Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bay Area Bouldering slideshow promo vid




Charlie Barrett spots Kevin Jorgeson on Mission Impossible (V9)
Mortar Rock, Berkeley

One of many great problems in Bay Area Bouldering by Chris Summit and SuperTopo

Check out the Bay Area Bouldering slideshow on YouTube;


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Castle Rock Bouldering!!

The Biddles and The Office - more coming soon!!
Castle Rock, Northern California - April 2014


Biddles


Clay Breitweiser "Silver Traverse" V3 (fa!) Biddles


Clay Breitweiser "Tree Problem Traverse" V0/1 fa? Biddles


Clay Breitweiser "Tender Biddles" V3 sit (2nd ascent!) Biddles


Clay Breitweiser - undone crack - V!? Biddles

Clay Breitweiser "Regular Route" V0r Biddles


Chris Summit "Big Boss Man" V3 The Office
Photo: Clay Breitweiser



*Check out all these new problems and plenty of old classics in the amazing new Rakkup guidebook app for Castle Rock by   Clay Breitweiser! http://www.rakkup.com/climbing-guidebooks/rock-climbing-guidebooks/sc-castlerock/

*And of course check out all the original CRSP classics in        Bay Area Bouldering by Chris Summit / SuperTopo  http://www.supertopo.com/packs/bayareaboulder.html

Friday, February 7, 2014

Personal Climbing Trainer


Chris Summit (yes it's his real name) has been rock climbing for 25 years and teaching climbing for over 20 years. He has discovered a lot of previously unknown rocks around his hometown, Santa Rosa CA and done first ascents of some of the best and toughest climbs in the North Bay Area. That led him into making guidebooks for the Bay Area and all over Northern California. Besides his many bouldering, sport and traditional style first ascents his best climbing achievements are V10 boulder, 5.13 sport and helping to teach several strong local climbers. One of his best students was a young Chris McNamara who later went on to get world records and write the guidebook for one of the largest rocks in the world, El Capitan in Yosemite. Chris Summit still climbs himself, all the time, mostly outdoors but is available at least once a month at the Airport Health Club climbing wall for either group classes and camps or one on one personal training. Chris is also available for personal training at other gyms or outdoors on the rocks! Email him with any questions or to sign up for a training session:  summitorplummet@hotmail.com

Master Trainer Rates:
$75.00 for 1 person for a 1.5 hr session - 4 people max.
($100-2 / $150-3 / $175-4)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rock Climbing / Bouldering Gym Review

January 2014 - Northern California

These gym reviews are not meant to be very information intensive. I will try to add more specific info to compare each gym such as square footage and exact mileages from public transportation etc.. in the future. For now this is simply my take on something I use myself living and working in around the Bay Area and needing a workout. Of course I would almost always rather be outdoors in the natural world rather than indoors in a man made environment pulling plastic. When I can't make it outdoors because it's raining, dark or I just don't have the time or energy or resources to make it out for a full day pursuing my true passion on real rocks then the gym is the next best and also only other alternative. Also having visited many of the gyms already with day passes, having had memberships, as well as even having been employed for many years at several of the local North Bay gyms over the last 24 years I feel I know a fair share about the industry from many different perspectives.

I also make rock climbing guidebooks for the great outdoors (check them out at; SuperTopo and Maximus Press) so I feel I'm doing a public service to my guidebook clientele to also offer up my knowledge and experience in finding the best indoor climbing. Most of my books are for bouldering as that is what style of climbing I've naturally evolved into so these reviews will reflect that overall emphasis.

When I first started climbing about 1988/89? there were no climbing gyms in Northern California. The very next year 1989/90? CityRock(RIP) was built in Berkeley/Emeryville and a few friends and I went to it when it was raining and for a few competitions. Soon after that Class5Fitness(RIP) was built in San Rafael which was closer to my home in Santa Rosa (where I still live today) so I got a membership there and eventually ended up getting a job there teaching, route-setting and front desk. At that time I was probably one of about the first 50-100 route-setters in the country often using pre-historic hand-made wooden or stone holds. I've since worked at Vertex and for a short time more recently at Rockzilla. I still work occasionally at a small kids wall at the big gym in my area Airport Health Club. I hope one day to possibly even open my own ultra modern multi sport gym that will put the fun in functional training.

I hope these reviews help climbers/boulderers find a fun and easily accessible place for them to workout and hangout in their neck of the woods. I also hope that gym owners/operators get feedback to help make the most evolutionary cutting edge gyms.




*1-5 star overall quality rating (1=poor 5=best) - quality criteria;

>Walls / facility
>wall size, variety, design, make, features, uniqueness, clean facility, nice locker rooms or at least cubby hole storage area, nice clean bathrooms

>Holds
>new, variety, clean, user friendly

>Routesetting / personal training / instructing / teaching
>smart, variety, not reachy, not overly upper or lower body favored, not overly crimpy or single minded, agreeable ratings, open to suggestion, no attitudes, adaptable to all ability levels

>Weights / training equipment and/or training areas
>weights, exercise machines, mma mats and punching/kicking bags and pads etc.., yoga mats, parkour/free-running obstacles, ropes to climb, etc..

>Vibe / positivity
>location, experienced friendly helpful staff and friendly clientele, good music, lounge area, movies, games, easy safe parking, after hours safety, beneficial fun fringe benefits! :)




>Here's my top 10 indoor rock climbing and/or bouldering gyms (mostly North Bay/Nor Cal for now);






Vertex Climbing Center
(Bouldering, Lead, Top Rope Gym)

>Where in Nor Cal?: Santa Rosa
>Easy to find?: Fairly easy to find about 1-2 miles from US-101
>Good parking?: Yes. A safe parking lot.
>What type of walls?: Mix - Rad Wall and self made lead top rope and bouldering.
>How much $?: $14 day pass
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - small to medium size
>Other training equipment or specialties?: Birthday party room.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - small
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - some of the best climbers / boulderers in California and even the world have worked and trained here and some still do (Kevin Jorgeson, Carlo and Giovanni Traversi, Charlie Barrett).
>Route Setting quality?: Very good setting but I love:-)hate:-/ the often sandbagged ratings.
>Crowded?: At night and weekends (especially when raining).
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.5 stars

DESCRIPTION:
Vertex is my local gym. It is also the second gym I ever worked at and one of the first in the Bay Area/Nor Cal. It is about 20 years old(?) but with a lot of modern upgrades (Rad Wall) from it's original self made walls. Lead and top rope climbing up to about 35ft on multi angled walls with some feature climbing and a few really good splitter cracks. Three separate, small-medium size, multi angled bouldering areas that can be slightly claustrophobic when crowded but are otherwise sufficient and quite fun. The steepest bouldering wall is a nearly horizontal cave to 45 degree wall top out. The cave is good for training but can be a bit close to the nearby top rope areas when crowded. There is also a pretty cool, clear plexiglass, mirror image, dual (2 at a time) speed climbing wall that is great for kids parties. Vertex Climbing Center has spawned many of the best climbers in the area and some of the best in the world. VCC proves it is not the size or overall quality that always matters but often the people and the vibe that are nurtured there and they have got that covered. Worth a stop (or a lifetime membership) if you're in the area and need to climb/boulder/workout for sure. Tell them I sent you :)

Feb 2014 - UPDATE: I just heard that the small bouldering area in the front of the gym will be replaced soon and the plexiglass speed wall will also be taken out and moved outside opening up even more room for a cool sounding bouldering cave/roof area! This will most likely greatly decrease the overcrowding and claustrophobic feeling of the back rooms when the gym is busy and also make more moderate to extreme terrain for bouldering on. All in all this will be a hugely positive enhancement to an already great gym.

http://vertexclimbing.com





Bridges Rock Gym
(Bouldering and Slacklining Gym)

>Where in Nor Cal?: El Cerrito
>Easy to find?: Fairly easy to find about 1-2 miles from I-80/I-580
>Good parking?: Yes. A small personal parking lot and large adjacent mall parking lot.
>What type of walls?: Self made bouldering with top outs.
>How much $?: $15 day pass weekends and after 3pm weekdays or $12 before 3pm weekdays
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - separate workout room for varied classes.
>Other training equipment or specialties?: Slack-lines and separate workout rooms.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - small
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - some of the best slack-liners have worked here or still do.
>Route Setting quality?: Very good.
>Crowded?: At night and weekends (especially when raining).
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.5 stars

DESCRIPTION:
Bridges is my favorite bouldering gym. Parking in the nearby mall parking lot is usually easier than parking at the other best / my other favorite bouldering gym in the Bay Area, Dogpatch. It is also easier to get to Bridges being only about 1-2 miles from several major Interstates in the East Bay unlike Dogpatch which is deep in San Francisco. Although Dogpatch is also very near major highway systems for most people the traffic to and from and the often difficult, far off street parking are only worth it if you are already in the general area. But Dogpatch does have bigger, more awe inspiring walls and simply a lot more terrain. Both gyms have top outs and a mix of low and high walls. The slack-line area has padded flooring and many different size, types and heights of slack-lines. Slack-lining makes for a great warm-up or cool-down as well as good balance training and of course a lot of fun. The main cave is rarely crowded although to me it is the best feature of any bouldering gym I've seen being not too high and not too low. You can push yourself on the cave without feeling slightly at risk like I do on the much higher Arch at Bridges closest local competitor, Dogpatch. The Bridges cave can be done in two or three directions, short out the main opening or longer out the side opening for 30-35ft long route length endurance boulder problems and a safe, fun, full body pump!

http://bridgesrockgym.com

Bridges Rock Gym V6 double dyno - YouTube;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEqg4p3vJzc





Dogpatch - Touchstone
(Bouldering Gym)

>Where in Nor Cal?: San Francisco
>Easy to find?: Fairly easy to find about 1-2 miles from I-280
>Good parking?: No - busy street parking.
>What type of walls?: Walltopia / lowball to very highball bouldering.
>How much $?: $20 day pass
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: ?
>Other training equipment or specialties?: ?
>Pro Shop?: Yes - small
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - some of the best climbers / boulderers in California have worked and trained here and some still do (Natasha Barnes, Frankie Ocasio, Justin Alarcon, etc..).
>Route Setting quality?: Very good.
>Crowded?: At night and weekends (especially when raining) but the gym is so big over crowding is never a big issue.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.5 stars

DESCRIPTION:
Of course I want to give this massive and awesome Dogpatch facility 5 stars but after bouldering at the Bay Area's other main bouldering gym Bridges Rock Gym's cave I give them a tie. Bridges and Dogpatch both have big steep sections but Bridges cave is not as tall and possibly dangerous to fall of of as the Arch at Dogpatch. I would rather train on Bridges cave section for the simple reason of safety. I did the Arch at Dogpatch of course, it's fun as a highball novelty once in a awhile but if someone were to fall funny, a hold were to spin or a person walk under the Arch at the wrong time there could possibly be a very bad outcome. So for training and pushing yourself on I don't really like the steepest parts of Dogpatch but I prefer steeper climbing for fun and for training, you may not. The other expansive walls and routes are all very fun and offer a mix of all angles and styles of bouldering. Dogpatch is touted as the biggest bouldering gym in the U.S.A so it is worth a stop to check out sometime for sure. Hard to find street parking is not quite as bad as the rest of Frisco but makes it a bit annoying along with the location inside the busy traffic plagued city. If you are in the city or just want to tryout the the biggest and highest bouldering walls then it is the best for sure. The Touchstone gyms offer a package deal to use all of the other gyms they own with one membership (available at this time, I think) and so this could be the best deal if you live in the Bay Area proper and especially if you enjoy bouldering as well as lead and top rope climbing. All Touchstone gyms are the state of the art across the board with design, manufacturing, route setting, experience and instruction. Touchstone even makes their own line of hand and foot holds.

http://www.touchstoneclimbing.com/dogpatch-boulders



*The history of one of the largest climbing/bouldering gym operations ever, Touchstone;
http://www.touchstoneclimbing.com/about





Ironworks (Berkeley) - Touchstone
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering, Weights and Classes)

>Where in Nor Cal?: Berkeley.
>Easy to find?: Yes - less than 1 mile from I-80.
>Good parking?: Yes - parking lot and free/easy street parking.
>How much $?: $20 day pass.
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - large and high quality.
>Other training equipment or specialties?: Many multi sport and varied activity classes.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - large.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - some of the best in the business.
>Route Setting quality?: Very good.
>Crowded?: At night and on weekends, especially when it is raining.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.5

STATS:
14,000 square ft total / 2,500 square ft bouldering. 45ft tall walls with about 100 lead, top rope routes and boulder problems.

DESCRIPTION:
One of the best horizontal roof to convex wave shaped boulder caves ever (sometimes on weeknights crowded but still good) and a big, inspiring and mostly uncrowded lead and top rope wall area with some good splitter cracks and separate lower angled top rope towers. Alongside the multi faceted tower area is a very long bouldering traverse wall with many short up problems of varying angles and difficulty. It is always easy to find an uncrowded spot among the many walls with at least a few good climbs or problems to do. A large weight room and nice separate room for Yoga, Martial Arts etc...

http://www.touchstoneclimbing.com/ironworks

ClimbFind Video of IronWorks;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy5zDx899uo





Mission Cliffs (San Francisco) - Touchstone
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering)

>Where in Nor Cal?: San Francisco.
>Easy to find?: Nothing in the city is easy to find imo but just to be fair it is fairly easy to find considering.
>Good parking?: No - compared to the rest of the city it is not hat bad but compared to the other Bay Area gyms in these reviews it is one of the worst places to find parking and possibly even unsafe.
>How much $?: $20 day pass.
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - large and high quality.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - large.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - mostly friendly and sort of knowledgeable.
>Route Setting quality?: Very good.
>Crowded?: On weeknights and weekends especially if it is raining otherwise not too bad.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.5

STATS:
23,000 square ft total / 2,000 square ft bouldering. 50ft tall walls with about 100 lead, top rope routes and boulder problems.

DESCRIPTION:
OK/pretty good bouldering area that can sometimes on weeknights be a bit crowded but a nice bench to sit on between problems helps. Also a big multi angled lead and top rope wall area with a few great splitter cracks and a fair amount of climbing for all skill levels from low angled easier sections all the way up to steep, very hard and impressive terrain. More of a lead and top rope gym mainly now that it’s gigantic bouldering partner in climb opened, Dogpatch.

IMO it was better with the old/original mega steep 2-story tunnel/cave wall RIP but oh well

http://www.touchstoneclimbing.com/mission-cliffs





Pipeworks (Sacramento) - Touchstone
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering)

>Where in Nor Cal?: Sacramento.
>Easy to find?: Sort of but not really.
>Good parking?: Yes - parking lot.
>How much $?: $18 day pass.
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - large and high quality.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - large.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes for the most part.
>Route Setting quality?: Very good.
>Crowded?: Sometimes on weeknights and weekends especially when raining but the gym is so large it is usually barely noticeable.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.0

STATS:
11,000 square ft total / 2,000 square ft bouldering. 40ft tall walls with about 70 lead, top rope routes and boulder problems.

DESCRIPTION:
Very good bouldering area with cool angles and plenty of steep sections and also a big steep and inspiring lead wall with a lot of other multi angled lead and top rope walls all in a nice fairly open space. Sometimes a bit crowded on weeknights and weekends like any big gym in a big city but the open areas make it totally tolerable. A great gym to learn, train, and have fun.

www.touchstoneclimbing.com/pipeworks

ClimbFind Video of PipeWorks;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_M6wcZI_ms





Rocknasium (Davis)
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering)

>Where in Nor Cal?: Davis.
>Easy to find?: Yes - less than 1 mile from I-80.
>Good parking?: Yes - it has its own free and safe parking lot.
>What type of walls?: Custom.
>How much $?: $14 day pass.
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes.
>Other training equipment or specialties?: Dedicated Yoga room.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - medium.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes
>Route Setting quality?: Good.
>Crowded?: Not really - but the gym is small so on weeknights and weekends especially if it is raining then it can be a bit cramped for space.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 3.5

STATS:
5,000 square ft. with lead and top rope routes and 16ft ft tall bouldering area.

DESCRIPTION:
OK bouldering room with small stepped roof and a circular room that can be good fun for a solo sesh or maybe for a couple users but is annoyingly cramped if crowded. Also a small but unique arch shaped lead and top rope wall has some good splitter cracks and feature routes. For the small space this gym has it is put to use fairly well and offers a sufficient mix of varied terrain for beginner to expert level sport or traditional climbers and boulderers. If you’re in the Davis area and want to get climbing or take your kids for a day of monkeying around then you will be happy to be there. Nearby there is also a lot of good food, gas stations and shops.

www.rocknasium.com





Planet Granite (San Francisco)
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering, Weights and Classes)

>Where in Nor Cal?: San Francisco.
>Easy to find?: Fairly.
>Good parking?: Yes and No - pay parking but fairly easy to find nearby and mostly safe.
>How much $?: $20 day pass.
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - large and very good.
>Other training equipment or specialties?: Functional Fitness / Cross-fit and Yoga.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - OK.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Mostly.
>Route Setting quality?: Very good.
>Crowded?: Sometimes on weeknights and weekends especially when raining as with any gym in a big city but the interior space is so vast it is usually barely noticeable.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.5

STATS:
25,000 square ft total of lead and top rope routes and boulder problems.

DESCRIPTION:
Amazing free standing top out boulders and 2-story cave/traverse route as well as some of the best lead/top rope/crack climbing walls in the entire Bay Area. The weight area is fully stocked and well set up for cross-fit. Most impressively what sets this gym apart to me is its all around quality and the tourist attraction location with the huge glass walls that show off the gorgeous views of Chrissy Field, Alcatraz and the always lovely city by the bay.

http://www.planetgranite.com/locations/sanfrancisco/sf_faq.php





Rockzilla (Napa)
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering)

>Where in Nor Cal?: Napa.
>Easy to find?: Fairly.
>Good parking?: Yes - it has its own free and safe parking lot.
>What type of walls?: Custom/Self-made.
>How much $?: $20 day pass.
>Weights/Workout Equipment/Workout Areas?: Yes - very small.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - small.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - for the most part.
>Route Setting quality?: Good.
>Crowded?: No - rarely ever.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 4.0

DESCRIPTION:
One of the largest and most varied free standing top out-able boulders in any gym in the Bay Area/Nor Cal along with some fun small to medium height lead and top rope walls of varying angles. A great place to learn and practice climbing and bouldering as well as host competitions, birthday parties and other events in this fairly large, spread out facility. In downtown Napa near many famous Wine Country tourist attractions, restaurants and wineries.

www.climbrockzilla.com





Granite Arch (Sacramento/Rancho Cordova)
(Lead and Top Rope Climbing, Bouldering)

>Where in Nor Cal?: Sacramento/Rancho Cordova.
>Easy to find?: Yes - less than 1 miles from I-80.
>Good parking?: Yes - it has its own free and for the most part very safe parking lot.
>What type of walls?: Custom.
>How much $?: $12 day pass.
>Pro Shop?: Yes - small.
>Friendly / knowledgable staff?: Yes - for the most part.
>Route Setting quality?: Good.
>Crowded?: Not really.
>Overall rating (1-5 stars): 3.5

DESCRIPTION:
Very unique featured walls that look and feel a lot like real stone. Realistic cracks with varied features and even pin scars replicas as well as the normal taped hold gym type routes and a fair amount of good bouldering. Also one of the most unique overhanging boulder cave cracks in Nor Cal. Famous rock soloist Alex Honnold learned and practiced climbing here. 

www.granitearch.com

ClimbFind Video of Granite Arch;






**The Urban Jungle Gym - El Cerrito>>
A very small but very specialized and unique kids and adults tumbling/gymnastics and parkour/free-running/ninja warrior gym very near Bridges (bouldering and slack-lining gym) in El Cerrito.

Ninja Warrior Warped Wall - YouTube;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm-HscSkyNM





Check us out on Facebook;
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Climbing-Gym-Reviews/398479616962171


*And for a lot more info on gyms and climbing connections check out;  http://www.climbfind.com