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Teton Boulder Park Restored to Full Potential

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On Monday, Aug. 30, TCC Stewardship Director Chris Owen and community member Russel Adams worked with Parks and Rec personnel to replace several hundred cross-threaded backer plates at The Teton Boulder Park—a project that had been sidelined since the Park’s development in 2010.

Spearheaded by the TCC, the effort was part of a six-month project to restore the Boulder Park to its full potential.

Construction of The Teton Boulder Park was completed by the manufacturer, Entre Prises (EP), in 2010. Since that time, hundreds of climbing hold backer plates—the plates inside the boulders that hold the climbing holds in place—had become cross-threaded, with bolts sheared off inside them that rendered them unusable.

As the majority of these backer plates were concentrated at the corners of the boulders, where holds are particularly important, they had increasingly compromised the boulders’ functionality and thus its value to the public.

In May, the Teton Climbers’ Coalition brought this issue to the attention of Parks and Recreation and offered to help with the backer-plate replacements.

Due to staff shortages, Parks and Rec was unable to perform the maintenance without help, so the TCC sent out a call for volunteers.

Community members Will Taggart, Amanda Moyer, John Reed, Hans Johnstone, Russell Adams and Mark Follis joined TCC board members Charlie Thomas and Chris Owen in offering their assistance.

Over the past few months, Taggart and Thomas met with Parks and Rec maintenance employee Cory Pearson at 6:30 a.m. on at least three occasions to begin replacing the backer plates.

On Monday, August 30, Owen and Adams worked with Pearson and an Entre Prises representative to replace the remaining cross-threaded plates—several hundred in total.

In addition to serving as the TCC’s Stewardship Director, Owen has overseen the route setting at the Boulder Park for the past three years. All the route setting at the Park is done by volunteers, with Owen providing the majority of the work.

Of the Aug. 30 effort, Owen said, “The stuck bolts had to be located and marked so a worker inside could grind off the fiberglass backs that hold the bolts in place. Then, new backer plates had to be aligned and epoxied into place.”

The work was hot and dirty, but the end result is a Boulder Park that has been returned to its full potential—and then some, as volunteers added backer plates to recessed nooks of the wall that didn’t have any to begin with.

“All of this will hopefully make setting routes more fun and allow more space on the boulder to be utilized,” said Owen.

Please join us in commending the volunteers for their assistance, and Chris Owen in particular for his help. Both Parks and Rec and the climbing community are in your debt.

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