I woke up on Sol’s birthday at my normal 7am, and was shocked to see that Stevie was already awake. She was sitting on the edge of the bed making a birthday party to-do list. Apparently she had been up since 5am, unable to sleep from excitement.
I felt extremely excited as well. It’s strange how much your child’s birthday means to you. Who’d a thunk it? We were full on ramped up for Soleil’s first birthday party!
The crew (minus Reagie), enjoying the pre-party party…
Sol didn’t seem any different. She’s accustomed to lots of people shuffling around drinking wine. She had no idea that she was the center of the whole thing.
All the presents caught her attention though. She really got after it and was having a ball tearing things open.
I couldn’t wait until she finally got to my presents!!!
YES! A spiderman rock climbing helmet!!!! Daddy naaaailed it.
And just to complete the outfit, a new climbing harness!!! Home ruuuun.
Below, our rowdy party crew. Thanks for sharing our special day Reagan, Adam, Ari, Tiffany, and Ryan.
Sol getting ready to blow out her first birthday candle…..
My wife did an amazing job throwing Sol’s first birthday party. Thank you Reagan for all of your help. It was top notch across the boards, including her amazing letter to Sol. If you missed it, click here to read.
The party was great, BUT the present I really wanted to give Sol on her first birthday was not something that could be wrapped up.
I wanted to take her on her first rock climbing adventure!
We headed out to the local crag and set up shop. Sol looked a little nervous at first, but that’s to be expected.
It was her first time. But I could see it in her eyes, she was ready to crush it.
Stevie was quick to remind me that she can’t even walk yet, to which I replied, “we’re climbing, not walking, so lucky for her“!
Ok, ok, I get it. It’s not like she can really make it up the climb at this age, but that’s not the point is it. She had a ball crawling around all day trying to eat gravel. So that’s clearly a win.
Besides, I’ve got a long term plan here. I figure I only have about 20 years of balls-to-the-walls climbing left. After that, I’m gonna need a rope gun. If Sol starts now, by the time she’s 20 years old, she’ll have all the skills required to drag me up summits for the next 20 years.
That’s some well thought out strategy right there people.
Sure, it’s gonna be slow going at first. That’s why they call it a TWENTY year plan. Right now she’s in the “get used to the equipment” phase.
She got to try out her new gear and even roped up. I figure every time we take her to the crag, she can tie in and bounce around for fun. One day she’ll be strong enough to climb up, and by that time she’ll already have the trust in the equipment.
Below, Soleil getting rigged up in the new harness.
At some point, probably during the pregnancy, Stevie got wise to my plan and told me that she REALLY wanted to learn to climb. This surprised me.
“Really” I said. “Aside from your self proclaimed purple belt in karate at age 9, you’ve never been excited about sports”.
It’s true. Stevie has never expressed any real interest in my sports, despite having an athletic build and a passion for adventure. Over the years I took her kayaking, and I taught her to surf, but she always had a look of dread on her face when it was time to actually do those things, which left me wondering why she was doing them in the first place.
Below, Stevie mixing her karate background with her surf stance. Costa Rica, 2011
So why the excitement for rock climbing? Why now?
When I asked her, she gave me the best answer in the world.
“If Sol is going to be a rock climber, then I want to climb too. I want to be a good role model for my daughter”.
And that is why I have the best wife in the entire word!
She cut her nails (a very big deal), threw on her new harness, and got out there with Sol on her first climbing day!
I was in absolute heaven watching my two ladies have fun.
So here’s the kicker. After Sol did her thing, Stevie was up.
I’m gonna be honest here, and don’t take this the wrong way. I didn’t think that
a) she was going to like it,
b) that she was going to make it very far off the ground.
But I was stoked that she was giving it a try. I delivered my best words of encouragement and off she went.
To my surprise, and to the surprise of everyone around, Stevie literally RAN up the first rock climb. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. We were shocked.
The word “natural” would be a huge understatement! She absolutely crushed it. Every movement and every piece of footwork was just… fluid!
So we put her on a harder climb… and she finished it.
And then another harder climb. Same result. Crushed. It.
This just in people, my wife can rock climb. And hard.
It looks like we found our family sport. I’m pretty excited to be heading into Patagonia this winter. And as for my girls… I couldn’t be more stoked.