Written by Jesse Schouboe, the Youth Program Coordinator at PG Belmont


2014 has been an awesome year @PG!  We’ve welcomed new managers to the team, launched community events, had successful youth climbing team seasons, opened a brand new location in Portland, and as always we have donated $1/member/month to charitable organizations. None of this could have succeeded without our hard-working staff and passionate member community!

This blog post is a highlight reel of our best 2014 projects, and a BIG thank you to those who made these projects a success!


New community events are everywhere! Trivia Night has become a monthly fixture in Sunnyvale, the Beta Babes began crushing together in San Francisco, and Golf Night and 80s Night fired up the walls in Belmont. These events have all spread from their original home gyms, so check your local gym’s event calendar to see what’s coming next.

This year has also seen the start of Planet Granite’s first ever Youth Writing Competition. Submissions are closed, and judging will take place in the New Year. Get ready to be blown away by these young climber authors’ poems, essays, and short stories.

Finally, the year would not be complete without the return of Team of 2’s skilled coaches, and fantastic turnouts of beginner & expert climbers alike for our Bouldering League, Friction Series, and Bloc Party competitions. Thanks again to all our sponsors for these events!

Events 3

LEFT: PG’s Beta Babes meet once a month to climb and CRUSH together. RIGHT: The lip-sync crew from 80’s Night at PG Belmont.


Bouldering League, Friction Series, and Bloc Party all featured awesome climbs and strong turnouts from the community.

Team 1

Photo credit: 100% Raw Media

The youth climbing teams from San Francisco, Belmont and Sunnyvale are all climbing super strong! Many members have moved past Regionals, and are currently training hard with their sights set on Divisionals and Nationals. If you see these young rock stars around the gym wish them luck, and if you’re feeling really ambitious see if you can keep up with their workouts.


PG is growing! The fourth Planet Granite location is now open in the distant and wondrous city of Portland, Oregon. PG Portland has really cool walls built by Walltopia, a great management team lead by Jeff Ceccacci and JB Graham, strong and creative setters including head setter Josh Haynes, and a great community.

PG Portland 2

Clockwise from upper LEFT: Ueli Steck drops by PG Portland; A strong turn-out for Singles and Swingers; The gym’s walls are full of creative routes and pretty colors; PG Portland’s awesome staff full of smiles.

*PG GIVES BACK – Helping the ASCA Re-bolt Around the World*

Every year, Planet Granite donates $1/member/month to organizations that support climbing, community, and the environment.

A portion of this year’s PG Gives Back funds went to the American Safe Climbing Association, as a result of our successful fundraiser auction in which PG matched member donations dollar for dollar. Star guest auctioneers Alex Honnold and Chris McNamara auctioned off vacations in Tahoe and Yosemite homes, a Half Dome climb, a day of climbing with pro climber Ethan Pringle, outdoor gear of all types, and many great SuperTopo books autographed by Alex himself.

All in all PG and our member community raised $60,000 for the ASCA, which will go towards replacing old bolts in popular climbing areas around the world! For those of you who haven’t heard about the ASCA, check out their work!


LEFT TO RIGHT: Chris, Alex, and PG Staff auctioned prizes to a packed house; A compelling argument to support the ASCA; One of our star auctioneers, Alex Honnold, ready to autograph some guidebooks.


We have two fantastic additions to our management team in the Bay Area: Bret Johnston is PG’s new Director of Setting, and Dan Norgan is PG Belmont’s new Gym Manager.

You may remember Bret from this interview, but Dan remains a mystery. Until now, that is!

I got the opportunity to ask each of them each a few questions. Here’s what they had to say…

QUESTION – Who is someone that inspires you, in climbing or otherwise?

Dan: Reinhold Messner. Not only for his great climbing achievements but also for his drive and passion to share the sport and the outdoors with others.

Bret: As a setter I have a handful of setters that have influenced me greatly throughout the years. Guys like John Muse and Mike Helt taught me how to be a professional route-setter. Kyle McCabe showed me what it means to work really, really hard. Chris Danielson and Tonde Katiyo helped me explore my creativity of movement and my own personal style. There are also many climbers that I draw inspiration from. Jonathan Siegrist is one of my favorite people to climb with. He has always inspired me to try a little bit harder.

QUESTION – What are you especially excited about working on in your new position with PG?

Dan: I’m really excited to be more of an active part in the climbing community. Up until now, I only got to be a participant but my new role here will allow me to influence and improve our local climbing community.

Bret: I am really excited to be in a new place and working with new people. The PG setting crew is full of super talented climbers that aren’t half bad at setting either. I’m learning a lot about this community and I’m honored to be become a part of it. The bay area has such a rich history in the climbing gym industry and I’m psyched to bring my experience here and try to influence it in any way I can.


Bret Johnston doing this thing on the left and Dan Norgan ready for climbing rocks on the right.

QUESTION – For those of us staff or members who want to get to know you better when we see you around, what is something besides climbing that you’re always excited to talk about?

Dan: I am always willing to talk about gear with people, but Backpacks in particular. A little known side gig I have is hand making Mountaineering packs for myself and for friends. Because of this, I can talk for days about the ins and outs of packs and pack design but really, I love talking about any and all climbing gear.

Bret: Besides climbing I really enjoy Golf. I’ve played since I was a little kid and I feel like it has so many similarities to climbing in respects to challenging oneself in skill and concentration. Golf constantly challenges me. I have never tried so hard at something and still been so mediocre! I think that’s why I keep coming back to it. I just want to be good at it! 

QUESTION – If you owned a fortune-cookie-making machine, what would you put on the inside of your fortune cookies?

Dan: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.

Bret: Have a positive attitude and positive things will happen.

*Well that’s a wrap!
*As always a big THANK YOU to all our members, staff, and visiting climbers who made this year such a great one!

Jesse Bio Pic
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jesse Schouboe has a passion for education, climbing, and being outdoors with friends. Now back in the Bay Area after several years of traveling, he can often be found talking with friends and drinking tea in the gym between climbs. He loves the PG community, and is psyched to take both his training plans and the PG Belmont youth programs and community events to the next level.