Thursday, October 30, 2014

McKee County Park Boulders

More delicious new Mendocino bouldering!

 Russian River Headwaters

 Joshua Anderson on his direct V6fa!

 Joshua Anderson on "Pothead" V3 low sit 2nd ascent!

Chris Summit on "Synergy" V5fa!
Photos: Joshua Anderson

Addison Cox on "Synergy" V5

Addison Cox high on a new V4fa!

 Addison Cox on a short fun V4fa

McKee County Park Boulders, East Fork Russian River, Potter Valley, Mendocino CA
Most of the easier to moderate lowball to medium size problems have been done but there is potential for a lot more easy to moderate highballs as well as some big tough looking projects!! :)

* = low quality
** = ok/average
*** = good!
**** = great!!
***** = world classic!!!

Right to Left:

Pothead Boulder
Right to Left - downclimb #4 Pothead or jump to adjacent VB slab boulder (#12) and downclimb!? Bring shorts and maybe even sandals to cross creek (waist deep in summer/fall) - not good in winter or spring when creek is high - great on hot summer days! Also bring fishing pole for trout. Small but beautiful area with chill beaches, fishing, short hike and roadside access. 1 min approach from legit parking lot at McKee Creek County Park or from pullouts along Potter Valley Rd about 1 mile from CA20 west of Ukiah and Lake Mendocino. My grandma grew up in Potter Valley and some of the other side of my family lives there so I am sort of a local!?

    Pothead Boulder
    *Recommended seasonal (Summer/Fall) creek crossing zone*  

1 V6? traverse uphill from low sit start below rail on right side of main face (same as #5) or V7!? full traverse from sit start farther right next to creek on far right to the far left into #6 to finish!?

2 V2/3?** sit start far right and up? (mossy ) FA=RT/CS 90's?

3 V2/3?** same sit but up left variation? (mossy) FA=RT/CS 90's?

4 "Pothead" V3**** low sit start (same as #7 and #8) center of main face then up over steep bulge V1** stand or V2*** mid sit on jug - downclimb) FA=CS 90's

5 "Pothead Traverse" V4*** fun link-up traverse from low sit start same as #1 below horizontal rail on right side of main face and traverse left and up into Pothead or V5? from low far right sit FA=CS 90's

6 "Sleeping Beauty" V3***** sit start compression sidepulls and go up to jug top! V2*** stand
- or "Sleeping Pothead" V3** same sit then traverse right into #4 FA=JA/CS 2014

7 "Synergy" V5***** low right sit start same as Pothead #5 then low left up into #6. Adds more fun heel-hook compression moves into the mega classic Sleeping Beauty! FA=CS 2014

8 "No Tape" V6*** low right sit same as #7 then direct straight up then left into #6 FA=JA 2014

9 "?" V4*** low start on far left with rock slab at your back and angle up right into the top out of #6! (or into undone direct straight up left scary top out over rock!?) FA=AC 2014

10 V? backside left? FA=?

11 V? backside right? FA=?

12 V3*** or V4** direct with no left jug - small boulder behind #6+7 FA=AC/CS 2014

Main McKee Boulders

13 overhang/roof?

14 short face/arete?

15 slab(s)!

16 high arete/face?

17 big high sicky!?

18 ?



Fishing Hole Boulder
(On the trail down to the main fishing hole #1 just below the parking lot. No river crossing needed - you can see the Pothead Boulder across the river just upstream. Micro size but a nice mix of slab to slightly steep. Partial sun all day so it's climbable all year, if it's dry. Many fun lowball variations!)

21 "Fish On" V1** stand V3*** low stand V4/5** sit FA=CS 2015 - or V6/7? low scrunchy sit project!?

22 direct up into top of #21+23!?

23 "Fishing Hole Arete" V1** stand V2/3* sit V3/4** low sit - up direct into prow top out or around left into #25 traverse in reverse for a bit more challenge and fun FA=CS 2015

24 "Fishhead" V0* slab FA=EB 2014

25 "Mossy Stroke" V1** traverse from far left side, left of #27 below the top lip to far right into #24 FA=J? 2015

26 "Fishing Hole Traverse" V5? sit #21 then traverse left into #25 in reverse?

27 VB stand start short slab face on far left side.

Jeff does first ascent of "Mossy Stroke" V1

"Fish On" V4/5 sit fa!

Three Rocks
(Further down the road toward Potter Valley - mostly under water in winter)

28 "Hot Mess" V2** sit start short pocket and knob face FA=CS - or low right sit!?

29 "Hot Mess Direct"? sit start short pocket face direct/right - or low right sit!?

30 double arete compression start over water into #28 or #29!?

31 TR left arete mini pinnacle!?

32 TR center face mini pinnacle!?

33 TR right arete mini pinnacle!?

34 "Vortex" V3R***** DWS/Deep Water Solo // Highball - deep pool under crux but rocks at the start and around the sides - R rated risky highball/solo - flash or splash or !!?? FA=CS

35 "Rock Hop Arete" V0R right slab face arete into same slab top as #34 high over rocks and water!

36 start on right arete then up left face direct into #34!!??

37 short swimming hole jump boulder face out of water!?

38 "Three Lock Box" V3**** sit start roof? FA=CS/SR

38 V6? sit start roof right finish?

39 "Riverside Arete" V1**** FA=CS - or V2 sit?

40 V!?***** bad ass crimp dyno face project!? FA=!?

41 sit arete/face?

42 sit short bulge?

43 sit overhang left?

44 sit overhang center?

45 sit overhang right?

FA's = =
Original old school classics: Chris Summit, Ryan Tolentino
New school classics: CS, Joshua Anderson, Addison Cox, Elizabeth Balchowsky, Shawn Rogers

"Synergy" V5 FA - YouTube

"Vortex" V3R DWS FA - YouTube

Three Rocks Cold Creek Bouldering - YouTube

Look for this area to possibly be in the next eBook update of Northern California Bouldering by SuperTopo coming this Summer/Fall 2015 along with a lot of other possible new additions around Mendo, Shasta, The Bay Area and Lake Tahoe! For now check it out here:
Northern California Bouldering by SuperTopo

Monday, September 8, 2014

Traverse Fetish

The crux of the 150ft "Pine Flat Traverse" V6 fa

Not sure exactly what's wrong with me I guess I like to get sideways ;-/ I actually just really like traversing and am not sure why more climbers don't. Here's why I do and why I think most climbers maybe don't:

traversing is great to do if you're alone because you can often do a lot of hard moves and get a good workout without a lot of risk because you're usually not very high off the ground.

traverses are often one of in not the hardest line on any given cliff.

traversing sideways or diagonally is more rare than going up or down and therefore is unique and special in its own way.

traverses can give you a pump like you would get on a long roped route but without the hassle of gear and a belayer.

traverses are often overlooked and a total first ascent score right under everyone's noses still to this day at a lot of popular crags and boulders.


traversing is usually lame and wimpy because you're usually not high off the ground and you get in everyone's way as you prance around the base of the entire crag in front of everyone like you're on frkn parade.

sayings like "who wants to go sideways when you can go up?" and "watch me climb" come to mind.

the spread eagle splits are often involved along with other embarrassing frenchy moves like cross throughs and roses, too much resting not enough action, etc etc..

"Stoner Traverse" V6 fa Aquarian Waterfall, CA

Here's a list of some of my favorite traverses that I did first ascent of and are rarely repeated because, as mentioned above;
"traversing is (desperate and pathetic and..) the bastard step child of sport climbing" :)
 - John "Verm" Sherman (i think verm said it first?)

"Trinity Traverse" V3fa ~75ft
Diagonal uphill slab/vert traverse with many cruxes and no hands rests along the base of the sport climbs. Fun to the end but what's wrong with someone who does a lame traverse at a cool sport crag.? Direct without a big foothold midway it is about a grade harder but has a worse landing.
Trinity Aretes CA

"Subway Cave Traverses" V3/4/5fa / 5.11/5.12fa ~100ft
3 Main traverses inside the entrances of the lava tubes.
FA= 2 me and 1 Richie Esquibel
Subway Cave CA - "Exit Traverse" V4/5.12- fa YouTube

"Porky's Traverse" aka Little Shop of Horrors Traverse V5/6fa ~50ft
Traverse from right to left along the base of the sport climbs on the Little Shop of Horrors.
Pig Rock NEV

"Mickey's Traverse" V4/5fa ~50ft
Traverse in either direction along the base of the sport climbs on the west face of the Main Crag.
FA= J Thornburg, M Nunez, J Follett, J or J Campbell???? and maybe me from the lowest sit?
Mickey's Beach CA

"The Foolish Traverse" aka The Full Remilard Traverse V3/4fa ~75ft
Do the original traverse from the left then continue up the diagonal ramp below the roof and over a rocky landing with a weird slab crux into a pumpy fun finish at the far right uphill side that is also over a rocky landing but not as bad as the landing at the crux.
Remilard Park, Berkeley CA

"The Great White Traverse" V8fa (sit) and the shorter "Hammerhead Traverse" V7fa (stand) ~50ft
Traverse from left to right up over rocks to end on V0 diagonal crack on top of Orange Pleasure.
Mickey's Beach CA - "Hammerhead Traverse" V7 fa YouTube

"Super Abalone Traverse" V8fa and the shorter "Abalone" V7fa (start from center low sit) ~20ft
Traverse from right to left along sloper lip with assorted heel and and ab flexing toe hooks.
Super Slab CA - Ryan Tolentino "Super Abalone" V8 YouTube

"Renegades of Funk Traverse" V9fa ~20ft
Start on the original Super Slab Corner 5.6/VB and then traverse left around arete into Mouse Crack then drop down into the sit start to Over The Hill and top it out.
Super Slab CA - Kevin Jorgeson "Renegades of Funk" V9 YouTube

"Rossta Traverse" V8/9fa (much harder now that holds broke - probably V-double digits) ~30ft
Traverse from right to left from Swiss Cheese past Living A Dream arete and down a move to "the ball hold" on Fort Rossta then end on Left Arete.
Fort Ross CA

"Goldbugs Traverse" V3/4fa? ~35ft
Traverse from right to left along horizontal crack to the crux at the end.
FA= me?
Tuolumne CA

"Fat Man Traverse" aka Fat Tire Traverse V3/4fa ~25ft
Traverse from a sit start on the arete to the left along a rail reminiscent of the Iron Man Traverse.
Fat Tire Boulder, Tahoe  CA

"Chris' Traverse" V6/7fa ~20ft
Traverse low from a sit on the far right into the far left arete.
Low Brow Boulder, Christmas Tree Valley, Tahoe CA

"Starfish Traverse" V3/4fa ~25ft
Traverse from the far left to the far right arete/roof to finish. Also done into The Wave problem V4/5.
The Wave Boulder, Secrets CA

"40 Oz Traverse" V6fa ~35ft
Traverse from far right around arete to end on the far left.
40 Oz Boulder, Vacaville CA

"Motherfucker Traverse" V5fa ~25ft
Traverse from far right around arete to end on the far left uphill backside.
The Mother Boulder, Vacaville CA

"Stoned Dangler Traverse" V5fa ~25ft
Traverse from far right to end on the far left.
Bloody Madness Boulder, Vacaville CA

"Pine Flat Traverse" V6fa ~150ft
Traverse from far left uphill along base of crag to end on the far right. Epic long pumpfest!
Pine Flat, Geysers CA

"Rattlesnake Rock Traverse" V4fa ~60ft
Traverse from far left around arete along base of crag to end on the far right.
Geysers CA

"Sticky Green Traverse" V6fa ~20ft
Traverse from arete on far right to left into top out near end of long sloper lip.
Muffins, Castle Rock CA

"Backscratcher Traverse" V3/4fa ~25ft
Traverse up and left through backscratching corridor from low start on right side at slab arete to end on fun juggy arete on uphill left side.
Indian Rock, Castle Rock CA

"Tender Biddles Traverse" V6fa ~25ft
Traverse from Tender Biddles sit low and left along base of slab into semi highball crack on left.
Biddles Boulders, Castle Rock CA

"Dubilious Traverse" V6/7fa ~25ft
Stand start Way Dubious Contortionist and traverse left into the original Billy Goat Traverse (V6 FA=Dave Caunt) or V8/9? from Way Dubious low/under-cling start.

"Billy Goat Gruff" V7fa ~30ft
Stand start on far left side of Billy Goat Rock and reverse the Billy Goat Traverse (V6 FA=Dave Caunt) to the right into Way Dubious Contortionist (V5) to finish.
Billy Goat Rock, Castle Rock CA

"Stoner Traverse" V6fa ~20ft
Left to far right into Sunray V2 to finish (V7 low start).
Stoner Cave, Aquarian Valley Waterfall, Castle Rock CA

"Stop In The Name Of Love" V3/4fa or "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" V4/5fa ~30ft
Traverse from right to left along backside of main wall. "Stop Dragging.." is the lowball butt-dragger. Start to the right of the word "Stop" spray painted on the boulder.
Saddle Boulder, Tahoe CA

"Loosers Keepers Traverse" V5/6fa ~30ft
Hard slab traverse. Traverse from arete on left near start of Looser Weepers to V0 just before the right side (to continue far right for a few more moves may add a / grade but feels less natural).
Lost and Found Boulders, Burnside Lake, Tahoe CA

"Lost and Found Traverse" V4/5fa ~30ft
Start on Lost and Found and traverse left into fun V2 in corridor (or into V2 on far left = V6/7? or from V2 on far left into Lost and Found to finish = V7/8!?)
Lost and Found Boulders, Burnside Lake, Tahoe CA

"Limestone Natural Bridge Traverse" V5/5.12fa ~75ft
Traverse from about the middle of the inside of the bridge to end on the far left. A rocky landing with weird moves on amazingly sculpted but dusty limestone in a dark cave makes this a fun and challenging adventure. Many good rests but sending this still feels like leading a fairly long and steep 5.12 sport pitch. And/or start on the far right and do about 20ft of V6 over rocks and seasonal water holes called "Bridge Creek Traverse" and step off or go into a long undone crux section (V8/9?) that, when all added into the V5 will be the complete traverse (150ft!?) and probably sick double digits!?
(dark - a headlamp helps)
Hayfork CA "Limestone Natural Bridge Traverse" V5/5.12 fa YouTube

Sean Brady 2nd ascent of "Pine Flat Traverse"

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mendo Exploring/Climbing/Bouldering/4-Wheelin Summer 2014

M61 Boulders (0.6 miles from M1 on M61)
1 V0 slab
2 VB crack/corner
3 V1 arete to slab crack
4 "Pistol Grip Arete" V2
5 "M16" V3
6 "AKV47" V4
7 3rd and 4th class scrambles to top
8 arete/face?
9 overhang right?
10 overhang left?

Mendo Bouldering Summer 2014 - YouTube

M1, Yuki and Mendocino National Forest Bouldering areas
(more info coming soon):

The Swimming Hole
bouldering VB-V5 so far with more potential!

Shady Crag
bouldering and top rope/possible sport potential

M61 Spires / Bean Rock ?
bouldering and top rope/possible sport potential 

M61 Boulders
bouldering VB-V4 (see above)

M1 Crag
bouldering V0-V4 and possible short top rope potential 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bay Area Bouldering overview map and list of areas.

The first printing of my bestselling guidebook Bay Area Bouldering accidentally had no numbers in the list of areas to correspond with the numbers on the map. The problem has since been fixed in the second printing but in case you own the first print book here is the overview map and fixed list of areas with the numbers to correspond with the map:


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Northern California Bouldering Slideshow

Northern California Bouldering slideshow YouTube:

Northern California Bouldering guidebook by Chris Summit and SuperTopo;

Music: "This is How I Roll" from European Living by Cevio (aka Giovanni "G" Traversi ~ famous Nor Cal rock star!)

Check out Cevio on Soundcloud;

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summit or Plummet - promotional video / highlight reel from 2013/14!

Music: "Spacecase" by Cevio

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuolumne Bouldering slideshow promo vid

Chris McNamara tunes into "Texas Radio" V3r at Tenaya West.

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

Check out the Tuolumne Bouldering slideshow on YouTube;

Music: "Vibe Theory" from European Living by Cevio (aka Giovanni "G" Traversi ~ famous rock star!) Watch G take down the original Tuolumne test-piece "Thunderbird" at the end of this video:
Cevio on Soundcloud:

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Favorite Gear - OutdoorGearLab Reviews

Here's a list of my top 10 personal favorite pieces of climbing/bouldering gear and outdoor wear with OutdoorGearLab reviews:

Remember, before you buy any outdoor gear, first go to so you can see a top selection of products all in one place with detailed information as well as unbiased performance comparisons. We also have price comparisons for each product which show you the current retailers and any sales they're offering. Then simply click the link from OutdoorGearLab to the retailer of your choice and at no additional cost to you of course we get a small share of the sale from the retailer - so we all win!

Under Armour UA Tech Short Sleeve Shirt - Men's
Other than the relaxed style of classic cotton t-shirt this is my all time personal favorite performance shirt because of its incredible functionality combined with a great look and feel. Stretchy and lightweight polyester fabric, raglan sleeve design for a full range of motion as well as non pack strap chafing shoulder seams, great moisture wicking ability, a nice looking athletic cut and many colors to choose from all come together to make this my top choice for a shirt that does it all.

Prana Stretch Zion Pants
Stretchy and light yet fairly durable fabric. Built-in adjustable waist belt, many useful pockets, the leg pockets have both side and top entry zippers that are very handy, the legs have snaps to hold the pant bottoms when rolled up and just an overall nice look and feel. Great for climbing or around town.
Review by Brian Blum

Mountain Khakis Original Mountain Pants
One of, if not the most durable pants we've ever tested. Loose, comfortable fit and casual look with a rugged and simple design. Great for work, outdoor adventures, bushwhacking, off trail hiking etc..

Five Ten Guide Tennie - Canvas
My favorite pair of shoes for light cragging or hiking and daily use. Not as durable as the original leather version but lighter weight and dries quicker. Climbs easy to moderate level rock very well. Burly yet stylish look for around town while being tough enough to withstand a lot of abuse outdoors. 5.10 sticky rubber on the sole in a dot tread pattern is not the best for steep, wet or muddy dirt trails but allows for unsurpassed friction on talus or slabby approaches in the mountains as well as extreme parkour/free-running exploits in the urban jungles.

Five Ten Arrowhead
Edges like an actual arrowhead would with a sharp pointed toe tip. Similar to the Anasazi VCS but with a more aggressive down-turned design for extreme rock climbs.

Evolv Shaman / Rasta Shaman
An aggressive down-turned design with good toe hooking rubber and form fitting heel for steeper angled rock climbs. Also very comfortable. The cool Rasta color version sadly costs a bit more (unless you got them free like me:) than the original orange & blue color scheme but are so styly ;)

Mad Rock Flash 2.0
For warming up, cooling down, working a project, doing laps or cleaning/developing and running around just goofing off at the rocks this is one of the most comfortable, inexpensive and relatively high performing rock shoes I've ever climbed in, tested and reviewed. Also great for beginners.

Testing the Mad Rock Flash 2.0 on
"Flyan Mayan" V7, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Mad Rock R3 Bouldering Pad
This pad is maybe not the one single best pad for bouldering but combined with other pads I feel it is a vital component of most pad arrangements. I also like to haul a lot of stuff to the boulders (cameras, extra shoes, ropes, food and beer etc..) and this pad securely stores and packs the gear very well with a round drum like shape and nice padded shoulder and waist straps. The shredded recycled foam is divided into sections making it very flexible so it can conform to uneven landings and lay over rocks better than any other pad its size. The nature loving environmental hippy in me also really likes the green recycled aspect.

Prana Geo Chalkbag
The classic oval shaped Prana chalk bag design with stylish color patterns and a nice solid ring of strong nylon around the mouth to keep it open. The oval shape holds a lot of chalk in it without easily spilling out of the mouth. The closure system works reliable and smooth and there is an easy to use toothbrush holder.

Krieg Bouldering Pot
This is my favorite chalk bucket ever. It has great stability: it won't slump over like many buckets. While few buckets are completely spill-proof, the closure system on the Krieg does a great job of keeping the chalk in. The burly nylon around the mouth/rim of the bag helps keep it wide open for fast and easy chalk stops. You also get the option of customizing your fabric if you want the bag made-to-order. I have a Krieg bag made out of old FedEx Tyvek envelopes. Krieg does one thing and does it well: make chalk bags and buckets. In twelve years they have made over 1,000,000 bags!

Check out all of this gear and more at!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bay Area Bouldering slideshow promo vid

Kevin Jorgeson spotted by Charlie Barrett 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:
Music: "Eldorado" and "Toyz" from Transmissions by Chris Zanardi:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Castle Rock Bouldering!!

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


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!

*And of course check out all the original CRSP classics in        Bay Area Bouldering by Chris Summit / SuperTopo

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:

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

>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 12 indoor rock climbing and/or bouldering gyms (only Nor Cal so far) in no particular order;

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

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.

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

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!

Bridges Rock Gym V6 double dyno - YouTube;

Bridges Rock Gym 2014 - YouTube

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

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.

*The history of one of the largest climbing/bouldering gym operations ever, Touchstone;

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

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

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...

ClimbFind Video of IronWorks;

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

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

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

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

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

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.

ClimbFind Video of PipeWorks;

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

ClimbFind Video of Granite Arch;

Sanctuary Rock Gym (Sand City/Monterey)

Far North Climbing Gym (Arcata/Eureka)

Shasta Rock Club

Stonehenge Indoor Climbing Gym


Climbing related (Parkour/Free-Running/Ninja Warrior/Gymnastics/MMA) gyms:

Apex Movement Nor Cal;
Parkour/Free-Running/Ninja Warrior

Athletic Playground;
Acrobatics/Aerials/Parkour/Break Dance/Monkey Conditioning

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 at Urban Jungle Gym- YouTube;


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*And for a lot more info on gyms and climbing connections check out;

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bouldering news for the Wine Country - Fall/Winter 2013/14

Sugarloaf Ridge Panorama

The old/new Crown Roof at the Coraza Boulders
1 "El Corazon" V1 far left roof into same top as old school.
2 "Old School" V1 mini mega classic left roof over rock to jug top out.
3 "Noble" V1 left-center roof left top out / or V1/2? right top out?
4 "The Crown" V3/4 direct out center of roof via undercling right and drop - or top out V4 / or V? left?
5 "Sizzling Bacon" V2 low sit then deadpoint/bump up left and drop - or top out V2/3.
6 "Sizzlean" V2/3 same low sit then into right variation and drop off.
7 V2/3/4 lip traverse(s) either direction link ups!?
"The Crown" V4

Giovanni "G" Traversi working the sick (V14/!?) undone project on the Slither/Stigmata Boulder.

G working what would become "The Hand of Perseus" V12
(FA Carlo Traversi - Thanksgiving Day 2013)

 G working what would become his first ascent
"Ghost Dance" V10/11r !? at The Untamed Rocks.

Aron Quiter "Shit Face" 5.10d/11a
The Untamed Rocks.

A lot of new and old classics were put up and repeated on the awesome Dutch Bill Boulder.
This season was a lot of fun and a lot got done ~ with;
Travis, Sean, Richie, G, Colton, Addison, Jonah, Jason and Ashley!