Spring Break

I still have bought a camera so I apologize for the lack of photos.But I have been busy. I am coaching my sons little league soccer team. It is quite fun to watch them learn the many parts of being on a team and even how to play.

Now I am on spring break and working in Zion on another new big wall route. We were planning on hiking to the top to speed up the work but once we checked out the available possibilities, we began working the new route ground up. We were unprepared since we thought that we would just rappel the soon to be route. I had no climbing shoes, chalk or even a lead line. I just had static lines and a light rack. I was nervous heading up into the unknown with a light rack and no climbing shoes. My goal was to move the static lines up the wall as far as I could in one day, since the weather was looking bad in another day or two.

The climb was up a dihedral that climbed vertically and then out a roof. The next pitch did the same and the following pitches continued with this pattern. It was exciting to move slowly up the wall, sometimes aiding and sometimes freeing sections that suited my equipment. On the last lead I was pulling a roof just above my belay when my cam popped from its suspect placement. Mike, my partner for this adventure was able to catch me and keep me from rolling off the ledge to what could have been a big and damaging fall. I landed flat on my back, the cam popped me in the eye and face and somehow I ended up unharmed other than a small scrape on my cheek. I later made the roof move with ok gear and headed up the wild chimney,through the stemming out a roof. I look forward to tomorrow when I attempt to complete the large roof that the next pitch begins with.

We are going hard since we just have three days to work on this new route. I am not sure when I will be back to complete it so I will get as much done as possible in the few hours that I have of good weather.

Get outside and have your own adventure!




I thought that I was busy before.

My normal goal that continues on through everyday of my life is to trim down my obligations.

This year it is getting difficult. I recently picked up a coaching position (for my sons youth soccer team). Add that to my number one priority, my family and then all the secondary ones: my teaching job, running the outdoor program at my school, teaching and training people at the Grand Valley Climbing Gym, running a remote training side job and lastly my passion for climbing and new routing. I pretty much have no time left for anything!

It seems like all that I do is plan out daily events rather than live a little more loosely.

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That being said, my boys will turn 4 and 6 this summer, I will turn 41 and my wife will remain ageless, young and beautiful. I look forward to teaching in Canada this summer for Arcteryx, new routing in Colorado and Utah, camping with my sons, visiting family and maybe even sneak in a trip to Italy to climb on the Marmolada. If all goes well each day will be full of challenges that obstacles and not walls.

I just have to keep positive and keep putting one foot in front of the other.


Progress with My High School At Risk Learners


We have been getting a lot of press from the local TV stations and the newspaper about our work with at risk learners. It feels great to be able to make such a positive impact on our future. Not every one catches on at the same rate but they all get it together in the end with our staff’s unending perseverance and guidance.

Moral of the story, when someone is down and out, they probably need a hand, so lend one and keep it extended until they grab hold and get back on their feet.

piz : )

GoFundMe for R-5 High School (I teach and pour my heart out here)

Here is the scoop. I have been teaching high school science for 15 years. My current school is probably the best alternative learning environment for students aged 16-21.


We are currently developing/building a real garden and greenhouse on our school property and we have exhausted our local fundraising. Please take a  moment and give a little to the education of the students that were not successful at the traditional public high schools, that have been abused physically and/or mentally over the years, that struggle with family, places to sleep, drug addiction, learning and sometimes, the law.


When I say that we are doing this I really mean it. Our learners are really doing this garden from start to finish. The other teachers and myself are just guiding their infinite energy into the real world where they can be proud of their learning and work effort.

  1. They have worked the soil (rock removal, raking digging, leveling.)
  2. They have designed and built a retaining wall. (leveling and moving 80 pound blocks)
  3. Moved 100’s of cubic yards of leaves as compost by wheel barrow and tarps.
  4. Designed and built and taken ownership of our school compost system.
  5. Chosen and built the greenhouse.
  6. Assisted in the design of the irrigation system.
  7. Spread 16 cubic yards of  a gravel driveway.
  8. Designed and are building a seed incubation heating system for the greenhouse.
  9. Designed and are building the solar power system to heat and cool the greenhouse.
  10. Chosen the produce and flowers that will be grown at our school based on growing season and what is popular to consumers.


3 Hard Days Equals…

After three hard days establishing my new 1200 foot line I have been able to complete, equipping, cleaning and path finding the route.

Day 1 – Curtis and I managed to fix lines from the top of the wall during a 8 hour rain storm after climbing a mountaineers route to the top.

Day – 2 Jason and I managed to clean and bolt the anchors in a blizzard after post holing up a steep gully. Also, the fixed lines were moved at the start to follow a cleaner and more fun 300 foot section.

Day -3  Matt and I managed to move the ropes, clean and bolt the bottom third of the route in an icy cold wind.

Day – 4 I hope to climb and wire brush any sections of the route that are dirty with lichen and work all the moves or free all the pitches.

I will be honest, when I work on establishing new routes, I normally don’t work n foul weather. Not because I don’t want to but because sandstone is scary and unsafe in the rain. This new line is on granite which allows me and my partners to get up on the wall safely (all things considered).

Ultimately, it comes down to answering the question of how can I use all of my time that I am not at work efficiently when I want to include my family, friends, duties and passion. At this point, working on routes in crappy conditions is the way.




So two Thursdays ago, my wallet and camera were stolen from my car in my driveway. Lame. I just got my new credit card and ID today. No camera for a while cause the last one I had was really nice and I do not have the extra cash to spend on replacing it.

That is why I am without photos of my progress on my new bigwall route. You can always check my Instagram for more current updates. rob_pizem  anyway back to our story. I moved almost 4 cubic yards of gravel this morning. I should not have been so motivated because yesterday I was on the wall again with Jason Nelson for a long exhausting day of hiking and preparing the new climb.

We hiked up to the base of the wall and avoided getting rained on.BUT the second we put on our harnesses and were ready to jug the 1000ft to where I wanted to begin working, the rain began to fall. We donned our rain gear and decided that hiking up a nearby gully would save us energy since we each had heavy loads to jug with. That turned out to be a BIG mistake. The gully was not close by and it was filled with scrub oak that made upward progress nearly impossible. A blizzard moved in as the temperatures dropped which really made our hands freeze too. Once we got going smoothly we entered waist deep snow which post holing through was awful. I really started to get the feeling that Jason was not having fun.

We eventually topped out the 1000ft + gully to spectacular views that are rarely earned and trudged through the snow and blizzard conditions to my fixed lines. Whew. Now we could begin working over 3.5 hours after leaving the car. We rapped down to where a tower lie on the route and  headed up the unknown. The granite was slippery and I was very nervous as I eked my way to the top with only one piece between me and the ground. Why would I do that you might ask? I wanted to be able to haul our gear to the top without forcing Jason to have to follow my route. Now he could just jug the static line that I lead the pitch on.

At the top we installed anchors and then split the rope in half. Jason would clean and prepare a dihedral that the route would ascend and I would establish a line on a beautiful arete. After each of us trundled and cleaned the pitches in the blizzard that never ended, we rapped the rest of the route putting in anchors and the rap line. We got back to the car at dark and enjoyed being dry and warm for once that day.

Thank you to Jason for putting up with my adventures. I can be honest when I say, these are the best climbing days because I never forget the experience or the challenges that we face and overcome.


Progress in the Rain

This weekend had a tough weather forecast. It was my weekend to get 2 days of climbing in and both days were going to be wet. I had two options, 1 climb on my Treadwall (or go to the gym) or 2 get outside and summit a 1300 feet wall via a mountaineers style route and hang fixed lines on my next large new route undertaking.

If you don’t know me by now you may have guessed that I stayed inside. If you know me, you knew that I would go outside, rain or shine. So my friend Curtis who was lying awake on Friday night wondering whether or not I would bail was excited and nervous about what the coming day would bring us. I knew it would be an adventure and that was just what the doctor ordered.

We quested across a high flowing river into one hundred yards of uphill thorns that would become blackberry plants onto loose and sandy terrain into a passage through junipers and other sparsely growing trees that only topped out at about 10 to 15 feet tall. We were all alone in dry conditions as we pressed upward to the top of the wall.

We traversed below the base of the wall hoping to gain access to the top from a gully that looked as if it was passable through a high power lens from the road. Upon reaching the gully our packs felt heavy with the 1200 feet of static line, double set of cams, bolting equipment, harnesses and tons of slings. We began climbing the 5.7 terrain through small vertical sections and enjoyed the loose rock and grassy portions which gave our nerves a break.

My hiking boots were the perfect choice for me as my pack was nearly 70lbs. Eventually we came to a place where the wall was too tall and too dangerous to climb with packs, so I soloed the 30 foot tall wall and down climbed to where Curtis could throw me a line to haul the packs up. After the first toss, I was hauling dead weight to my precarious position. Curtis gained my high point with caution and we pressed on. We passed another engaging steep portion and were rewarded my seeing some manzanita bushes growing on the side of the cliff. Curtis noted that he thought that they only grew in California and I remarked that everything grows in Colorado.

The rest of the climb took us up more slabs and loose terrain. We knocked off blocks that bounded over the huge cliffs and snuck through trees that had only been hit by other rocks as gravity took them to the talus field below. The last 100 feet to the summit slowed us down. The rain finally came and the wall got steep enough where it was necessary to climb with a rope and gear.I then hauled the packs again which of course got stuck on the ledgey terrain. Curtis finally reached the summit through the loosest gully that I have ever climbed through and took us across an airy traverse where I nearly lost my footing just inches from the summit mantel.

At the top we were greeted by elk droppings, a consistent rain and incredible views. After 3 hours of working hard we were there, wet, tired and just beginning the new routing adventure.20170211_125045 I wish that I had more photos of the day, but it was wet and my camera was just stolen from my car the day before the trip. Stay tuned on my Instagram and the blog for more updates as I get back to the route in the coming weeks. We have 1200 feet of rope strung up on a bunch of different terrain and I am optimistic that it will be a beautiful route with many memorable pitches through the changing terrain of the wall.

Being in the Moment

When I am at home, I am at home.

When I am at work, I am work.

When I am at climbing, I am climbing.


It is easy to get caught up in the other parts of your life when your not actually there. What I mean is to be thinking about climbing while at work or thinking about work when you are with your family. I think one of the toughest things to do is be where your shoes are and stay in the present. This weekend was perfect, 50 degrees and sunny and I spent the whole time with my boys. We went to gymnastics, worked on house stuff, went ice skating, read books, went climbing and hiking and even baked a cake together. I could have been wishing I was doing something else or thinking of other things, but that ultimately distracts you from the special moment that you are actually living. It’s tough especially when you are going through difficult times but when you are not in the moment you are missing out.

So be there when you fail, be there when you succeed, be there for your family and friends and you will elevate your life to a higher place.dsc01819dsc01824





What’s Next?

I have been trying to get to Zion for a few months now to begin my next journey up some wall that has has caught my eye, but the weather has not been allowing it. I have not been deterred though, just patient. I have been able to establish a few new lines near my home which has been great fun. It is nice to go to an established crag and still put anchors on ignored cracks and get to climb on classic terrain after clearing the loose rock and letting the dust settle. Nothing too challenging, but nothing too easy was put up but all of them were fun.

From the time that I began climbing I have always just wanted to climb. It might seem odd that I say that but there is a reason. Grades never really inspired me when it came to climbing different routes, more than anything, they were reasons not to try something that I thought was inspiring or that had a unique feature that I wanted to climb. My personal climbing journey has been inspired by trying to reach my personal potential and evolved into just climbing what was aesthetic be it new or old. I have climbed with many folks in the past who are are driven by the grade of climbs and by their ego. What is interesting to me is that I don’t climb with them anymore because it is not fun. Someone who is only focused on climbing routes for the sake of ticking off a number is not fun to climb with. I have seen the wobblers, the fits, the tantrums, the depression, the complaints about conditions and so on and it is just awful to be around someone who behaves like that. For me just being outside is a pleasure and getting to move over the rock is icing on the cake.

So what is the point of this short blogpost? I guess it is to give you a chance to think about and answer that question that every non climber asks, why do you climb? If it is for the numbers, I feel bad for you because you will never be satisfied or happy. If it is for the love of the outdoors and the journey, then I think that I will be seeing you at a crag 40 years down the road.

Get outside and have an adventure. They are way more memorable then sending.20160213_152943

A Letter from a Climber who wants help..

Hey Piz, How’s it going?
A while back I mentioned writing a book about training and meal planning. I’m starting the first phase of this as part of a blog that I started up. My plan has evolved into going through the lifestyle change and tracking progress over the next three years on the blog then turn it into a book at the end. The blog will also cover a few other topics as I travel, check it out www.amusicallifesite.wordpress.com, I already have a few posts.
How would you feel about writing a weekly training program for the blog that would start off slow and ramp up periodically as time goes on. The first few weeks will be just cardio and easy climbing to get back in the swing so i wouldn’t need anything from you for 3-4 weeks but I’d love to have your contribution. Three years is a huge commitment and I’m not expecting you to do this the whole time or even every week, I was thinking I would get input from different training gurus over the years and even do a little planning myself. Just spit balling right now but let me know what you think.
I’ll pay you for your time of course, I don’t know how much money I’ll make off the blog but I plan on selling ad space as I get more followers. Living on the road I wont have much money but I will have some, I only bring that up because I may have to budget and only buy programs when I have the money at first. Think about how much you’d charge. I would of course credit you each time and link back to your blog.
This will be the first post. I’m still working on the first week of meal planning. I plan to post it Monday of next week.

So here’s the rub, I’m 40 years old and in the worst shape I’ve been in for a while. With work and building my camper I haven’t left myself any time to take care of myself. I have a tendency to do that, I bury myself in projects thinking all along that once I finish “this” I’ll be able to do more training, more climbing, more kayaking, more livin man, L-I-V-I-N. I did this all through my 30s when I bought an old house and remodeled it one room at a time till I bought a rundown, failing climbing gym and turned it around. This time is particularly bad because I’m burying myself to finish a project so that I can live on the road and enjoy life but what’s the point if I’m in horrible shape to start off, and why do I have to be on the road to start living. I have decided that it’s time to start training…

Like I said I’m 40, half way to the grave but far from past my prime. I figure I still have a good 20 years of chasing audacious goals but only if I do it right. You don’t stop exercising because you get older, you get older because you stop exercising. What are these audacious goals? My primary activities are rock/ice/mountain climbing and white water kayaking but I also like to ski, mountain bike, white water raft, hike and most other outdoor activities. I want to get back up to where I was 3-4 years ago when I was training regularly and climbing harder than I ever had. I also want to be in shape for the mountains, I have a long list of mountains that I still need to climb. I do have to deal with the reality that I’m not in my 20s anymore, I get injured easier, I don’t recover as fast, my metabolism has slowed down and hang overs really hurt now. These things won’t stop me though, they just mean I have to be smarter about how I train and I need to make better food choices.
I have broken down my plan for a healthier physical life into three critical components: Physical training, Dietary training, and Flexibility training. I will also be doing some mental training but that’s a topic in and of itself.
Physical Training
When I talk about physical training I’m mostly talking about training for climbing and not so much kayaking. I mean sure, I need to be fit for kayaking, but I’m pretty much the laziest paddler you’ll ever meet. I take the fewest number of paddle strokes possible when I’m on the river. I mean the current takes you downstream why do you need to paddle, you know besides avoiding things or hitting things. I’ll often float through a stretch of rapids only taking 4-5 paddle stokes the entire time. That said I’m not into play boating or class 5… yet. As I move along I intend on focusing some energy on play boating but a lot of the core and shoulder workouts I will already be doing will help with that. I also plan on paddling a few miles of flat water on lakes or in the ocean as cardio workouts from time to time so it will come.
The climbing/mountaineering training is where I’ll really have to watch how I train. I have had a few finger injuries in the past from trying to climb crimps “off the couch” and I’ve had knee issues from hiking too far with too much weight. I’ve been told before that ligaments and tendons take 8-10 times longer than your muscles do to get strong, so even if your muscles are strong enough to hold you your fingers might not be. For this reason I’m not going to be doing any climbing specific training till my base level of fitness is back where it was 4 years ago. I plan on climbing but nothing harder than mid 5.10 for a few months and no crimps or pockets without good feet for a long while. I don’t want to blow out a finger right after I hit the road and then spend 3-6 months recovering. My knee was a major issue for many years till I started training and rehabbing it. It was to the point where I couldn’t hike more than a few miles without a knee brace or I would have extreme pain that would last several days. When I started doing a regular training program with lots of squats, lunges, wall sits and the like my knee pain went away and the brace did as well.
For climbing I want lean muscle not bulk. Work outs will be body weight or low weight with lots of reps and a lot of fat burning workouts. I will start off with a low intensity and increase as I go. For now I’m working a regular 9-5 so my workout schedule will work around that but I’m working as a welder which is physically demanding with lots of heavy lifting all day so strength training is on hold till I’m done with this job. The focus for now will be on core, cardio, and easy climbing.
Dietary Training
Now when I say diet I’m not talking about some miracle diet guaranteed to make me lose X amount of weight in Y amount of time. I don’t believe in supplements, protein shakes, bars, gels, gummies, paleo, vegan, blah blah blah. My doctor says all I need to be healthy is to make smart choices with food and exercise regularly and he went to school and studied the human body for a hell of a lot longer than the dude trying to sell me a cleanse and an electrolyte rich energy drink with 20,000 times my daily recommended amount of B12. Now from time to time I’ll have some Honey Stingers but that shit is like candy… with crack in it… so yeah.
I don’t think weight is a good measure of health. For one muscle weighs more than fat but also you’re not healthy just because you’re skinny and you’re not unhealthy because you’re above the BMI chart. I used to have a supper fast metabolism and ate nothing but junk food and I was still skinny as fuck. I mean I was 6’3” and 135lbs when I got out of high school. When I started climbing in my mid 20s it was the first time I was really athletic in my life, I went from 155lbs to 185lbs in 8 months because I was climbing all the time. Somewhere in my 30s my metabolism slowed down as did my climbing and other physical activity so now I have a gut, I call him Pablo. Pablo will be my measure of health for the purposes of this training and I will seldom, if ever, weigh myself or report on my weight. I’m not even sure how much I weigh as I write this but it’s somewhere around 220-225.  If I had the means to measure body fat percentage on a regular basis I might use it but really, Pablo tells the tale.
I don’t like to “quit” things. When I try to give up something it’s all I think about and I want it more. As of late I haven’t been making good food choices and the micro beer movement has been really good to Pablo. For the last several months my diet has consisted mostly of fast food with soda. If I go from that straight to eating tofu salads all I’m going to think about is double bacon cheese burgers with fries and Dr Pepper all day long. My pour food choices have come from working so much I don’t think about food till I’m starving then I’m just looking for the quickest way to get food. Instead if I lay out my meal plan to have slightly better food choices and then improve them as time goes on I won’t have mad cravings.
The beauty of this is that there is no cheating. I can have a bowl of ice cream or an In N Out burger, I just can’t have them all the time. For me, good food choices come from not being hungry and exercising regularly. All meal planning and grocery shopping need to be done when I’m not hungry, preferably an hour or two after a meal. The best is to do a workout, eat, then go shopping an hour after that. I’m still on the endorphin high from the workout, I’m not hungry, and ice cream and other junk food doesn’t sound as good. Now to go from a workout straight to shopping will have the opposite effect.
My definition of “good food choices” might be different from yours. It’s definitely different than any of the trend diets that have come out in the last 30 years. I define a good food choice as eating nutrient rich foods that are low in sugars, bad cholesterol, or mono anything. Cutting back on processed food and eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as wholegrains.
I’m going to do the best I can to eat at the same times every day and never less than 2 hours before bed. I’m not going to cut back on my caloric intake to lose weight. I’m going to need those calories for energy and cutting back will affect the intensity at which I train which will affect my body’s ability to burn fat and build muscle. This isn’t about weight loss, this is about a healthier life. And the microbrew??? Ok, let’s be honest there’s not going to be any reduction in the beer consumption, I mean have you tried 90 Schilling, Buffalo Gold, or Lands End? I’m just going to have to do more cardio.
Flexibility Training
I’m not doing yoga, that shit’s hard, and it hurts in places I don’t want to hurt. I believe there is a base level of flexibility one has to have in order to do the easiest of beginner classes and I just don’t have that. The first time I ever touched my toes in my life was a few years ago when I was actually working on it. Not that it is my only gauge of flexibility but I can’t touch them now. I plan on going back to that regimen until I feel I might actually be able to do an easy beginner level yoga class… Maybe… I mean yoga isn’t the only way to work on flexibility…I’m just saying.
All of my stretching will be done at the end of a workout.
Upper body
•             Praying hands, hands up then down
•             Triceps stretch
•             Delt stretch
•             Crisscross arm swings
•             Arm circles, arms out to each side
•             Stirring the pot
•             Wrist circles
•             Reach up and right and up and left
•             Bicep stretch
Lower Body
•             Flamingos
•             Lunge stretch with calf stretch
•             Butterfly
•             Straddle
•             Figure 4 (hamstrings)
•             Half lotus
•             Lay down and pull Knee to opposite chest
•             Pretzel
•             Arms out shoulders both touching cross knee over body
Along with these three components of training I will be working on a few things I have always just ignored. I have extremely pour posture which will be fixed with all the core workouts but I also have forward head and forward shoulders. I am not going to do much about it at first but as I settle into the routine of this new lifestyle and I’m training on a regular schedule I will start working on fixing these two issues with stretching and targeted workouts.