PLANET GRANITE BLOG

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…

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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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…

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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Earlier in July, USA Climbing held the 2017 Sport & Speed Youth Nationals and Planet Granite team kids were there to represent!

There are 10 categories in USA Climbing’s competitions and almost 50 kids in each category climbing to get from the qualifiers to semi-finals. From there, the top 20 in each category will climb for a spot in finals! Kids from  all over  the country come to compete, some on teams, some not. You’d probably recognize some of the names of the competitors – they are already big names in climbing like Ashima Shiraishi or Kai Lightner. 6 kids from PG’s climbing team or community competed during this comp and they all did  a great job! 3 of the climbers landed in the top 10 of finals!

Justin Cubbage, Planet Granite SV Head Coach was in attendance to help make sure the climbers were prepared and ready to compete. Most of the kids were from SV’s team but we also had a few climbers from PDX!

Nationals is a lot different than bouldering nationals. Each day you climb 1 route. 2 of those days are Qualifiers. It’s a flash format so you can watch other competitors climb – there is no isolation. They even have a rabbit to show you how to climb it [I asked what a rabbit was. Think Alice in Wonderland where you follow the white rabbit – it is a climber who shows how the route is done].

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Workout of the Week: Controlled Hangboard Toe Touches

Do you hangboard? Even if you already use the hangboard in your climbing training, this week’s workout offers a tip on how to increase your core strength and leg and foot control by working out with a partner. 

 TIME: 20DIFFICULTY: All Abilities EQUIPMENT:  Hangboard, foam roller, and a workout buddyFOCUS: arms, hands, and core

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A few weekends ago, PG staff headed up to Yosemite to climb, hang out, and volunteer! This year, staff painted an old railway turntable in El Portal. The turntable was in pretty bad shape but the park and Yosemite Conservancy have been restoring it and it needed a new coat of paint. Needless to say, in 100 degree heat, it was a hard job but with a beautiful river close by and some great camping and climbing leading up to and after the job, it was well worth it!Read More…

A Day at Columns of the Giants

By Josh Levin

Hello PG community! Josh Levin here. I’ve been a PG member for the past 13 years, and am here to share some of my climbing experiences with you all each month. I started off on the PG youth team as one of those exuberant children you see running around the gym, and have since graduated to coaching said children and earning my degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University. Oh yeah, I do that ninja warrior thing too.

This month, I figured I’d kick things off with a crag review of a local sport climbing area called Columns of the Giants. I took a day trip up to Columns the other week with my friend Chris Bellizzi to check out what the area has to offer. Columns is located in the Stanislaus National Forest, just north of Yosemite and about an hour further up CA-108 from the popular crags of Jailhouse and Gold Wall.Read More…