The North Face Of the Rostrum

The North Face Of the Rostrum

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.74000°N / 119.58°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.11C
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 8
Sign the Climber's Log


Park above the Rostrum on highway 41. Park west of Wawona tunnel at the end of a long stone wall. Hike down slabs and then down a steep trail on the west side of the Rostrum. Towards the bottom there is a drop off that requires four 70 foot raps to reach the base of the North Face.
Classic View
Classic View

Route Description

The Rostrum is probably the most enjoyable multi-pitch 5.11 in Yosemite Valley. Pitch after pitch of clean, steep and outstanding crack climbing.

Pitch 1. 5.9 - Lie-back and jam your way past a piton and exit to the belay station via a 5.8 squeeze chimney.

Pitch 2. 5.11a - Step off from the belay ledge and do a short traverse left. Climb up and into a short fingercrack which starts really thin (5.11a crux). Do several pumpy moves before you get in a perfect hand jam. Continue up a varied crack via jamming and some lie-backing. Jams in the upper portion of this pitch are wide.

Pitch 3. 5.10b - One of the best pitches on route. Jam and lieback up a mostly hand to cupped hands sized crack and through a short roof (crux). The corner above is incredible with thought provoking stemming moves close to the belay ledge.

Pitch 4. 5.11c - climb up a few feet of easy but unprotected slab till you get into a beautiful splitter finger-crack. Look for small edges on the face - they create pretty good stances for placing pro. Gun it through the last 10 feet of the finger-crack into a "rest" from which you can place gear. Get as much rest as you can and prepare for the final punch. Steep flakes that are more like face climbing than a lie-back take you to the final thin crack and to a alternative belay ledge. The pitch continues up enjoyable hand and fist jamming to a bolted belay.

5.11c fingercrack
5.11c fingercrack - pitch 4 (crux)

Pitch 5. 5.10d - Even though rated 5.10d you will see some good whippers on this one. Incredible hand, finger and fist jamming take you to below a giant roof. Protect at the lip and gun it up about 10 feet of strenuous lie-backing to another bolted belay.

Pitch 6. 5.10c - The technical crux is 5.10c face traverse right into a crack system. Majority however, will find the real crux to be the 5.10a OW higher. Jam your knee and stack your way up a left leaning OW. Don't forget the #5 cam! Airy step right to a bolted belay.

Pitch 5 of the Rostrum
Pitch 5 of the Rostrum

Pitch 7. 5.11b - Step left from an overhanging hand crack and climb up steep cracks till it becomes overhanging. Finger lock and stem before making a leap for the jug in the end of this incredible pitch. WOW

Pitch 8. 5.9 - Probably least enjoyable pitch of the climb. Traverse right under a roof and get into a wide crack which bulges - very awkward. Continue up an OW which widens and loses its steepness as it progresses. Leave your #5 and run it out to the top. Or take the 5 with you since the rope might push it into the crack if you don't extend it.

Congrats, you just climbed one of the most classic free climbs in the World!

Essential Gear

Double rack from BD 0.3-3. Single #4 and #5 BD camalots are important to protect the wide pitch. #6 BD is optional for the last pitch if you don't want to run it out on wide 5.7.
Pitch 7
Pitch 7

Miscellaneous Info

Seasonal closures for Peregrine nesting are usually in effect. Check the NPS web site for updates: