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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 
Passover, The T 
Piton Pooper T 
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Scarface T 
Spiders From Mars/Lower Royals Arch/Ziggy Stardust T 
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Upper Royal's Arch T 
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Unsorted Routes:

The Trough 

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

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400', Grade II
Original:  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: 24,111
Submitted By: mschlocker on Sep 17, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (212)
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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
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing topo for The Trough at Tahquitz. See gith...
BETA PHOTO: Climbing topo for The Trough at Tahquitz. See gith...
Rock Climbing Photo: more top out celebration!
more top out celebration!
Rock Climbing Photo: Celebration!
Rock Climbing Photo: Jesse Leading P1
Jesse Leading P1
Rock Climbing Photo: looking up at pitch 3, ends at Pine Tree Ledge on ...
looking up at pitch 3, ends at Pine Tree Ledge on ...
Rock Climbing Photo: starting up the second pitch
starting up the second pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: My girlfriend, Devon finishing IMO the mental crux...
My girlfriend, Devon finishing IMO the mental crux...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alternate start: left side splitter crack and sque...
BETA PHOTO: Alternate start: left side splitter crack and sque...
Rock Climbing Photo: We opted to stray away from the direct line up the...
We opted to stray away from the direct line up the...
Rock Climbing Photo: The final bit of friction to the top. With my frie...
The final bit of friction to the top. With my frie...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the first pitch of the Trough
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the first pitch of the Trough
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the first pitch of the Trough.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up the first pitch of the Trough.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking upo the trough toward Piton Pooper (5.7+) ...
Looking upo the trough toward Piton Pooper (5.7+) ...

Comments on The Trough Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 16, 2017
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: California in my Mind
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 Tradiban
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 RockyR
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 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
From: North Conway, NH
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!
By Allison Boyle
Jun 29, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Really great route for someone learning to alpine trad lead. I'm not sure I'd call the whole route 5.4, felt like there were a couple "crux" 5.6 moves, but nothing bad. We had a great time on this. It was our first time at Tahquitz and we waited at the top to follow someone down the "friction slab" descent, and that wasn't too bad either, but I could see how someone could get off on the wrong spot.
By Michael Minto
Jul 12, 2015

Anybody have an ACTUAL proposed rack for this route, instead of saying "lots of stuff" in a certain range?
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Jul 12, 2015

Michael, you will see a term around called a "standard rack" and you will want more beta but alas, this is all you get. For most it is a set of nuts, a set of cams from very small to #3 or so with doubles for the ones you think you will want extras of. In this case, as with many routes, it is from #1-#3. Also included in that are 6-10 quickdraws/alpine draws and maybe some slings for trees. On such a long and easy route it's not needed or even possible to give a play by play of the gear. If you don't have a piece that fits then you can usually safely climb a little higher and then place something else. When I am nervous I tend to bring extras of the recommended size. Consider triples of #1 and #2 cams if you want to be extra safe. I learned the opposite way because I thought the guy at the store was just trying to make extra money off of me by telling me I might want doubles of some of my cams. It all worked out, I just ran it out and also did shorter pitches. Then I went and bought more cams.
By Wei Hu
From: San Diego, California
Apr 19, 2016

Did this April 17th, 2016 in 3 pitches with a 60m rope. Station1 is just below a piton at a crack going right. Station 2 is a tree that is on a ledge going right. P2 has a stuck BD 0.3 Camalot, its pretty deep in the crack. Station 3 is a much larger tree at the top. We finished the route with a slab scramble to the top. Fun route!
By Sean Maher
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 19, 2016

CBF to hike to the standard start after the approach to Lunch Rock so we added a 70 m approach pitch from the toe of the buttress. It didn't seem any harder than the rest of the route and was certainly more fun than carrying a pack up talus and across ledges! Starts in a right-facing corner/trough directly below the true start of the route; I can add a photo if anyone is interested.
By Forever Outside
From: Los Angeles, CA
Apr 4, 2017

Protects super well, easily done in 3 pitches, linking pitch 2 and 3 for about a 58m climb. Use plenty of runners and it's easy to avoid rope drag.Belay each pitch from the obvious trees, fun climb!
By Ian Flener
From: Louisville, KY
Jul 12, 2017
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

Can use trees at every belay. First two have fine webbing, bring your own for the last pitch.

Communication very difficult from the top of the final pitch to the pine tree ledge, especially if there is a breeze. If this is your first multipitch, make sure to have a plan.
By Megin Olson
From: SoCal
Jul 18, 2017

You don't belay from a tree on P1 (if you're following the topo); it's a gear anchor. I've seen parties go off left to the pine tree that you can see from the start of the route -- this is off route.
I've also seen people start climbing from below the route (which is probably harder terrain than 5.4). Not sure where Sean Maher (comment 7/19/2016) saw talus... there is a use trail up to the base of the West Face (Angel's Fright area) and then you chimney or scramble up and left (north) to the start.
By MariaZ
Aug 7, 2017
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

I had fun at the third pitch where you had to awkward turtle over the bulge. I didn't feel sketch doing it on lead.

I used a standard rack + a set of nuts. A 4 might have come in handy but a single set of BD .5 to 3 will get you home. Nuts slotted in well on this route.
By Cole Darby
From: Los Angeles
5 days ago

follow up on what's been previously mentioned; this route takes nuts very well. went with a buddy and we only had single BD C4s .5-3. we saved them the whole route thinking we'd need them for belay anchors and never ended up placing a cam more than like twice.

-nut placements available often
-good trees to sling belays
-upper third of climb will also have several mini shrub trees to sling along the pitch
-great adventure if you are newer to trad leading
-got to pine tree legde for belay station 2, very obvious route finding up to that point. after pine tee ledge seems to make sense to just take it all the way to the top at that point for 3 pitches.

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