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BACC and PG Clean Up at Indian, Mortar Rocks plus the Biddles

 Belmont, Blog, Community, PG Gives Back, San Francisco, Staff, Sunnyvale  Comments Off on BACC and PG Clean Up at Indian, Mortar Rocks plus the Biddles
Jan 192016
BACC indian and mortar blog 1

The BACC clean-up crew! Simon, Edder, Alan and friends represented PG Belmont. Photo courtesy of Bay Area Climbers Coalition

In the waning days of 2015, the Bay Area Climbers Coalition (BACC) organized stewardship days at Indian Rock and Mortar Rock, two popular crags in Berkeley with a rich climbing history, and again at the Biddles, a lesser-known outcrop nearby.

The BACC is a non-profit with a local focus of protecting and caring for the places climbers love. They’re known for outworking tractors with sheer people-power, and for relentlessly wading through red tape in the pursuit of their goals. These shovel-wielding warriors heft contractor bags full of broken glass and spent climbers tape, and do it with a smile.

PG staff regularly join in for these fun, rewarding events. It’s said that it’s better to give than receive—well, PG/BACC clean-ups include a little of both, as work is often followed by pizza.

At the Indian Rock cleanup, bags of trash were stacked high, and mountains of wood chips were distributed, providing a beautiful shared space to be enjoyed by climbers, joggers, dog walkers, and community members in the New Year. With more than 30 volunteers, all this work was accomplished in just three hours.

Working with the group was a delight. The stoke and gumption of the crew made an elated cleaning party out of picking up trash, hauling heavy sacks of woodchips, and meticulously weeding and sweeping the walking paths. The community members that came to enjoy the park that day were surprised to find the usual population of scruffy climbers grappling with brooms instead of boulders, and they were even more surprised to learn that we were only doing it for karma and pizza.

Indian and Mortar Rock Cleanup Collage

A few weeks later, the BACC rallied PG staff again, for a more secluded job. Of all the Bay Area’s crags, the Biddles area, about a mile down the road outside of Castle Rock State Park, is one of the lesser-known areas in the Castle Rock bouldering circuit.

“Sometimes there are (stewardship) opportunities like the Biddles, like: `Wow, this is a new climbing area, it’s just starting to appear in guidebooks,'” said BACC head Matt Ulery. “Let’s get this place ready before the masses come.  If you don’t define a good trail that will limit erosion, people will walk up right to the rock, they’ll cut through the forest.  If there’s no trail they’re just going to go to it.  The Biddles is kind of an opportunity.”


Ulery laid down the plan for the misty/rainy day in the woods: cover the climbers’ trailhead to avoid accidental hiker traffic, clean up branches along the rest of the trail, and define the edges of the trails.

That work was on the path to the “Upper Biddles.”

“The Upper Biddles has everything from V0 to V6.   It’s a more accessible crag for the masses,” Ulery said.

After edging that trail and cleaning away debris, the group turned to a slippery snaking trek up a switchback path to a mossy, sentinel of a boulder on top of a ridge: “Biddles Tower,” which has a tough V3 and V5’s to V7’s, Ulery said.


Click on this Flickr album to view more Biddles cleanup photos!

The switchback trail got some well-placed heavy rocks on its hard curves, and a stream of climbers tamping down the ground in the mist.

At the end of the day, the weary once again enjoyed their pizza reward.

The BACC welcomes volunteers, and its next event open to all volunteers will likely be in February, Ulery said.

Check out the BACC’s website or Facebook page for more details—and keep an eye on the PG blog as well for news of new stewardship days!


How to find a climbing partner – by Amy Verret

 Belmont, Blog, Portland, San Francisco, Staff, Sunnyvale  Comments Off on How to find a climbing partner – by Amy Verret
Sep 142015
How to find a climbing partner - by Amy Verret

The first question new climbers ask when they arrive at Planet Granite is how to find someone to climb with. Some people are introduced to climbing by a close friend or significant other who provides a convenient first partner. Many people who are new to the climbing gym, however, don’t have the luxury of a Read more…

Sep 102015
Car camping 101 by Walker Emerson

I haven’t slept in a tent for four years. Until last week I had the luxury of taking shelter each weekend in the comfort of my minivan. But, in the blink of an eye, I hurtled through a red light and was T-boned by another vehicle. Fortunately, I came out of the incident physically unscathed. Read more…

Aug 052015
Climbing & Running: Get to know Personal Trainer Amy Brown by Erin Monahan

Amy Brown has traveled the world working with some of the fastest athletes in the world. Amy is a personal trainer, a fitness instructor at PGPDX, a licensed massage therapist, as well as a certified strength and conditioning coach. You may have seen her around our Portland gym, her quiet confidence and large smile can be Read more…

Meadow in the Sky – A Tour of the Tuolumne Meadows bouldering by Walker Emerson

 Belmont, Blog, Gear, San Francisco, Staff, Sunnyvale, Trip Report  Comments Off on Meadow in the Sky – A Tour of the Tuolumne Meadows bouldering by Walker Emerson
Jun 252015
Meadow in the Sky - A Tour of the Tuolumne Meadows bouldering by Walker Emerson

When I first thumbed through the new bouldering guide book for Tuolumne Meadows, I thought to myself, “Theres no good bouldering in Tuolumne.” But I was dead wrong. Spoiled by the glitz and glamor that are common amongst guide books today, I first missed the essential features that make this book exceptional. It’s not flashy, but Read more…