How did you get into climbing Bartie?
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
Bart: I met Jim in the summer
of 1991, so 10 years.
FRB: What keeps you going?
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
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
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 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
FRB: Who makes the best crash
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
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
Bart: Breath, eat, shit, drink,
FRB: Where are some of your
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
FRB: Have you been to Poudre
Bart: I would live there if
they let me.
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
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
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,
FRB: The OSMP want to close
the Terrain because of all the social trails there, what do you think
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
Bart: You're welcome.