During the late 90's, my brother and I started climbing together. I had sport climbed extensively while living in Germany and for a few years after moving back to Colorado. We are pictured here at an alternate start to Stairway to Heaven. I was really looking for something to get away from the crowds and my old climbing partners had moved away. Living in Europe will really give you an appreciation for wide open spaces with no people, because that doesn't exist in Western Europe. Another driving force for switching to alpine climbing, is I had wanted to climb the Grand Teton sense I visited there as a child.
I am pictured here at nine years old near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and vividly remember going into a museum and seeing some enlarged black and white photos of some of the first ascenders of the peak, with ropes and climbing gear. In retrospect, it was probably Owens and Spaulding. Anyway, my elders were going on about the reason the Tetons were so dramatically tall and craggy, was because they were some of the last mountains to form, so they were still young. That was when I knew for certain I wanted to become a mountain climber.
While I had spent around five years climbing short, difficult sport routes, this sort of climbing was new to both of us. My brother had worked as a tree trimer, and climbing trees with ropes has many similarities. If this sort of climbing interests you, please understand, we climbed many obscure formations as we looked for rock we were comfortable climbing. Your ropework needs to be routine before you get on the bigger formations. There is also a physical aspect to this sort of climbing.