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Selaginella T 


YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 560'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Wally Reed and Jim Posten, 9/63
Season: Spring/Fall
Page Views: 11,196
Submitted By: John Knight on Jan 28, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (160)
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BETA PHOTO: Route overlay for Commitment+Selaginella, a fun li...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


Selaginella (5.8) offers liebacks, face climbing, off-width chimney climbing, and good ol' crack climbing. The route is sustained and committing and a real challenge for a 5.8 leader.

P1 - There are 2 potential starts, but the right side is cleaner and more aesthetic. The first pitch is 165' and ascends a series of hand cracks, fist cracks, and off-width cracks. Belay at the stump or continue left and up to the rap station.

P2 - Work your way up using your off-width and chimney skills to a belay about 120' up. Be sure to move left at the ramp!

P3 - Some more awkward climbing leads to a shelf about 110' up on a ledge.

P4 - For the final pitch you'll need an arsenal of skills; including hand cracks, fist cracks, liebacks, and face climbing.


The route starts on the upper ledge above Munginella. Climb any of the lower climbs (Munginella 5.6, Commitment 5.9, The Surprise 5.10a, The Caverns 5.8, Try Again Ledge 5.8, or the Hanging Teeth 5.8). An alternate approach involves skipping the approach climbs by hiking the streambed west of the base using 3rd & 4th Class slabs. For the descent of Selaginella, jump into the stream of tourists working their way down the Yosemite Falls trail.


1 or 2 sets of nuts and cams up to 5". Bring lots of long slings.

Photos of Selaginella Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The "wild" pitch 3 traverse.  This was p...
The "wild" pitch 3 traverse. This was p...
Rock Climbing Photo: Picture showing Selaginella, which starts from the...
BETA PHOTO: Picture showing Selaginella, which starts from the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging of the large block before the true lip of ...
Hanging of the large block before the true lip of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fun but awkward jamming before fun but awkward off...
Fun but awkward jamming before fun but awkward off...
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up Pitch 4.
BETA PHOTO: Starting up Pitch 4.
Rock Climbing Photo: The wild 5.8 face moves that finish Pitch 3.
BETA PHOTO: The wild 5.8 face moves that finish Pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up Pitch 3.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up Pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: alt start
alt start
Rock Climbing Photo: George M. in the brief but exciting chimney on P3 ...
George M. in the brief but exciting chimney on P3 ...
Rock Climbing Photo: A great classic line.  Well worth it!
A great classic line. Well worth it!

Comments on Selaginella Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 25, 2016
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Mar 21, 2009

3-pitch description:

P1: Climb 160' to large, sandy ledge. Full value at 5.8.

P2: Continue more or less straight up, staying right of a prominent leaning pillar. The final 20' of climbing involves a wild and exposed traverse left across protruding crystals. 200'. Belay in a small alcove.

P3: A few tricky moves off the belay, followed by moderate climbing to a large, prominent flake. Roughly 150'.

From the top, walk approximately 100 yards uphill to join the Yosemite Falls Trail. Allow a good hour of walking back to Camp 4.

Note: we felt a single 4" piece to be more than adequate protection.
By Rob Dillon
Apr 3, 2009

The rest of us will bring additional, smaller gear.
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 4, 2009

"Note: we felt a single 4" piece to be more than adequate protection."

That should read "UP TO a single 4" piece..."
By Rob Dillon
Apr 9, 2009

By Steve R.
From: Oakland, CA
May 21, 2009
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great day of climbing from Commitment to Selaginella! The offwidth sections of Salaginella reminded me why we didn't spend the day on Kor Beck-What a workout.

The exposed traverse is fantastic. Supertopo mislabeled the right-facing flake (as left-facing) at the top of the third pitch after the traverse so don't get confused or concerned that you're in the wrong place.

We used the whole rack from 4" down to 00 metolius.
By Osprey Overhang
From: ...
Oct 30, 2010

Wally Reed 1963. Enough said - get on it!
By thecornyman
From: Oakland, CA
Sep 6, 2011

1st pitch was amazing. I did the awkward 5.9 variation to start it. I felt the entire route had a off width feel to it and worked my partner and I. I'd rate everything at the books much higher if it were cleaner and didn't have ants on about every pitch.
By Chris I
From: Fort Collins, CO
Feb 1, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

For at least the first pitch, and maybe the 3rd also, I would recommend wearing the rack (if using a gear sling) on the left side of your body. There is a fair bit of grinding on the right side that takes place and it was pretty uncomfortable and annoying having my gear in the way.
By Owen McGrath
Apr 18, 2012

Climbed this route on 4/7/12. This was a great intro to long offwidth routes as I've traditionally shied away.

Pitch 1 is the most strenuous, though every wide section is soon met with rests. We brought a #5 camelot, placed it once but IMHO it wasn't really needed. One #4 should do the trick. Pitch 2 has a short bit of off fists, but it's over after 20 feet. The pitch 3 chimney protects well and has hands in the back.

I also made the pitch 3 traverse way harder than it needs to be by climbing way to high. Stay low, using the crystals and hand holds. There's a new bolt, which set back farther back. Use long runners to avoid drag.

Overall, it wasn't the most epic climb I've done, but I'm glad I did it as it opens the skillset to those mandatory OW pitches that come with most valley classics.
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Feb 17, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

have climbed this route several times, including twice in the middle of february (2006 and 2013): dry, no lines, no crowds, led all pitches...

p1 (right var.): felt burly this time around. i'd say it's sustained, physical 5.8 - must be old, fat, and out of shape. awesome fat hands, with some OW, and a bit of awkwardness thrown in. nice break a little over half way up. #2 camalots rock, no need for a #4.

p2: straight up for about 60 feet or so, then step out to the left (nice big step) and angle up the ramp toward the trees. i've previously done the corner variation (under the trees and ear shaped flake), but opted to go straight up past the large triangular flake and then traverse back to the corner at the base of the chimney (sm. stance for belay). this pitch is definitely easier than the first, but less straightforward and has some potential route finding issues for the uninitiated.

p3: up the chimney (5.7-5.8), then up easy ground, underneath a big block/flake to the bolt and pin. the traverse out left is actually technically quite easy, there are big holds for your hands (don't go to high). rope drag can be a huge problem here, especially if you didn't put some long runners on gear placed the last 20'to 30' before the bolt. the traverse puts you on a cheese grater ledge with a couple of options. i've always gone straight up the middle at the rail and sm. flakes, rather than the burly/fat crack to the left. however, beware, falling here means decking. there's a good belay at the sm. tree about 20' up.

p4: go up the crack/shallow corner past a jutting flake (bottom broken off). i thought this was the crux and could easily be called 5.9 in many places. after this section trend up and left, passing a couple short corners (also 5.8). finally, a big traverse to the left and the base of a huge free standing flake. it's possible to wiggle inside or lieback the flake. having done both, i'd have to say the lieback is more pleasing, but also less forgiving if things go wrong. in either case i found this part rather easy (in comparison to the rest of the route).

overall: this is a pretty stout climb for 5.8; i carried a full rack with doubles up to a #3 camalot, one #3.5 and one #4. i placed the #4 once and the # 3.5 a couple of times. did not place any nuts...
By Johnny Y
From: California
Jun 10, 2013

Climbed this a few days ago and there was a VERY LOOSE block halfway up the first pitch. It is about 1' in height and as deep and wide as the crack. One would instinctively grab the jug as there are no convenient jams. We weren't sure how to safely extract the block so be very careful, especially with the two recent deaths on El Cap due to rock fall, this should be taken care of.
By Johnny Y
From: California
Jun 10, 2013

Only time I used the 4" piece was at the second belay anchor, and that was only because I had to build around someone else's anchor, so I think gear up to 3" would suffice
By dylan grabowski
From: Oakland
Oct 26, 2015

There's a super thin, and loosening flake right before the off-width on pitch 3, about 40-50 feet below the traverse move. Someone had previously put a big "X" on the flak with chalk, but I'm unsure how often that PSA will be repeated. Watch out, if the hold pulls, it could be a 2ft by 2ft (or larger) chunk that falls toward climbers on the bottom.
By Tommy L-D
Nov 1, 2015

P1 (right start variation) make sure you move left to the corner! I continued up the crack system until I was even with the tree stump... bad idea. Lots of dirty, awkward, ~5.10 climbing that dead-ends in a un-protected featured face that doesn't connect to the original line.
By DesertRat
Jun 13, 2016

The crux for me was P1 (Right Variation), it wasn't so much difficult, but extremely awkward. Carrying the pack for a group of three made the offwidth slightly less fun.

P2, felt easier than the 5.7 rating that was in the topo.

P3 felt right on (5.8) for the crux move, but again it was really just one awkward move, then the rest was cruiser. We made the mistake of continuing up the 5.7 crack to a different belay ledge. Did an easy traverse to get back on the route at the tree about 15 ft above the regular belay ledge. The alternate belay ledge was comfortable and took gear nicely.

P4 was stellar!!! The route was worth doing, just for P4. Final flake moves didn't seem to warrant the 5.8 grade. Two of our party avoided the last flake all together by climbing the direct finishing face.
By Parker Wrozek
From: Denver, CO
Oct 25, 2016

Going right on pitch 1, while fun, indeed leads to nowhere. Misreading the supertopo was not exactly a smooth move on our part.

That being said it is a pretty burly flaring offwidth (I will not comment on the grade but it was very hard for me) with good protection in the back. We left a 3 nut anchor right at 105'. You can get down with a 60M rope just knot the ends.

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