Chuck Odette sends his hardest route at age 56

posted by dpm on 07/08/2012


Fifty-six-year-old Chuck Odette works in Salt Lake City as Petzl's event and athlete sponsorship coordinator. Most of the time, when he's not at work, you can find him hanging out in Maple Canyon's Pipedream Cave. Chuck has sent many of the hard routes at Maple including the 5.14a's: Ego Boost, Millenium, and Whole Shot. Some of the 'easier' routes, like the 5.13b La Confianza, he's repeated numerous times. (Fact: the etymology of the term 'chucking laps' is somehow related to Chuck's performance in the Pipedream Cave.)

This summer though, Chuck has spent less time in the Pipedream and more time up in Idaho developing a new crag called the Coliseum. It's an overhanging cave of columnar basalt that lends itself to pumpy, kneebar-oriented climbing. It's rumored to be similar in style to Jailhouse in Sonora, California.

Yesterday, Chuck clipped the chains on his project to claim the first ascent of Morphine,  a route that he considers his hardest yet. He's proposed the grade of 5.14b but notes on his 8a scorecard that "it will need confirmation." Well done Mr. Odette!   

Putting up routes in the Coliseum. Photo: Maggie Smith/Chuck's 8a page