Teton Boulder Project Announces Official Groundbreaking
An update from AAC member Christian Beckwith on the Teton Boulder Project:
Three-quarters of the way to their fundraising goal, TBP donors and volunteers are closing in on their goal of a community bouldering park.
Organizers of the Teton Boulder Project (TBP) announced today that on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m., they will hold the official groundbreaking for a community bouldering park in Phil Baux Park at the base of Snow King Mountain in downtown Jackson, Wyoming. Volunteers, donors and icons from the Teton climbing community will be on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, which is being held on the anniversary of the first ascent of the Grand Teton.
The TBP, a grassroots partnership between the Town of Jackson, Teton County Parks and Recreation Department and the Teton climbing community, announced the launch of the initiative in September 2009. Since that time, they’ve developed site plans, retained EntrePrises to build the boulders and raised $244,000—roughly three-quarters of their goal. Funds raised to date are enough to begin site work and purchase the largest of the three climbing boulders planned for the park.
The August 11 groundbreaking will offer the public a chance to see the project firsthand. Burgers, brats and beer will be served, and volunteers from the climbing community will present an overview of the project’s main goals.
According to Renny Jackson, author of A Climber’s Guide to the Teton Range and the TBP’s chief historian, those objectives are worthy of the range that inspires them. The first—to honor the historical role of Teton climbing in North American mountaineering—will be represented by a metal retaining wall. Into this will be inscribed the twelve most significant Teton mountaineering achievements, a list Jackson compiled.
The second—to remember Jackson Hole climbers who have died in the Tetons and while climbing abroad—will be represented by a circle of six-foot granite slabs that mimics the stone structure atop the Enclosure, a subsummit of the Grand Teton. The TBP’s use of a similar ring will create a contemplative space that allows park users to reflect on the power of the Tetons as well as on the loss of loved ones who have perished in their midst.
The boulders themselves comprise the TBP’s third objective: to create a singular climbing experience for children, families and visitors alike. The boulders will be a maximum of 12 feet high and offer climbing from 5.5 to 5.15. The Town of Jackson has approved the park and its boulders, which will be maintained and insured in perpetuity by Teton County Parks and Recreation Department.
The TBP will continue to raise funds for the remaining two boulders, including one specifically designed for children and beginning climbers. This so-called “Kid’s Boulder” will feature anchors that allow climbers to practice belay escapes, raises and lowers and other techniques so that their adventures on the rock can be executed more safely.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way the project has unfolded,” said TBP Coordinator Christian Beckwith. “When we set out to build this park nine months ago, we had no idea what kind of community support it would encounter. Jackson Hole has a strong tradition of honoring its heritage, and the Teton Boulder Project has been well received by people who recognize the integral role the Tetons have played in the development of American mountaineering.”
Beckwith noted that more than fifty volunteers have worked on the TBP since its inception, and donors have emerged from every corner of the community. “We hope Teton climbers everywhere will join us as we break ground and enter the finishing push for a world-class park in the heart of downtown Jackson,” he said.
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