Course Location:
September through May at Joshua Tree National Park


Our most popular beginner’s course, this seminar combines Basic Rock Climbing on Saturday with Intermediate One on Sunday, allowing you to maximize your learning capacity during one weekend.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree)

  • Dec. 9-10, Jan. 13-14, Feb. 3-4, March 2-3, April 6-7
  • $360
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Woman Rock Crafting
Two Day Anchoring


This two-day course is the next step after the Rockcraft Seminar and is the perfect course for the experienced indoor gym climber or sport climber who wishes to learn “trad” or traditional climbing. It’s our most comprehensive anchoring course and a prerequisite to our Two-Day Leading class. This course covers the essentials for trad climbing, including:

  • Lecture on equipment characteristics and specifications.
  • Detailed placement criteria and assessment principles for nuts and camming devices.
  • Anchor system evaluation criteria, including the RENE principle (Redundancy, Equalization, and Non-Extension).
  • Anchor system (both simple and complex) equalization methods using slings and cordelettes for both single pitch and multi-pitch anchors.
  • The “Joshua Tree System” rigging method for setting up toprope anchors that require extension over the cliff edge.

This course curriculum is specifically designed to give you the ability to quickly assess your gear placements and anchor systems based on sound principles.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree)

  • Dec. 2-3, 28-29, Jan. 20-21, Feb. 17-18, March 9-10, April 13-14, May 4-5
  • $380 (Each Day Can Also Be Taken Separately for $190)
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This two-day class focuses on leading fundamentals. You’ll learn what it takes to become a competent leader: confidence in technique and the ability to place reliable protection and sound anchors. You’ll practice placement and removal of all the various state-of-the-art protection devices, with pointers from your guide, and, under close supervision and toprope protection, you will execute simulated lead climbs. Placing gear on the lead, use of slings to reduce rope drag, proper carabiner clip-ins and alignment, belaying strategies and rope management for multi-pitch climbs, and route-finding skills are among the topics covered. This is limited to a maximum of three students.

Prerequisite: Two-Day Anchoring or equivalent

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree)

  • Dec. 30-31, Jan. 22-23, 27-28, Feb. 19-20, 24-25, March 11-12, 16-17, April 20-21
  • $400
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Blue Anchor On Rock Crack


Combines Rescue One and Rescue Two for a comprehensive self-rescue class that covers virtually every scenario you may encounter while climbing.

  • By appointment, per day:
  • One Person: $395
  • Two People: $240 Each
  • Three People: $195 Each
Make a reservation


Joshua Tree is the perfect place to improve your crack climbing skills. In this two-day class, you will learn the techniques required to climb a wide variety of crack sizes, including thin cracks, hand cracks, off widths, chimneys, dihedrals, and flaring cracks. Your instructor will set up top ropes on crack climbs, mostly in the 5.6 to 5.9 range. The skills covered in the class will include finger locks, ring locks, hand jams, fist jams, hand stacks, arm bars, chicken wings, toe jams, foot jams, heel-toe jams, foot stacks, stemming, laybacking, and the undercling technique.

In addition, we will explore topics such as:

  • Hand-taping methods
  • When is it better to jam, and when is it better to layback?
  • When is stemming the best option?
  • Is it better to jam with thumbs down or thumbs up?
  • Should you rest with elbows bent or elbows straight?
  • Should you lock off low or high when placing or cleaning protection?
  • Mixed crack and face routes.
  • How does rock type influence technique? (i.e., granite vs. sandstone vs. basalt, etc.)
  • Training tips.

By appointment, per day:

  • One Person: $395
  • Two People, Per Day: $240 Each
  • Three People: $195 each Each
Make a reservation
Man In Red Crack Climbing



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.