Many Happy Returns, 5.9

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 34.45470°N / 119.6235°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.9
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 1
Additional Information Grade: I
Sign the Climber's Log


Topo of the route
Lower slab

Many Happy Returns is the name of a route on San Ysidro Rock in the San Ysidro Canyon in the Santa Ynez Mountains, an area in the Los Padres National Forest of Southern California.

Many Happy Returns is one of the best routes to be established on this formation by the late Rick Mosher and his then young and talented climbing partner, Curt Dixon. The lower slab was completely covered with lichen and the upper crack has grass growing out of it. Although a few routes had been done in the early part of the 1970s, it wasn't until the late seventies that a greater effort was put into developing Many Happy Returns. During the 1990s, the local climber, Steve Tucker replaced the old 1/4 bolts with much beefier and safer ones. It is important to know that this route is by no means a sport route. There are only a few bolts on the entire route to be supplemented by your own gear.

Many Happy Returns is located to the right of the main gully that divides the San Ysidro Rock in half. The first route to the right of the gully is Great Race. The next one is Peels of Laughter, and the next one is Many Happy Returns.

Route description

This route starts on a very thin slab protected by only one bolt to reach a great ledge, some twenty feet up from the base. Note: Many people opt for the easy scramble to the right of the slab to reach this ledge.
A steep face protected by another bolt leads to a crack in a left facing dihedral, the crux of the route. Above the dihedral, climb a seam with rounded edges which leads to easier climbing and the top. There are a number of bolt anchors on the top.

To Descend

The best way to descend is to rappel from the anchor bolts as the erosion has turned the gully into NOT the best option.

Essential Equipment

Carry a 60 meter rope and a standard rack of nuts and cams to 2 inches.

Keith on the left facing corner
At the start of thin crack
Upper face
Mathew past the crux

Getting There

From Highway 101 take the San Ysidro Exit and head toward the mountains. Drive to Montecito Village where San Ysidro Road intersects East Valley Road. Turn right on East Valley Road and cross a small bridge to Park Lane. Turn left on Park Lane and veer left onto Mountain Drive. A short drive up Mountain Drive will bring you to the trailhead sign. Park off the pavement, please. We’d like to keep the access open and free.

Head up the well marked San Ysidro to Camino Cielo trailhead passed private properties and public and fire roads. There are two locked gates for fire trucks. Go around these two gates. In about fifteen minutes you will see the main rock formation on your left. About 200 hundred feet before reaching the rock, drop down a short distance and cross the creek on rocks. A short hike up the canyon will bring you to the first climb, Vanishing Flakes. Walk past the left half of San Ysidro Rock to a large gully. Many Happy Returns is to the right of this gully and starts on an obvious slab with a bolt in its middle.

Poison Oak

Poison oak

I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, however, a tip from a friend has saved my life many time for the past fifteen years. The tip is that if you rub alcohol where you think you may have come in contact with poison oak the oils will break down before they have time to penetrate the skin. I carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol with me for that exact purpose. I am extremely allergic to Poison Oak, and I have not had any allergic reactions since I started this practice.



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