Matt Zia

Age: 22 | Vitals: 5’11”, 165 lbs | Current Residence: Crested Butte, CO


I grew up playing in the mountains of New Hampshire where my mother, a former Outward Bound instructor, took me on my first backpacking trip at age 10. I vividly remember hiking 10 million miles to our camp with a 150 pound pack (a three mile hike with a 20 pound pack…it’s all relative to a 10 year old), having my mind blown by the idea of cooking mac and cheese without a proper kitchen, and nearly eating it face-first into a big pile of rocks on the way down.

Since that formative experience, I’ve based most of my life decisions on accessibility to the outdoors. For college I traded the icy, cloudy, small, beautiful, and deceptively rugged mountains of New Hampshire for the powdery and sunny mountains of Colorado. As a student at Colorado College, I was fortunate enough to find a group of mentors who taught me how to place trad gear (fellow Blister reviewer Hannah Trim caught my first trad whipper), read avalanche terrain, and most importantly, continue the tradition of sharing that love with others.

I graduated in May 2014 and have moved into the world of outdoor education. I teach students (some of whom have never slept outside) how to live in the mountains and transfer those skills back to their home lives. Although it’s difficult and demanding, it’s also incredibly rewarding work.

Matt Zia, Blister Gear Review

Matt Zia, Climbing in Utah.

Climbing, in all forms, is my number one interest at the moment, but I also love skiing and fishing. I enjoy sport climbing and bouldering, but my true passion is deeper in the mountains on long, committing lines. Whether it’s running it out in rock shoes or swinging ice tools, I love the challenges that mountains present and the humbling perspective they offer to our daily lives.

Gear I’m stoked on:

NW Alpine Fast/Light pant, La Sportiva TC Pro, Melanzana Micro-Grid hoodie, Patagonia Houdini, Wild Things Alpinist shell



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