June 23, 2010

Bishops Castle

Just southwest of Pueblo, CO one man has built his own castle. Jane and I went there to check it out. It is 40 years work of only one man and his wish to build something for everyone to enjoy. Here I am on the rickety cat walk up to his metal globe. Jane and I are nearly 50 feet up enjoying the scenery and swaying metal structure.
Jane at the base of the giant home made castle.
Jane and I some where up high in the castle.
Some of the stained glass windows from inside. The interior was left open with big rooms and beautiful stone work. An amazing place to wander around for a little while and in a beautiful forest in the San Isabel National Forest.
The only place where you can get an entire photo of the castle. The tower on the left has to climb to about a hundred feet up. There is a catwalk around most of the castle, spiraling staircases, huge rooms and it's always a bit windy here so being up high can be a bit nervous. I was sketching as I went to the top of the tower. The wind was picking up and its just a swaying spiral staircase making you dizzy as you head out of the safety of the rock and into space. What a place!
Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

piz : )

June 16, 2010


My former students outside Fulford Cave in Eagle, Colorado. They got a little muddy, tired, scared, bruised and full of new and awesome memories! Great job guys. Hope your car didn't break down on the way home.
Yeah, it snowed on my birthday. Kebler Pass outside Crested Butte.
Matt Peacock being belayed by my lovely wife Jane. We hung out in Crested Butte, climbed at Taylor with her brother Matt and watched the A-Team after a nice dinner with a crappy waiter. The picknick on the river before the rain came was pretty sweet.
The view from Crested Butte South. Jane's brother lives just down the street right next to Cement Creek and is always great about inviting us over.
The view from Cottonwood Pass (looking to the west). Jane and I took the pass to Crested Butte and played catch with the softball at the reservoir on the Taylor River. It's a beautiful drive and pretty mellow for a Colorado mountain pass.

So I turned 34 this weekend. What have I learned? Well, that I am not invincible anymore. When I was in my later teens and even through my 20's I felt invincible. I would ski fast, bike hard, climb days in a row and never feel the pain. Well that is all changing. No matter how much I train or work out or run, I still have those days where I feel like a beat up doormat.

Currently, I am feeling rough from establishing a route on Mt Evans. My back is killing me from jugging and swinging around the overhanging wall putting in bolts, cleaning and working the route. Now that it's been a week of waking up with major back pain I have realized that rest is going to be the only solution. I guess that is just the way it is for us humans. We wear out just like a pair of climbing shoes.

Enjoy the pictures of my birthday weekend. I climbed, caved and hung out with my wife and some close friends. That is what it's all about anyway.
I am really glad that you have visited my blog. Thanks and I hope to see and hear from you soon.

Rob Pizem

June 10, 2010

It's a Homonym, 5.12 (new route on the P-Wall)

Just the other day I was able to open up a new mixed route at the P-Wall at Mt. Evans.
It has two bolts and climbs out a steep part of the wall on big holds until the crack eats up cams and nuts.
Take a minute to look at the photos that Dan Gambino took on the actual first free ascent.

I am really glad that you have visited my blog. Thanks and I hope to see and hear from you soon. Rob Pizem
And last but not least, don't forget to check out my favorite sites: http://www.scarpa.net http://www.arcteryx.com http://camp-usa.com http://sterlingrope.com http://ColoradoMountainJournal.com http://www.wunderground.com http://climbing.com http://rockandice.com http://deadpointmag.com http://urbanclimbermag.com http://andrewburr.com http://ladzinski.com

June 6, 2010

Possibilty Wall, Mt. Evans Colorado

This is where I have been hanging around on my awesome and durable Sterling Ropes. It may have had a different name back in the day, but when I started playing on the wall nobody spoke up about it's history, nor was climbing up there, so I called it the Possibility Wall or P-Wall for short. I have been able to complete a few lines and there are still plenty to go in. Currently my project is the yellow line out the steepest part of the overhang.
I love hiking out to the wall, seeing the bighorn sheep that I pass almost daily and even trying to keep the marmots from peeing and eating my pack. It can be really windy, cold and uncomfortable, but the climbing is unparalleled and views breathtaking.
Most days that I climb at the P-wall, I get out of the truck and feel a stiff cold breeze the second my door opens. I quickly put my Arcteryx layers on and grab my Arcteryx pack and Camp hiking poles and head to the wall. Hiking through the alpine bowl in my Scarpa approach shoes to get to the wall is pretty casual as it is down hill the entire way. In a few weeks will be covered in alpine tundra flowers of all sorts and colors. It will be amazing! The snow is continuing to melt rapidly and I fear for a very dry season this summer. Then as I approach the wall I will normally see some kind of wild life, sheep, goats, marmots, elk and eagles. Once on top of the wall, I will gaze up and down the valley and take it all in before I head down a warm up climb.
Once I begin climbing, my heart rate raises and levels out quickly. I am normally able to gauge how well I have acclimated by my heart rate during the warm up. Then its time to eat and try the project.
What makes this route challenging for me is the fact that there are very few, if any holds to pull down on. Nearly every hold on the route is a side pull or gaston (meaning vertical) and only half a pad of my finger tips. I have found it difficult to train for this due to being unable to replicate the movements indoors or find other routes that climb similarly. What a joy to find something so unique and challenging. Well, time to head to the P-wall.

There are two ways to get to the wall.
You can do the bouldering approach for area A (45min hike)
or drive up in to the Mt Evans wilderness area proper (15min hike).

IF you don't have a parks pass and don't want to pay to enter the park then you will do the bouldering approach.
Here are the bouldering approach directions.
-park at the Echo Lake parking near the picnic and shelters.
-hike along the lakeside trail back and left behind the lake from the shelters along the main trail (i don’t know the name and not sure if it has one)
-once you pass the lake you will follow the trail all the way to the base of the all.
-on the way at the bottom of the switchbacks you will cross a small creek and then make a left onto a dirt road.
-go left on the dirt road uphill until you pass a reservoir.
-sign in at the trailhead and follow the trail through the valley until you see the P-wall on the left.
-cross the creek at the only main crossing when you are pretty close to the P-wall (the boulderers use this to access the bouldering) and bushwhack up the boulder field and scree to the base of the wall.
-should take you about 45-60 minutes

IF you want to drive a bit closer to the wall, enter the park and take the scenic road.
-Drive up to the nature center (last good bathrooms) which will come just a couple miles in
-pass the nature center and after about 3 miles you will make a major turn to the left.
-the right side of the road should be a huge bowl and at the end of the bowl (looking up valley you will see a tiny outcrop of rock)
-park on the pull off and hike across the bowl to the outcrop
-when you reach the outcrop hike through a small notch (obvious) and you will be looking at the P-wall (just a couple hundred yards away)
-traverse left to the top of the wall, find a cairn near the end and walk across the slabs and set up.

There are marmots that WILL eat your pack, especially your shoulder straps that live at the top.
After two packs got eaten, I always brought my gear on the wall and just clipped it to a bolt somewhere.

On the slabs above the climbers left side of the wall where Rocky Mountain high is there is ONE BOLT under a FLAT ROCK.
IT is the only flat rock on the slabs (It is about the size of two dinner plates.)
I rap off that bolt 50 to the belay ledge (grassy with a two bolt anchor) and use that as my real base for climbing on those routes.

Because the routes climb at an angle it is wise to have gear with you to place and clip into as you get lowered, otherwise one fall and you will swing way far away from the crack.

To play on the routes on the other side of the wall (where Back to the Earth is, there is a two bolt anchor
I always left a fixed line that was short fixed to my project all season. If there is one there be suspect of it cause I don’t know what shape it is in.

You can get around the wall with only one rope, but a second might be nice just in case.
Worst case scenario you just rap to the bottom and climb another route or hike up the side of the cliff.

You will most likely see the Bighorns Elk, and sometimes golden eagles and for sure the marmots.
If you know that it rained a day or two before, then a tiny part of Aqualung might be wet.
And when you lead Rocky Mountain High or the Aqualung (the have the same start 200 down) bring slings to reduce drag.

I am really glad that you have visited my blog. Thanks and I hope to see and hear from you soon. Rob Pizem
And last but not least, don't forget to check out my favorite sites: http://www.scarpa.net/ http://www.arcteryx.com/ http://camp-usa.com/ http://sterlingrope.com/ http://coloradomountainjournal.com/ http://www.wunderground.com/ http://climbing.com/ http://rockandice.com/ http://deadpointmag.com/ http://urbanclimbermag.com/ http://andrewburr.com/ http://ladzinski.com/

June 2, 2010

El Rito

Dave being belayed by his wife on the cobbles of El Rito, New Mexico. We climbed for two days over the long weekend on these highly featured rock climbs.
Jane and I had time on this casual weekend to hike after climbing to a waterfall near the camping area. We stopped and checked out this lean to someone had made in the woods.
The waterfall just up from the camping area at El Rito. It was a small falls with a small pool of crystal clear cool water. Below there was a grassy area to hang out of the sun where the late spring heat coudn't get to you. I haven't been on many climbing trips where I had time to relax and this one was a nice change.
Jane and I at the waterfall. I rarely get her in front of the camera and was lucky enough on this day! She's nice : )
The Meyer's. Dug (the fiesty Jack Russel Terrier) the dog was grumpy and did not want to be photographed at this moment in time.