July 26, 2010

Full Circle

The late 1980's and the first year or two of the '90's brought the first bolt equipped sport routes to Eastern Idaho. One of the early hot spots for development was the Grand Wall in Teton Canyon; just across the border into Wyoming. A young and talented Jackson Hole local, Brents Hawks, equipped an outrageously steep line on the northwest end of the Grand Wall which he called Arms Deal. Completely opposite of the trad-daddy mentality of many "Teton" climbers, Arms Deal was the steepest and most powerful line in the area; perplexing many of the area's best climbers with its difficult gymnastic movement.

In the early summer of 1993, at the age of 18, Arms Deal was my first official 5.13 redpoint. I knew Brents from visiting his climbing gym in Jackson Hole called The Teton Rock Gym. He was always excited to see me drive all the way from Idaho Falls to Jackson just to climb in his gym! I knew of Arms Deal first from the 1991 Full Circle, A Sport Climbing Guide to Jackson Hole and Surrounding Area by Maxwell Yanoff, and then in a more tangible understanding of it from friend and mentor Chuck Odette.

A few weeks ago i thought it would be fun to revisit Arms Deal seventeen years later! Heather, Chad Alldredge and Riley Everett Rollins accompanied me today for a walk with nostalgia.

Here's some sports action of Arms Deal 5.13b

Chad working out the opening moves

Chad mid route

Riley fighting the crux

Me and the kneebar

smiling through the crux

Riley, Arms Deal, and the south fork of Teton Canyon

This route was a monumental part of my foundation as a climber. It was humbling and exciting to have that experience again today with my wife and some good friends. A full circle experience you might say. Just like what was done for me seventeen years ago, i was able to pass along the experience of this landmark route. I know Heather, Chad and Riley will be back; the addiction of sequencing and movement on this route was burning bright in their eyes as we headed for the car.