From the Ernie Maxwell Trail, take the first accessible climber's trail, which will be on your left, directly across from a large obvious boulder on your right of the trail. These unmaintained trails may be hard to spot after heavy rainful and early season. Should only be a few minutes from start of main trail head. Switchback trail goes for 45 minutes of huffing, puffing to the base of Tahquitz Rock and you'll need to turn left to follow along edge until reaching beginning of "The Trough."
You may also veer left from switchback climbers' trail and jump onto the talus highway which leads directly to Lunch Rock.
Route Description"The Trough" is a 3- to 4-pitch climb, depending on how impatient you are to complete it. Belays along the way will be simple to spot and excellent for protection. An efficient team will complete this route in under an hour, whereas most teams with newcomers take about 3 hours. I've free soloed this route countless times and completed in 20 minutes even with some sight-seeing along the way.
First pitch is easy slab and some awkward chimney-type moves for the initial 60'. You will navigate a 15' slab to your left with good placements of gear under a lip most of the way across. Once transitted across slab, the trough opens in front of you and the only way to go is up. Moves involve squeezing, twisting, scrunching, and stretching. I declare this route made for an individual approx 67" tall, no more, no less. Belay at tree on your left or any appropriate gear placement area nearby.
Second pitch involves more squeezing and stretching with silent magical holds deep within the crack. You'll reach an exposed slab move as the route bears right to a large pine on a healthy ledge; continuing upward puts you on "Piton Pooper," a grunt of a 5.8 climb. Belay from tree usually overly-equipped with an assortment of slings.
Third pitch is more often done 'sans' rope and gear as it barely rates to be called Class 5. Plenty of places for good gear and excellent belay at yet another pine. Beware of dead tree across route snagging rope, although I've seen this fallen tree disintegrate to almost pulp in the past 6 years.
At completion of third pitch at last tree, gather your partners and gear and scamper straight up bulbous slab to lower summit of Tahquitz Rock - the route has ended. Now find the Friction Descent or take scramble to true summit and sign log book, then walk off and take trail either to the left for North Gulley descent, or right on trail that skirts the rock back to origination of route.
Essential Gear"The Trough" is an all trad technical climb, gear up to 3" required.
50m or 60m rope
Lots of runners and draws
Extra slings for anchoring off trees
Helmets are strongly recommended as this is an alpine setting with occasional loose rock and tree branches.
Approach shoes for descent optional