Teton Rock Gym expands opportunities for kids and families to learn to climb

Funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, the Teton Rock Gym is welcoming more kids to learn climbing skills in the climbing gym. The grant funded an expansion of the kids area in the rock gym, and with it, the Teton Rock Gym has been able to offer a wide variety of programming aimed at young people and families. And now, with the space completed, the organization is getting innovative about getting kids and families excited about learning to climb.

“Despite Teton Valley’s enviable location, surrounded by spectacular mountain terrain, Teton Valley has a clear shortage of healthy, year-round recreational activities due to a lack of infrastructure and affordability,” said the Community Foundation when it announced the grant in mid-2019. “With a mission of fostering personal and community growth through the challenge of rock climbing, the Teton Rock Gym plays an important role in addressing the community need for affordable access to healthy, year-round activities. Teton Rock Gym offers an affordable and accessible way for all community members to experience the challenges and rewards of rock climbing in a safe and welcoming setting.”

Board member Astrid Warden agrees: “Since the gym opened, it has been like a second home for our son,” she said. “The opportunities and learnings he has gained from the gym go far beyond climbing. They have helped create an independent, conscientious, passionate, hard-working young man.”

From monthly free family climbing days to toddler-focused climbing sessions, from after-school opportunities for kids to a climbing team in collaboration with Teton School District 401, the Teton Rock Gym is making a wide variety of efforts to get kids learning to climb. The organization recognizes that climbing is a healthy and exciting activity for kids, and reinforces important life skills and characteristics like risk assessment, determination, and resilience.

In addition to the expanded kids’ area, the Teton Rock Gym just added new boulders, top ropes, and auto-belay routes for adult climbers as well.

More recently, a grant from the Teton Springs Foundation has allowed the Teton Rock Gym to purchase new equipment for the overall climbing space. “Thanks to a generous grant from the Teton Springs Foundation, we’re able to purchase new climbing holds, bolts, and t-nuts to make climbing, route setting, and coaching at the rock gym even better. We cannot wait for our new holds and hardware to arrive!” the organization celebrated in a comment in late January.

The organization is thrilled to continue providing challenging, engaging, and fun athletic and social opportunities to community members in Teton Valley, especially when so many other social and recreational outlets are closed due to the pandemic.

“The climbing gym immediately offered a sense of community in a new town,” observed Stacy Judge, member of the Teton Rock Gym. “It was and continues to be a perfect place to meet people with similar interests, with the benefit of being able to climb all year long.”