Local: Bethanie Hart

Meet a local
Photograph by Ryan Dorgan
Photograph by Ryan Dorgan

Bethanie Hart

Bethanie Hart, eighteen this July, has learned the art and science of outdoor adventure from her parents. Her mom, Shannon, teaches art at Jackson Hole Middle School. Her dad, Garrick, is a climbing guide for Exum Mountain Guides and teaches physics at Jackson Hole High School, where he runs the mountaineering club. It’s no surprise Bethanie is as comfortable conversing about climbing cams as she is color and “quantum locking.” (Don’t ask.) In 2015 Bethanie won a $1,000 art scholarship from the Ringholz Foundation for her painting. In 2013 she climbed ten Teton peaks in three days. She’s been hip-checking since fifth grade, playing ice hockey with the boys until Jackson had a girls’ team. While Bethanie plays defense, her twin sister, Addy, whom she describes as “a mirror—we are opposites but complement each other,” is the team’s goalie. When we interviewed Bethanie, she was still waiting to hear her options after high school graduation. Her first choice was to take a gap year, and spend it working on a service project.

Q: Are many of your friends considering a gap year?

A: No. College is the easier next stepping stone. It gets you the freedom without the crazy adult stuff. If I take a year off, I’ll have some of that crazy adult stuff to figure out.

Q: How old were you when you started climbing?

A: At three I’d sit at the base, tied in, just watching the scene and crying a lot.

Q: Do you actually remember that?

A: I definitely have an early memory of my brother [Madden, now fifteen] getting put in a haul bag and dad carrying him up a climb. I also remember rolling around the base of climbs and complaining that I wanted to go home.

Q: When did you stop complaining about climbing?

A: I don’t remember exactly, but when I was twelve, being an Exum guide was my big dream. When I was fourteen, I did the Grand Traverse with my dad.

Q: The Grand Traverse is no joke: ten peaks in one go.

A: I know. I was pretty wrecked at the end of it. My dad dragged me up the last mountain. I wanted to quit, but he was like, “There’s only this one left.” We did it over three days/two nights. Most people do it in two days, but I was fourteen, so that wasn’t going to happen.

Q: What is it about climbing that appeals to you?

A: I think Grand Teton [National Park] is one of the most magnificent places I’ve been ever. Climbing melds walking around the park’s canyons and being on its peaks. I do love the adrenaline and physical work that comes from climbing.

Q: Do other things make you feel the way nature does? 

A: Art—painting and drawing and journaling.

Q: What do you paint?

A: Last year it was abstract. But I quickly burnt out. Junior year I had the pressure of AP Portfolios. This year I’m just exploring and playing.

Q: What’s your style?

A: It’s like impressionistic, but very loose, with lots of line quality and very spontaneous. It is not confined.

Q: What’s the last thing you drew?

A: In my journal I was trying to work on my ears, so I drew like twenty ears in there.

Q: And how does hockey fit in?

A: Some of my favorite people in the world are on my team. Our first year, when I was in seventh grade, we lost every game but one, and that one we barely tied. Last year we got second [place] at state. To see improvement like that in that amount of time is cool.

Interview by Rebecca Huntington

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