Yosemite National Park, CA: The Rostrum "The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu / by Drew Smith

The first time I ever came to Yosemite to climb was in October of 2011. It was terrifying arriving to the Valley looking up at the massive walls and very intimidating camping at the popular camp ground, Camp 4. In my mind I felt like everyone around me was a pro climber, I was new at trad climbing and still struggled with crack climbing. I spent days cragging with other climbers I met at Camp 4 doing a lot of top roping because the climbing was to difficult for me to lead comfortably. Two weeks or so I spent in Yosemite dreaming of one day getting on the big walls, El Capitan and Half Dome, and also had dreams of climbing some of the hard classic free climbs throughout the Valley. One of those climbs was The Rostrum, a steep eight pitch 5.11c climb with sustained crack climbing ranging from fingers to offwidths.
Since that first time to Yosemite I’ve returned a number of times, ticking off the climbs I dreamed of climbing and now its been three years since that first terrifying experience rolling into the Valley. In those three years my life has been climbing with months here and there of work to fund the addiction.
On October 7th, 2014, I awoke meeting up with my climbing partner Jack Cramer and we headed for The Rostrum. I new I was ready for this climb now but still was very nervous. We were the first party to arrive at the base and Jack took the first lead making it look easy. I arrived to the belay racked up and Jack recommended heading right to a 5.10d flare variation, I went up struggling going up and down trying to figure out how to get up through the flare almost falling several times. I kept telling myself I cant fall on the second pitch, I backed down for the third time then yelled and proceeded to layback the moves avoiding getting inside the flare. Jack lead another pitch arriving just below the 11c finger crack crux, I took the lead sending the crux, screaming with excitement! No way I was going to fall now! Four more sustained pitches we climbed, I topped out the last pitch in disbelief! I had finally sent The Rostrum! What a dream, what a dream.
Getting back to Camp 4, climbing The Rostrum isn’t really a big deal many people climb it everyday and many people climb more difficult routes. But for me this is a reason I keep climbing. I think of how I felt three years ago and how climbs that I’ve done now seemed impossible. Year after year I keep making improvements and its climbs like this that give me the drive to continue on pushing myself with climbing.         

This short video clip is me following the 7th pitch that Jack lead.