Friday, June 4, 2010
Girl Clothes in Jackson Hole, The Teton Bouldering Project inspires skirt wearing and fund raising
Tonight, I went out to the Performing Arts venue in Jackson Hole with my new friend, Bill Briggs, to see the movie 180 Degrees South.
I wasn't really sure what to expect, I didn't know what the movie was going to be about, just that Bill asked me to go, and that Yvon Chuinard would be introducing the film. That was good enough for me.
I decided to scrounge up some girl clothes, since I only brought ski gear and dirty jeans to Jackson. I headed over to the thrift store here to see if I could find a skirt and a nice pair of flip flops to wear to this shindig, but the store was closed.
Counting my money carefully, so far, its on'y cost me $27 to be in Jackson Hole for three days, I decided to head over to the Teton Mountaineering, since I hadn't been in yet, and I do like to visit the mountain shop in whatever town I'm bumming around in. (By he way, thanks, Nato for letting me sleep in your guest room, these are luxury diggs! It beats the heck out of sleeping in my Suby (although that's fun, too...))
I finally settled on my first ever Patagonia dress, comfortable, flattering, only $65. I ran around town trying to find a cheap pair of comfy heels to wear with my new girl clothes, a very tall order in Jackson, and finally, with about 20 minutes till the movie started, I found the perfect pair for about $30. It took some looking. I changed in the shoe store, wiped the hiking dirt off my legs with a paper towel while the shoe store girl laughed at me, put my hair in a clip I found at a souvenir shop for about $5 and and went headed on over to the event.
I wasn't sure how I was going to find Bill with the phones off, and I didn't know anyone else in town, but I figured, what the hell, the movie is bound to be good. It turns out I was overdressed, but I didn't really care, I so rarely put on a skirt and feel feminine that I enjoyed the hell out of it.
I found Bill almost immediately, and he brought me over to introduce me to some of his friends. I found myself standing in a small group of people having a conversation about how it was hard to climb when you are in your 70s, and so these guys are spending more time fly fishing. Arthritis in the fingers makes it painful to spend much time on rock. I suggested that they get on that new self healing soft fake ice inside, (I was KIDDING), and that of course is like suggesting that if you can't hike anymore you should go watch IMAX movies about wildflowers.
These guys need to be outside just like we all do, and leaving a part of your life that has been so essential for so long has to be painful. It was cool to hear that there is life after climbing, which they've found in fly-fishing and surfing.
It turns out I was talking with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, and a legendary climber, and the event organizer, Christian Beckwith, the erstwhile founder of Alpinist Magazine, who is now up to his eyeballs in all sorts of new ventures, including the Teton Boulder Project.
I asked Yvon about the film, and he told me that he and his friend Doug (Tompkins, founder of The North Face) had taken a trip to Chile in 1968 and filmed it, and this young guy Jeff had found the footage and wanted to reproduce the trip. Doug and Yvon ended up becoming a part of Jeff's journey, and the result was a really wonderful film. Yvon said he hadn't planned on getting so involved, and in the end, he found himself climbing on camera yet again.
It was a treat to chat with Yvon, I loved to hear his stories, and it gave me an idea about cataloging all these amazing off the cuff stories that I'm hearing from so many people, from Cal Cantrell, to Mike Hickey, to Weems, to Bill Briggs, to Pepi, to my own ski partners, Alisa, Angela, Kurt... we all have these stories of adventure. So there is this thing percolating in my mind... stay tuned...
Anyhow, it was a wonderful night, they raised a bunch of money for the Teton Boulder Project, which will be the largest outdoor artificial bouldering in North America here in Jackson Hole.
This is a truly revolutionary community project, it reminds me of a lot of projects like this that tried for years to get off the ground in Southern California, and its wonderful to see it coming to fruition here in Jackson, really a central home of the birth of American Alpinism.