December 31, 2010

100th Blogpost!

Jane is a pain in my butt. She is interrupting my thought process for this monumental 100Th post. (just kidding)
Anyway, as I look back on 2010, I think it was a good year.
I completed teaching in the Denver area and moved to Grand Junction where the living is easier and more relaxed. I was able to establish 4 more routes at the Possibility Wall at Mount Evans during the summer months. I finally was able to climb a route in Zion that I had wanted to for over ten years and for the first time was totally let down over a routes quality (Sunshine Dihedral in Kolob Canyons). With friends Mike Brumbaugh and Ari Menitove, we established a new bigwall free climb in Kings Canyon National Park, California. I was invited to speak at the Squamish Mountain Festival in Canada. I went home to Ohio to visit my family for thanksgiving and spent winter break in Colorado Springs with Jane's family. On the western slope, I was able to establish over 10 new routes between Unaweep Canyon, Bangs Canyon and Colorado National Monument. In the Black Canyon, I managed an El Cap day without any training. I picked up hitchhikers, climbed at Red Rocks, Rifle, Indian Creek and Canyonlands National Park. I failed at completing a new route in the Zion Narrows due to terrible rock quality. Jane and I ran the Cleveland Turkey Trot and she took third and I took 48Th (I think). I bike to work when the weather is nice and set routes and boulder problems at the local climbing gym. I have a real fish tank with cool cichlids thanks to Charles Pollet and the DC Oakes Fish Club. We met some great folks in Grand Junction and have really began to settle in. One of the highlights was a backpacking trip to Ouray where Jane and I did a loop up and over the mountains and seeing lots of wildlife.
I am looking forward to the new challenges and adventures of 2011.
I foresee many trips including: out of the country, back to Ohio, out to Zion, into the Black, and into the Monument. I am trying to dream big and make them all come true, some today and others tomorrow while always keeping my eyes on the prize.
Thanks for joining me on my adventures past and present and I am excited for another 100 posts in the coming year!
piz : )

December 16, 2010

Past Climbing Trips to South Dakota

What collection of photos of South Dakota don't have at least one of Mt. Rushmore?
My surprise when I finally saw the monument!
The eye of the needle. You can climb up the eye from the backside and then out to the top or lead an exciting pitch up the face that you are looking at. What is cool about this place is that you start from the paved parking lot and can rap right to your car. There are hundreds of pinnacles like this to climb in the area on the giant knobby granite crystals. There is even a new and usable guidebook for the area, but I forget the name. I know that Andrew Burr has taken many a photo for this one, so it is not to be missed!
More crazy granite towers. Bring on the simulrapping.
I know that I did some climbing on this trip!
Get out and have fun!
piz : )

Old School Pictures

Winter holiday time in the Czech. I was living here 2006/2007. It was a rainy day when we got off the train,but we still explored the city over a couple of days and had a great time soaking in the rich holiday spirit.
Outside the palace, historically the city was always taken over during any major war so most of the historic buildings are preserved. It makes it a great place to visit older types of European architecture.
Some of the fine workmanship of the locals.
The many booths set up for the holiday shoppers. As you strolled through the crowds and looked at the crafts of the many vendors, you couldn't help but get excited about the season. People drinking hot drinks, being jovial and every corner providing another new experience. It was a great trip to Prague.
Happy Holidays
There is not time like the holidays to travel to new places but being with your family to priceless too. Be safe and happy
piz : )

December 10, 2010

Fresh Pick's from Marni Mattner

Jesse climbing and me holding the rope on the crux pitch of Medicine Man in Colorado National Monument. I hadn't done this route in nearly ten years and it was awesome to watch Jesse give it a go. What a great route with superb views. Marni Mattner Photo.
Me, on Fast Draw on the backside of the Sentinel Spire in Colorado National Monument. Can you say splitter hands. Marni Mattner Photo.
Me, on the top of Fast Draw. Marni Mattner Photo
Top of the first pitch on Fast Draw. Marni Mattner Photo.

Summit of Medicine Man. My new Camp helmet and my Tau Pullover from Arcteryx. I used my Scarpa Instinct Slippers for this one and a bomber Sterling Rope.

piz : )


I have been reading Crusher's, Desert Rock book over the past couple days and it has got me thinking. The book begins with a brief history of climbing ascents in the desert southwest, of climbing on Indian lands and the characters who made the "monumental" first ascents of what was the next frontier at the time. The stories include the persona that these climbs took and the attitudes of the climbers that were able to complete them. Crusher's writing provides a wonderful insight into how we have gotten to where we are today, including our general ethics that sometimes we wonder how they ever came about.
So, I have been thinking about ethics in climbing and the "first" bolt wars and chopping and rebolting. I have been thinking about the word "style" and how it applies to rock climbing and how it can taint someone or some team's ascent of a rock. I have also been thinking how with our modern equipment that there really is not a rock that we can not ascend given enough time and energy, but that folks would talk more of the style of the ascent, rather of the accomplishment itself. Lastly, I wonder why it all matters? When I think about it a lot, I keep coming back to the line of reason that it all depends on your personal goals.
If your goal is climbing is to enjoy the outdoors through climbing, then style doesn't matter. If your goal is to ascend something that seems impossible, then the ascent itself should take the spot light, not the fact that you did it this way or another. If your goal is to repeat something that someone else did in the same fashion, then style does matter. I could go on, but I am sure that you get the picture.
I guess why I am thinking about these things is because Crusher was writing about them in his book and what seems great and wonderful yesterday, may be just that, but not as such today. I am attracted and inspired by his book in that it makes me want to go and have an adventure. It makes me want to go and make the rules up as I go. It makes me want to climb everything that he has chosen to share, but at the same time not. Adventure comes from the unknown, adventure comes from a willingness to try, to fail, to succeed. Adventure brings new faces into the game because it has the power to inspire. Adventure takes you out of your normal routine makes you sweat a little and then realize how much that you like your normal routine. I think that I will choose adventure and be happy with that.
piz : )

December 7, 2010


Random pictures from the summer. Coal Creek outside of Denver.
Legs at Arches National Park.
My fish, cichlids
I will get some more climbing photo's up soon. Work has been busy.
piz : )