Event, silent auction to benefit Teton Boulder Project
(Jackson, Wyoming) Organizers of the Teton Boulder Project (TBP) announced today that they will kick off the project’s fundraising drive for a bouldering park in downtown Jackson on September 26 with an event featuring three of North America’s greatest alpinists.
“American Alpine: An Evening with Climbing Legends Jack Tackle, Conrad Anker and Steve House” will be held at the Center for the Arts on Saturday, September 26, at 7 p.m. Tickets ($20) will be available at the Center for the Arts and key businesses around the valley. All proceeds from the event will go to the creation of the bouldering park.
Along with kicking off the fundraising drive for the Teton Boulder Project, the evening will be a chance to more formally introduce the project to the Jackson Hole and climbing communities, and raise awareness about the initiative. The Teton Boulder Project seeks to create a bouldering park at the base of Snow King Mountain that commemorates Teton climbing and its role in American mountaineering.
Tackle, Anker and House are internationally recognized alpinists with first ascents all over the world.
Victor resident Tackle, an Exum guide since 1982, grew up in Bozeman, Mont., and cut his teeth in the Tetons. In May 2009, he established four new routes in two and a half weeks in the Alaska Range with fellow Alaska Range veteran Jay Smith a trip Tackle calls “maybe my best trip ever to Alaska since I started going in 1976.” Tackle will talk about that trip, and about his numerous first winter ascents in the Tetons with longtime climbing partner Alex Lowe.
Bozeman, Mont., resident Conrad Anker has climbed from the mountains of Alaska, Antarctica and the Himalaya to the big walls of Yosemite, Zion, Patagonia and Baffin Island. In May 1999, as a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition, he discovered the body of George Mallory, the preeminent Everest explorer, who disappeared in June 1924 along with Sandy Irvine on their summit bid. Anker will discuss finding Mallory’s body, which shed new light on one of climbing’s greatest mysteries.
Called “the best high-altitude climber in the world today” by Italian alpinist Reinhold Messner, Steve House has pioneered cutting-edge new routes around the world over the last decade, always in the purest style. His alpine-style first ascent of a new direct route on the Rupal Face of Pakistan’s 8126-meter Nanga Parbat was one of the finest climbs ever done on an 8000-meter peak. A Patagonia alpine ambassador since 1999, House will present slides and readings from his new book, Beyond the Mountain. He will also be signing copies of the book before the event.
To kick the evening off, Grand Teton National Park Chief Climbing Ranger Renny Jackson will deliver a brief presentation of the Teton Boulder Project. Doors will open at 6 p.m. to the public, and beer and food will be served during a cocktail hour. Attendees will be able to bid on silent auction items donated by local businesses and outdoor gear manufacturers. The presentations will begin at 7.
TBP Coordinator Christian Beckwith is particularly pleased with the lineup. “It’s one of the strongest lineups of alpine climbers Jackson Hole has ever seen,” the founder of Alpinist Magazine and The Alpinist Film Festival said. “Given what we’re trying to do with the Teton Boulder Project, these three icons of alpinism will be a perfect opportunity to present the Teton Boulder Project to our community.”
The idea of a series of boulders to commemorate the Teton pioneers arose more than six years ago, when Beckwith and Jackson Town Councilman Greg Miles were bemoaning the lack of recognition for Teton climbing in Jackson Hole. They came up with the idea of a series of boulders scattered around the various parks, each one commemorating a different pioneer. With the help of Jackson Town Administrator Bob McLaurin, the project went before the Town of Jackson and received preliminary approval, only to stall out.
In March 2009, Beckwith traveled to Bozeman to go climbing with Anker. There, he discovered that Bozeman climbers, led by Jackson Hole Mountain Guide Whit Magro, had created two boulders in conjunction with Bozeman’s Parks and Recreation Department. Beckwith relayed the news to McLaurin and Miles, who drove to Bozeman for the boulders’ official dedication. When the pair saw the community interacting with the boulder, the Jackson project gained new momentum. The project consolidated further when Jackson climber and Exum guide Hans Johnstone suggested that instead of a series of separate boulders, the climbers should build a “klettern garden,” or climbing garden, with all the boulders concentrated in one place.
“The September event is another example of the organic nature of the Teton Boulder Project," said Miles. “It’s coming together in a way that unites the entire community.”
Anker said the Bozeman project has been well received in the community.
“These boulders offer a chance for experts and novices alike to hone their skills in a family-friendly setting,” Anker said. “More than climbing, the boulders offer a way for people to be introduced to the outdoors. The Teton Boulder Project will do the same thing.”
Tackle added that the historical element to the project makes it even more compelling.
"The Teton Boulder Project will serve as a great focal point for the Jackson Hole community, emphasizing the important role the Tetons have played in American mountaineering for more than 80 years,” he said.
TBP organizers hope to use the September 26, 2009, event to raise both funds and awareness for the project.
For more information, visit TetonBoulders.org.