Birthday Climb


Editor’s Note: I began writing this post about a year and a half ago, and never finished it.  Such is life when you have two young kids.  You will notice some continuity errors, as a result.

On Friday, July 10th I turned 40 years old.  Just for fun, I searched for a list of important events that took place since that faithful day.  If you’re about to pass a birthday milestone yourself, I don’t recommend doing this, because it will leave you feeling old and depressed.

The Vietnam War comes to an end.  Earth’s population is roughly 4 billion people.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen start Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak found Apple.

Elvis dies.  Star Wars is released.  John Lennon is killed.  MTV is launched.

Someone invents the computer mouse, AIDS is identified and named.

The ozone hole is discovered over Antarctica.  Chernobyl and the Challenger disasters.

Earth’s population surpasses 5 billion, DNA is used in a criminal court case for the first time

Berlin Wall is torn down, the Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska.

Iraq invades Kuwait, the Persian Gulf War begins and the Cold War ends.  The Hubble Space Telescope is launched into orbit.

Computer scientists invent the World Wide Web, giving rise to the Internet

OJ Simpson, Harry Potter, Viagra, Taliban, Mad Cow Disease, Monica Lewinsky, Dolly, Google

Columbine, Big Tobacco admits that smoking causes cancer, Y2K

Earth’s population surpasses 6 billion people

9/11, Enron, iPod, more war, Indonesian Tsunami, Facebook

Katrina, YouTube, Saddam Hussein is hanged, more war, Barry Bonds

Earth’s population surpasses 7 billion people

Dot-com bubble, iPhone, Recession, Obama, More War, Bin Laden, MORE FUCKING WAR

And, since I write this on January 21st, 2017, there is one other huge, ridiculous, mind-bending fact that I must include in this timeline.  I almost can’t bear to say it, it is so disturbing and outrageous.


Last year, Joey climbed 28 routes in Holcomb Valley for his 28th birthday.  That was a fun trip, and I briefly entertained the idea of attempting 40 climbs for my 40th, but the thought of such an endeavor wasn’t too appealing.  I wanted to enjoy the day.

40 years old today, never too late to start using sunblock

40 years old today, never too late to start using sunblock

Oh, you've come a long way baby!

Oh, you’ve come a long way baby!

With Joey’s imminent move to Bend, we knew this could be our last trip outside (as fellow San Diegans).  After tackling Fairview Dome in June, we figured we were ready to climb Open Book, the first 5.9 in the country.  The line ascends a huge right-facing dihedral on the southwest face of Tahquitz Rock.  As we drove up Hwy. 292, we could actually see the enormous corner system from 20 miles away.  It wasn’t long ago that we gazed up at this climb from below, wondering if we would ever be able to climb it in good style.

Open Book

Taped up and ready to climb the Open Book


Joey following the beautiful, sometimes wide 3rd pitch


Inspecting the start of the 4th pitch

Well, that was almost a year and a half ago.  It was a good day and a meaningful final climb to send my partner off to Bend, OR.  Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to bag a bunch of other trips together, they just take a bit more planning!

one last climb

I just noticed the absurd number of wraps of rope around Joey’s waist





Leave a Comment


You must be logged in to post a comment.