Five Ten’s roots trace back to Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks. Charles Cole, Five Ten’s founder and president, started the company in 1985. At the time, he was a footloose, 30-year-old climbing bum whose motto was “one with the dirt.” All climbers need rest days and Cole’s were well spent, earning him an engineering degree from University of Southern California and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Raised in Southern California, Cole paid his climbing dues on the rough rock of Joshua Tree. Like many of his climbing contemporaries, he turned his sights to vast walls of Yosemite. Many of Cole’s first ascents, including the False Shield and Jolly Roger on El Cap, and Space, Queen of Spades and Autobahn on Half Dome, remain test pieces today.