MISSION OF SAN JUAN – Tree of Life Challenge Tomb
TOMB ENTRANCE: The entrance to this tomb is inside the ruins near the Deserted Cloister Base Camp. Check the main walkthrough if you need help finding it. At the end of the corridor, near explorer backpack #2, is a wooden barrier. Use a rope arrow to pull it down. Move into the doorway and jump across the deep shaft to latch onto the climbable back wall. Axe-climb down and around to the right. Then rappel down to the floor. Follow the dark passageway to the a small room containing the Mountain Catacombs Base Camp, a few supplies, and a document (14/27), Chechen and Chaka Trees (Mam/Legends of the Maya). (screenshots)
MOVING DEEPER INTO THE CAVERNS – FIRST GAS VENT: Jump over the hole in the floor and latch onto another climbable wall. Rappel down as far as you can. Swing back and forth, jump to grab the edge of the opening, and pull up. Follow the path down to the bottom and jump across the gap onto another climbable wall. Climb down and around to the right. Then rappel down to the floor once more. (screenshots)
The sulfurous gas billowing out across the path ahead is toxic. If Lara tries to pass through it, she'll take heavy damage. So gather some supplies sitting alongside the path and craft as many fire arrows as you can carry.
NOTE: To review, press the Bow Select button (keyboard 1 or D-Pad Up) repeatedly until Fire Arrows are selected. Then without aiming, hold the Alternate Fire button (Middle Mouse/R1/RB) to combine a regular arrow, cloth, and fat/oil from inventory to make a fire arrow. To fire one, hold Aim, then hold and release Alt Fire.
Stand well back from the gas cloud and shoot a fire arrow into it. After the gas explodes you'll have just enough time to run forward and scale the climbable wall to the ledge above before the gas starts spewing out again. (screenshots)
SECOND GAS VENT AND WOODEN BARRIER: Pick up some more resources and jump down onto the ledge below. (From here on, I won't mention every minor pick-up, just the ones that are especially valuable or easy to miss. So keep your eyes open and use Survival Instinct if you have it enabled.) Use your axe to pry open the next natural gas vent. Then move back to a safe distance so Lara doesn't choke on the fumes. Stand at a safe distance and shoot a fire arrow into the gas cloud to blast open a hole in the wooden fence. (screenshots)
Proceed to the top of the path. Then run a rope line down to the ledge below. As you slide down, you'll probably spot the flashing light of a survival cache (3/8) below. At the end of the slide, grab the edge and pull up. Then move around to the right and dig up the cache. (screenshots)
Climb the stairs and sidestep along the narrow ledge until you can't go any farther. Lara notices a Yaaxil far below. Don't worry. Lara and I will warn you when it's actually time to fight. ;) When you run out of ledge, jump out, grapple the beam, and swing over to the next ledge. Continue down the path toward the burning braziers. (The path on the left leads back up the slope, but that's the way to the exit.) Move to the edge, jump across the gap to the next climbable wall, and rappel down to the ledge below. Continue southward along the ledge and through a low tunnel. (screenshots)
THE TREE: As you emerge from the tunnel, you get a look at the gnarled tree's giant branches stretching up toward the sunlight filtering in from above. The ledge at the top is where you're headed. Unfortunately we'll need to descend before we can climb.
THIRD GAS VENT AND WOODEN PLATFORM: The round, wooden ledge below is too far away to reach, so shoot a fire arrow into the gas vent behind it. The resulting explosion propels the ledge toward you. Jump onto it and ride it down. Jump off to the left before the gas starts flowing again. Follow the path up the slope. The gap at the top of the path is too wide to cross. So for now, head down to the left and jump over to the next ledge. Continue past the green, explosive orb. Move out onto the wooden ledge on the left and jump over to the ledge near the man-made stone wall with the crumbling arch. Here you'll find a document (15/27), World Tree (Mam/Legends of the Maya). (screenshots)
FOURTH GAS VENT – YAAXIL AMBUSH: Jump back over to the main path and head to the left toward the next gas vent, but don't pry it open yet. As soon as you do, 4 Yaaxil will attack: One starts shooting from the upper ledge; the rest rush out of the tunnel at the top of the slope. So get ready beforehand. Use a dose of Endurance and Focus herbs if you have them. Then pry open the vent, turn left, and step back a bit to avoid the poison gas and move Lara out of range of the archer on the ledge. Shoot the first enemy, an archer, or blow up the green orb to his left to set him on fire. Then shoot 2 warriors as they charge toward you. If either of them gets close enough, use the Puma's Feint maneuver, which you've hopefully unlocked by now. (Check the Cenote walkthrough if you need a refresher.) Finally, step out and target the remaining archer hiding behind the spiky branches on the ledge off to the left. Loot the bodies, scramble back up onto the walkway where the last archer fell, and follow the path up and around to the left. (screenshots)
You'll need to use the circular platform to cross the wide gap to the next ledge. Shoot a fire arrow into the gas vent you opened just before fighting the Yaaxil. The explosion swings the platform up toward you. Jump onto it, run across, and jump onto the path beyond before the platform can swing back. (If it does, you'll need to return to the top and try again.) (screenshots)
CLIMBING HIGHER: Continue across a rickety bridge made of logs lashed together. It tilts alarmingly but does not break. Jump onto the next circular wooden platform. Cross over it and scramble up onto the ledge on the far side. Here you'll find more supplies and a mural (2/4), Tree of Life (Mam/Trials of the Gods). Follow the path away from the mural, up the slope and around to the left. You'll hear more creepy noises, but there's no danger yet. When you come to the wooden ledge jutting out over the chasm, continue down to the right, toward the burning brazier to find a relic (7/9), another identical Primitive Doll (Mam/Handmade Dolls). Now cut the rope tethering the wooden platform to the post. (screenshots)
FIFTH GAS VENT WITH TWO BALANCED PLATFORMS: Return to the wooden ledge and jump onto the platform, which is now within reach. Jump off the other side, grapple the dangling vine, and swing over to the next platform. Cross over it and scramble up onto the ledge beyond. Move to the left end of the ledge and get ready to fight 3 more Yaaxil, which will appear when you pry open the gas vent. You probably won't need Focus this time, but Endurance herbs are always helpful. Use your axe to open the vent. Then immediately turn right and kill the warrior who emerges from the tunnel at the other end of the ledge. Then shoot the explosive orb on the ledge above and beyond the wooden platforms. This should take out both archers. (screenshots)
Jump back down onto the nearer of the wooden platforms. Grapple-swing across to the other. Then turn around. The little wooden wall above on the right is where you're headed next. Shoot a fire arrow into the gas vent. The blast pushes the other wooden platform downward, raising the one Lara is standing on. As it reaches its highest point, jump toward the wooden wall and scramble onto the ledge above. (screenshots)
SIXTH GAS VENT WITH BALANCED PLATFORMS: The next 2 Yaaxil appear when you start down the slope to the right. If you ready a fire arrow and target the gas jet as you walk toward it, you'll see the 2 enemies emerge. Just let that fire arrow fly and the blast should kill them both. Take a moment to loot the bodies and regroup. Then move back up the slope and shoot the gas vent again. The explosion clears the air so you can run across the reddish stone ledge, jump onto the craggy wall, and climb to the top. (screenshots)
Move forward and cut the rope anchoring one of the round wooden platforms to the post. A little farther along the path is a relic (8/9), yet another creepy Primitive Doll (Mam/Handmade Dolls). Continue down the path and pry open the next gas vent. (screenshots)
Once the gas is flowing, jump down onto the nearer of the two wooden platforms. Before Lara is poisoned too badly, grapple-swing over to the other platform. This time when you shoot the gas jet to move the platforms, things go haywire. The other platform plummets into the chasm, while the one Lara is standing on settles near the lower ledge. On the plus side, the beam that connected the two balancing platforms has now tilted, so you will soon be able to reach the upper ledges. (screenshots)
FINAL YAAXIL AMBUSH: There's just one more band of Yaaxil, 7 in all, standing between you and your goal. They don't emerge until you jump down onto the ledge. So check your weapons and eat some more of those tasty Endurance and Focus herbs. Hop down and run to the left to put some distance between Lara and the enemies as they emerge. Turn around so the platform you just came from is on Lara's right and shoot the first 2 warriors as they approach. If you've used Focus herbs, the time-slowing effect may allow you to get headshots on both. Otherwise, go ahead and switch to the shotgun or rifle and just blast away as they run toward you. (screenshots)
An archer drops down from the ledge to the northeast, while another warrior runs in from the right (southeast). You may be able to kill them both by blowing up the green orb between them. If not, shoot the archer first. Then wait for the warrior to come to you. He may circle around the left side of the spiky clump of debris in the middle of this area. If that happens, go around to meet him and blast him with the shotgun, or whatever weapon works best for you. Two more warriors rush in just behind the last one. They may come from either side of the debris pile. Try to move back a bit, you can see both approaches. Blast them or use the use the Puma's Feint to dodge and stab them as they approach. That leaves one more archer, who will probably hold his position on the ledge to the northeast. Peek around the debris pile and take him out with a headshot. (screenshots)
THE TOMB STELE: When you've defeated the last group of Yaaxil, search the bodies and climb onto the ledge to the southeast. Follow the path up and around to the right. Jump onto the bundle of wooden beams that once supported the circular platforms. Cross over it to the upper ledge. On the left you'll find 2 piles of gold ore and the tomb stele. Examine it to unlock the Warrior Skill Kinich Ahau's Boon, which restores Lara's health if she's near death. It is a passive skill but only works once per battle. (screenshots)
EXITING THE TOMB: There are no more enemies between here and the exit so you can relax and concentrate on climbing. Move down to the wooden ledge to the right of the stele. Shoot a rope arrow into the rope-wrapped branch and slide down to the ledge with the 2 lit braziers. Enter the cave and jump over the hole in the floor onto the climbable wall. Rappel down to the ground. Before moving on, turn around to find a pile of jade ore sitting near the cavern wall. Move to the edge, run another rope line down to the ledge below, and slide down. Move up the gnarled wooden root to the north. Ignore the grapple point ahead on the left. Instead take the path along the right wall and scramble up the wooden slats onto the ledge. Grab some supplies from the container hidden behind the brazier. Then climb the ladder to the next higher ledge. Move to the far end of the ledge and ride the fixed zip line down across the chasm. (screenshots)
Scramble up the wall ahead. Climb up and over to the left as far as possible, then jump across the gap and to the climbing wall. Climb up until Lara grabs the top edge. Then continue climbing around the corner to the right. Jump out and latch onto the next climbable area. Axe-climb up as far as possible. Then jump straight up and latch onto the overhang. Continue climbing upward along the ceiling until you can scramble onto the ledge above. (screenshots)
Vault up onto the low ledge ahead. Turn right and climb onto another ledge. Walk out to the end of the fallen tree and jump over to the climbable wall. Axe-climb to the left end of the wall then jump and grab the man-made ledge beyond. Pull up. Climb onto the ledge embedded with human bones. Then use your axe to break down the weak wall. This brings you back to the Mountain Catacombs Base Camp. (screenshots)
Use the camp fire to Fast Travel out of here or continue exploring the area southeast of the Mission. To get back up top, head up the steps to the shaft where you dropped in. Climb/scramble up the northwest wall to the rough climbing area above. Climb up and around to the left, then scramble up into the doorway. (screenshots) Turn right and follow the corridor to emerge outside near the Deserted Cloisters Base Camp.
†UPDATE HISTORY: 1/7/19 - First draft of walkthrough posted online.
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