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Trial By Fire 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Chris Falkenstein and Don Reid, March 1974
Page Views: 4,971
Submitted By: Rob Dillon on Jan 31, 2009

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Pulling the crux for me - needed a stack.

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


Trial by Fire is the obvious trough-looking crack splitting the slab on the way up to the start of Super Slide. At nearly a full (old-school) ropelength, it provides a through introduction to the kind of grunty, meat-and-potatoes climbing that is so frequently encountered in the Valley. As such, it is worth seeking out on its own, although a nondescript second pitch links it into Super Slide. This would turn the latter from a casual romp into more of a half-day affair. Most people will expend more calories getting up the deceptively low-angle groove of Trial By Fire than on the alleged 5.9 business of Super Slide. Strong likelihood of seasonal wetness.


V-slot in slab uphill and to the left a couple hundred yards from the Royal Arches route chimney. Looks like 4th class, right?

Rap with two ropes, or continue. A 1-rope escape is possible from trees on the terraces below Super Slide (bring webbing).


Don't skimp on the bigger stuff. Bolted anchor.

Photos of Trial By Fire Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Trial by Fire. Folks above are on Serenity Crack. ...
Trial by Fire. Folks above are on Serenity Crack. ...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 1, 2017
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 31, 2009

If you have the time or inclination after climbing Trial by Fire, try top-roping Demimonde (5.11c) off the same anchors either with 2 ropes or possibly a single 70m.
By Jacob Krenn
From: La Valle, WI
Feb 18, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

FA was Chris Falkenstein and co.
By Osprey Overhang
From: ...
Mar 14, 2010

Chris Faulkenstein hates offwidths. I asked him if that was why he put the chains in before the climb was really over. He said the chains were put in by whoever put up the face climb next to it (Demimonade .11c). If you want to finish the climb, continue past the chains to where it meets up with the Ahwahnee Buttress and Super Slab. Then rap down the fourth to the left.

FA: Chris Falkenstein, Don Reid, 3/1974
By Mark P Thomas
From: Draper
Jun 7, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Harder than it looks! Bring a gear sling (for convenience) & wide gear (I placed 2 #4 & #5 4CUs & 1 #3 that barely worked). 2nd pitch linkup to SS is fun and not too dirty. I found it reasonable to step left from the chockstone left and cross a face to a crack system to bypass the first 'roof'. At the second 'roof' I cut left and found a tree with rap slings and enough spare rope to get to the base of P2 on Superslide in one pitch.

I highly recommend linking this route up with Super Slide for a nice long climb with a lot of variety.

I'd say that based on the other 5.8 wide stuff I've climbed (and my one experience with a 5.8 flared chimney), that this is a 5.8 & not a 5.9 if you know the technique for flares, OWs, and squeeze chimneys.
By jcurl
Oct 17, 2011

I was expecting this climb to be slippery and burly but instead found it to be surprisingly secure and fun. A single 70 meter rope is enough to rappel from the chains.

Marc Volland posted that Falkenstein told him that the chains went in along with Demimonde. But that's odd since the 1987 Meyers guide shows those two bolts as a 120' rappel -- four years before Demimonde was born.
By Jim Reynolds
Jan 15, 2012

As for protection i used a #3 and #4 BD Camelot. There are a few chockstones (2?) that can be used for protection. THe #3 helps get you through the first 15/20 ft. The #4 can be walked almost the entire rest of the pitch.

Pretty stout for 5.8 I thought, even though i consider myself a decent OW/Squeeze/Flare climber.
By Custer
From: Bergen, Norway
May 29, 2012

115 feet. Exactly enough to rap with a 70 meter rope.
By Mareko
From: San Francisco
Sep 17, 2012

When you're not really a chimney / offwidth climber its great for training and it's low angled. Think inchworm. Grovel and squeeze your way up. We use two #4 and one #5.
By Steve Gade
Jun 18, 2013

2nd Pitch has some sweet dirt jams with good pro. I will go this way to climb Superslide from now on.
By Alexey
From: San Jose
Jun 21, 2013

How "dirt jams" can be sweet?
By Muscrat
Jan 20, 2015
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

THIS SUCKS!! I saw it whilst on the way to the base of Super Slab, thought oh i'll just walk up this instead of the bogus SS start. NOT!! Want Beta? If you are doing it right it hurts and you're grovelling!! This is good intro to the wild and weird world of valley OW, and this one is easy!! OUCH!!
By jseymer Seymer
Nov 8, 2015

Supertopo suggests nuts and cams down to .75. I have no idea where you would place anything smaller than a #3; I actually placed a #2 just below the anchor which ended up being unnecessary. I used (1) #5, (2) #4, (1) #3, and a large grey hex. You might also bring a couple of draws to clip into the slung chock stones, there were two when I climbed it; FYI the cord/slings looked a bit suspect. Really cool climb and would be great practice for harder chimney/offwidth type climbing in the Valley.
By Rude Boy
From: San Francisco, CA
Mar 14, 2017

I climbed this fucker a while back. WYDE! awkward and sandbagged. I remember only needing 1 #5 to keep pushing up. Nothing else really.
By Crimpanzee Shortt
From: San Francisco, California
Jun 1, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This route is the definition of type 2 fun. Just do it! I used exactly (in camalots) one #2, one #3, two #4s, one #5. As mentioned before, draws for a couple chockstones. You can always walk and bump your gear and you'll feel secure. I feel like this is the perfect way to literally get into valley OW. At the chains I tension traversed right into the corner and took some sketchy, mungey, crumbly way up to Super Slide. Any beta on a better way to link into Super Slide would be awesome!

Beta: Mostly left side in for me. For the ~30' or so of the crux section: high left foot jams, right foot heel/toe cam, right palm pushing down. Some fists at the beginning, but very little hand jamming after that.

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