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…

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…

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.”

Read More…

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…