Road to the Rostrum

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Brian Boyd

Trad climber
Scottsdale, AZ
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 28, 2006 - 04:09pm PT
Hi all! I am new here, and am looking for some route suggestions.

I’ve been climbing on and off for a long time (since the late Seventies), but really haven’t done much in the last ten years. I started back again about two years ago. Between the lack of climbing and recovering from a broken hand, I was initially struggling to climb 5.8 in the gym. Things have improved a little since then – I’ve since redpointed a bunch of 11c sport routes, led Incredible Hand Crack on the first try, and done several V3 boulder problems.

I’ve been reading the ‘Self-Coached Climber’, and the book talks about having a big, hairy, audacious goal to work towards. My BHAG is going to be the Rostrum. I’ve done an internet search and found a number of trip reports and photos, crimpergirl’s being a great addition. I just received the SuperTopo ‘Yosemite Free Climbs’ guide as a holiday gift, which is a cool book overall and a great companion to my old Meyers/Reid guide. These have all been helpful for collecting beta on the route.

If I were to build a ticklist of Valley routes that culminate with the Rostrum, what would it look like? Given the variation between pitches, I would plan to include shorter routes that focus on specific technique, plus some longer routes for endurance. I would like to get on the Rostrum in about two years, with a couple of Valley trips in between. This gives me plenty of time to work on a route pyramid. As a reference point, my best difficulty days this fall were flashing 11c sport and 10d trad routes; my best endurance day was leading about 500’ of 5.9 and 5.10 hand and finger cracks. I recognize that I have a long way to go, and expect that my tick list will be long as well.

I live in Phoenix, so there is a lot of good crack climbing nearby, including Paradise Forks, Granite Mountain and Sedona. Joshua Tree is not that far either, and I’ve made two trips in the last year to Indian Creek. I recognize that the rock is very different at these crags, but would appreciate any route suggestions for these places as well.

I’ve made a number of Yosemite trips in the past, but nothing remotely on this level. The hardest longer routes that I have done include the East Buttresses of El Cap and Middle Cathedral, and the right side of the Folly. The hardest single pitch that I’ve led was Separate Reality back in ’94, although there was some dogging at the lip.

Any suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
snakefoot

climber
cali
Dec 28, 2006 - 04:12pm PT
Cookie....cookie....cookie....
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Dec 28, 2006 - 04:41pm PT
Hwy 41...
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 28, 2006 - 05:02pm PT
First of all, are you doing the BIG Rostrum or just the upper half? The first 3 pitches are high quality and lend truth to the route.

When I did it I was pretty dialed on the thin stuff so the tips and hands were pretty cruiser for me. If you're solid on Butterballs, Crack a Go Go and New Dimensions, you'll cruise the "hard stuff" on the Rostrum. The parts that worked me were the wide pitches. Do laps on Midterm and English Breakfast Crack 'till you puke. Once that doesn't work anymore (no puking, that is), the wide stuff on the Rostrum will feel fine.

Good luck, The NF Rostrum is surely one of the best climbs in the world.

Climb Safe,
Mal
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 28, 2006 - 06:12pm PT
Climb smooth cracks of all sizes and your good.

If you can train in Yosemite...

Reeds Direct laps
Lunatic Fringe
Leaning Meanie
New Dimensions
Generator crack
Red Zinger (perfect of the finger crux(
Outer Limits
Meat Grinder (similar to the right hand variation of Pitch 2)
Sacherer Cracker
Chingando
mid-term

Repeat as necessary, endurance? Just keep doing laps or fire the whole circuit of a crag

Peace

Karl
Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Dec 28, 2006 - 10:04pm PT
The climbs that Karl mentions are plenty hard enough for the Rostrum. If you can do those, you climb hard enough. But having enough endurance can be a big deal since the climb has a lot of stiff sections and it gets plenty steep. I’d advise leading one of these training routes, then quickly doing several laps on top rope. Then without much rest, pull your rope and lead it again. You want to be able to keep up the pace without getting tired, or failing that, to still lead with confidence even tired.

Likewise, at the Forks or the Creek, do the same drill of leading a climb and then doing several laps and then leading it again. Start with hard sizes and shift to hands once you get tired.

Don’t forget to do some face climbing on granite to develop your footwork.

Good luck.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 29, 2006 - 01:41am PT
When you are all done with that. Coat your floor with rice paper. If you can get to the kitchen with out breaking the paper only then, will you be ready.

Just kidding. The Rostrum is a hell of a route, I can't imagine a better one. You guys are right, endurance is key. After you get through the lower 5.11 pitches, there's still one that second to last pitch of thin hands yikes.

The Rostrum is a worthy goal, I may join you in your quest.
Tom
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 29, 2006 - 03:09am PT
Key to that thin hands pitch is stemming, but there's still a tricky thin crux up higher.

I think that last pitch is kinda scary. You're so worked and the pro sucks cause it's wide but easyish. i wouldn't carry a #5 camalot up there for it but kinda spooky

Peace

Karl
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 29, 2006 - 10:34am PT
Karl- That second to last pitch is the one I called the thin hands. I've always been pooped by the time I get there. I agree that the last pitch is spooky, though I've never led it. The conventional wisdom is the four at the bottom and go for it.

This working myself back in shape thing sounds interesting. I may have to hit the eastside crack circuit. Oh wait, good cracks are few and far between here. Think the happy boulders will help?
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 29, 2006 - 11:16am PT
Hey Tom, if you're at Owens, those old flooded 5.11 cracks on Riverside Island are actually good training - the left one is very similar to the fingers crux pitch of the Rostrum (but sharper, might want to tape). A few years ago we did a bolted traverse above the water so you can climb them, it's in the newest guide (traverse is low 5.10). You can just keep your rope dry if you use a 60m: lead, lower off to the anchors of Ratso and belay, lower your follower to the Ratso anchors, pull ropes, then once you rap to the deck, scramble around the big boulder to the right to pull the rope. Usually you can keep it completely dry.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 29, 2006 - 11:37am PT
"""i wouldn't carry a #5 camalot up there for it but kinda spooky""

Nope but I would definitly carry a number 4 for it. "

Yup, but a #4 tips out pretty quick and then you just have to send. I fished out a #5 from the back of that crack with a ski pole once. I'm sure there's another one stuck back there still.

Yeah, That second to last pitch is the thin hands I'm thinking about. I was all relieved when stemming made the overhung part seem reasonable but just before the belay it got thin and deliicate.

I don't know what the current rating for the second to last pitch of Blind Faith is. It used to be fairly overrated. Not too bad if you are good at wedgies.

Speaking of which, Blind Faith is a killer route (I got my friend to lead the 11a OW) and I hear Uprising is worth doing.

Peace

Karl
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Dec 29, 2006 - 12:02pm PT
The technically hard bits such as the 11c fingers and the thin hands at the top can be yarded through. Getting started on the last pitch is hard (but again can be yarded through), but the rest of this pitch is cruiser. By far the toughest section that can't be yarded through is the 10a wide section. Practice the wide stuff. Build up endurance. If you are moving too slowly, you can always bail halfway.

Also, if you aren't aware, the Rostrum will most likely be closed from February to late summer due to a peregrin closure.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Dec 30, 2006 - 08:42am PT
Did homey ask for the 'yard through' beta?, cuz I must've missed that part. What's next, the 2500' slingshot?

I myself have never climbed this thing, but the training alone sounds awesome. If you did all that and the Rostrum fell over you'd still have spent your time well. Enjoy the process.
Brian Boyd

Trad climber
Scottsdale, AZ
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2006 - 10:31am PT
Thanks for the suggestions! The falcon closings are OK, as I was planning on fall of '08. And, yes Mal, I would like to climb the whole thing.

Other than massively building my endurance, mastering hard thin cracks, and being able to thrutch through scary offwidths, this doesn't sound too hard. Getting the rice paper off my feet is proving a little tricky though.

Thanks again for all the advice.
chiranjeeb

climber
Dec 30, 2006 - 11:28am PT
This might be useful as well: The Road to Astroman. I'll never have the strength to climb 5.11, so I would love to have a TR once you are done with the Rostrum.

http://www.supertopo.com/topos/roadtoastro_intro.pdf
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Dec 30, 2006 - 03:29pm PT
I guess the OP asked more about a training regimine, than the route itself. But if you are interested in knowing what sort of routes would be good preparation for [safely] climbing the Rostrum, I think yard through potential would apply. Be rather strange to ask about a route on supertopo and then be surprised when somebody [gasp], posts the sort of beta that is in the supertopo of the route itself.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 30, 2006 - 08:06pm PT
Hey Greg. I'll check out those cracks. Every time i head to the gorge I say "i should bring a rack down one of these days" and then I never do. I mean it this time, I'm bringing a rack down next time I go.

Back to the Rostrum, I once took a top rope on the 11c pitch of blind faith, off the ledge. It was killer and seemed to be a lot harder than the Rostrum 11c pitch right next to it.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Dec 31, 2006 - 10:57am PT
Maybe that's because the 1st of Blind Faith is rated .11d.

Uprising is really good, although a bit serious getting out
to the crack. Then you need to remember to bring pro for the top. Otherwise that can be a tad serious too...
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 31, 2006 - 11:03am PT
I just pulled out the old guide book. You're right its 11d. That'll explain it. Either way it was a tremendous pitch. The rest of the route looks good too.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 31, 2006 - 12:37pm PT
Blind Faith is an absolutely killer route. The thin pitch alone is worth the approach. But the wide and the setting is the reward.
The final 10a pitch (shared by both routes)is the perfect ego check for when you think you 'have it in the bag'.
But,
WTF is a "wedgie"?

Also, to the OP, is doing the whole thing in one shot moreorless onsight essential? What about training, then doing the botttom pitches as a reality check then doing the whole enchillada at a later date, having the confidence of knowing you have the bottom dialed?

Kind of a hangdog approach, I realize, but something to think about.
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