PLANET GRANITE BLOG

Hello again, PG community!

I’m currently writing this from the final stop on my 2017 global tour: China. The main objectives of this trip were to compete in the final two lead & speed World Cups of the season as well as try out the outdoor climbing at the legendary crag of Yangshuo. While there were many ups and downs along the way, I feel hugely satisfied with my travels both in China and around the world.

Following the World Cup in Edinburgh, I headed down south to do some sightseeing around London with my family. As it was my first time there, it felt obligatory to visit all the touristy stuff the city had to offer, such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, The Sherlock Museum, and, of course, Platform 9¾. The city itself felt magical; each location had a rich history dating back hundreds if not thousands of years, vastly exceeding any historical landmarks in the US. Also, it felt like I got to follow in the footsteps many of my favorite fictional characters and movies that were set or filmed in London 🙂

Also, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I also caused a minor injury to my right thumb while trying to move some of my bags in transit. This would turn out to have larger repercussions later on in the trip.

After finishing my stay in London, I packed my bags and headed off to Shanghai for the competition portion of the trip! This trip was my fourth to China, the other three being for the Youth Olympics in 2014 and two business trips during my internship with Apple in 2016. The entirety of those trips had been contained to major cities, so I was definitely looking forward to getting outside to the natural beauty of Yangshuo after the competitions were over.

Upon arriving in Shanghai, I had a week of training in the city before the first World Cup in Wujiang. The previous times I’d been to Shanghai, I had mostly trained at the Hengyi Climbing Gym, but it had shockingly burned down since my last visits. Forced to find new training facilities, I decided to go check out the brand-new Pongo Bouldering Gym just south of the city center. After some wandering in circles on Google Maps, I finally found it! The gym itself was impressive. Modeled after modern bouldering gyms in Tokyo, this Japanese-inspired creation consisted of a single extended bouldering wall of painted wood and fancy lighting. It turned out to be the perfect training facility for doing some bouldering circuits, essential to World Cup training in lead.Read More…

Hello again PG community!

I am writing this month from an Airbnb in downtown London. We just finished wrapping up the European tour of the World Cup Series and are preparing to head to China next week. Should be exciting!

Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the first-ever use of the new Olympic format for competitive climbing. This format will be in place in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and also next year at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The format takes the 3 disciplines of speed, bouldering, and lead, and combines them into a single ‘combined’ event. I got to watch the combined event being tested for the first time at the 2017 Youth World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.

Before we get into that, however, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. How was the Olympic format decided, you may be wondering? Great question!

Back in 2013, climbing applied (and was initially rejected) to be a new sport in the 2020 Olympic Games. Then, following a revamp of the Olympic sport selection procedure, climbing petitioned again for the 2020 Games. Before climbing was approved, however, a compromise was made to include all 3 disciplines of sport climbing – speed, bouldering, & lead – as a single combined event.

  1. As far as I can tell, the main reasons for this decision were as follows:
  2. There was not enough room in the Olympic schedule to accommodate all 3 disciplines separately,
    the disciplines collectively represented the Olympic motto, (“Faster, higher, stronger” = speed, lead, & bouldering) and
  3. it would be far easier for future Olympic Games (2024 and beyond) to already have all 3 disciplines in the Olympics to transition to separate medal events as well as an overall medal category.

Whew.

Luckily, it worked! After a successful proposal put together by the Japanese Mountaineering Association and positive feedback from the 2014 Youth Olympic Sports Lab, sport climbing was officially approved as a new Olympic sport on August 4th, 2016. One year later, it was also added to the 2018 Youth Olympics agenda. Now, for the first time in our sport’s history, young climbers could fulfill the dream of every athlete on the planet: Representing their country at an Olympic Games.Read More…

 

Who are you? What do you teach? Emphasis on a specific type of yoga?

My name is Charlotte. I am a lover and practitioner of many forms of yoga and have been practicing for almost 20 years. I’m so happy to have recently started teaching yin yoga at the vibrant Planet Granite- SF right underneath the iconic Golden Gate Bridge!

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Phew! It was our largest Bloc Party yet at Planet Granite Sunnyvale with almost 700 scorecards given out! Great job to everyone who competed!

Derek, our prettiest emcee
(seen here riding his unicorn),
was there to lend a spot when needed. 
Competitors picked from 45 problems
that ranged from V0 to V10 to get
the most points and to be able
to compete in the finals.
Even though they don’t compete,
the setters are close by watching
to see how people handle each problem.
 After climbing ended and pizza was had,
climbers lined up for some games
while the setters got to work setting the
final problems for our top competitors.
 Players faced off for a rousing game
of Rock, Paper, Scissors and the chance
to win an Arc’teryx jacket!
(courtesy of Arc’teryx Standord Center!)
People also tested their throwing skills
in a game of Setter’s toss for the
chance to win a briefcase crash pad! All proceeds
went to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief –
competitors raised $90!
Finally, it was time for the finals
and the crowd gathered to watch the competitors
with the top scores climb for a cash purse.
Each finalist had 4 minutes on their route.
But with each attempt counting against them,
they had to find some creative ways to
save attempts and rest.
The night ended with a raffle
with prizes courtesy of our awesome
and very generous sponsors.  We handed
out tons of North Face gear, bouldering pads
from Organics, 8b+ chalk bags, and so much more!

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We are super excited to introduce LED MoonBoards to PG Belmont’s and Sunnyvale’s training areas!

Belmont’s 40 degree LED MoonBoard is up and ready for climbing! Download the app and start logging your ascents!

Sunnyvale’s new climbing training area also started construction and their LED MoonBoards should be up and running early October! Sunnyvale’s 25 and 40 degree MoonBoards will be accompanied by a 9′ campus board and a 24′ long Rogue Rig with hang boards and pull up bars!

What is a MoonBoard?

The MoonBoard is a standardized training wall that allows you to train on sequences and climbs set by people all over the world! The MoonBoard app allows you to find, log, and rate problems. You can also create your own problems and share them with the world!

Belmont and Sunnyvale’s MoonBoards are also equipped with LED lights that identify the holds to help climbers visualize their moves.

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Hey PG community!

Currently typing this from the cozy mountain town of Innsbruck, Austria. I’m here to train and support the youth climbers competing at the World Championships here over the next two weeks!

Over the course of the previous month, I’ve done a significant amount of travel around Europe for World Cup competitions, otherwise known as being on ‘The Circuit’. Following my trip to the Rocklands, I flew north to compete in the Bouldering World Cup in Munich, Germany, as well as the Lead World Cup in Arco, Italy. Both competitions were excellent learning experiences for me to test where my training is at right now and see what I need to work on for upcoming seasons.

At the first stop in Munich, I had the honor of staying and climbing alongside Kai Lightner, one of the top climbers in the US. We prepared for the competition by trying out some mock competition problems at Boulderwelt München. Most of the problems heavily featured holds shaped by European companies Cheeta and Squadra, which took some getting used to in order to successfully maneuver through them. Hopefully PG can snag some for future World Cup training preparationRead More…

Who are you? What do you teach? Emphasis on a specific type of yoga?

I’m Lizzie Kountze, and I teach vinyasa-based flow classes: Foundations (on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm) and Power Yoga (on Tuesdays at noon).

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, started my career as a journalist, and then dove into a career in international development in Washington DC, applying technology to address inequalities (especially around access to information and opportunities) in low-income countries. I do a lot of ideation, business development, and proposal writing in my day job– about 10 years ago yoga became an incredible balance that really helped to reduce my stress while making my body much happier.  I noticed that while I practiced yoga I felt graceful and beautiful, no matter what was going on professionally or personally.  It continues to make me happy in my skin on and off the mat.  Most of all, yoga reminds of who I am and how to honor the love inside of me and take care of myself.

I teach with many assists and adjustments to help people deepen into their poses and build muscle memory for alignment. This is nourishing and rewarding for students, I find, and it aids in relaxation.

I love the outdoors, especially the sea, and moved to San Francisco five years ago to be closer to the wilderness and ocean. I have been teaching since 2011 at Vida Fitness in Washington DC as well as San Francisco’s Union Yoga, the Mindful Body, and Planet Granite. I also teach restorative yoga and am trained as a prenatal teacher.

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Water bottles. They make the gym (and a lot of other) experiences way more pleasant. Having quick access to water means that you don’t have to drop everything and walk to a water fountain. If you are thirsty, you just break it open and enjoy some delicious hydration.

PG Gear Shops are now home to a new sort of water bottle – the Square by Clean Bottle. We talked to self-appointed, resident water bottle enthusiast Riley on what makes the Square such a good bottle. Here’s what Riley liked about the bottles:Read More…

Hello again PG community!

Josh Levin here again, reporting all the way from Cape Town, South Africa. I just finished off an incredible 1-month trip to the legendary Rocklands bouldering area, which is located about a 4-hour drive north of Cape Town. Here is a quick summary of my trip and some recommendations if you’re interested in heading out there yourself!

I first heard about Rocklands by watching the classic climbing film Progression, in which Paul Robinson, Daniel Woods, and Tommy Caldwell explore the sandstone area to repeat the classics and establish some of the hardest boulder problems in the world. Besides the phenomenal climbing footage, one of the lines from the movie that really hit home for me was a quote from Paul Robinson describing his mentality towards finishing up school and embarking on climbing adventures:

“For the past two years, I’ve been dreaming about coming out to the Rocklands. I’d sit in school
and I’d think, ‘Oh man, I wish I could be going out climbing now’. Finally, I’ve made it to this
part in my life where I can go and I can climb in amazing destinations all around the world, and
this a dream come true for me.”

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Bloc Party SF is over and we are  so excited for Sunnyvale’s in a few weeks

It was a long but awesome day running from 10am to almost 7pm! People were jumping to get on problems as soon as they got the green light to start climbing. And once it started, the day didn’t slow down. The North Face athletes Matty Hong, Emily Harrington, and Peter Croft joined in the fun, hung out, and ran a few clinics throughout the day including a crack clinics, Sport Climbing and one on cerebral climbing. Climbers and spectators were able to hang out at The North Face lounge and Airstream outside. Most people opted to wait ’til they got their climbing in and were taking a break for food to really take advantage of the lounge area.

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