Get To Know Our Millionth Member Winners

Last week, Mike DeVan­zo, a 20-year-old Bal­ti­more native became The Clym­b’s one mil­lionth mem­ber. An avid run­ner since high school, Mike began run­ning to chal­lenge him­self, and although he does­n’t get to run as often as he’d like, when he does, he finds it’s the per­fect time for inner reflection.

“I learn so much about myself when I beat the pave­ment,” DeVan­zo said, “I don’t ever plan on stopping.”

We did man­age to get him to slow down long enough to answer some ques­tions about his future adven­tures and how he plans on spend­ing that $1,000.

The Clymb: What’s been your most amaz­ing adven­ture to date?

Mike DeVan­zo: Hands down, the most amaz­ing adven­ture yet, is when I get an oppor­tu­ni­ty to hike in Glac­i­er Nation­al Park in Mon­tana last sum­mer. It was an absolute­ly amaz­ing expe­ri­ence. One of the best hikes I was about to go on was to Ice­berg Lake. On the way to the lake, the group I was with had to walk along snow cov­ered steep hill­sides; thank­ful­ly no one slipped and fall­en. When we got to the lake, 75% of it was frozen sol­id and it was July! We were in shorts stand­ing on a frozen lake in July, absolute­ly surreal.

TC: What adven­tures do you have planned for 2012?

MD: This sum­mer, I will going on sev­er­al hikes in the Moun­tain West and sev­er­al clos­er to home on the East Coast. I would real­ly like to try to hike every Nation­al Park even­tu­al­ly; I will prob­a­bly check a few parks off the list this summer.

TC: We got­ta know: Now that you have $1,000 to spend at The Clymb, which brands are you most look­ing for­ward to?

MD: I am real­ly look­ing for­ward to get­ting a lot of hik­ing gear. Lots of appar­el from Teko and Salomon, and def­i­nite­ly a pack from Gre­go­ry. And Of course a Clymb t‑shirt.

Nice­ly played, Mike. Nice­ly played.

And who do we have to thank for bring­ing Mike on board? Alex Piaz­za, a 22-year-old senior Physics major at Mary­land’s Tow­son University.

TC: Alex, what’s your favorite human-pow­ered activity?

AP: It’s a hard deci­sion. As I’ve got­ten old­er I have moved away from all the sports like foot­ball and lacrosse that I used to play. I have always been a big surfer (that’s man-pow­ered, minus moth­er nature pro­vid­ing the waves, I sup­pose). In the past year I have real­ly got­ten into rock climb­ing. Most­ly Toprope and some sport lead­ing in the gym. I’ll leave it as a toss up…

TC: How often do you get to surf and climb?

AP: Surf­ing I try to do when­ev­er there are waves, which on the east coast isn’t as often as I would like. I rock climb in the gym 3–4 days a week and out­doors on week­ends when the  weath­er permits.

TC: What’s been your most amaz­ing adven­ture to date?

AP: Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I don’t have a lot of adven­tures to date that most would qual­i­fy as “amaz­ing.” So far my most enjoy­able has been climb­ing Annapo­lis Rocks in Mary­land. A friend of mine went out the night before to camp, but I could­n’t make it that night. I met him out there the next morn­ing. That involved an hour dri­ve to the lot and then a 2.2 mile trek down the Appalachi­an Tri­al to a small trail that led to the Annapo­lis out­look, which was one of the most amaz­ing views I’ve seen in a long time. I did this all with hav­ing nev­er made that hike before and no cell phone ser­vice to call him if I got lost. I just relied on my fair­ly good sense of direc­tion. We had a good day of climb­ing some nice sec­tions of wall and then hiked back out.

Alex Piaz­za on top of “king and queens seat” in Rock State Park, Maryland

TC: What about in 2012, got any adven­tures planned?

AP: I want to make sev­er­al trips out to Annapo­lis rocks to do overnight and maybe week­end climb­ing trips. I would­n’t mind just pack­ing 10 or 20 miles down the trail and just camp­ing for the week­end. I would love to make it to some nation­al parks over the sum­mer but find­ing a career after grad­u­a­tion might make that a lit­tle bit hard­er. Only time will tell.

TC: Why did you invite Mike to The Clymb?

AP: I was on a com­put­er order­ing my Gre­go­ry Z65 back­pack when he looked over and said thats a real­ly good price on that and that he was in the mar­ket for a new one him­self. I explained to him how the web­site worked and sent him in invite. I guess we can say the rest is his­to­ry. The mil­lionth mem­ber, go figure.

TC: So, which brands are you look­ing to spend that $1,000 on?

AP: If I request them will they come up soon­er? Hmm… just to name a few: Mar­mot, North Face, Edel­rid, Pet­zl, Black Dia­mond, La Sporti­va, Moun­tain Hard­wear, the list could go on. I’m real­ly hop­ing to find some camp­ing and climb­ing gear more so than spe­cif­ic brands.

Nice selec­tion, Alex! We’re on it!