Athlete Profile: Rob Pizem
Originally published in the Fall 2019 issue of Spoke+Blossom
Rob Pizem, or “Piz,” is a local legend of Grand Junction, Colorado. With a career that spans nearly three decades, his climbing achievements are endless and his fire still burns hot. Pizem has been on the cover of magazines like Rock and Ice, Climbing and Alpinist, and has been published in National Geographic. Being a professional climber who’s developed hundreds of new routes and maintains a world-class athleticism seems like more than enough to keep someone busy. Somehow Pizem is also a devoted husband, father, coach, trainer and full-time high school teacher.
Pizem does more in a day than most can do in a week, with an elite work ethic and dedication to health and fitness. A typical day for him looks something like this: wake up at 4:45 a.m. to leave for the gym by 4:55 a.m.; open the gym and run training from 5 to 6:45 a.m.; shoot over to school and arrive by 6:55 a.m., work until 3 p.m.; after school, head directly back to the gym to train on routes from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m.; run a training session from 5 to 8 p.m. before heading home; off to bed by 8:45 p.m. In addition, last year he started piloting the challenge #moveoutside365 where he leads by example to encourage everyone to get outside at least once a day. Even if it’s just for a quick run or hike. This might seem nuts, but to Pizem it’s just living life to the fullest.
People often think climbers are crazy or have some kind of death wish, but that is rarely, if ever, the case.
“I climb to be outside,” shares Pizem. “I climb to focus on something other than the normal life routine. I climb to get away from the city. I climb for the interpersonal relationships and bonds that I make with my climbing partners. I climb for adventure and to explore. I climb to problem solve mentally and physically. I climb to create. I climb for inner peace and mental stability.”
The reality of why most people climb is to maintain sanity, push personal boundaries, seek the unknown and share experiences unlike any other.
Pizem is a firm believer that adventure should be shared. He goes out of his way to seek out climbing partners with the ambition and strength to take on his epic climbing goals. What I admire most about Piz is how humble and generous he is with sharing his knowledge and precious time. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to get to know him and become friends. I would never have been able to jump into the world of professional climbing photography without his guidance, patience and willingness to literally show me the ropes.