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Stephanie

Jun 262012
 

120624 - Castle Rock Cleanup - 5

First of all, as cool and catchy as the name sounds, the title of this event is actually misleading. Last week, a group of over 50 high school students, all part of rock climbing clubs from the Fremont Union High School District, headed up to Sanborn County Park to do a trash cleanup around Indian Rock. I decided to bill the event under the name Castle Rock Cleanup to try and promote awareness about the potential closure of the park, as well as the simple fact that it just sounds better.

Indian Rock is across the street from Castle Rock State Park, which is one of the best local crags in the Bay Area. If you haven’t been there already, Castle Rock has been billed by many as the “Mini Fontainebleau” of the United States. With thousands of perfect sandstone boulders scattered across acres of wilderness in the Saratoga hills, it’s a wonder people don’t flock in from around the world to sample some of America’s best bouldering.

120624 - Castle Rock Clean up 6

However, recent state budget cuts have nearly doomed Castle Rock as well as many other state-operated parks. Thanks to a multi-thousand dollar fundraising effort spearheaded by the Sempervirens Fund and backed by the Planet Granite Climbing Gyms, Castle Rock was saved from closure for at least one more year.

The fact that such natural beauty in California has been given a number value has inspired my fellow classmates and I to take action. Last year, I organized a trash cleanup at Indian Rock in order to promote the conservation of the area and also bring together the Fremont High School Bouldering Club in one last community service event. We picked up almost 70 pounds of trash, had a huge raffle, ate a bunch of bagels, and went climbing afterwards. This year, we looked to better that.

120625 - Castle Rock Cleanup JL

Early Sunday morning, after setting out from Fremont High School with about 10 kids, I was skeptical about how big of an event it would be compared to the year before. I reasoned it didn’t really matter, as long as we all had a good time and contributed back to the community. However, when we arrived at the Indian Rock parking lot at around 9:30, I discovered it to be almost completely filled with high school kids already, way more than I was expecting. In total, we had over 50 kids from 5 different high schools there for the cleanup. Even my good friend Hannah Donnelly from Sacramento made it down just for the event. It was way more than I had ever anticipated, much thanks to my friend Yann de Bleecker, president of the Cupertino High School Climbing Club. His efforts to promote the event at his school as a community service event helped ensure the huge turnout.

120624 - Castle Rock Clean up - photo by Cole Carter 2

We started the event at 9:30, and everyone immediately started picking up trash around the base of Indian Rock, working with bags and gloves donated by Orchard Supply Hardware. The most common items people found were broken pieces of glass and shredded rubber pieces, mostly due to a combination of idiots chucking beer bottles off the top of the cliff and exploded shotgun targets. Some of the more interesting things that were found included unopened beer bottles, a vintage 1984 Coca Cola can, an intact 75-pound porta-potty, and a discarded tent.

All in all, we collected 349 pounds of trash in just under 3 hours. Not too bad. Also included in the event was a raffle for all participants, sponsored generously by REI, Sports Basement, Five Ten, and Planet Granite. The team of two guys who found the porta-potty were dubbed the “winners” of the event (in total, they picked up 109 lbs by themselves) won a half-day of professional guiding at Castle Rock with Rick Picar, all gear provided. Needless to say, when I presented the award to the two ecstatic guys, their faces were priceless.

120624 - Castle Rock Cleanup - photo by Cole Carter

Josh and Yann leading the Clean Up

After the raffle was finished, we all enjoyed some complimentary bagels for lunch (provided by Noah’s Bagels) and went bouldering across the street at Castle Rock State Park. Everyone who stayed had a blast trying out some of the many problems around the Magoo’s, as well as giving the ultra-classic Spoon (v1) many burns late into the afternoon.

From my perspective, seeing my project come to fruition was an inspiring experience. To see kids actively getting involved with their community out in nature is something you don’t get to see every day. For most of them, it was their first time climbing outdoors as well, and by the time we finished climbing nearly all of them had started making plans to come back to finish off their projects. However, the best part of our event was the friendships that came out of the experience, especially between kids from all over the district. There’s nothing that brings people together better like sharing a common passion for climbing and the outdoors. Unfortunately, as I am graduating high school, I will not be on hand to participate and organize the event next year. I can only hope to inspire people around me to continue the event into the future.

120624 - Castle Rock Cleanup - JL2

Josh Levin   is was a high school senior, winner of The North Face Young Gun Award and many times over National Champion in Speed Climbing, Sport Climbing and Bouldering – join us in wishing him luck (though he doesn’t seem to need it)  on his next adventure at Northeastern University to study Mechanical Engineering.  Thanks Josh for everything you have brought to our community!

Jun 012012
 

120601 SF_Training-June_2012

School’s out but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning.  Starting June 5th join us each Tuesday night @ 7:30pm for our FREE Training Tips.  First up: Eliot will be going over basic crack technique – from jamming to foot placement.  Eliot’s 30 minute clinic will get you started on this unique and addictive style of climbing.

Tuesday 6/5
Crack Technique with Eliot. Eliot will be going over some basic jamming and foot placement techniques to help keep those bloody knuckles and blackened toenails down to the bare minimum.

Tuesday 6/12
System Wall Training with Jason. It’s big, adjustable, and displays a heady mix of colorfulness and transparency simultaneously. Coolyeah? But what is it for? Join Jason for a run down on putting the big prettything to good use.

Tuesday 6/19
Route Reading like a Route-Setter with Cuz. Tired of never winning the ‘Spot The Knee-Bar’competition?  Join Cuz and get the inside scoop on a professional route-setter’s thought process..

Tuesday 6/26
Roof Climbing with Steve. You may have just locked that fixie up outside but our boy Steve is going to show you how to ‘bicycle’on the ramp! (plus toe-hook, knee bar, and other useful techniques when climbing upside-down.)

Tuesday 7/3
Body Position & Functional Movement with Natasha Correct body positioning can sometimes mean the difference between success or failure especiallywhen you are operating at your climbing limit.  Join PG sponsored athlete, Natasha, for some tips on finding out what works, why it works, and how to better understand movement in order to optimize your climbing performance.

Tuesday 7/10
Footwork Technique with Jeremy Ever wonder how those people make that burly problem look effortless? Join Jeremy and focussome energy on those things in your shoes. Givethose forearms a rest for once…

May 312012
 

Mammut Transformer

Looking for a rope that is completely unique AND environmentally friendly?

Look no further than the Mammut Transformer, winner of the 2012 Climbing Editor’s Choice Award.  We’ve got the 70m Transformer in our shops now!

The Transformer is made from the transfer yarn that is typically leftover as waste in the rope making process. Transfer yarn is the length of yarn leftover when the machine used to dye yarn is switched from one color to another.  Because this length of thread has inconsistent coloring, it is discarded as waste during the manufacturing process.  These lengths of yarn can be upwards of ¾ of a mile long, and there is nothing defective about them – they just have varying colors!

Mammut has taken this yarn and turned it into a rope!  Because these threads are transfer threads, no rope is exactly the same AND the thread no longer goes to waste!

The sheath and core are treated with Mammut’s SuperDRY waterproofing treatment, has a high safety rating (8-9 UIAA falls), and has excellent handling.  At just $219.95 + tax (PG members take 10% off!), you can have a high quality, unique rope that keeps transfer yarn from turning into waste!

Product details

  • UIAA-falls (1 strand 80 kg) 8-9
  • Weight / m: 64 g
  • Sheath slippage: 0 mm
  • Impact force: 9,0 kN
  • Elongation with 80 kg: 6,8 %
  • Elongation at 1st drop (fall): 30 %
  • Proportion of sheath: 38 %
  • Type of machine: 40
May 302012
 

120528 - Indian Creek

Last month, on a Monday morning, at approximately 3pm Jeremy, Eliot, Cris and I piled into a car destined for Moab and the splitter cracks of Indian Creek.  The car was packed, and by packed I mean…  the two people in the backseat couldn’t see each other!  To lessen the impacts of the cramped backseat and excessive driving, we rotated counterclockwise to ensure equal suffering through the group.  Psyched, and fully caffeinated, we drove through the night and arrived in Moab at 7am Tuesday morning.

120528 - IC - 2

We stumbled out of the car and into the grocery store.  This would prove to be the most difficult trip to the grocery store I have ever had.  Tired, delirious, PSYCHED… and did I mention tired?  We pieced together some meals and snacks for the next 3 days and headed to Castle Valley ready to climb some towers!!  We headed straight for the camping area complete with a fancy new pit toilet partially funded by PG!  The PG pooper has no roof, so you have a glorious view of Castleton tower from the throne.  Definitely the most scenic toilet we had ever … umm… utilized.

120528 - IC20

We were all pretty fried from the drive, but the splitter cracks were calling!!  After a quick nap, we started the (rather heinous) approach to Fine Jade (4 pitches, 5.11b) on the Rectory.  This may not have been the wisest choice for a warm-up, but I figured .11b meant the crack would be thinner and thus, easier for me to climb and better for utilizing my stellar French-free skills with all our small gear J (a little backstory… this was my first trip outside in 2 years.  I couldn’t climb for 18 long months with a shoulder injury and subsequent shoulder surgery).    Well on my way to wrapping up the 1st pitch and through the technical crux, I hit a wide section and after a few attempts couldn’t get gear in to pull through and couldn’t gather my guts to get a few feet above my last piece on unfamiliar terrain.

120528 - IC14

Eliot and Cris made it up the route while Jeremy and I flailed and bailed – but we will definitely be back to send!  Not wanting to do that approach again the next day, Jeremy and I lobbied to head to The Creek and forego a second day of towers.  Fortunately, Eliot and Cris quickly agreed.  The next morning we headed to the single pitch splitter heaven known as Indian Creek.

120528 - IC12

The next many days in the Creek were AMAZING!  If you have not been there and you like to crack climb, you must get out there.  Nowhere in the world are there so many quality splitter cracks.  The amount of climbing, and potential climbing, is truly staggering – the mesas seem to go on forever!

120528 - IC11

Given the stellar climbing and free camping, Indian Creek sees more and more visitors every year.    Increased impacts from climbers and other user groups mean places like Indian Creek can easily become affected by access issues — the land is fragile and some of the crags are on, or are approached by, private land.  Before you  head out there, do your homework:  practice Leave No Trace; stay on designated roads and trails; respect the Dugout Ranch; do not climb at crags with bird closures or on routes near petroglyphs; and leave the crags and campgrounds cleaner than you found them.  As with any climbing area, we all need to work together to ensure access for years to come. The Dugout Ranch has graciously allowed climbers to continue to use roads, approaches, and crags on their land and we must all do what we can to keep that relationship strong.  Always check with The Friends of Indian Creek and the Access Fund for the latest information.

120528 - IC10

Just by being a member of Planet Granite, you are helping to support organizations such as the ASCA (that has replaced a number of anchors in IC) and the Access Fund.  PG has committed to donating $1 per Member per Month to non-profits in each of the following categories: climbing, community, and environment.  The bathroom project at Castleton Tower was funded, in part, by grant money from this program! More information on the $1 per Member per Month program can be found here and you can update your category preference at the front desk of any of our locations!

120528 - IC9

Now back to the climbing!!  We started off on some classics at the Supercrack Buttress and then hit the Battle of the Bulge, Scarface Wall, Way Rambo Wall, Optimator Wall and Power Wall.  We only had one windy day/night, and the rest of the time the weather was perfect.

I got one climb clean – Soul Fire (5.11-) at Optimator Wall. I was also psyched to get up Coyne Crack at the Super Crack Buttress, and The Jane Fonda Total Body Workout at Battle of the Bulge, and other sweet lines. #1 camalots are my favorite!

120528 - IC8

Eliot sent a number of fine lines – Way Rambo(5.11+/12-), Power Line(5.12),  Anunaki (.12-), and Swedin-Ringle (5.12) to name a few.

Jeremy also climbed well, sending Anunaki  (.12-), Soul Fire, Hay U Take (aka Hay Duke Lives), the Cave Route, that 3 star unnamed 5.11 to the left of Big Guy at Scarface wall and many more.

120528 - IC7

Cris got on the sharp end for the first time outdoors and did an AWESOME job leading Blue Sun (5.10-) at Way Rambo Wall, Binou’s crack (5.9) at Donnelly Canyon, and more.

120528 - IC6

We could not have protected the climbing we did without the help of our generous friends who loaned us their gear!  Special thanks go out to Steve Lancaster, JC and Irene Prenner, Jeff Ceccacci, Ethan Pringle, and Mick Petts  who generously loaned us gear to supplement our racks! You need quite a few racks when some climbs call for 10-15 of the same size cam.

120528 - IC4

We had just over 150 cams…

Black Diamond Camalots

size

qty

0.3

3

0.4

3

0.5

11

0.75

8

1

12

2

14

3

8

3.5

2

4

5

4.5

2

5

2

6

3

Metolius Master Cams

00

1

0

3

1

3

2

3

3

4

4

3

5

1

Metolius TCUs

00

1

0

1

1

9

2

6

3

3

4

2

5

1

Link Cam

#1

1

Aliens

black

3

blue

3

Green

1

Yellow

3

Red

4

orange

1

Wild Country Friends

1

2

1.25

2

1.5

2

1.75

2

2

2

2.5

2

3

2

3.5

2

4

2

5

2

Metolius Power Cams

2, yellow

1

3, orange

1

8, purple

1

Carolyn is the project manager for PG and can be found at any of our 3 gyms on any given day.  She does the retail buying for all 3 gyms, manages the SF yoga program and is psyched to be climbing again!!  Eliot is a Front Desk staff and instructor at PGSF – his crack climbing class is a great way to dial in your crack technique before heading out to the valley or Indian Creek!  Jeremy is the retail coordinator, front desk staff and one of the senior instructors at PGSF, teaching nearly every class offered at the gym.  He can show you the ropes in a lead class or help fine-tune your technique in our Balance and Technique class.  Cris has been a PG member since she started climbing in May of 2011 and is a ‘graduate’ of Eliot’s crack class and Jeremy’s lead class! Photos were provided thanks to Jeremy Spitz, Eliot Carlsen, Cris Valerio and Carolyn LInk.

May 032012
 

120503 - ClimbingPosterManurePile

Make a difference to the place you love! Volunteer on Climbing Trail Restoration for the Manure Pile Climbing Area. Meet at the El Cap Picnic Area at 9am this Saturday and Sunday! Be sure to bring hiking/work shoes, water and snacks. Join VIP host Ron Kauk!

Questions? Contact Ben Doyle: Benjamin_Doyle@NPS.gov

Apr 242012
 

Last year, Planet GRANTS It! awarded Treks and Tracks $5,000 to realize their dream.  Their mission?  To help establish great new lines in Cochamo Valley all while travelling sustainably on horesback.  Join us this week to hear about their trip!

Planet Granite San Francisco – Wednesday April 25th 7:30pm
Planet Granite Sunnyvale – Friday April 27th 8:00pm

2011 Grant Recipients Slideshow Presentation Flyer

Still not sure?  Check out their audition video and how they got ready below!

Planet GRANTS It! – First Ascents in Cochamo Valley, Patagonia

posted Nov 10, 2011

The second of three $5,000 Planet GRANTS It! grants was awarded to Jakob, Daniel and Paul who pitched an amazing trip for this winter, travelling by horseback through the Cochamo Valley to put up a ton of First Ascents, many in the moderate grade range.  Their trip is a true inspiration, promoting a sustainable form of travel and routes that all of us can climb!  They still need to raise additional funds for their trip.  Please contact Paul atpaul@treksandtracks.com if you would like to help support their expedition.

A note from Paul about their inspiration and preparation as they look to embark on their journey in the next month!

There’s a quote I like that I heard some time ago.  It goes:

“At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable”.

Looking ahead, Jakob, Daniel and my departure for Cochamo Valley in Northern Patagonia looms less than a month away.  Looking back, it would seem the above quote proved prophetic.  Although one could argue that we added a few steps between ‘improbable’ and ‘inevitable’, and with our fair share of obligations stateside, maybe ‘unreasonable’, perhaps even ‘irresponsible’.  But when Planet GRANTS It! generously opened a door for us, there was no delaying and certainly no looking back. We were catapulted kicking and screaming squarely into ‘inevitable’ territory – a dream trip we had been slowly cooking up for years was imminently going to come true: two and a half months of horse-supported rock climbing with a focus on first ascents.

111110 Tipi base camp in a CO meadow
Tipi base camp in a Colorado meadow

And so the mad rush and scramble to prepare our bodies and minds began.  Fresh off several months on the high seas, we were woefully unprepared to tackle two months of horse-packing and rock climbing in the Chilean backcountry.  Any semblance of a callous on our hands had long been washed away by tepid salt water; our leg muscles had withered to embarrassing proportions from being confined to a 34? boat.  But our hearts!  Our hearts were all in.

Jakob and Daniel high-tailed it for the Colorado backcountry, spending five weeks dialing in horse-packing techniques.  Highlights include a modern take on an age-old shelter: a 15? diameter tipi constructed with rip-stop nylon that will serve as our main shelter for the trip.  We have a solid start, but there will be no substitute for connecting with and learning from the deep-rooted culture of horsemanship that has thrived in the Cochamo region for hundreds of years.

111110 Packing horses through the backcountry
P
acking horses through the backcountry.

Paul reacquaints himself with granite

Our next stop was Yosemite National Park for some late season training.  Cochamo Valley has often been likened to an un-developed Yosemite Valley, with its 1,000 meter soaring granite walls and laser-cut splitter cracks.  With the promise of this climber’s paradise ahead, we relished the pain of every hand-jam and finger-lock, toughening up our hands 111110 Jakob makes way up a yosemite finger crack
for the coming expedition.

Now, back in civilization, we delve into the nitty-gritty of the planning stage: sifting through topo maps, editing gear lists, making travel arrangements and searching for additional sponsors.

Put it all together and you have three aspiring climbers and horsemen on the brink of a trip that started as a far fetched idea over a cold night’s campfire several years back.  Impossible, to improbable, and now inevitable.  More to come as our departure date approaches.

111110 October in Yosemite
October in Yosemite