Christian Griffith, V12 at Age 41

Photo courtesy of Steve Woods -

Photo courtesy of Steve Woods -

Since sport climbing came to the United States in the 1980s, Christian Griffith has been a household name. When you look up “sport climbing” at, Griffith is mentioned as one of the definitive climbers. He rap-bolted routes when it was still considered taboo, and helped develop many areas around Boulder, Colorado.

Griffith continues to break the mold. With the exception of a handful of climbers, it is safe to say that not many people in their 40s send routes in the V-double digits. However, Griffith climbed a sit-start to Silverback (weighing in at V12), at Mount Evans, near Idaho Springs, CO, on September 16, just days before his 42nd birthday. The problem is “reminiscent of the barn-dooring arêtes I climbed on the gritstone, in England,” says Griffith. Silverback traverses a left-to-right, upward-sloping arête, doubling the number of moves and adding a grade. Griffith tried the line for nearly a week, eventually showing Daniel Woods and Seth Allred the moves. “It’s very powerful,” Griffith says, “but it’s also about staying really calm. Everything’s tenuous, and if you move too much, you’ll fall.” Allred eventually made the first ascent of the new line, followed by Griffith, then Woods.

Griffith's key to staying fit in his older years? “Don’t let yourself get fat,” he says, adding that the approach to Mount Evans is an hour each way. His training includes cross-country ski racing in the winter and trail-running races in the summerComment on this story