Why I Climb…

That this year has allowed me to reflect on my climbing and why I climb. As we get older and our focus/drive may change, I think that we all need to constantly try to understand why we like or dislike the activities that we participate in or choose to avoid like the plague. This is so that I can always be motivated and so I can always be in the best state of mind to accomplish what I want to accomplish and what needs to be accomplished.

Here are a few reason why I climb:

  • I love being outside away from the city (really it is the most important thing)
  • I love mental problem solving
  • I love physical problem solving
  • I love to try hard
  • I love to overcome my fears
  • I love to travel to new places
  • I love to have to find absolute focus

These factors do not influence why I climb:

  • Sponsors
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Magazine/Book/Online Write-ups

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Shelf Road Craggin Classic by the American Alpine Club

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Great weather, camping, people and venue to host the first AAC Craggin Classic in Colorado. J-star and Mark Anderson showed some incredible photography highlighting their latest climbs and everyone brought a positive psyche to the event. Tons of amazing clinics kept everyone busy on Saturday and led into the service project and more climbing on Sunday.

Thanks to CAMP for bringing me out to teach a clinic and to my other sponsors for supporting my climbing.

Wow and Thanks!

The last few months I have been honored and thankful.

I have been featured in Climbing Magazine, Rock and Ice Magazine(online) and have had numerous photos and write ups in issue after issue within the climbing media.

I can honestly say that I never had plans for something like this to occur. I just love to go climbing and share those experiences with others. It is crazy how doing what you love can transition into so many opportunities.

I am heading out shortly to join Erik Weihenmayer on his quest to climb a bigwall in northern Italy and again I am honored and humbled by the chance to participate in such a huge undertaking. I have always wanted to help others achieve their goals and this time I get to live it with them! Most other times I have supported athletes it has been through a training program, but this time I will be along for the ride to experience the highs and lows and provide the needed encouragement that we all sometimes need. Keep checking for updates in a couple weeks as to how it all turned out! Until then, get outside and have an adventure!

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Summer Recap

I was fortunate to have two mini climbing trips squeezed into my brief summer holiday. My school year in Grand Junction just keeps getting shorter and shorter every year. Soon I bet we will be working year round which will change things up a bit I am sure. But anyway I first headed to the New River Gorge to play on the rocks that I began climbing on over 20 years ago. Needless to say, I was very excited.

My climbing and training partner and one of my best friends Ben joined me for the trip. One week and the goal was to just climb 3-5 star routes first go. That means we wanted to onsight as many different routes that we could each day. It was extremely challenging to do that because neither of us had been climbing too much at that time and we certainly didn’t know the ebb and flow of the sandstone features of the New. Many of the routes that we chose were established by the two most prolific first ascensionists of the New River Gorge. Doug Reed and Porter Jared. I remember reading their names in the guidebook when I was just learning to climb and wondered what it would be like to establish a new rock climb. Now over twenty years later I had the chance to try many of their test pieces and truly enjoy their hard work!

We arrived in the rain and I was not even phased. I new there was overhung terrain with classic routes to try so we immediately went there the day that we stepped off the plane in Charleston, WV. As the rain poured down, we climbed pitch after pitch and enjoyed finding a painted turtle at the base of the wall. We also heard one of the loudest thunder from the storm overhead. The rest of the week was filled with a chance of rain on partly cloudy days. High heat and high psyched destroyed my fingertips so I had to do my best to try classic climbs that didn’t have tiny grips. Ben and I had a great time overcoming the sun, rain, finger pain (from worn out skin) and the complex sequences of the New River Gorge.

Coming back to hang with the locals after each day on the rocks was always fun and even depressing at times. Its always fun getting to know new people but hearing about all the other amazing routes that we should try in the Gorge just make me sick to my stomach. I just wanted to try them all and eventually send them and the fact that I was there in the middle of summer for just 7 days made me bummed out. Needless to say when I woke up each next morning, I knew that it was my chance to tick some a few more of the classics off the enormous list. Anyway, the list is still long and I learned a lot about onsighting when I was tired.

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This photo isn’t from the trip cause I can’t to locate them. I think that when I had to return my laptop, I lost the trip photos. Bummed.

Why Do I Choose CAMP Products?

I have been a CAMP athlete for over TEN years now and in that time I have never thought about leaving. Why?

  1. Because in that time I have become a part of the family. I am not just saying that, because when you learn how its been run by the same family for over 125 years and get to know the owners personally and get to know the designers personally, you become attached to their passion for the product and the brand.
  2. Because I don’t like to carry more than I have to. CAMP products from harnesses to carabiners are the lightest and easiest to use in the world. Whether I am bigwalling or sport climbing, I know that I don’t have to carry extra weight. My personal favorites are the photon wires. These carabiners are easy to clip and plenty big for sport draws, trad racks and even work wonderfully in the cold! The harness system that prevents twisting of the belay carabiner is a simple but perfect way to solve the twisting problems during the belay process.  http://vimeo.com/59671003
  3. Loyalty. Simply put, they want to support me and my climbing and teaching as much as I want to support them with spreading the word about their great products. It is a situation where I don’t just use the equipment but where I believe in it. I will always be loyal to CAMP.
  4. Because with age comes wisdom and a desire to be the best. At 125 years old and supporting it’s small mountain community in Premana, Italy CAMP wants nothing more than to make its family proud of its product. If you ever get a chance to visit the HQ, it will change how you think about climbing companies.

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CAMP, made for the big mountains, the small mountains and everything in between!

Training Poll

 

The reason that I ask this question is that it has always made me wonder why some people are at the gym. Some folks have climbed for 20 years and have never improved, some folks attend regularly but never really climb, while others are getting after it all the time.

I can say that for me the gym is a place where I work and train. I use it specifically to address my weaknesses and to develop a high level of fitness. It is hard to just go do some routes without a particular focus, it is hard to boulder a couple problems with no particular reason. The joy that I get is when I am outside and climbing and realize that my indoor time has allowed me to reach my personal potential outside. I analyze where I need work while outside and then focus on those areas while inside. For me the gym is best described as a tool and I would rather not be there unless I am able to do that.

For others though the social part of the gym is the reason to go. To see who is there and talk to whomever is climbing next to you. Climbing is certainly a social beast, but I head to less populated areas because I am not looking for that all the time.

What are your thoughts?

No matter what the reason, I am glad that you are climbing and having fun with it!

Rob Pizem,  Zion NP, UT