Rise of the Tomb Raider: All Challenge Tomb Locations & Puzzles Guide


Returning to its adventurous roots, Rise of the Tomb Raider includes nine optional Challenge Tombs that unlock special skills for Lara — if you can complete them. Instead of combat challenges, you’ll have to work your brainpower to solve these tricky contraptions. Don’t worry, they’re not too tough, but if you get stuck or just need a hint to push you in the right direction, we’ve got everything you need to uncover all nine special codex skills.

All Challenge Tomb Locations & Puzzles Guide

There are a total of 9 optional Challenge Tombs in Rise of the Tomb Raider. None can be missed — you can return to any of the locations listed here after completing the game. Each Challenge Tomb rewards Lara Croft with a powerful new skill.

Solve all nine puzzle chambers and you’ll earn the “Tomb Raider” trophy / achievement. Now let’s get into those locations, and how to actually conquer each Tomb.

Challenge Tomb #1: Ice Ship

  • Location: 
    • Glacial Cavern — Look left as you delve deeper into the cavern. There is an optional path — use the ice axe to jump to a cliff of ice and climb into the first tomb location.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Ancient Abilities — Quickly shoot up to 2 arrows without the delay of redrawing from the quiver.
  • Walkthrough:
    • Cross the mast and use the axe on the mechanism. Climb up the left-side of the pulley.
    • Use the masts to cross over to the chained (and ice-covered) object. Jump to it to smash through the wall.
    • When the chained object lowers, drop down and climb the wooden planks / ice wall ahead where the wrecking ball smashed through the cliff.
    • At the top, turn the wheel and lower the hanging basket. Turn the wheel until it cannot spit any long, then run across the masts and jump to it — this is timed, so be quick.
    • Jumping to the hanging object will smash through another ice wall. Climb the ice wall to reach your reward at the top.

Challenge Tomb #2: Ancient Cistern

  • Location: 
    • Soviet Installation — Found near the ravine outside the lumber mill in the center of the area. Shoot anchor holding the tree trunk from the crane to bust through the boarded-up hole in the ground blocking the Ancient Cistern entrance.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Natural Instincts — Nearby resources will automatically appear on the map and glow when nearby.
  • Walkthrough:
    • The goal of this Challenge Tomb is to raise the water high enough so that Lara can climb onto the central tower.
    • Swim to the left of the tower, past the water wheel, and enter the interior room. Throw a gas canister at the blue chained-up stopper and shoot it to raise the water level.
    • Climb onto the platform behind the tower and grab another gas canister. Throw it onto the floating raft. Move the raft by hanging from the plank, pulling it down. The raft will move toward the water wheel — drop down and shoot the gas canister as it slowly moves back to its original position.
    • Swim into the tunnel where the second blue stopper was located. Climb to the top and break through the weak wall that leads back to the main chamber.
    • Throw another gas canister onto the same raft as before. Pull the plank again to raise the water level, then swim to the raft. Pick up the canister and throw it through the upper level door.
    • Use the gas canister to destroy the third blue stopper. Now you can reach the reward on the center tower.

Challenge Tomb #3: Voice of God

  • Location: 
    • Soviet Installation — The cave entrance is found in the southeastern corner of the installation. You won’t be able to reach / complete this tomb until you’ve unlocked Rope Arrows.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Inner Strength — If critical injuries are sustained in battle — indicated by the screen turning gray — health will be automatically restored. This instant regeneration of health will occur only one time per combat encounter and will refresh between encounters.
  • Walkthrough:
    • Use the wheel near the entrance to lower the door. Climb up through the opening and bust through the weak wall — now raise the front door up again.
    • Return through the broken wall and use a Rope Arrow on the hanging rock container. Attach the rope to the pulley and turn the wheel. Pull it tight, then cut the rope — time it so the weighted container enters the path of the gust of wind. If you time it right, the first weight will bang into a second weight, freeing it from the ice.
    • Go back to the central chamber and open the back door with the wheel. Now you can reach the skill reward.

Challenge Tomb #4: The Red Mine

  • Location: 
    • Soviet Installation — Found in the upper levels of the Copper Mill. You’ll need Molotov Cocktails and Rope Arrows to enter this area.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Bright Eyes — Improved SURVIVAL INSTINCTS causes nearby traps to glow automatically.
  • Walkthrough:
    • As you enter the mine proper, turn left and follow the cave path down. Jump across the gaps in the tracks, climb the stairs, and leap to the hanging uranium cart.
    • Drop down and continue upward. Climb the platforms to get a good view of the turbine at the top — there’s a Rope Arrow anchor point — shoot it with a Rope Arrow and pull.
    • Cross over and climb onto the CCCP labeled structure on the opposite side. Shoot a rope arrow into the minecart on the tracks and attach it to the large anchor point.
    • Return to the hanging uranium cart and jump to it again. The minecart will swing down and block the waterfall, allowing Lara to burn the barrier beneath the embedded minecart with a molotov.
    • The reward is through the destroyed barrier, on the upper level of the facility interior.

Challenge Tomb #5: House of the Afflicted

  • Location: 
    • Geothermal Valley — Find this on the northern cliffs of the valley. Look for a high path with a hanging Rope Arrow anchor point Lara can use to swing across a long gap. The entrance is guarded by wolves, so watch out!
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Fast Healer — Bandage wounds more quickly when healing.
  • Walkthrough:
    • Find the hanging “8” hook in the back-left corner. Drop down and hop onto the lift platform, then connect the hook to the platform with a Rope Arrow. Climb back out of the pit.
    • From the entrance, look for a wheeled cart with a barrel wrapped in rope. Push it as far as it can go. Also from the entrance, look left and up — there’s a pulley system above a giant water bucket. Use a Rope Arrow to pull the stopper from the pulley system above, filling the bucket with water and lowering it to the ground.
    • Attach the cart barrel to the water bucket. This will raise the lift platform. From the entrance, turn right and go up the stairs to reach the upper path and cross the now-raised lift platform. Both lifts should now be raised.
    • Follow the linear path to the container to get your reward.

Challenge Tomb #6: Baths of Kitzeh

  • Location: 
    • Geothermal Valley – Northwestern caverns, unavailable to explore until a certain story milestone. You’ll need Rope Arrows and the Rebreather unlocked to complete this puzzle.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Iron Grip — Climbing on rock and ice surfaces is significantly faster.
  • Walkthrough:
    • Swim to the raft down the center passage, then use the Rope Arrow to pull it toward the anchor point on the wall opposite the goal. After using the crank to drag the raft backward, connect to the right rope anchor point (from your perspective after using the wheel) — crank the wheel again to reach a window Lara can jump to from the raft.
    • Climb out of the water and onto the platform with the handle. Pulling this handle will drain the water by raising the gates — but it won’t stay. Use a Rope Arrow to attach the handle to the anchor point, then turn the pulley wheel to open the gates and drain the water.
    • Swim back to the raft and use a Rope Arrow to drag your boat to the opposite side of the room, allowing Lara to reach the second chamber. In the second chamber, pull the back handle until the water is completely drained — while it is filling up, shoot a Rope Arrow into the anchor point on the raft.
    • Return to the raft and crank the wheel to completely drain the water. Now you can shoot the explosive barrels at the metal grate. Destroy the barrier to get to the skill reward.

Challenge Tomb #7: The Pit of Judgement

  • Location: 
    • Geothermal Valley — This area is found in the center of the map, and can only be reached once you unlock the Axe Grapple ability.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Geologist — Geological knowledge allows successful mining of CHROMITE ORE.
  • Walkthrough:
    • The pit of judgement consists of one large gate and several cart tracks. Run up the left (from the entrance) track and turn the wheel twice. Push the minecart down the track so it smashes into the gate below.
    • Use the Rope Arrow near the anchor point to zip-line across the gap. Climb up the stairs and jump to the top of the right track, and turn the wheel at the top to lower the platform. Turn the second (lower) wheel once, push the cart onto the turnstyle, Turn the lower wheel one more time.
    • Next, turn the lift wheel to return to the upper level. At the top, push the minecart down the track to bust through the gate. The codex is now available.

Challenge Tomb #8: Catacomb of Sacred Waters

  • Location: 
    • Geothermal Valley — Find the entrance in the southwestern corner of the map after dealing with the village attack. All you need are Rope Arrows for this one.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Anatomical Knowledge — Sense the location of animal hearts when using Survival Instincts or aiming at prey. Shots into animal hearts inflict massive damage. Animals with thick hides (bears and large cats) are immune to heart shots.
  • Walkthrough:
    • Start by using a Rope Arrow to pull the raft toward Lara. The raft is stuck behind the central island where the strong currents won’t move it. Pulling it will expose the raft to the currents, so jump on before it floats away.
    • There’s a revolving rope anchor near the island. Connect your raft to the revolving anchor. Now on the center island, pull a second raft out from under the waterfall with a Rope Arrow. Jump on and connect the raft to a second anchor point attached to the ruin on the opposite end of the chamber.
    • You’ll have to reel yourself in with the wheel — once you’re attached, turn the wheel, reel yourself in, and jump onto dry land. The path to the codex is now clear.

Challenge Tomb #9: Chamber of Exorcism

  • Location: 
    • The Lost City — The path is found in the southern section, along the east cavern wall. You’ll need Rope Arrows and Fire Arrows to complete the final challenge tomb.
  • Skill Reward: 
    • Greek Fire — The flames from FIRE ARROWS and MOLOTOV COCKTAILS do more damage and are hot enough to burn through enemy armor.
  • Walkthrough:
    • Drop into the pit and use Rope Arrows to pull the two levers attached to the upper wall, above the hanging cage. Explosive gas will filter into the pit — blast it with a fire arrow while standing near water.
    • Next, enter the lower passage and break the lock on the skeleton cage. Now that it is free, go back up and turn the wheel to raise the cage up. Use another rope arrow on the pulley mechanism to turn the entire crane so that the hanging cage is lined-up with (and closer to) the gate blocking the way to the codex.
    • Pull the dual levers with Rope Arrows again and set off the explosive gas to knock the cage through the gate.

Achievement / Trophy Unlocked

  • Tomb Raider
    • Complete all Optional Challenge Tombs.