Every year I do something fun to celebrate my Birthday. It started with Half Dome cables in 2012 and continued to include backcountry river fording adventure in the Eastern Sierra and an overnight at the top of Royal Arches. This year I co-conspired with the lovely Sadie Skiles to climb 30-costumed pitches in a day for my 30th birthday.
I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t really that impressive compared to Alex Honnold’s 290 pitches for his Birthday in 2014, but hey. He didn’t wear any costumes.
I picked and planned my Birthday experience for Big Chief near Truckee, CA because it had 33 sport routes 5.10c and under. I figured clipping bolts on face climbs would be faster and safer, despite my crack-oriented style.
Finger’s clenched in anticipation, I threw a 60 lbs pack on my back with a single trad rack, two ropes, 20 draws and an armful of costumes at 6:30am to hike the approach to Big Chief. The rest of my crew would meet me throughout the day.
I was getting nervous around noon (~5 hrs in) when I had only completed eightpitches (all lead), an average of 2 pitches an hour with an average grade of 5.10b. I needed to move faster and complete easier pitches.
This is when most of my friends arrived and start really drilling me on my reps. I started leading 5.9 pitches and repeating them two additional times on top rope all while Marco had his watch timing me. 😀
This is also when some of the funniest costumes came out. Including Cosmic Leggings + Bat-Tiger, Sexy Taco, Wolf Tank + Graffiti Palm Tree, Saudi Sheek + The Gold Devil and O.G. Legging Cuttoffs. Every pitch was documented with belayer, route, time and costume thanks to Sadie’s awesome birthday board.
Sadie also kept the much needed reminders coming to eat food and drink water as I became more tired and ornery. Jia’s perfect analogy was it was like consuming my 20th hotdog in a hotdog eating contest. I started the contest because I really liked hotdogs, but somewhere around hotdog 15, I started loosing that same desire. 😀
At pitch 21 I got tired of constantly changing my pants after wearing about eight different HeyHey leggings throughout the day and remained in “Constellations Leggings” attire. Finishing my final eight pitches on just two climbs, ending at 7:20pm!
In my head I thought we would go back to our beautifully decorated campsite and have a massive fire. However, we went out to eat at Tacos Jaliscos in Truckee and everyone quickly feel into a food-enduced sleep before we cut any cake. Luckily, that just meant we had a cake-breakfast on Sunday.
Huge thanks to Sadie and my friends in order of appearance: Franny, Pickles, Enrique, Lukas, Laura, Marco, Chris (Daiyi), Jia, Jen and everyone who was cheering me on. We had a blast!