Teton Valley Rock Gym

Outdoor adventure sports in the Tetons generally fall into one of two categories…but probably I should not begin a blog post about rock climbing by talking about any kind of falling, even if it is only the categorical kind!  Anyway, to get back to the point at hand, there are, as I was saying, those that go up, and those that go down.

At the Teton Rock Gym in the center of Downtown Driggs the focus is on activity of the going-up kind.

For a place such as the Valley which houses a substantial climbing community, an indoor rock gym is a great resource, and climbers, as well as parents of aspiring climbers, are pretty stoked about it.  The Teton Valley is also, I think, a great place to grow up, and the climbing gym hosts many young climbers from the age of 2 and up who want to do some kinesthetic learning.

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The gym is also a great place to learn about rope safety and other skills of safe mountaineering.  These safety skills are part of the program in private and group lessons, summer camps, and group climbing workshops which take place at the gym throughout the year.  As a staff member at the gym and as part of the local climbing community I am glad to see young climbers get experienced instruction in technique and safety.  If you come to the Gym to get a lesson, or just to climb during Open Gym time, you might see me!  I especially love interacting with guests about route setting.  It is great fun for me to see guests struggle and succeed with a route that I designed.  Our staff of route setters makes sure to change the holds frequently, keeping the experience fresh.

There are a few excellent Teton Valley outdoor climbing areas, including the Badger Creek boulders, Teton Canyon, and alpine routes on the high peaks.  For bouldering, which uses no ropes on short climbs of 5-25 feet high, foam pads are used to cushion falls, and the igneous blocks and boulders at Badger Creek as well as the limestone and granite boulders scattered through Teton Canyon provide some excellent “problems.”  Teton Canyon, as well as Darby Canyon, also sports some moderate and tough “sport” routes, which utilize ropes and “fixed” anchor points for the ropes.  “Trad” (for “traditional”) climbing, as it is called, does not rely on safety equipment that becomes permanently “fixed” to the rock face.  In designated Wilderness areas and also some climbing areas specifically denoted as such where “fixed” protection is not allowed, climbers ascend utilizing a great variety of specialized safety equipment and skills.  Some of the more technical alpine-style rock climbs in the Tetons are of this style.

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A bit further away, there is excellent sport climbing in the Kelly Canyon in Ririe, ID, sport climbing and bouldering near Pocatello, ID, and the world-class climbing destination of the City of Rocks in rural southern Idaho.  For Valley climbers wishing to tackle the large lines on the Grand Teton or in the City of Rocks, the Teton Valley Rock Gym provides the opportunity to do some excellent training.

The Rock Gym also provides a fun recreational space for vacationers looking to fill their evening with fun activity, for birthday parties, and for skiers who want something to do on dark winter evenings.  You don’t have to be a great climber or a great athlete to have fun indoor rock climbing!  The Gym is usually open in the afternoon/evening, updated hours and information can be found on their website, www.tetonrockgym.com.

By Guest Blogger – Zarrin Leff