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Community News 64-year-old grandfather sends 5.14b

64-year-old grandfather sends 5.14b

You don't stop climbing because you are too old, you become too old when you stop climbing. Chuck Odette is living proof of this after a six-month battle of projecting T-Rex, 5.14b in Maple Canyon's Pipedream Cave. At age 64, he's still crushing it and this is his account of how it all went down.

September 15 2020

Rock climbing

"It was a cold and wet day in Maple Canyon, Utah and there was a skiff of snow on the trail up to the Pipedream Cave. It was a huge change from two days prior when the temps were 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 14% humidity. As a side note, my dry skin doesn't adhere well below 20% humidity. We, my wife/partner Maggie & me, almost didn't make the trip up for our Wednesday climbing ritual. We normally climb on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

"The warm-ups were more like numb-outs. Maggie offered to stay and belay but it was too cold for her to climb. The temp made it up to a balmy 49 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity at 33%. I figured I'd give the project, T-Rex, 5.14b, one go and wait for hopeful, better conditions on Friday. T-Rex is 40 meters long...too long for cold temps and I almost fell at the 3rd bolt. Not a good start for a route that's 26 bolts long.

"Somehow I reeled in the bad left-hand pinch that was attempting to thwart my efforts for the day. Instead of monitoring heart rate and pump, I focused on how numb my feet and hands were before moving on from well trained and much needed albeit limited rests. Taking one move at a time I passed the crux and eventually the anchors of Millennium, 5.14a which is the first half of the route. I felt strong on the moves connecting Millennium to the T-Rex extension and just kept knocking down section after section, one move at a time. Before I knew it, I was making one last big move to a jug at the lip of the cave, a place I'd fallen a couple of times on previous redpoint attempts. Normally pumped out of my mind at this point, the last four bolts were totally on lockdown and anticlimactic. I clipped the chains...done...whew.

"I spent four months this year and two months last year working this route and I'm guessing that I attempted the route between 80-100 times. After a long battle like that, I announced my retirement from climbing to everyone at the crag immediately after lowering off the anchors and touching the ground. I then qualified it accordingly with, "I'm retiring from climbing until Friday."

"Time for a new project. Something fun. Stay tuned."

 

Photos courtesy of Eric Steiner

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