beta from an assortment of climbers, nutritionists, coaches and trainers – from our friend Kris Peters from Team of 2, Angie Payne, Jonathan Siegrist and many more.

They recently released a brand NEW bouldering training program and as a way to introduce themselves to Planet Granite, they’re offering us ALL a 25% OFF discount for the next 4 weeks!

Read on to hear their story, score yourself TWO FREE sample workouts AND get that PG discount code. Enjoy!

This post is the 1st of 3 articles written especially for Planet Granite by Neely Quinn, a climber, nutritionist, and owner of

bouldering strength and power program

Who we are at TrainingBeta

As climbers, our main objectives are to have fun and to be as awesome at our sport as we possibly can be. Simple enough right? Nope, not even close!

Last February, I was struggling with my climbing, trying to figure out how to overcome a plateau I was at. I was searching online for training information and coming up short.

No offense to the people out there with training info, but I wanted a PLAN, and one that I didn’t have to spend 6 hours deciphering and figuring out for myself.

I also didn’t want to pay a ton of money to get personal training. And I also wanted a variety of really easy-to-follow advice from all kinds of strong climbers and good trainers – not just one person.

So my husband Seth and I created, where we collect as much training information from as many strong climbers and trainers in one place as we can!

We have a blog with tons of training articles by trainers, climbers, and us.

We have a podcast where I interview trainers and climbers, and there are training videos and training programs for all kinds of climbers of ALL abilities!

2 Sample Workouts –
Just for Planet Granite 

Here’s 2 workouts taken directly from the new bouldering program, so you can get a taste of what’s in there! And so you also have two awesome new drills to do like NOW. So get started this week!

finger strength workout

Want more?

This new Bouldering Strength and Power Program was created by Kris Peters, (the trainer from Team of 2), and it’s a subscription plan, so you can train with Kris’s guidance for as long or as short of a time as you want to.

You get 3 workouts every week that train the following:
  • Power Endurance (climbing and weight room)
  • Power (campusing and weight room)
  • Finger Strength (fingerboarding)
  • Overall Strength (weight room, circuit training, climbing)
  • Fitness (cardio* and circuit training)
  • Injury Prevention (opposition and strengthening exercises)
  • Projecting (on a bouldering wall)

* We know a lot of people hate cardio, so we explain who should be doing it and why in the program.

It’s a cyclical program, so every 6 weeks you’ll be training something specifically, whether it’s power, strength, or power endurance.


*Special Discount for ALL Planet Granite Climbers!*

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

Because we heard you guys at PG are SO psyched on training (or so we’ve been told by Kris Peters from Team of 2!) we’re really excited to share our programs with ya.

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


  • So you might be thinking  – “Why Train and Not Just Climb More?”

We tried to think of everything a boulderer would need in order to send harder, since we know first hand how important climbing can be!

For a lot of years I just figured that climbing was enough to train for climbing. The more I climbed, the harder I should be able to climb, right? Well, not so much because I hit that plateau.

As soon as I started training with weights, the finger board, campus board, and getting a little fitter, I noticed measurable improvements in my climbing. It’s unbelievable how simple it is, and yet how overlooked “training” is for most climbers!

  • Ok you’re psyched to train but your schedule is ‘hella’ busy. We hear ya!

Research has shown that MORE training is NOT necessarily better… or smarter in fact!

Often, shorter, concise training sessions are more than enough to produce fast results in your climbing! We had that in mind when we created these workouts, as well as the fact that not everyone can train for 6 hours 6 days a week like some of the pros do.

So there are 3 workouts a week – 2 climbing and 1 either fingerboarding or campusing (or alternate workouts for super beginners) – and almost all of them are between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, including your warm-up!

You can fit these workouts in over the week if you’re going climbing on the weekend, and you can always adjust how many of the workouts you do, depending on whether it’s sending season or training season.

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!