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Archived Interview
Bart Strege

bart bart bart Red Chili link bart


FRB: How did you get into climbing Bartie?

Bart: I was working for a tree trimmer in Madison, Wisconsin. A guy I worked with was a NOLS instructor and asked if I wanted to go to Devil's Lake to have a 'mountaineering experience'. I said yes and the rest is history.

FRB: How long have you been climbing for?

Bart: I met Jim in the summer of 1991, so 10 years.

FRB: What keeps you going?

Bart: My true motivation didn't come until I had been climbing for several years. Then suddenly, just like flipping a switch, I could look at any hunk of stone and see climbing sequences even if I wasn't strong enough to climb them. For me the sky was the limit, all I had to do was get strong. Besides, no other sport has all the elements that climbing has. i.e. camping, hiking, adventure, risk, mental and physical challenge. All customized to the needs of the day. As well as the different types of climbing (trad, sport, bouldering, ice, trees, buildings, tall women).

FRB: Done any first ascents?

Bart: I have climbed 200-300 boulder problem first ascents spread all over the country, but only a handful of 3 or 4 star problems. Most stuff was obscure, short, strenuous, had a bad landing, or inspired only myself.

FRB: Where do you think has the most potential for new problems?

Bart: Camp Dick is good, RMNP for oxygen deprived head rushes. All along the Front Range.

FRB: Where do you usually climb at?

Bart: Most of my bouldering occurs in the Front Range. I would travel more but I 've been bad. Hell, Colorado has just about every type of rock for bouldering.

FRB: Who do you usually climb with?

Bart: Lately I've been climbing with Jason Beauseili, Ben Scott, John Dunn, Colin Lantz, Kevin Murphy, Adam Frederick, and I can't leave out Matt Samet. When I climb with Matt I have so much fun, my face hurts from laughing too much.

FRB: What's going on at Camp Dick?

Bart: Camp Dick is a special place. It is an oasis in a desert of regulations.

FRB: How many rocks are there?

Bart: CD (Camp Dick) has a lot of primo stone. A 4 mile long valley filled with white granite.

FRB: Are you sponsored by anyone?

Bart: Yes, I am sponsored by Red Chili and Wild Country.

FRB: How are Red Chili shoes ?

Bart: All I can say is that I put on my chilis when I want to pull tough.

FRB: Why Red Chili?

Bart: I had seen them at work on a route in Boulder Canyon once. I had asked the local rep about them and next thing I know they are offering me a shoe deal. How cool was that!

FRB: Who makes the best crash pads?

Bart: .The best pad is the one that saves my ass! In all seriousness, it is for sure Cordless. I must admit that I've seen some sweet homegrown KP (killer pad).

FRB: What is the best climbing chalk?

Bart: Dehydrated cottage cheese. I believe that if your a good golfer, then what kind of ball you hit doesn't matter much. It's the same with chalk.

FRB: What else do you do besides climb?

Bart: Breath, eat, shit, drink, chase women.

FRB: Where are some of your favorite areas?

Bart: I like all the local areas as the seasons change. Little Cottonwood is great, but Hueco is king! North Carolina is the future as soon as the place suffers from a catastrophic drought.

FRB: Favorite problems?

Bart: My favorite problems are any problems that I flash, be it V1 or V8. My favorite problem ever just happens to be in Eldorado Canyon. It is called Twisted Adolescence and it's steep, TALL, and damn burly.

FRB: Favorite climbing gym?

Bart: I like the BRC a lot.

FRB: Have you been to Poudre Canyon?

Bart: I would live there if they let me.

FRB: Have you been to Big Elk Meadows?

Bart: Big Elk is cool, but limited. Although the Double Trouble block is kick ass. My friend Jason has a secret area that will make the Big Elk a great place to go for sure.

FRB: Bouldering is very popular right now, where do you think it is going?

Bart: It's popularity isn't visible at Camp Dick where usage is down 50%! Bouldering is popular for a small group of very sick and demented individuals whose very existence depends on the ability to wander the hillsides without any apparent sense. Foolishly enough they carry giant foam pads filled with a ton of shit. Adventure and vision are popular qualities possessed by this small group; as well as an unyielding love of their sport. I think the future of bouldering is wherever these moss-eating rock-huggers take it. This undoubtedly means taller and harder problems of superior quality (the zenith of highball bouldering is yet to come, Bob). For 90% of the bouldering public popularity is directly related to the amount of courage in the user group. This is directly proportional to the strength of the mind of the individual. To sum it up I think that in general boulderers will have to get tougher and stronger to raise the level of popularity because nobody is putting up vast amounts of easy climbing accept in the Sierras.

FRB: Social trails have the biggest impact in the mountains, how can we minimize the damage done by social trails?

Bart: Climbers cause the damage, climbers have to be more responsible. We have to:
   1. Try to walk single file.
   2. Try to walk on a rock versus dirt.
   3. Try to notice where you are going so as not to step off the trail.
   4. Try to think when you step. Well placed footsteps that don't avalanche under you are good.
   5. Dogs help tear up the hillsides when they are free to run and fetch sticks. Leaving hyper dogs at home is a tough one with this issue that will prove itself as popularity increases.
   6. Fix bad areas that are noticeable. These areas will only get worse, authorities would rather close the area than building rock steps.
Climbers have to preserve the resource because no one is going to do it for us.
PS - The Sport Park is a little overboard.

FRB: Crash pads crush and destroy plants, how can we use pads responsibly so as to not destroy all plant life beneath the boulders?

Bart: Pads are good and bad. Good for ankles, bad for little flowers. Hopefully people will try to 'get a little closer' when setting down for a session. Seems people like to spread out like some sort of company picnic. Condense people, condense.

FRB: The OSMP want to close the Terrain because of all the social trails there, what do you think of that?

Bart: I'm not too upset, because the Front Range bouldering resource is endless. I hope it will make the average boulderer think more about what climbing is, instead of taking for granted the fragile environment we have around Boulder.

FRB: The OSMP says chalk is destructive to the environment, do you think that is true?

Bart: I thought it was good for hummingbirds because they have frail little bones, right? Didn't they do a study on this topic a few years ago? Didn't they decide that the erosive capabilities of chalk and dead skin are almost unmeasureable. Liquid chalk is destructive to my colon.

FRB: Why do you think there is so few women bouldering hard.

Bart: It is painful and scary. Hard boulder problems cause structural damage inside the body. Hard bouldering beats people up. Hell most guys don't like to get beat up let alone women. Most people will fail on a hard problem before they succeeded. Falling off a rock is not natural. It takes practice to control the mind not to think about it so one can climb. I also believe that few women have an aggressive go for it attitude, and that is the key to any hard climbing.

FRB: Well Bart, thanks for the interview.

Bart: You're welcome.

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