After playing competitive ice hockey for nearly 20 years, Rob was introduced to rock climbing by local Cleveland sheet metal workers. After some top roping and first road trips to the New River Gorge, he was addicted to the problem solving, physical challenge and the climbing life style. Since then his passion has brought him around the world to New Zealand, Europe, Canada, and Mexico for traditional, sport and big wall free climbs. Currently, he is inspired by the big stone and enjoys the challenges of new routing.
Rob Pizem: A Look Back at 2012
When I look back to 2012 and think about my family, friends and climbing adventures, a few experiences stand out.
Late winter was when I managed to complete a four month long single pitch crack climb first ascent that I named, "The Frank Zappa Appreciation Society". The route damaged my two index fingers for nearly 6 months, due to the crux moves revolving around doing ring lock campus moves out a roof.
Shortly after that I taught crack climbing skills to fellow climbers and was auctioned off for the American Alpine Club at the Red Rock Rendezvous in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Over the summer, I spent a lot of time in Ohio with my family and attempted to be prepared for my first trip to the Bugaboos in Canada. Unfortunately, I ended up with a sinus infection during the trip after a long night pacing a friend who was running the Hardrock 100 Mile Race in southwestern Colorado. Once we landed on the glacier, I lost my balance due to the infection and lie in my tent puking and waiting out a two day snow storm in the middle of July. During the rest of the trip I managed to second a few of the climbs including the Becky-Chouinard, but spent most the time feeling crappy and apologizing to the rest of the guys.
It was also at that time that I began working on opening up a new free climb in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison with a friend from home. As with any kind of adventure in the Black, it took way to long and included many long days cleaning and establishing the line. At the end of an eighteen hour day in August, we finally sent Black Cloud 5.12- PG, a nearly eighteen hundred foot traditional climb deep in the park. It was like a black cloud had been lifted from our shoulders because of the many difficulties that we encountered during the climb.
In between all the traveling, I was able to establish a few shorter climbs locally, but it was during the fall where I really had some fun. I was asked to participate, teach and speak at a few events out west including one at Smith Rock, another at the City of Rocks and the last one in Yosemite National Park. Although the traveling wore me out and kept me away from my work as a high school science teacher and my family, it was a great experience to connect with and share stories with so many climbers from around the world.
The last two events that were life changers for me were the conception of my second child (due at the end of May/early June 2013) and the purchase of a TV. You may ask, why was buying a TV so monumental in my life and why would I add it to my year in review? Well, I had lived without one for about 15 years and never wanted to have one in my life again, but due to my wonderful wife's love of Notre Dame football and her patience of not having one as long as we had been together, I figured that it would be a good idea to add one to the house. It's not so bad :)
All in all, I really appreciate all that Arcteryx and my other sponsors due for me and I hope that I inspire you to get outside and to have your own great adventures. This next year, I look forward to my new child and many more rock new climbs in and around Colorado. Be sure to drop me a line on my blog, pizem.blogspot.com if you are passing through town and maybe we can get some pitches in!
Rob "piz" Pizem