Charlie Houtz

Staff Headshot

I am a routesetter at the Academy. I have been a coach, but primarily routeset due to scheduling reasons. I’ve been with the Academy since the walls were completed, so for about 2.5 years. Other than coaching and setting, I have also worked on a fair number of maintenance-related projects throughout the gym, including wiring up the WiFi and parts of the speaker system, installing conduit in the I-beams supporting the roof, constructing shelves (so many shelves), installing lights behind the Backyard Boulder, extending the top of the speed wall, etc.

I started climbing around the time I was starting high school, making it 7 years to date. I mainly consider myself a sport climber, and I’ve climbed profusely outside, in locales throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Dakota, Utah, and Colorado. I competed for several seasons in youth USAC – bringing me to more gyms around the country, from Iowa to Atlanta. I took part in many cleanups over the years, from Taylor’s Falls to Red Wing to the MN North Shore. I was climbing almost daily at a time when there was only one gym in the Twin Cities (VE St. Paul), and there it was that I came to know Tyler H and Richard, founders of the Academy. For a few years on team at VE, I learned a lot about climbing under their direction and with their advice. I gained strength and technique and fell hard in love with the sport. Eventually word came down that a new gym was in the works, and the rest in history!

The main part of my life right now is school. I study mechanical engineering, math, and soon astronomy at the U of MN. I’m slated to graduate at the end of 2017, and until then finishing and enjoying school will be my prime directive. Outside school, I of course love to climb as much as possible. Usually around 3-5 times per week in the summer and slightly less during the school year. This time of year I am a regular at such places as Willow River State Park and Barn Bluff. I’ve been to Spearfish Canyon (one of my all-around favorite places) already this season and I hope to go again. Additionally I am slowly becoming an avid bicyclist.

For work outside the Academy, I am a prolific groundskeeper/lawn mower. For over a year I have been slightly less than one half of a small, independent lawn care business for residences in South Minneapolis, and very soon I will take on another job doing commercial mowing out in Woodbury.

Charlie’s go-to climbing destination
Willow River, or Spearfish Canyon if I have it my way.

Charlie’s Academy goals
I hope that in the long term I will again be a coach. When the time is right, I will give this everything I have.

Charlie’s secret talent
Weed whippin’ and long distance bicycling.