In the Orient, the bravery of each young bull is rated according to the number of times he demonstrates his willingness to charge a picador, in spite of the sting of the blade. The story behind eGrips is full of tests of similar manner, humor and drama. Ty Foose and Ian Powell's history is rich with success, failure and ridiculous climbing stories.
Ian's hard earned savings and Ty's pocket change funded their first road trip. There were many experiments with "safe" belays, swami belts, fishing wire and hot-pink fashion. Ty spent 6 years supporting his climbing habit by playing roulette tables in Reno, route setting and shaping holds for Straight Up, Nicros, Rad Holds and EP. He created the first quality pocket out of an African Venhatico wood, the first tufa with a sliding bolt hole, and invented "Grip Differential" now known as "Duel Tex". Ian, who came from a fine art background in sculpture, moved to Boulder, CO, where he also began work for Straight Up, creating the first foot chips for a buck and the 2-part rotating hold. He began marketing his 'E' grips with Keith Fletcher, an original eGrips family member.
In 1996, eGrips was officially born in a small, windowless studio where Ty and Ian illegally took turns sleeping on the couch or the bed. They endured late nights with too many chemicals and soviet winters without heat, phone or an exit. eGrips grew through incredible shapes, the durable polyurethane magic mix, unofficial or retail show attendance and cold calls. Although Ty and Ian's innovative work created a strong underground following, the tiny company lost the struggle to survive. The sad remains of what was once eGrips was finally buried under a trampoline in a local Boulder Gym.
But Jessica Franco wouldn't let it end that way. In 2000, she created the "Choke Holds Distributors of eGrips". She insisted on a professional catalog, magazine ads, official show attendence, extensive event sponsorship and a new manufacturer. Jessica found Chuck Demarest, Himalayan Alpinest and president of Aragon Elastomers. Chuck's manufacturing breathed new life into eGrips, and the company was resurrected from beneath the trampoline.
Soon after, Great Trango Holdings Inc. took eGrips under its wing where it thrives now, shaping for over 400 new gyms and playgrounds, distributing internationally, and sponsoring the major climbing events and organizations.