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West Face - Left Side
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Blank, The T 
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Jonah T 
Legends of the Fall T 
Manwich T,TR 
Piton Pooper T 
Trough, The T 
Upper Royal's Arch T 

The Trough 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: Jim Smith, Bob Brinton and Z. Jasitas, August 1936
Page Views: 12,648
Submitted By: mschlocker on Sep 17, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (112)
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BETA PHOTO: Some dudes are on The Trough. Notice the large tr...


The first route up Tahquitz, and one of the easiest. Three long pitches of cracks and chimneys. Belay 1 near end of rope at decent stance. Belays 2 and 3 are from large trees. The last pitch is a short friction pitch up to the top. A great climb to get into the multi-pitch groove.

A few other climbs start from Pine Tree Ledge (Belay #2).


Head straight above Lunch Rock (around left side) to the base of the cliff. Head left onto ledges. The obvious break between the West Face Bulge and the West Face is the climb. Rope up at the ledge and head up and left to gain The Trough. Climb then diagonals up and right.


Mostly medium gear. Lots of stuff in the 1-3 Camalot range. Slings for trees. A competent climber can get away with a minimal rack.

Photos of The Trough Slideshow Add Photo
The final bit of friction to the top. With my frie...
The final bit of friction to the top. With my frie...
Alternate start: left side splitter crack and sque...
BETA PHOTO: Alternate start: left side splitter crack and sque...
Looking upo the trough toward Piton Pooper (5.7+) ...
Looking upo the trough toward Piton Pooper (5.7+) ...
Looking up the first pitch of the Trough.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up the first pitch of the Trough.
We opted to stray away from the direct line up the...
We opted to stray away from the direct line up the...
Looking down the first pitch of the Trough
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the first pitch of the Trough
My girlfriend, Devon finishing IMO the mental crux...
My girlfriend, Devon finishing IMO the mental crux...

Comments on The Trough Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 22, 2015
By Mar' Himmerich
From: Santa Fe, NM
Aug 25, 2008

My first route on the Big Stone. In the winter, this is a great ice climb! Bring a couple baby angles and LAs for the pitch after the tree.
By Pat C
From: Honolulu
May 3, 2009

First lead ever.
By Steve W Smith
From: Groveland, CA
Jul 1, 2010

This is a great first lead route.
For it's rating it's fun enough with a few challenges to keep your interest. The friction descent is common sense route finding to get you back down. I was concerned until I saw and did it.
By The Gray Tradster
Jul 1, 2010

For a bit of historical perspective,

This climb was the original definition of 5.0
By Dean Olson
Jul 13, 2011
rating: 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c

So it was my first trip up there and I was looking for the shoes that were still on my feet. I finally realized this after a few minutes and the guy doing Jam Crack right next to us, with a glint of knowing in his eye, says, "Sounds like it's gonna be a REALLY good adventure."

Fun climb, anyone could do it high.
By Josh Cameron
From: Moab, Colorado
Jul 17, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

I remember climbing this several years back and I'm sitting at the first belay and I see Michael Reardon soloing Piton Pooper. He made it look like a walk in the park. About five minutes later I'm still at the first belay and he's downclimbing The Trough. We talked for a couple minutes (I gave him the whole "Oh my gosh, your Michael Reardon!" treatment) and when I leaned to the side to let him by he told me to stay put because he was in my way! He downclimbed past me again at the second belay and we talked some more. He had such a humble and mellow manner about him. He was truly inspiring, not just for how he climbed but for how he treated a guy who was using gear to climb UP what he was soloing down.
By steple
Jul 31, 2011

Rack: I was fine with a set of nuts and 6 cams between 0.3 and 4. Also long slings to reduce ropedrag and belay of trees.

Communication on pitch 3 is hard/impossible if you go the full 50 meters to the big tree (start of 4th class).
By x15x15
Sep 23, 2011

soloing is such a personal experience, i just don't get how one can recommend any climb as a great first freesolo. pretty slow times you posted too... just trying to figure out how any of this free solo info is relevent. forums are great place to spray...
By Jim Dover
From: Idyllwild, Ca
Sep 24, 2011

First multi-pitch a year ago and first lead with a less experienced climber today. The second pitch seems...awkward and harder in places than I remembered. Maybe the pressure of the day today. Still a stellar day and a stellar climb.
By Tradoholic
Oct 22, 2011
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

Easier than 5.4 and never exposed, it would be an excellent first lead. It should be mentioned that the final pitch goes up behind the big pine tree.
By Art Tom
From: Valencia, CA
Oct 25, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13

This was my first lead as well, did it way back in 88. Very enjoyable and clean.
By Raquel ROCKY Robles
From: Encinitas, CA
May 25, 2012

First time on this route. Led the 1st 2 pitches on 4.10.12. There were snow and some areas on the 2nd pitch was wet. Super fun!!
By david doucette
May 12, 2013
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Just climbed this today, 5.12.13 (did it a couple of time a few years ago). Route is nice and dry with a couple of wet spots deep in some of the cracks. Great intro for tahquitz. There are a couple of challenging moves for its rating;

1. Second Pitch - coming out of the 1st belay. protectable but awkward. takes gear well.
2. Third pitch - offwidth midway thru. difficult first move to get in the offwidth.
3. Fourth Pitch - going above of pine tree ledge (perfect place for lunch BTW), some face moves with minimal protection. One or two committing moves here but then protectable.

For a new leader, this is not a cakewalk but very protectable and enjoyable.
By ChaseLeoncini
From: San Diego, California
Jul 9, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Easily 3 pitches by combining pitches 3 and 4 but it becomes very difficult to hear.
By Ben Crowell
Jun 22, 2014
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Fun climb calling for a variety of crack and face techniques.

Between the start of the climb and the pine tree ledge there are two possible belay stations, one on a large sloping ledge and then another on a small ledge. I assume the description here is talking about skipping the large sloping ledge.

Gaines describes an optional belay at an oak tree to break up the final pitch, but it's a pretty lousy option. The tree isn't big enough to inspire confidence, there are not a lot of other solid options for building a redundant gear anchor, and the tree is positioned below the natural perch for the belayer.
By Mat Kelliher
From: Van Nuys, CA
Jun 25, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

My first multi-pitch trad climb!!
By Robert Hall
Aug 26, 2014

Did this 2 yrs ago. At one point (3rd, 4th P ??) I remember getting into "V" groove type move with a 2" crack at the top that I thought was harder than 5.3-5.4; but later someone told me that there you are supposed to LEAVE the "GOOOVE" and climb the face to the right, something I never thought to do (so much for guidebooks!), I mean you've been cruising up this groove for several hundred feet. Perhaps the folk rating it 5.6 did the same as I did. ???
By Eric Holden
From: Temecula, CA
Dec 9, 2014
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13

First Multipitch Trad climb! Lead pitches 1 and 3 while my partner did pitch 2. Our first time climbing on Tahquitz. Rock was still wet from the rains a few days ago which made for some slippery moss covered fun. Great times! No webbing on any of the trees so please make sure you bring your own for anchor building.
By Gary Schenk
Jan 22, 2015
rating: 5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c

Saw a copy of the original mimeographed guide to Tahquitz. The Trough was rated third class!
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