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Course Location: September through May at Joshua Tree National Park.


Student enjoying our Basic Rock Climbing course.
Basic Rock Climbing class at Joshua Tree.


If you have never done any climbing, or need a refresher, here's where to start. This is an introduction to the world of rock climbing with an emphasis on safety and fun. The class covers the absolute essentials for climbing steep rock and is a valuable course for those wishing to pursue mountaineering. Course itinerary: equipment, knots, anchoring, belaying, communication signals, rating system, climbing techniques, and rappelling. Classes are taught on low-angle, moderate rock suitable for novices.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): November 4, December 9

Figure 8 Knot
Figure Eight knot.


After reviewing fundamentals (knots, anchoring, and belaying) you'll complete a progression of climbs where a broad range of more challenging climbing techniques are encountered, from the subtleties of edging and smearing used in face climbing, to jamming and liebacking used in crack climbing. Protected by a top-rope, each student is given personalized coaching and is allowed to progress to the limit of their ability. This class also includes an introduction to anchoring fundamentals using nuts and camming devices.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): November 5, December 10

Climber "Pickoff"
Fallen climber "pickoff" using a Grigri.


This class provides you with the essentials to perform basic self rescue skills for you and your partner. The itinerary includes: friction hitches for slings and cord, improvised rope ascension, backing up rappels with an auto block knot, how to rescue a fallen climber using an auto-locking (ie. Gri-Gri) device, lowering system with a re-directed auto-locking device, lowering system with a munter hitch backed-up with an auto block knot, the tandem rappel system, and the basic 3 to 1 "Z" raising system with an auto-locking device.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): November 15

Also available by appointment, per day, one person: $395
Two people: $215 each
Three people: $170 each

Rescue Two Class, Joshua Tree
Practicing the rescue of a fallen climber, Rescue Two class at Joshua Tree.


This class teaches you the more complex rescue systems that must be accomplished without the aid of an auto-locking (ie. Gri Gri) device. The itinerary includes: the belay escape, how to rescue a fallen lead climber, rigging a 3 to 1 and 5 to 1 raising system, and lowering systems with a knot pass.

Prerequisite: Rescue One or equivalent.

By appointment, per day, one person: $395
Two people: $215 each
Three people: $170 each


Two Day Rock Climbing
Lisa Lafortune enjoying her rock climbing class at Joshua Tree. Photo by Hoan Dolinh.


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): November 4 - 5, December 9 - 10

The stopper is one of the most common rock climbing anchors.


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 2-Day Leading class. This course covers the essentials for trad climbing, including:

  • Lecture on equipment characteristics and specifications
  • Detailed placement criteria and assessment principals for nuts and camming devices
  • Anchor system evaluation criteria, including the RENE principal (Redundancy, Equalization, and Non Extension)
  • Anchor system (both simple and complex) equalization methods using slings and cordellettes 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 principals.

Recommended textbooks:
Advanced Rock Climbing: Mastering Sport and Trad Climbing by Bob Gaines
Climbing Anchors Field Guide, Second Edition (2014) by John Long and Bob Gaines

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): October 14 - 15, November 11 - 12, December 2 - 3, 28 - 29
$345 (each day can also be taken separately for $175/day)

Mock Leading
"Mock leading" during our 2-Day Leading class. Photo by Jarad Stiles.


This two-day class focuses on leading fundamentals. You'll learn what it takes to become a competent leader: confidence in technique and 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 top-rope 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. Limited to a maximum of three students.

Prerequisite: 2-Day Anchoring or equivalent.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): October 21 - 22, November 13 - 14, 18 - 19, December 30 - 31

Two Day Rescue Class at Idyllwild
Students practicing rescue techniques during our Rescue class at Idyllwild.


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: $215 each
Three people: $170 each


Illusion Dweller (5.10b)
Erik Kramer-Webb leading the Joshua Tree classic Illusion Dweller (5.10b)

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: $215 each
Three people: $170 each


Trad climbing at Joshua Tree
Terri Condon leading a trad route at Joshua Tree.


Combine the 2-Day Leading with Rescue One for a comprehensive three-day leader's class.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): November 13 - 15

Camming Device
The spring loaded camming device is one of the most useful anchoring devices for rock climbing.


Our most comprehensive beginner's course. Day one is our Basic Rock Climbing curriculum and day two is our Intermediate One curriculum. Days three and four include more climbing technique, including steep face climbing and crack climbing techniques, allowing you to build your foundation on a wide variety of climbs, all with expert advice and coaching from your instructor. Climbing on consecutive days is the best way to refine technique and quickly progress.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): November 4 - 7

Toprope Masterpoint
Toprope masterpoint with BHK knot.


Start with the 2-Day Anchoring then continue with the 2-Day Leading for a thorough course covering everything from rigging top-rope anchors to the fundamentals of Lead Climbing.

Fall/Winter 2023 (Joshua Tree): November 11 - 14, December 28 - 31

The Vampire
Angelina Kalianda leading The Vampire, a 5.11 rock climb on Tahquitz Rock. Photo by Tony Grice.


Combine the 4-Day Anchoring & Leading with Rescue One on day five for our most comprehensive course.

Fall/Winter 2022 (Joshua Tree): November 11 - 15


Belay Anchor
Multipitch belay with quad rig.


This course will be taught by AMGA Certified Rock Guide Jarad Stiles. To achieve his Rock Guide certification (the highest level of certification in the AMGA’s rock program), Jarad completed a total of 26 rigorous days of training and exams in all the various state-of-the-art techniques of modern multipitch climbing. This course can be customized according to your previous experience and immediate goals.

Course topics:

  • Preparation
    Goal setting, route selection, preparing for weather contingencies, setting yourself up for success, interpreting route topos, communication devices (eg. cell, radios, inReach), approach and descent considerations, and the importance of making a solid plan and back up plans.
  • Equipment
    Gear organization, racking methods, gear selection, choosing the right sized pack, single rope vs half and twin ropes, tag line for rappelling, climbing shoe and approach shoe recommendations.
  • Belaying
    Belay station strategies and management, choosing the right belay device, anchoring with a Clove Hitch versus a PAS, using a direct belay versus a redirected belay, belaying the leader with a direct belay, standardized multipitch communication signals (belay commands) and non-verbal communication strategies for long pitches in windy conditions.
  • Anchors
    Advanced anchor rigging, equalizing without a cordelette, girth hitch master point with sling or cordelette, alpine anchors, terrain belays, rappel anchors and inspection precautions.
  • Efficiency
    Rope management, double ropes at belays, coiling, stacking, carrying, flaking, short pitching vs short roping, short fixing, simul climbing pros and cons.
  • Rappelling
    Rappel extension methods and backups, multipitch rappelling efficiency.
  • Self Rescue
    Raising and lowering systems from a direct belay, rescuing a fallen leader with a “pickoff” and counterbalance rappel, rope ascension (prusiking), tandem rappelling with an injured climber, evac protocols.
By appointment, per day, one person: $395
Two people: $215 each

Aid Climbing
Big Wall student Michelle Kemmer practicing aid climbing technique on The Pirate at Suicide Rock.


This two-day course teaches the famed "Yosemite Method" of direct aid climbing, useful to anyone who aspires to climb the big walls. Stressing simplicity and safety, we'll cover various types of direct aid placements, jumarring techniques, leading and cleaning aid pitches, establishing hanging belays, hauling heavy loads, tension-traverses and pendulums. Taught by a veteran Yosemite Big Wall climber, this seminar will save you valuable time and reduce the frustration involved in learning the secrets of big wall climbing.

By appointment, per day, one person: $395
Two people: $215 each
Three people: $170 each

Peter Croft
Peter Croft at Joshua Tree


Peter Croft is one of America's legendary trad climbers, and Bob Gaines is one of Joshua Tree's most experienced guides, with over 35 seasons guiding at Joshua Tree National Park. Bob's route knowledge, combined with Peter's exceptional technique and coaching ability, will give you the ideal environment to break through to your next level. Designed for experienced climbers with the ability to follow 5.8 to 5.10 routes, everyone is guaranteed a challenge. Join Peter and Bob for a fun and memorable weekend of classic rock climbs.

Fall/Winter 2023: Dates to be determined


Peter Croft is now offering private instruction and guided climbs at Owens Gorge. Located near Bishop, California, the Gorge has over 500 routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.13, so everyone is guaranteed a challenge. Join Peter for an unforgettable tour of California's finest sport climbing area.

Contact us for pricing and availability.


We have designed more technically oriented courses for a variety of police, military, and search and rescue groups, including: L.A.P.D. K9 search and rescue, Palm Springs Search and Rescue, F.B.I., U.S. Navy Seals, Marine Force Recon, and Delta Force.


We have coordinated over 25 television commercials featuring rock climbing. We can provide location scouting, casting, rigging, and stunt coordination services. Contact us for a detailed resume.

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Vertical Adventures®, Inc.
63624 Rapallo Road
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Office: 800.514.8785 Mobile/Text:949.322.6108
Bob Gaines, Director | Email:

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