As you can likely tell, posts have been few and far between this fall. Two months of splitter weather have resulted in oodles of time outside in Yosemite. Lizzy has been running up a storm and I have been keeping busy climbing.
The big plan for this fall was Astroman and come September I was unsure that I was on track. After a series of emails, I had a blind date set up for the Rostrum. I wanted to check up on my fitness and was excited to get back on this amazing route. The Rostrum is one of the best multipitch crack routes that I’ve done. Each pitch presents a different challenge and move after move of awesome jamming.
It was the first time on the route for my partner Will and I convinced him to take the harder pitches. This allowed me to lead some of the pitches I had followed previously. Both of us were psyched to the max and you can read Will’s version of our adventure here. Our day went well and I was able to push through the pump while leading and managed to do the crux with our pack! It was a great time spent savoring steep granite. We finished in the early afternoon and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the Valley.
Sometimes I get fixated on something and that weekend it was the Rostrum. I spent Sunday afternoon working on the Alien roof and started making plans to come back immediately for Blind Faith. The Alien is super steep and it was quiet exciting to lower over the lip for a few top-rope burns. Sunday of the next weekend rolled around and James and I were headed back to the Rostrum again. All week I had been reading and psyching myself up for the route.
The first pitch was the crux and delivered a hearty dose of difficulty. The rattly fingers and finger stacks were insecure and I struggled to place gear. I ended up hanging a few times before getting into the thin hands which lead to the top. Despite my fondness for the 2″ crack size, I couldn’t manage my pump and hung again at the crack switch. Eventually the crack widened to awesome hands and I flew up to the anchor!
The next two pitches are wide and cause many people to rappel after the first pitch. James did an excellent job on the first, learning to handstack on the fly, then I got the crux third pitch. This offwidth is amazingly splitter and slowly shrinks from 7″ to nothing. I rode our #6 camalot for a while before getting into awesome hand stacks and knee locks (#5 camalot). The angle was fairly steep so it was essential to stay relaxed and rest when possible. The final moves deposit you at the anchor for the sixth pitch of the North Face route.
Instead of the final Blind Faith pitch I was excited to check out Croft’s Excellent Adventure. The Reid guide shows this as solid 5.13, but I had heard that the bottom part was only 5.12-. With this in mind, I set off up the regular route’s 7th pitch and stepped left to the finger crack. I struggled my way up some 5.11 moves before running out steam. I tried to keep climbing but the crack turned to tips and I became an aid climber. It seems it could be doable at 12b/c but would require far more energy than I had.
Our day still had excitement in store, since nature decided to turn on the sprinklers. During my long “aid” lead, rain clouds had moved over the Rostrum and the final pitch was slightly wet. Luckily I had a #6 camalot to provide some security for the final section of wide climbing.
These two great weekends of adventures on the Rostrum kicked off my fall Yosemite season and put me on the road to Astroman! The Excellent Adventure will need some more recon before I give it another lead attempt. Also I need to refine my finger stacking ability to redpoint the crux of Blind Faith.