Reservations are required for all courses and guided climbs. To make a reservation, fill out our reservation form. For reservations with more than one person, a separate form must be completed by each person. Payment for 100% of the course fee or guided climbing fee is required to make a reservation. To pay online with a credit card, you’ll see a page with a PAY NOW button after filling out the reservation form page. You may also call our office at (949) 322-6108 to pay by credit card over the phone.
Reservations are recommended at least 14 days in advance of the course or guided climbing date to guarantee availability. For reservations less than 14 days in advance, please call our office to guarantee availability.
When we receive your completed reservation form and payment, we’ll email you a confirmation with all the details on what to bring, the time and meeting place of your class or guided climb, a map with directions to our meeting spot, and information on camping and motel reservations. You will need to provide your own transportation to the climbing area, although we will assist you with carpool information if you so request. Classes generally meet at 8 a.m. and generally last until approximately 4 p.m. Weekend classes usually fill up 2 to 3 weeks in advance. Register early to avoid disappointment.
You will receive a full refund (or you can reschedule) if we are forced to cancel your class or guided climb due to circumstances beyond our control, such as inclement weather. We will refund your payment in full (less a $25 cancellation/rescheduling fee per person) if you cancel or reschedule at least 10 days in advance of your scheduled date. Cancellations with less than 10 days’ notice receive no refund, although you can reschedule with a 50% refund. Participants who do not show up forfeit their course fee.
Many clients ask us if it is appropriate to tip their guide. Absolutely! As you will see, your guide will be working very hard to provide you with an enjoyable climbing experience. If you feel they did a good job, please feel free to tip your guide.
EQUIPMENT AND LOGISTICS
We offer group discounts for our rock climbing classes, and we can provide all necessary rock climbing gear. You can use your own rock-climbing equipment if you have it, or we can supply you with all necessary rock-climbing equipment, including harnesses and helmets, at no extra charge. Rock climbing shoes are mandatory and are available on a rental basis at $5 per day.
For Joshua Tree rock climbing classes, wear closed-toe shoes (no flip flops or sandals) for hiking and scrambling to the rock-climbing formations. Wear shorts, tights, or loose-fitting pants. Bring your lunch, plenty of water (at least two liters per day and three liters per day during warm weather), sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, perhaps a hat, extra clothing in case of cold weather (see winter clothing guidelines below), and a pack to carry all your gear. There is no food, water, gasoline, or cell phone service available once inside Joshua Tree National Park.
Our Tahquitz Rock guided climbs are in a mountain environment at an elevation of 7,000 to 8,000 feet and require a hike of about one mile over very steep, rocky terrain, so you must be in excellent physical condition to participate. Lightweight hiking boots or climbing approach shoes are recommended for the hike to the rock. Afternoon thunderstorms are a possibility in these mountains during the summer season, particularly in July and August, so pack a rain jacket just in case. You will be given a detailed equipment list of what to bring for your Tahquitz Rock guided climb.
WINTER CLOTHING GUIDELINES
Joshua Tree is one of the only areas in the country that allows rock climbing activity throughout the winter season. From November through March, typical daytime temperatures range from the mid-40s to mid-60s. Dressing properly and preparing for cooler temperatures will allow you to have a more enjoyable and comfortable rock-climbing class or guided rock-climbing experience, even in cooler conditions. A layering system works best. Avoid cotton sweats, jeans, and any cotton clothing. When you sweat, the cotton will stay wet, unlike synthetic clothing that wicks the moisture away from your body.
Start with long underwear (tops and bottoms) for your first layer (Patagonia Capilene works great).
For your second layer, wear polyester/nylon pants or tights, any type of loose-fitting pants or stretch pants, and a fleece jacket or wool sweater.
OUTER LAYER (SHELL)
For an outer layer, wear a windbreaker or windproof jacket. A down jacket, ski hat, and gloves or mittens are nice to have for cold mornings and evenings. If there is a chance of inclement weather during your class, bring a waterproof rain jacket that can serve as your outer layer.
Dress properly, and you’ll enjoy your rock-climbing class or guided rock climb even in cool conditions. Please contact us if you have any questions about what the weather should be like or if we can be of any assistance in helping you plan what to bring or wear.
PETER CROFT is one of America’s foremost rock climbers. His feats in Yosemite are noteworthy and legendary: in 1986, he climbed two of Yosemite’s biggest walls, El Capitan and Half Dome, in a single day, with John Bachar. In 1992, he climbed El Cap’s Nose Route in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Known for his mastery of 5.13 cracks, marathon solo climbs, and High Sierra first ascents, Peter is also regarded as a patient teacher and talented writer. His latest book is The Trad Climber’s Bible, which he co-authored with John Long. This season, Peter will be hosting several JOSHUA TREE ROCK CLIMBING WEEKENDS.
Peter’s Bio on Wikipedia.
JARAD STILES is a Lake Tahoe, CA, native. He is an AMGA-Certified Rock Guide. Jarad’s guiding background includes several seasons at Joshua Tree National Park and eight summer seasons at Donner Summit. Jarad’s rock climbing foundation was built in Yosemite with numerous big wall climbs, including multiple ascents of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Leaning Tower. His passion for alpine rock climbing led him to Sierra classics, from Clyde Minaret to the Incredible Hulk and the East Face of Mt. Whitney. Jarad’s love for wild places inspires his passion for teaching others. He’s known for his patience, understanding, and compassion, giving aspiring rock climbers the confidence to explore their limits.
CHRIS BAUMANN began rock climbing in 1985 and has been a professional rock climbing guide since 2007. Chris is an AMGA-Certified Single Pitch Instructor. Known for his patient teaching style, Chris especially enjoys introducing novices to the sport of rock climbing. Known for his mastery of crack climbing techniques, his rock climbs in Yosemite include Astroman, a 13-pitch, 5.11c that is the goal for many crack climbing aficionados, and a one-day ascent of the Nose Route on El Capitan. In the summer months, Chris offers rock climbing instruction and rock climbing classes in the Lake Tahoe area, where he can be reached at instonerockclimbing.com.
TONY SARTIN’s background includes exotic locales, from sea cliffs in Thailand to the huge sandstone spires of Monument Valley, AZ, and Moab, UT. His big wall climbs include Mexico’s infamous Trono Blanco and a first ascent on Rainbow Wall at Red Rocks, NV. Tony is regarded as one of Southern California’s strongest and most talented sports climbers, with 5.13 ascents to his credit. Tony has been guiding professionally since 1997.
BOB GAINES is the Director of Vertical Adventures ROCK CLIMBING SCHOOL, which he founded in 1983. Bob is an AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association)-Certified Rock Instructor (since 1995). Bob is the co-author of Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual, the textbook for the AMGA’s Single Pitch Instructor program. Bob is also the author of the rock climbing instructional textbooks Rock Climbing for the Outdoor Beginner, Rappelling, and Advanced Rock Climbing. He is one of the country’s leading experts on rock climbing anchors and rigging and the co-author of Climbing Anchors, How to Rock Climb, and Rock Climbing: The Art of Safe Ascent.
Bob began rock climbing at Joshua Tree in the 1970s. Since then, he has pioneered over 500 new routes at Joshua Tree National Park and over 130 first ascents at Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks, Idyllwild. A former member of Yosemite’s search and rescue team, Bob is a veteran of Yosemite’s big walls, with five ascents of El Capitan to his credit.
Since 1985, Bob has worked extensively training a diverse group of military special forces, including Marines Special Operations Training Group Instructors and the elite SEAL Team 6.
Bob has worked as a climbing stunt coordinator or rigging coordinator on over 40 television commercials. He doubled for Capt. Kirk in Star Trek V (when Capt. Kirk attempts to free solo El Capitan) and was Sylvester Stallone’s climbing instructor for the movie Cliffhanger, in addition to his job as Chief Safety Officer for the cast and crew of Cliffhanger during filming on location in the Italian Dolomites.
Travel + Leisure magazine, in their “Great Places to Climb” feature article, rated Bob Gaines as a “top guide” for the Joshua Tree National Park.
Rock Climbing Instruction at Joshua Tree
Since 1983, Vertical Adventures ROCK CLIMBING SCHOOL has been Joshua Tree’s rock climbing school leader, setting the standard of professionalism for rock climbing classes with our low student-to-instructor ratios, state-of-the-art course curriculums, excellent safety record, and exceptional rock climbing guides.
Vertical Adventures ROCK CLIMBING SCHOOL was honored to be ranked as the #1 rock climbing school in America by Outside Magazine in their list of America’s top adventure schools.
From September through May, our rock climbing classes and guided climbs are held at Joshua Tree National Park, located in the high desert north of Palm Springs. One of America’s most popular rock climbing areas with over 9,000 routes to choose from, Joshua Tree has ideal weather for rock climbing in the fall and spring and is the best site in the country for rock climbing during the winter season. Summer temperatures are generally too hot for rock climbing at Joshua Tree.
Our rock climbing classes and guided rock climbing have enabled many to attain goals they never thought possible. For small private groups and families with children, we offer special discounted group rates.
If you’ve never done any rock climbing, Joshua Tree is the ideal place to learn to safely climb outdoors.
If you’re a gym climber who has yet to climb outside, I invite you to experience the joy and exhilaration of outdoor rock climbing at Joshua Tree.
Vertical Adventures also offers guided climbs of Tahquitz Rock in Idyllwild, which at 1,000 feet high is Southern California’s tallest rock formation and one of the best rocks in the country for traditional, multi-pitch rock climbing.
With over 9,000 rock climbing routes, Joshua Tree National Park rock climbing combines easy access for rock climbing classes plus great variety, providing the perfect venue for a rock climbing class or guided rock climbing.
Vertical Adventures ROCK CLIMBING SCHOOL Director Bob Gaines is an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)-Certified Rock Instructor. Bob is the co-author of Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual, the textbook for the AMGA’s single pitch instructor program.
Bob has been a Joshua Tree rock climbing guide and instructor since 1983 when he founded Vertical Adventures ROCK CLIMBING SCHOOL at Joshua Tree. Travel + Leisure magazine, in their “Great Places to Climb” feature article, rated Bob Gaines as a “top guide” for Joshua Tree National Park.
Vertical Adventures’ Joshua Tree rock climbing school program includes one-day rock climbing classes, multi-day rock climbing courses up to 5 days in duration, group rock climbing instruction, guided rock climbing, private instruction, and rock climbing guides for Joshua Tree.
Our Joshua Tree rock climbing season for our regularly scheduled group rock climbing classes and guided climbs is from September through May. Vertical Adventures’ Joshua Tree rock climbing school program operates under commercial use permit at Joshua Tree National Park.
Vertical Adventures ROCK CLIMBING SCHOOL Director Bob Gaines is the author of Best Climbs Joshua Tree National Park, featuring a selection of the finest routes in Joshua Tree National Park.