REI Community
30 - The Rostrum
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blind Faith T 
Kauk-kulator T 
Le Bachar T 
North Face, The T 
Notch Route, The T 
Static Cling T 
Unsorted Routes:

The North Face 

YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 700'
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Denny & Harding - 1962
FFA: Kauk & Yablonski - 1977
Carrigan got the final pitch Yaniro did the Alien finish
Page Views: 46,982
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Sep 23, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (156)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]
Skip Guerin barefoot on the Alien Roof (5.12b), Yo...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


The Rostrum is a truly rad climb. Every pitch is high quality and would be sought after individual classics were they at any crag, but stacked on top of each other they create a superb and memorable challenge. The climbing is secure, well protected, and physical.

Park at the pullout along the stone wall, or just past it at a dirt pullout. Follow the trail(which begins just west of the stone wall) down past some slabs and on to an obvious rappel point on a tree. Two more raps (all with a single 60m) take you to within 25 feet of the base.

P1: Ascend a large left-facing crack/flake system to a final 5.8 squeeze chimney with a wild exit move. Belay above the maw at bolts. It helps to step left at a tree halfway up this pitch. 5.9.

P2: Three options.

1): Downclimb ten feet and traverse left to a thin crack system. This traverse is balancey with minimal hands and sloping feet. Climb back up until level with the belay, place gear (black Alien helpful) and punch it up the thin layback/fingerlock crack until it is possible to stem right to a flake at which point the climbing eases. Continue to a belay stance on blocks with a good pin. 5.11a.

2): Ascend the aforementioned left-facing flake straight up from the belay. This goes at 5.10- and is R without large gear. It appears extremely secure, however.

3): Ascend a 5.10d flare to the right of the belay. This looks less appealing than the previous options.

P3: A long pitch. Perform a difficult layback move off the belay up into the hand crack system. Climb amazing steep hands to a roof, lieback and jam up through the roof, and up yet another awesome handcrack to a final stretch of jugs that lead to the halfway ledge. Belay at a pin on the ledge. 5.10.

P4: The crux. Climb an easy ramp to a stance immediately below the pumpy but locker splitter finger crack. Up this for 25 feet to a thank-god hand jam and rest stance. It's hard to fully recover here unless you can get your knee in, but I suggest getting as much back as you can. Launch into an extremely pumpy layback flake, past a pin, for another 20 feet. The pump is cumulative but complete recovery is possible if you can pull over the top. Clip the optional anchor and traverse straight left to a right-facing wall with a steep 5.9 hand crack. Follow this up to a bolted belay. 5.11c.

P5: Two options.

1): Continue up the steep, slick right-facing corner with good jams separated by long reaches. Pull around a small roof at the top. Belay at bolts. 5.10d.

2): "The Uprising". Step right and climb the sick, overhanging hands & fists crack up the face right of the traditional line. If you climb the Uprising, it makes a lot of sense to link it into the next pitch. 5.11.

P6: Take the big cam out of the pack. Tricky face climbing right leads to a steep crack on the arete. At the top perform a difficult crack switch move to gain the 5.10 offwidth. Solid knee locks, hand stacks, and pushing of a 4.5 Camalot (#5 C4) over your head will get you to the top. I found it quite enjoyable, but others have called it the crux. There is a bolt and other small pro available on this pitch, and strong OW climbers could do without the large cam -- but since you need it for the standard final pitch (and can place it on many other pitches), you may as well bring it. Also, it makes for a truly stupendous pitch to link this OW into the next pitch -- just save your hand-size cams. Otherwise, belay at bolts. 5.10.

P7: Three options.

1) The traditional (and apparently best) line is to mantle through a bit of bird shit and then climb up to a large, fin-shaped feature that sticks straight out of the wall. Ascend the left side of this with wild jams to some great stem rests. Belay at a bolt in the alcove under the final headwall. Soft for 5.11b.

2) Supposedly it is also possible to ascend the right side of this fin at 5.10d but it doesn't seem as good.

3) There's also the "Excellent Adventure" variation but I didn't even look at it. I think that, as you climb up next to the fin, there's a finger crack out left that can be followed diagonally up to under the final headwall. 5.13?

P8: Three options.

1) The most common finish is to traverse straight right on easy ground, then up into a final 5.9 offwidth. There is a difficult (5.10+) move to gain the OW, but once you're in it it is rather easy (especially compared to the offwidth below). Your big cam will protect the first half of the crack, but be warned that if you leave it behind the rope frequently will drag the cam irretrievably into the crack. It's better to use it as long as possible, then pull it out, and gun for the top -- do not fall. Belay at a fixed anchor on a tree.

2) The Alien Finish heads straight out the roof at 5.12b. From under the roof it is possible to place a 0.75 Camalot to protect the initial moves. These involve powerful moves from a great jam to a good undercling to either a thin finger jam over the lip or a flake. The difficulties continue beyond this as you ascend twin finger cracks up the steep headwall. Eventually you must switch cracks (by some bolts) to the original finish -- it is possible to switch cracks lower down at an obvious chalked up flake. The upper part of the pitch is sustained rattley fingers -- save gear for this!

3) The original finish is just left of the Alien and is also 5.12b. I haven't climbed it and don't know too much about it, other then that you hand traverse left under the roof to access it (or do the "Excellent Adventure").

From the summit block, rap down into the notch, then do 35 feet of 5.4-5.5 up the other side to get back on the trail up to the road. It's also worth noting that if you want to only do the top half of the climb, or need to bail after the first half, passage to and from the trail and halfway ledge is possible via a short 5.6 traverse.


Double set of cams from fingers to wide hands. Include one tiny (black Alien) piece, and one large (#4.5 Camalot/#5 C4) piece. Single set of wires. Half a dozen draws & a couple slings.

Photos of The North Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: TRing the Alian Finish
TRing the Alian Finish
Rock Climbing Photo: Jack climbs the second to last pitch
Jack climbs the second to last pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch seven
Pitch seven
Rock Climbing Photo: 1978
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the sickest splitters out there. Photo by B...
One of the sickest splitters out there. Photo by B...
Rock Climbing Photo: The best pitch of the climb
The best pitch of the climb
Rock Climbing Photo: Every pitch on this climb is outstanding.  This is...
Every pitch on this climb is outstanding. This is...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber coming up pitch 5 (10+) of the Rostrum Nor...
Climber coming up pitch 5 (10+) of the Rostrum Nor...
Rock Climbing Photo: at the end of the "crux" section.
at the end of the "crux" section.
Rock Climbing Photo: Josh F. firing the 11c fourth pitch of the Rostrum...
Josh F. firing the 11c fourth pitch of the Rostrum...
Rock Climbing Photo: The view of the The Rostrum from the bottom.
The view of the The Rostrum from the bottom.
Rock Climbing Photo: The notorious pitch 6 5.10 offwidth of the Rostrum...
The notorious pitch 6 5.10 offwidth of the Rostrum...
Rock Climbing Photo: At a nice rest partway through the crux section.  ...
At a nice rest partway through the crux section. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is what the flake at the start of P2 did to a...
BETA PHOTO: This is what the flake at the start of P2 did to a...
Rock Climbing Photo: buddy Mike following the 5th pitch. definitely doi...
buddy Mike following the 5th pitch. definitely doi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Josh F. on the 11a second pitch of the Rostrum.
Josh F. on the 11a second pitch of the Rostrum.
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Coleman in the perfect hands on pitch 3.
Eric Coleman in the perfect hands on pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: After the crux on pitch 4.
After the crux on pitch 4.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike heading into the OW section on P6
Mike heading into the OW section on P6
Rock Climbing Photo: Tring the alien finish
Tring the alien finish

Comments on The North Face Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 28, 2016
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 23, 2006

Back in the days before this became a popular free climb, it was a fun route to learn aid climbing on. I remember starting from above, rapping (or downclimbing?) to the middle ledge, where we left our haul bag. Then you'd rap to the bottom and begin the route. By evening you'd be right at the ledge, and bivy on the great half-way ledge. The second day you'd top out, hauling the bag. Topping out over the big roof was a blast.
By Zach Allen
Jan 26, 2007

What is the gear for the 10- wide variation of the second pitch, if you don't want to run it out?
By Paul Hunnicutt
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 22, 2007

If you aren't strong on offwidths, but want to do this amazing climb, bring two #5 camalots and leap frog them.
By stevecurtis
From: Petaluma California
Mar 30, 2008

This one is my favorite climb. Pure enjoyment. Last summer a friend and I started at 0900, and he was married in the valley chapel at 1600. Dedication.
It is possible to go straight up the crack on the first pitch rather than traversing left.

I've seen some accidents on the third pitch. That lay back is slippery, and the landing an ankle breaker.
The first pitch of blind faith is superb, but the OW above will tear you up.
The uprising is secure for someone with moderate size hands. Go high and place gear before the traverse. Then back clean the first hand sized piece or two in the crack. #3 camalots are all you need above the initial #2 section.
The last overhanging hands pitch is my favorite 11A anyplace.

A knee may fit really well before the last few tough OW moves.
By Rob Kepley
From: Westminster,CO
Oct 15, 2008
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

One of the best routes I have ever done, period! What a great way to end a trip!
By Brad G
From: 1994 Honda Civic
Mar 3, 2009

Can you link Blind Faith with the Uprising?
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Aug 15, 2009

I understand that this is a classic free route, but I wonder if anyone ever aids this for fun/practice (all clean of course). Has anyone done it recently?
By Alexey
From: San Jose
Aug 31, 2009

excellent description of the route Josh Janes, nothing to add, thanks
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Dec 13, 2009

Excellent description Josh, thanks. However, I do have one question for those of you who have done this route. I almost always carry a four foot draw with me when I trad climb for many reasons, one of which is, so that I can put it on a piece of gear (say an RP before a runout) that I want to be sure won't move. Thus, it is hard for me to understand why putting a four foot draw on a big cam wouldn't stop the rope from pushing the big cam far back into the offwidth and thus losing it. Is there something special about the orientation of this pitch that having a long draw on the big cam would not solve this problem?
Thanks Dean. What you are saying makes sense, i.e. the rope drags over the cam and literally pushes it in. Cheers.
By Dean Hoffman
Jan 5, 2010

In regards to the # 4 placement on the last pitch its not a matter of the cam walking in as much as it is the rope will push the cam deep, deep, deep into the crack. The long sling won't help because of where your last piece is. The beta we got from Ted Roberts was "It don't matter whose lead it is, whoever is the least worked takes the sharp end... Get into the OW and walk that #4 as far as you can, when it doesn't fit anymore take it out. I never heard of anyone falling and you probably wouldn't die... but don't blow it you might die." I was skeptical until all of a sudden the #4 didn't fit anymore and I thought good god Ted was right and clipped the 4 to my harness.! Awesome route a must do.
By Evan Stevens
Oct 9, 2010

Excellent adventure clocks in at 13-, and there is no crux that hard. First half which is left of the 7th pitch of the Rostrum 11b is 12- until you get a squatting rest under the main roof. From there you continue up the Rostrum Roof which is rated 12d, big pulls on big finger locks. All in all a 45m pitch, which is mind blowing. A #4 camalot is useful under the roof.
By snowhazed
From: Oakland, Ca
Oct 28, 2010

You can leave the big cam in the final ow- just extend your anchor from the summit tree back to the top of the crack. Voila- the rope wont even touch the cam. Sick route- so hard!
By Pavel K
Jan 6, 2011

the best route I have done so far. clean and varied.
good route beta above. I would say the P4 is soft at 11.c. On the other hand, I found P5 with the 10.d roof quite hard and exhausting.
The P6 OW is a lot of work but actually quite secure when pushing a #5 Camalot in front of you.
By David Aguasca!
From: New York
Aug 6, 2011

Such a rad climb. It's a bummer that someone felt it was necessary to put a bolt on the P6 offwidth. Does anyone know what the deal with it is? Was it a historical bolt that was replaced or someone just too lazy to bring a 5" piece?
By Scotty Nelson
From: Boulder
Jul 12, 2012

Is the Rostrum still closed?
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Oct 23, 2012

Definitely recommend taking the left option on P2. Not too hard and very good climbing. (especially compared to your alternatives...)

My experience was that extending the anchor atop the final pitch wasn't enough to keep the rope from pushing my #5 irretrievably into the crack. Doing it again, I'd pull the thing out.
By Rob Dillon
Oct 30, 2012

So about 3/4 of the way up the last [wide var.] pitch there's a horizontal crack out to the right. Plug a 1.5"-2.5" piece in here and clip it a bit short and it should keep the rope from shoving your big cam back in there.

That's my good deed for the day. Off to help old ladies across the street.
By Greg Barnes
Nov 30, 2012

It's a bummer that someone felt it was necessary to put a bolt on the P6 offwidth. Does anyone know what the deal with it is? Was it a historical bolt that was replaced or someone just too lazy to bring a 5" piece?
I replaced it - it was an old original 1/4" with Leeper. We (Jack Hoeflich and I) considered just chopping it, but not everyone had big cams at that point. We did debate about it. We decided the opposite on the single remaining 1/4" bolt along the final pitch of the Good Book. In that case the offwidth is the final pitch so if you don't bring big cams you can just rap.
By Sirius
From: Oakland, CA
Aug 7, 2015

This climb surpasses the hype, holy hell it's good.

It's included behind a button on the top of this page, but this is the direct link to the Peregrine closures:

I wouldn't recommend two #5's. Even if you're sketched on wide pitches, you can mostly keep a running TR with a single #5 from the end of the stem.

BURY your waste DEEPLY if you're going to use the bathroom at the bottom of the raps. No excuse for the swamp of toilet paper and deuce stacks that have accumulated 15m east of the p1 start.

Description above shows the Uprising as 5.11. I think .11+ would be fair. It's not the steep/burly section below, it's the accumulation and then the sting of the off-fingers rooflet above that gets you. Traverse into it seemed heads up - better not to fall.
By Patrick Vernon
From: Estes Park, CO
Sep 16, 2015
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

What an amazing route! The crux on this route, while hard, almost feels like on of the least strenuous pitches. The .10d dihedral is where the all day pump starts to set in. The start to the sixth pitch ofwidth was hard and a litte heady. Traverse a little lower than you think. The offwidth was fine with one #5 c4 and one #4 c4. I am pretty bad at offwidths and found this safe enough to slide the 5 up, even take on it once in a while. Cant wait to get back to this route. Every pitch is amazing.
By 20 kN
From: Hawaii
Oct 20, 2015
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13

Maybe I was having a poor day (probably since I got up at 4 AM), but this route felt extremely hard for 11c. Maybe no single move is harder than .11c, but the route felt quite rather sustained at 5.11. Then again it does have a lot of wide crack on it, and I suck at wide crack, so.... Anyway, it is a great route and totally worth doing.

We took the 5.10"R" middle flake on P2. Mind the feet are a bit slippery. You can protect the entire flake with cams, but the flake seems if it's just suspended in thin air and it's probably only a matter of time before it drops and cleans an entire party off the wall. I would avoid taking whips on cams behind the giant flake.
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Oct 21, 2015

You must have been having a bad day, KN! I thought the crux was soft for 11c... But the whole route is very sustained at 11a. Lots of slippery burl and pumpy cracks of all sizes.
By Mei
Oct 17, 2016

I uploaded a photo of a core-shot rope from another party who bailed when the leader took a fall at the flake at the bottom of P2.

The route is distinctive in that it has a ledge above 3 pitches that people can cut in. What do you guys think about cut-in etiquettes?

One Sunday, my partner and I started early. He led P3, and I arrived at the ledge a few seconds before a cut-in party. I continued on to lead P4, so they waited. We did pull away from them, but from high up, I saw another cut-in party show up. So, when the thru party who started at the base behind us both reached the ledge, they had to wait for the two cut-in parties before they could start on P4. Later I heard, they didn't top out, but I don't know the exact reason.

I felt extremely lucky with our timing because I wanted to get home in the Bay Area for the 6pm presidential debate and I made it. But this experience makes me wonder what can be expected on the route nowadays with many people only going for a part of the route.
By Vlad S
Oct 18, 2016

You can expect to wait in line behind some wanker noobs who are not yet ready to do the whole route in a day. It's not a recent phenomenon.
By Raddam6
Oct 25, 2016
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

The route was so busy that we tried to lead out the rappel route. Highly NOT RECOMMENDED. Just wait or even cross the river and hitchhike if you MUST bail.
By EJoe
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Nov 6, 2016
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Gear beta for the alien roof:

Singles- green alien, orange metolius, BD #2
Doubles- yellow alien, BD #.5, BD #.75
Optional- blue alien, extra BD #.75, BD #3

I should point out that I switched cracks at the first bolt. You could probably drop one of your BD #.5s if switching at the second bolt. Take the optional gear if you're not expecting to float the pitch.
By Dan Ressler
Nov 28, 2016

This route was one of the best climbing experiences I've had. Trip report here.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About