Selaginella, Five Open Books 5.8
Avg time to climb route: 2-3 hours
Approach time: 1.5-2 hours
Descent time: 45 min to 1 hour
Number of pitches: 4
Height of route: 550'
OverviewWith features ranging from lieback cracks and steep faces to off-widths and chimneys, Selaginella requires a full arsenal of climbing techniques. Prepare for committing and sustained 5.7 and 5.8 cracks all the way to the route's great final crux. Because of the sustained wide cracks and tricky route finding, this route is recommended for the more experienced 5.8-5.9 leader. This route allows you to escape the crowds.
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Five Open Books HistoryClimbers have always appreciated short approaches, so it’s not surprising that the area around Lower Yosemite Fall attracted attention in the 1960s. Only minutes from Camp 4 lay a wealth of possible routes on the various tiers of cliffs. One trouble: these cliffs were not exactly composed of pristine granite. Trees, bushes, munge, loose dark rock—you name it, these cliffs had it. In a valley renowned for its sparkling white granite, this place was an aberration. But let’s not forget that approach! - Steve Roper
FA: Wally Reed and Jim Posten, 9/63.
StrategyFrom lieback cracks and steep faces to offwidths and chimneys, Selaginella requires a full arsenal of climbing skills. Prepare for committing and sustained 5.7 and 5.8 cracks all the way to the route’s great final crux. Because of the sustained wide cracks and tricky routefinding, this route is recommended for the more experienced 5.8-5.9 leader.
There are two starting variations. The recommended right start has many wide cracks. An alternate start to the left features meandering climbing and bad rope drag and no wide cracks. As with all climbs at the Five Open Books, the ledge at the top of this route is loose. Be mindful of dislodging rocks onto climbers below.
RetreatRetreat by rappelling the route with two 50m ropes.
ApproachThe recommended approach is to climb any lower route at the Five Open Books.
As an alternate approach, follow the approach description above to the base of Munginella. From the fourth and last carabiner post, head west along the cliff to the streambed. Hike the streambed until you can climb slabs (4th class in early season when wet, 3rd class when dry). Move east (right) along the top of the slabs, following the well-traveled climbers’ trail east a few hundred yards to the base of the route. There are many similar-looking right-facing corners, so study the topo carefully. Don’t leave anything at the base or you will have to go out of your way on the descent to retrieve it.
DescentWalk the Yosemite Falls Trail for about one mile to Camp 4.
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