Some emails we've received:
“Bob: I hope this finds you well - I am contacting you on behalf of Outside Magazine's Premier Active Traveler Team! We are currently working on our February issue and it appears that Vertical Adventures is going to be covered in our School's In Feature Story in the February issue! Outside's Editors attended the world's best camps to master a new skill and found your rock-climbing clinics to be the best in the business...Congrats!”
“Bob, For all the right reasons I suspect that this email is a repeat for you, but...I wanted to say thank you again for the incomparable time this Wednesday out in JT. Your instruction came through precise, informed and professional. I enjoyed our conversations, and while climbing really dug when you knew when to toss up a little beta- and when to let me or my dad just enjoy working it out on our own. You really fleshed out the whole experience as I got some perspective not just of the rock but the plants and the wildlife surrounding us. I felt your love of the place reflected. Now I love it there too. Thanks again. I always say there's 1000 days in your life that define it. Wednesday was one of the 1000 for me. Hell- it was one of the 100.”
“Bob- Can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed climbing with you. Many thanks for the entire experience. I’ve made a lifetime memory with your help. I can’t remember when I’ve had more fun. All the best,”
“Hey Bob! What a terrific class! Your instructors were amazing, cool, fun, and absolutely brimming with experience and knowledge! Looking very forward to finding time to take the next progression of classes with you. Thanks a million.”
“Hi, I climbed with two of your guides in Joshua and loved the experience. I have gone quite a few places to climb and hired guides and none have been as good as yours - safe, knowledgeable, friendly. I really appreciated their time.”
“Good afternoon, I just wanted to reach out and say that my fiancée and I had the best experience yesterday with our guide Chris at Joshua Tree. As you know, it was our first time outdoors and we absolutely loved it and it really had a lot to do with our guide. He was beyond knowledgeable, safety conscious and made sure we had fun and got our money's worth. Thank you so much for a great experience and also having such a high standard for your employees. We will definitely be back for another trip and couldn't imagine using a different company.”
“Bob, I just wanted to say what a fantastic day my kids (10 & 7) and I had climbing with Jarad. He was great company and set up some excellent top-rope climbs for all of us. He was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, and of course ultra-safe. It was far and away the highlight of our trip. We’ll look forward to climbing with Jarad when we’re back in Joshua Tree next year. Thank you! -Best regards,”
“We had a blast…Jarad is an amazing guide! We have had several other guides on other trips but no one compares to him. He’s incredibly helpful and encouraging. We appreciate his positive attitude and can’t wait to climb with him again!”
“Hey Bob, My name is Evan and my climbing partner Jesse and I just took the 4-day Anchoring and Lead class with Jarad and we had the best time. Jarad was extremely professional and helpful, took safety very seriously and was a pleasure to be around. I have had a few guides with other companies in the past and was never thrilled with how the classes went. The other guides made it seem like the classes were a chore and made me feel dumb for asking certain questions and didn't know when to slow down during certain portions of learning that I didn't grasp right away. Jarad was the exact opposite! I could tell that he genuinely loves what he does, and he is extremely good at it. He answered all our questions with great detail and always took the time to explain why things were done and the different ways it can be changed / adjusted according to your equipment and situations. He was able to read the class and know when we all understood something very well and when we were struggling on certain concepts and needed to spend more time on that. As we were heading back home, Jesse and I both agreed that this was one of the best climbing experiences of our life, and that Jarad was the best teacher we could have hoped for. We will 100% be recommending Vertical Adventures and Jarad to all our friends in the climbing community. Thank you for an incredible experience! Cheers,”
Dear Bob, I wanted to send this to say thank you for our experience! Sofia and I had an amazing 2 mornings with Chris. He was an incredible guide! Friendly, funny, kind, and a great instructor. He managed to create an experience for us that took into account our different levels and provided climbs that had challenges for each of us and were also at levels where we could both really enjoy the experience. He was also fun to talk to! He provided helpful instruction and a safe experience. He was excellent with my 15-year-old and coached her through a couple of challenging climbs. She was thrilled with the experience and it has really fueled her enthusiasm for the sport. I will certainly recommend your company to others and I will highly recommend Chris. -Thank you!”
“Bob, We had the best time ever. Mentoring under you, Michael and I both won the lottery. We both learned so much in the two days we spent together. We can't stop talking about you and our experience. Thanks so much for such a wonderful enlightening vertical adventure.”
“Hi Bob, Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend of training! I can't wait to practice all my new skills and read your new books when they come out. I found all your anchor, gear, guiding, and technique expertise to be invaluable, and I'm sure I will rely on it for many years to come! Good luck with your books and thanks again,”
“Bob, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the Rockcraft Seminar last weekend. I was concerned that it might be too basic for me, but that wasn’t the case after all. My confidence on rock has increased dramatically. Both Chris and Jarad are top notch, passionate climbing instructors, and I believe uniquely talented in their ability to teach sometimes complicated topics efficiently. Beyond that they just seem like good, fun people. I felt immediately comfortable out there with them and I think the rest of our group did too. Thanks for great weekend. Best,”
“Bob, I wanted to reach out and tell you what an amazing trip we had rock climbing in Joshua Tree at Turtle Rock. Jarad was a fantastic guide. Pushed everyone's limits, but not too far. It was truly the highlight of the trip and it was an excellent vacation. We will definitely be back. And have recommended it to others. -Thanks Again,”
“Hey Bob, Just a quick email to say thanks so much for a great 4 days. We really couldn't have asked for more and we adored Chris, really great guide, patient mentor, and honestly one of the best dudes we've ever met. Instant family. It really was a life changer.” -Best,”
“Hi Bob, Jarad is an amazing instructor! He is very knowledgeable and super helpful and supportive. We are looking forward to taking another class with him. Thanks!”
“Hi Bob, Just wanted to drop you a quick note about my trip last week to Joshua Tree. I had an awesome time and it was exactly what I wanted and more. Chris was fantastic. He provided the perfect mixture of climbing, coaching and technical sessions. It was great to meet someone who so obviously enjoys his job and is passionate about what he does. -Thanks again for a super weekend,”
“Dear Bob, Thank you Vertical Adventures for a spectacular climbing trip! Our guide, Chris, made our experience in Joshua Tree. Not only did he quickly hone in on our climbing ability, (climbing gym, but little to no outdoor experience) he also encouraged us in a manner that built on our strengths and he intuitively knew how we needed to be challenged. It was clear that Chris loves his job. His enthusiasm for the park, knowledge of the area, 25+ years of climbing experience was infectious, and we were smiling from ear-to-ear all day. His respect for you (Bob) and the other guides at V.A. was clearly evident and confirmed what we already knew based on a friend's recommendation, that Vertical Adventures is a great climbing company. By the end of the day, Chris had become a friend - his kindness, encouragement, and humor made us feel at ease, and, needless to say, we're totally hooked on outdoor climbing! Many thanks!”
“Hi Bob, Just wanted to let you know what a terrific job Jarad did as our guide last week. He is super patient and so knowledgeable, he made my first outdoor climbing experience as enjoyable as possible considering it’s a big change from climbing in the gym. He even carried my open can of Yerba Mate’ as we scrambled into climb Cat House. - Best Regards,”



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

JARAD STILES is from Lake Tahoe California. Jarad’s guiding career started in 2009 by gaining his Single Pitch Instructor certification in Joshua Tree. In 2019 after climbing and guiding for a decade he earned his AMGA Rock Guide certification in Red Rock Nevada. His rock climbing foundation started in the Lake Tahoe area and quickly progressed to the big walls of Yosemite. Multiple ascents of El Capitan, Half Dome, Washington Column and The Leaning Tower taught Jarad the skills needed to move efficiently through difficult terrain. His passion for alpine rock climbing led him to the High Sierra classics, Clyde Minaret, the Incredible Hulk, Merriam Peak, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Russell and Bear Creek Spire. 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

Tony Startin

Tony Startin

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

BOB GAINES is the former 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 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 Joshua Tree National Park.

You can follow Bob on Instagram @BGvertical.

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’ 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.