PLANET GRANITE BLOG

It’s the New Year and with that comes a time to look at the possibilities that 2018 presents. Whether your New Year’s resolution includes trying something new, getting in shape, or improving on your hobby, a Planet Granite membership can help!  Through January 31st, you can get a Planet Granite Membership while paying $0 Initiation!

Don’t wait! On February 1st, initiation returns to $45!

My goal is to try something new!

Awesome! Trying something new is a great way to challenge yourself in various ways – mentally, physically, emotionally. Climbing can be intimidating but there is a reason so many people love it – it can be an exhilarating experience for people of any age! Once you have a membership, you can come in whenever we are open and boulder or rope climb! Plus, with a membership, you can sign up for 2 free Belay Lessons per day – one for you and one for a friend or bring two friends in if you already know how to belay!

Already climbing? Try out our group classes – we offer Yoga and Fitness classes daily that are included in your membership!

I want to take my climbing to the next level!

One of the great things about climbing is that there is always another challenge – a new grade, a new type of climbing, a new technique – that you can do. With our climbing classes, you can work on beginner skills in our Fundamentals or Beginner Rock Climbing courses or learn drills and techniques in Balance and Technique. Want to try a different type of climbing? Lead climbing and Crack climbing can open up a lot more terrain to climbers looking to challenge themselves! While these classes available for everyone*, as a member, you receive a discount our regular classes and clinics!

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Tommy Bell was part of the Earth Treks Rockville family for more than six years hosting birthday parties, teaching climbing classes and much more. Best known for his ever-present smile and seemingly endless supply of positivity, Tommy embodied the best in all of us. Our community lost Tommy far too soon when he passed away in a bicycle crash in the Spring of 2017.

 


IN HONOR OF TOMMY BELL

We hope to honor his memory and three of his deepest passions: photography, spreading happiness and rock climbing with the annual Tommy Bell Photo Contest! Post your most happy, passion-filled climbing pic on Instagram using the#CanIFocus, #EarthTreks and #PlanetGranite hashtags for a chance to have your photograph displayed in Earth Treks Rockville on a majorly large scale for the entirety of 2018. After that, the winner’s large print will be displayed at a different Earth Treks or Planet Granite gym and a framed smaller print will live in Rockville indefinitely on the Tommy Bell Gallery Wall.

One day, we will fill this gallery with photos of, or by, folks in our community doing what they love—rock climbing.

 


TO ENTER

It’s easy to enter, simply post your most happy, passion-filled climbing pic on Instagram using the #CanIFocus #EarthTreks and #PlanetGranite hashtags. Post as many times as you want and your best pics from previous climbing trips are allowed! Contest runs January 1, 2018 – January 31, 2018.

Why #CanIFocus? It is Tommy’s Instagram handle!

 


WINNERS WILL RECEIVE

  • Their image reproduced on a large scale and displayed for one year in Rockville and then will move to other gyms.
  • After one year, a smaller version of the image will remain in Rockville on the Tommy Bell Gallery Wall.
  • In addition, 1st place will receive $200 Earth Treks/Planet Granite gift card, 2nd place will receive $100 Earth Treks/Planet Granite gift card and 3rd will receive $50 Earth Treks/Planet Granite gift card.Read More…

Total donated $20,000; total raised $46,000+: 

In October, Planet Granite partnered with the American Safe Climbing Association to raise money to replace bad bolts around the country. Planet Granite has plenty of staff, friends, members, and guests who climb outside and it is one of our main priorities to make sure that those of us who climb outside are using bolts that won’t just come out with a little tug.

How do you know when to trust the gear on which your life depends?

The ASCA gives money to local climbing organizations to help with their efforts to rebolt areas or, through the help of volunteers, the ASCA rebolts areas itself. One of the local California crags that many of us have climbed at is Pinnacles and through the efforts of the Friends of Pinnacles rebolting team, they have replaced quite a few sketchy bolts.

Bruce Hildenbrand is the president of Friends of Pinnacles and has quite a few stories to tell about the rebolting efforts at Pinnacles that get their bolts from the ASCA and with other climbing organizations like the Access Fund.

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Hey there again, PG!

Since my last update, I’ve wrapped up my global tour in China and headed back home to the Bay Area. After spending more than 6 months of the year traveling to over a dozen different countries, it was nice to finally be back home.

During the first several days of being home, I had the opportunity to teach a ninja-based physics course for middle schoolers from Synapse School in Menlo Park. I had been working with the kids remotely via Skype while I was in China, but this was my first time meeting them all in person. We met up at Obstacourse (a newly-opened obstacle gym) and had a great time playing around on the obstacles, analyzing the physics behind the movement, and doing a couple full-course runs as well. I, for one, had a blast and hope the kids enjoyed the experience as well!

While it would have been nice to take a well-deserved rest and recover the minor injury in my right hand,  (keep that in mind for later) my competition schedule said otherwise. The weekend after my return to the Bay, I packed up my bag once again and headed out to Denver for the second stop on the 2017 Wolfpack Ninja Tour.

It had been a while since my last venture into the world of ninja sports, but I was really looking forward to heading out to the event for several reasons: 1) I would get to see all my ninja friends again, 2) it would be a great opportunity to test my climbing training on a ninja course, and 3) the main focus of the event is mostly on providing a positive experience for all the kids in attendance and encouraging them to follow healthy, active lifestyles. Couldn’t ask for much more!

As fate would have it, all the focus that I’d devoted to recovering my right hand’s minor injury ended up backfiring. On only my second qualifying run on the course, I whacked my left hand on one of the obstacles, prompting me to back out of the competition following some aggressive swelling. The swelling died down after the first day, and an initial assessment by some physicians at the event told me that my hand would ‘most likely’ be fine.Read More…

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…

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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