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Rob Pizem

Biography / Gear

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

Follow Rob:

Alpha LT Jacket

Alpha SL Pant

I take these pieces everywhere. On my morning bicycle commutes to my teaching job, to my long death approaches to unclimbed big walls. This combo is what keeps me dry every time. The last time (which was just a week ago) that I needed the this rain gear was during a cloudburst in the slot canyons above Grand Junction, Colorado. I had never been in a flash flood before when the wall of water came at me and this August I had the fortunate or unfortunate experience. Needless to say, the combination of easy to put on and superior waterproof protection got everything but my feet dry when I finally made it back to the truck. What a day for new routing on the Colorado Plateau.

Dually Belay Parka

If you want to be warm in the winter and have enough room to keep everything inside your jacket, this is the one to have. I love the deep and warm hood and the durable and water shedding fabric that is used to construct the Dually. I thought that it was a bit much for what I needed, but it turns out that I can use this jacket for all cold weather endeavors, from icy cold football games in Cleveland, to long ice climbing belays, to big wall hanging belays in the dead of winter. My Dually is comfortable in all conditions.

Celeris Jacket

On my morning bicycle commutes to work, I have found that a lightweight wind blocking piece is perfect for keeping me from getting the chills and being totally frost bitten by the time that I arrive. The Celeris is that perfect lightweight jacket. I even use this thing while golfing and trail running. It's bright colors also allow me to be seen when I am on the road early in the morning.

Squamish Hoody

When you think that you might epic on that long hike or big wall route and you are not sure what clothing to bring along, the Squamish Hoody answers your calls. It packs into itself and can be hung on your harness or stuffed neatly in your climbing pack. Either way when the winds pick up and your getting cold, just slide this thing over your head and cinch up the hood and enjoy the warmth of your mothers arms. I love this Hoody.

Gamma LT Pant

I have said it before and I still believe it, the Gamma LT is the best climbing, hiking, big walling, bouldering, traveling pant that you can ever buy. I still have not figured out a way to wear these pants out. I have climbed hundreds of off width cracks, slide down rock, gone caving, and worn them days in a row on big walls and they still don't budge. These will be the last climbing pant that you ever buy. They breath, block the wind, and fit loosely enough to wear long johns underneath in the winter and I even wear them to ski in!

Spotter Pant

I used to wear a kacky pant everywhere that I wasn't climbing, now I wear the Spotter. They fit well, I can fit pens and pencils in them and not stab myself and they are thick enough to handle a lot of abuse. Plus the color selection makes them great for any occasion.

Tau Pullover

The design team at Arcteryx really messed up when they made this top because it is the all time perfect do everything and now wear out piece. This is my go to top when I don't know what to wear when going out to climb in the winter, spring and fall. The high collar and the deep zip allows it to breath and keep you warm every time. Combine it with the Squamish Hoody and you are ready for everything!

Bandit Shirt SS

The design team at Arcteryx really messed up when they made this top because it is the all time perfect do everything and now wear out piece. This is my go to top when I don't know what to wear when going out to climb in the winter, spring and fall. The high collar and the deep zip allows it to breath and keep you warm every time. Combine it with the Squamish Hoody and you are ready for everything!

RHO LTW Neck Gaitor

What is that, you might ask? Well it is the perfect piece to provide warmth on a cold and windy day. You can leave your heavy clothes at home and just wear the light and fast stuff if you have this gaitor. I find that when I get cold at a hanging belay or on the ground in the winter that by putting this woolen neck warmer on that I am perfect in just a few short minutes. This little guy fits in your pocket and is always ready to keep you warm and comfortable on those cooler days.


When the first generation R-320 came out, I thought to myself that there was no way that this harness would be comfortable and durable. But after crushing it for a few seasons now, this is my favorite harness. It fits well, I can hang forever without having my legs go numb and it's so light that I never really even feel it on my waist. Buy one and never worry about your harness again.


eah, it's big and yeah it's totally waterproof and yeah it's bombproof too! This pack can be used for backpacking, climbing and traveling and can be adjusted to be huge or small. The harness system breaks in nicely after you wear it for a while and the roll top lid keeps everything dry on those rainy trips into the wild. I just started seeing the light when it comes to waterproof backpacks and there is none brighter than the NAOS 85.

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