Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blogs are so lame

It's been over a year since i last updated this blog because I really don't care. I'm going to try to give you the cliff notes, no pun intended, on what me and the crazy ape crew has been up to.

New Years 2013/14:

We were daan saath, that's "down south" for all you non-Pittsburghers, and I can't even remember what we did.. I think we stayed near Horse Pens at a cheap hotel for $150 a week.. Yep that's right all you pussy camping climbers, if you're brave enough to stay near minorities you can have a comfy bed, tv, and a hot shower for less than $10 a day, split it with a few people.

Mike "How to Survive a Free Solo" Steighner managed a proud ascent of Crystal Tips, a heinous V8 slab with a ridiculous reach to the top. The first day I almost quickly dispatched my project for the trip, Slider V9, but had to wait till later in the week for the send. I made this video.  (Apparently Blogger won't let me embed a Vimeo video anymore?? Take it up with them if you don't like clicking on links. Fucking corporate bullshit.)

Spring 14:

Spring is probably the best season here in SWPA, some how we always get gipped on our fall season around here. Also half of fall season is hunting season, so that limits a lot. I definitely don't remember what we did in spring 2014 because we're always drunk, but good thing I made this video:

Summer 14:

Deep water soloing at Summersville Lake all god damn day looking boy! Well i wish, but we made a few trips. Mike got another better boat, aptly named "The Vision Quest". I did have a Phantom 2 drone to film DWS'n this summer, but a few month's prior the camera stopped working and I had to resell it to recoup any money.. Bummer. But with new drone technology advancing at an exponential rate according to Moore's Law, it wont be long until you can just throw an artificial dragon fly up in the air and it will follow you around autonomously for the entire day. "Did you get that on film bro?" "Yea my Dragon Fly has been up all day nigga!" "Siiiiiiick!, can't wait to watch that shit on our virtual reality headset later!"

This was the first year in my entire six year Summersville DWSing career that we got yelled at by the authorities. Years ago once we were approached by an Army Corps dude (those are the police there) and he said basically that as long as we enter the water facing the cliff we were alright; i.e. climbing as high as you want is fine, but don't top out and legit cliff jump. That's the mind set we've been operating in for years. But now this year we were sternly told that we may not even climb above a height of one's own.. Which really pisses me off, but even worse is that it's a misinterpretation of their own rules. It clearly states that one can not enter the water at a height above one's own, doesn't say anything about climbing higher. And since technically soloing Apollo Reed is as legal as can be, the fact that you're not allowed to get 10 feet above the water on a 5.5 makes my head explode... Suck a fucking dick authority, don't tell me how to live my life! Guess what - we also got piss drunk, smoked tons of weed, and drank hallucinogenic mushroom tea. Prove it. Still handled our business just fine. Back flips from a height about 10 times one's own mutha fuckaaaaaaa!

The true Captain of The Vision Quest!

Max Payne .12b

Mike on a probable project at Rat's Hole

Lots'a'potential right there...

Chopping Bloc, the hardest .12a in the world.

Some bitch doing some dumb shit.

Nathaniel showing us up as always and making it a bit further on the Rat's Hole project. 

Fall 14:

This past fall has honestly sucked. I hate to be one of those people that say, "We didn't even have a season!", but for real, we didn't have a season. It was one of the wettest falls on record. Almost everyday I would wake up in my Connellsville mansion, only 5 minutes from all the amazing climbing in SWPA, be jealous, and the driveway would be soaking wet. That's usually a good indicator that I'm going to be playing video games and beating off all day. Actually I've been doing a ton of work on the guide books, Coll's Cove is almost ready to print just waiting on the SWPACC to get the parking lot situation figured out. Ohiopyle will come out next, that will be sport and bouldering.

I have a ton of footage and we all managed some hardest sends, but i need to buy new video editing software and that has taken the back burner. If you like my videos and you're rich, all I need is like less than $100, e-mail me.

I got into project mode for a bit and sent the Upper Casparis test piece Silver Toungue V10. It's an overhanging compression line that requires a big span, just up my alley. I was also finally able to send Bhante Pema, now settled at V10.

Since Summer of 2013 actually my left shoulder has been bothering me. It's been up and down, but I was sure I had torn a labrem or rotator cuff. Turns out I talked to Mike's personal trainer, who is also a friend of ours from college, while we were all at Summersville this year and he said that what i probably had was just impingement. That just means the muscles were too fucking jacked to all fit into my body and was the source of several issues. So this November Aubree and I started training with him once a week. Let's just get this straight, I would never ever hire a personal trainer. Anything that could tell me I could just teach myself, right? Not this guy. Mike had me at, "Pete you know how you do research about aliens all day? Well Heinle does research about working out and nutrition all day." "I'm sold" I said. What he does basically is take in information from a bunch of different fields and combine them together in his own package. It mostly deals with bringing the body back to a state of structural perfection, i.e. sitting around on the couch all day isn't going to foster the correct posture and overtime your body will adapt to whatever you do the most. He was able to teach me a set of exercises and techniques that allowed my shoulder to get back into the correct position. Then you can build strength without getting injured. I won't go into detail of what I do because it's Crazy Ape's performance edge. As far as I know not many, if any, professional climbers have access to a trainer with this kind of knowledge. His name is Justin Heinle, this is his Facebook page:  It's in his parent's garage so you know it's legit.

New Years 2014/15:

Just got back from daan saath last night, which is one of the reasons I'm psyched enough to do this blog right now. An entire week was spent just before New Years camping and climbing at Rocktown in Georgia. Aubree, myself, Mike, and Nikki were representing. Along for the ride was Josh and Torri, newly added official members of Crazy Ape; also our Yoda, Bob Rentka, was able to make it down for a couple days. Nathaniel is everywhere and nowhere so he showed up sometimes. Newest member Jess and her boyfriend were also there getting thrown into the deep end. We didn't escape the week without some drunken drama, but it was fun regardless of the mostly shitty weather.

My first couple days were the best, quickly dispatching Sherman Photo V7, a tough one for me definitely my anti-style. Then Brown Hole V8 in a few goes and The Tao V8 in a few more. Then the weather took a turn for the worse and we mostly hunkered down at camp for a few days. We headed up to Chattanooga and got a hotel on New Years Eve, and in typical Grinch fashion didn't even do that much partying. I don't need it to be Christmas to give people love and presents, and I don't need a holiday to tell me when to drink...

New Years Day was spent at LRC and we had perfect conditions. Mike was agonizingly close on New Sensations, a crazy V10 party trick back by Biggy Shorty. We got to hang out with a bunch of really cool people, get ready for the name drops, Greg Kurzner, some 17 year old Sam kid who did The Sheild that day, Tyler Wilcut, Rami Annab, Megan Martin, and Jimmy Webb were all sessioning with us on New Sensations. Some of them took a shot of our Yukon Jack, some did not, I'll never tell. Then we ended the day on the golf course, which was closed for golfing that day so don't you dare send me a comment about how I'm not supposed to be out there. It was instant karmic payback however when our fledgling Jess fell from a "height less than one's own" and literally broke her ankle. The Tibia broke clean just before the ankle ligaments; imagine the ball on the outside of your ankle split in half. Luckily this is actually a good thing, because it will heal much faster than a ligament tear.  We carried her out and let her boyfriend do all the rest because there was still climbing to be had. Mike and I tried Jimmy Webb's Palm Beach V9, but were unable to piece it together.

Aubree and I stayed for several more days after everyone else had to go home, and got three more days of really good conditions. However we were too beat to get anything epic done. I did get to a high point on Space V8 which has been a line that I hop on at least once a year. Then I surprised myself on how good I did on Dragon Slayer, a crimpy little V11, but no cigar.. I hate cigars.

Since we kind of feel like we got our dicks kicked in this trip, now that we're home it's time to get into training mode. We've been being too lax on our "Heinle training", and like any exercise it requires you to do the work to get results. I'm not drinking ANY alcohol for at least a month, and since we just got a juicer for that baby alien hybrid's birthday I'll be drinking some nasty green shit for breakfast everyday. Follow me on Instagram @petebaertsch or come back next year for another update, ya fucks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

So Long, Good Season

Its over. Haven't climbed in like a week! Snow falls almost everyday now, and it's hard to get sendable conditions. I don't think climbers have an accurate conception of time during the fall season, because it's always gone too soon. Today I finally hung up a hang board and did the first non-climbing work out in 2 months.. Yuk.

So I did manage to do some work around the SWPA region since i've been here. Basically the first day after I moved in I sent my project for the fall, Giant Slalom a v10 at a secretz area put up by Matt Bosley like 10 years ago. As far as we know it's the second ascent. I got it on video, and a shit ton of other stuff. Some other notable sends for me this fall were Shadows in the Eye v9, Big Long Dickens v9, Pray like a Mantis v9, and Enterprise v8. Oh yea, the crazy apes went on a quick trip to Chatt town and I was psyched to put a couple things down without having any real goals - Pray like a Mantis at Zahnd went down second go, I barely missed the flash with a heel slip at the very last move. Felt very good. Got on alot of stuff that was probably too hard for me, but that is just project prepping for the next trip which will be over new years.

Other than that just been chillin. Showing people around SWPA is always fun, and lately there has been alot of strong and motivated climbers swinging through. The conception of what's here is going up, along with the standard of difficulty. I'm predicting now that Pittsburgh will be considered the next Chattanooga, and Chattanooga is basically already considered the next Boulder. There is a new climbing gym going up in Pittsburgh soon, and shit is going to get crAzy.

Big Long Dickens starts all the way down right, then traverses right at the lip to a harder topout just right of the tree. This pic is from when i was working on it this summer, it was not good conditions to say the least.

This is the amazing Enterprise at Sandy Flats. It's a slopey, technical, powerful masterpiece. 

Giant Slalom. Burley. From there you slap around and top out at the center of this shot, however if you would topout at it's logical purity on the right it's still a project, and it's awesome.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preparing for Paradise

It has finally happened! The relocation to Connellsville, PA is officially in progress. All the amazing climbing in SWPA is only minutes away; Breakneck is literally within walking distance, Casparis is right down the road, and Coll's is a ten minute drive. Not to mention the wealth of development to be had in the Donegal area only 20 minutes to the east. Shit is about to get crazy!! Hopefully these pics don't make you too jealous.. and to those who judge me for living in a trailer - I say - It's got an 8 foot deep in ground pool, a fireplace, a soon-to-be built training wall in the garage, high speed internet, and more high-tech electronics then your granny can shake a stick at... so suck it.

I move in later this month, and I wish I could just go into a hibernation until then. Hopefully the pool will still be warm enough to enjoy. And to all you couch surfers out there, I have 2 guest rooms (1 with 2 bunk beds) and two huge couches. Only problem is you'll be too hungover to climb anything.

Now for the bad news about this situation: The original property I was looking at was 13 acres directly across the road from Coll's Cove, and I had high hopes of turning it into the best (and only) SWPA climber campground. It would have solved the parking situation there, and even had some boulders on it. But the stupid old hicks decided not to sell it at the last minute because their pockets are currently full of natural gas money. The trailer was really shitty anyway. I bet in a couple years they will be desperate for money again and we'll pick up that property for like 30 grand.

Stay tuned for some climbing updates - This weekend is supposed to be 60 degrees, and October is just around the corner! but, ya know, who gives a shit..

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In the Deep End

With a nagging pulley injury over the past few months, climbing progress has slowed down a bit.. I've been getting out only like once a week, and mostly just hanging out. It's given me plenty of time (as if I don't already have enough of that..) to direct my interests elsewhere, and I'll get into that later.

Lets see; so early this spring I didn't send Bhante... Sometimes for me it seems like trying something really hard is a gamble between success and injury. I didn't win this time. Every try was just raping my left ring finger pulleys, and during that last try sometime in march or april, I had a blow off that resulted in a definite tweak. Since then I've done quite alot, but nothing very note worthy. We've been developing some new areas, all in the local SWPA area, and they are pretty good. It's just a matter of time before the climbing in this area becomes as popular as places like Chattanooga or Boone, and while we are helping to speed up this transition, we are also enjoying the process of development. Most of these "new areas" have seen climbers for years, but very few climbs over the V5 level have been established in the past so to us it can seem almost like an untapped area. There is so much potential for really really hard and classic lines all over this region, it just needs to be noticed by some really really hard climbers.

This is a gem at an area we call Lower Casparis currently dubbed "The Candlestick" project.

Vid from the last few months. Much much more was sent but not filmed.

SWPA Sampler from Crazy Ape Productions on Vimeo.

Then last month we spent a few days at the New.. And when I say that, I mean we didn't actually climb at the "New" at all, which seems to be as per usual. The first day we got in late and spent the late afternoon at Cotton Top, that's the only New action we got. I did Psycho Wrangler .12a - to my surprise- first go (been on it last year once). I guess you really can overcompensate for endurance with strength! Then Aubree, Mike, Nikki, and myself stayed at the new AAC campground, which was awesome. It is still completely free and unregulated with tent platforms, picnic tables, porta-potties, and best of all free wood. We may have got a little rowdy, but hey it's in our nature.. And that nature is in our Yukon Jack bottles.. Some other people we were with got too freaked out by us, and decided to do their own thing the next day as we sluggishly proceeded with our plans to check out the South Side Meadow crags for the first time. No one told us we weren't supposed to drive across the first bridge, until we had already done it more than once.. So I guess no harm no foul. We checked it out on foot after we got the news and lets just say thank god. For those of you who are not familiar with said bridge - it's an old bridge made of wood that is going to fall down, so take the road to the right and go across the waterfall - that is all you need to know. AnywaYsS, south side meadow is pretty awesome. My only goal really was to build some endurance, but I came pretty close to sending the main attraction there which is Made In The Shade .12d. Just didn't have enough for the final billboard crux, but there was only a few v3 moves from there so it should definitely go down on a return trip with a bit more endurance. On the trail up to that climb, there was a boulder arete off to the right that looked just too good to resist. Upon talking to some other climbers at the cliff, they told us it was a, "v7 but it would probably be a v9 today because it was so hot HahaAhaa (elitist laugh)"; and in that statement my desire to send the problem was born. It didn't take us very long, Mike did it second try I think. Don't tell me it's too hot to boulder when it's only like 60 degrees outside, get a grip. Temperature snobs.. It's people like that who complain that their season was too short, but as soon as it's below 40 degrees they say it's too cold. Don't get me wrong, i'm as miserable as the next guy when it's above 85 everyday, but 60 still has enough friction to get most anything done. 

Me just below the beautiful crux of Made in the Shade

After two days at the Meadow and camping for free at the amazing site down there by the river, we decided to ball out and get a hotel with a hot tub. We went up to summersville, but the only hotel that had a hot tub, had a broken hot tub.. So they gave us a room with a Jacuzzi tub and we again got rowdy. Good thing the hotel was going out of business and there was no one there. Next day we went to Summersville, which is the region here where I have spent most my time. I was able to tick off All The Way Baby .12b and Psycho Babble .12a, both second go. It was nice to get a little psyched back on route climbing, and I can see that I could do much much harder things with a little endurance. Next weekend we will be returning to Summersville with a boat, so that's when the fun will really start. People think deep water soloing is illegal there, but I've done it for the last 4 years and all they do is smile and wave.

Okay, now for the "deep end". During the last maybe 6 months, I've been doing a lot of research into some topics that may seem crazy to most people.. All i'm going to say is - Aliens are real. Spirits are real. Every thing is made from an infinite spectrum of light and sound, and that light comes from (for lack of a better word) god. There I said it. The newest science is heading this way and it all makes sense, so better get on board. Between the coming technology singularity and the idea of absolute free clean energy, shit is going to get real crazy in the next couple decades, no matter what your beliefs. I only say these things to encourage people to do their own research through channels that aren't controlled by some government interest.. And when I say channels, I mean check this out:

This is just the tip of the iceberg from this guy. Real or fake, it's pretty crazy! Keep note that he does not stumble even one time over any word or concept, and what he's saying is going right along with the newest science and oldest stories.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Trouble in Paradise

So we finally did it. We got Coll's Cove shut down. Well, temporarily.. Hopefully.. See, parking at Colls is a tricky situation. It's an entrance to a gas line access road that lies on private property. We hike this gas line road back to the State Game Lands. Well someone finally fucked it up by improperly parking so a gas line vehicle could not get through. It is the responsibility of the land owner to keep this right of way open to all gas line traffic, therefore he has disallowed parking at this location. However, he is willing to build lot off to the side if we pay for the gravel and kiosk. The tentative plan when the lot is complete is to have everyone sign a  release of liability waiver and "donate" $5 per car... So fear not fellow climbers, we're fixing the problem. It might be a month or two until you can go to Coll's again, but hey you never heard about the place until we told you so shut up. Myself and a few others in my group have permission to park in the land owners personal driveway, if you are desperate to go to coll's just get a hold of me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why Rock Climbing is like Dragonball Z

Here you are. Little old level 1 normal Goku. If you've never seen the show before, Goku is like the Chris Sharma of intergalactic super-being combat. Just as a disclaimer - I'm not some super fan or anything.. I've only seen few episodes, but i've always thought the concept was interesting. Flying aliens that can control energy with their bare hands? Comon you know you thought it was cool when you were 12. Too bad it was ruined with too much anime weirdness. Anyway, here you are, you just got to your project. It looks like you're in South Africa or somethin.. Threw the crash pads down, maybe your hair is all crazy cause you just took your hat off. You start eyein up your proj and grimace a little bit because you know it's going to be hard.

After a couple failed attempts, you start to get a little fired up. You realize you need to bring on the power to get this sucker done. Time to go Super Saiyan.
Super Saiyan 1

Super Saiyan 2! Not much different than 1...

You make it further up the problem this time, but it's still not enough! Uh oh, you might not do this thing today.. It's now or never, you think, and you start to get pissed. Time to take the shirt off and get mean. Super Saiyan 2 is the next level of try hard. This is as far as most climbers can go and it's plenty of power to get some things done.

Once again you start off on your project. Every move is flowing, your feet are precise, and you feel strong. This could be the time! You get through the crux! Only a few more easy moves guard the top, but you've never done them before... Oh no!! You miss a hold and fall hard. This is when the F-bombs start comin out and you instantly transform into Super Saiyan 3!
SS3 - Hair grows and you get even more jacked.
At this level, you are filled with rage. Sometimes the anger can add the power needed to send, but not this time. You just fell off the crux again... If you are a weaker man, this is where you pack it up and move on. The anger has got the better of you, and you feel too spent to try anymore. However if you are able to overcome the anger and retain the power, you will transcend to Super Saiyan 4!

SS4 - You have summoned your spirit animal.. and you got a tail now!
Look at you now, strong yet focused and calm. Check out that barrier you just broke through! Confidence is high because you know you can do it. The climbing feels like a dream. Every move is effortless because you are 100% in the zone. You pass the crux without really even thinking about it and before you can realize what just happened you are topping out!

Check you out sport! You doin FA's on the mooooon! Now, once you've been to this level, you learn how to get there more quickly. The elite climbers today are in that zone 90% of the time. However just like Chris Sharma, Goku can't always defeat every enemy... 

Vegeta just went Super Saiyan 5! Apparently it's just SS4 with more anger.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Mad at Mother Nature

Not too much going on for me the last few weeks. The weather in SWPA is shitty this time of year. Did you know that Pittsburgh has only 2 less days of rain per year then Seattle, WA? Those who know me well know that I'm not above getting mad at inanimate objects, and mother nature is no exception.. Bitch is pissin me off! Picking which day to go out climbing is a science. You gotta look at the 10 day everyday, because lord knows it changes quick. Monday Tuesday Wednesday snow and 25. Thursday and Friday have a high of 48 and sunny! But wait, how much did it snow?.. Because you can bet that if any remains on the rock, that everything will be wet. And don't bother going out on that crazy 60 degree day in January because the rock will be sweating more than a DPM hater talking to a girl.

Sometimes it's easy to predict when Coll's will be dry, but it's also easy to get blinded by the desire to climb. Even though I knew it wasn't going to be good today, I went out anyway. It snowed all weekend and today went all the way up to 48- what the fuck was I thinking! There is some things that always stay dry at Coll's, but my focus has been narrowed on a recent ex-project. The project formerly known at Little Black has falllen to our very own former pro Joel Brady! It stands to be one of the best lines at The Cove, and is the first established V11. Check out the vid below. The climb is now called Bhante Pema after a budhist monk, specifically after a certain someone's inflection when they talk about said monk. Correctly it's pronounced Ban-tey Pem-a, but it's more funny when said with a Pittsburgh accent. After working on the climb for only a few days, Joel made it look easy, but not without a heartbreaking fall off the very top! Apparently it's harder than it looks up there.

I've been trying Bhante from the stand when it was just a project; maybe 6 days over the last 2 year. Last spring it actually tweaked my left ring finger pully quite bad so I had to lay off. It was always envisioned to go from a lower start, but I didn't have the spark of possibility until Joel starting trying it. Since it's been established I've been trying it from the logical lower start, and I have made a ton of progress. I'm not gonna get all beta crazy on ya, but the crux is in the first few moves, and once you link into the stand it's v8/9. Last week I made it from the low start, through the stand, and fell at the last V7ish move to the good seam... PSYCHED! It is definitely going down. After Bhante, there is only 2 other established double digit climbs for me to second ascent - Mick Jagger by Rob D'anastasio and No Kill, No Thrill by Nathaniel Walker.

Here is the process at Coll's - We show bad ass people amazing projects because we're not strong enough to do them. They do them. We get really psyched and end up doing these climbs that we would have otherwise thought impossible. - This is why I don't get peoples' obsession with First Ascents.. I think most people have a misconception of first ascents, placing too much value on the glory.The "recognition" is not important, the satisfaction lies in the creation of a new line. IMO, it doesn't matter who did it first, but that it was done. I don't care if i'm first, second, or 100th, all I care is that the climb exists and I just climbed it. I would never keep my projects a secret, climbers who do that are too worried about the glory and most likely ego crazy. If done with the right motivation, a first ascent can give you the same feeling as donating to a charity. It's a way of giving back to the climbing community through growth. I have done the first or second ascent of just about every hard climb at Coll's Cove, but I don't want you to remember my name. All I want for you to remember is the climbs. I can understand placing more value on who when you're talking about climbs on the cutting edge of difficulty, but when you're doing FAs of moderates all that matters is what... 

...because lets face it, who gives a shit.

Colls Cove: the next Coopers Rock from Crazy Ape Productions on Vimeo.

Yea I said it.. Coll's is the next Coopers. Just go there if you don't believe me!