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Five Ten Founder Charles Cole Passes Away at 63 – Teton Gravity Research

Charles Cole holding an example of a Stealth Rubber mountain bike shoe. Five Ten photo.

Five Ten Founder Charles David Cole III has passed away. The prolific climber and adventuring pioneer ushered in a new era to the world of mountain sport with his whimsical sense of humor and innovative eye for design. Cole was 63.

As a climber, Cole was known for daring first ascents in Yosemite and Joshua Tree. According to Rock and Ice, his list of first ascents included Joshua Tree’s Run For Your Life(5.10b) and Jolly Roger (VI 5.10 A5), the solo ascent of Yosemite’s Queen of Spades (VI 5.9 A4+), and Space (VI 5.10 A4+), a revolutionary 28-pitch solo climb near the famous Mescalito on El Cap.

Cole prior to embarking on yet another Yosemite masterpiece. Five Ten photo.

Cole founded Five Ten in 1985 with his parents. After inventing the ultra-sticky Stealth Rubber, the company’s trademark climbing rubber (now adapted for mountain bike shoes and other purposes), Five Ten broke into the footwear business. With marketing ploys like the tagline of “Quit Your Job,” the brand came to embrace the previously neglected dirtbag side of the climbing world.

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The company is now owned by German sportswear giant Adidas, after Cole sold it to raise cattle with his family and pursue his lifelong interest in mathematics and physics.