So I started climbing about 2 months ago with a very experienced buddy of mine. Since then I've been climbing trad routes in JTNP 5 days a week 6-8 hours a day. I have 25 climbs, 6 multi-pitch climbs, and 10 on-site leads in the JTNP, Tahquitz, & Red Rocks areas(5.5.-5.8) so far under my belt.
I feel real comfortable with everything for the most part but I really want to take a legit rescue course combined with some lead climbing refinements just to improve my climbing as well. I feel before I continue climbing multi-pitch routes I need to be proficient in self/buddy rescues so I don't find myself on the show "I shouldn't be alive" on Discovery.
I've been looking at two companies so far in the J-tree area. There's Uprising Rock Climbing Adventures (AGMA accredited guides) & then there is one called Joshua Tree Guides (PCGI approved). Anyone have any experience with either of these companies? I'm basically looking to learn the same curriculum that's taught during the AGMA Rock Instructors Course without the "Guide" part of it. Solely the mountaineering aspect of it.
Any advice? I shot an e-mail to both places asking for prices but wanted to get some other opinions on what would be best for me.
Sounds like you're hooked on climbing. Congratulations! Your desire to take a self-rescue course is admirable. Good stuff to know.
Daniel Evans wrote:
I'm basically looking to learn the same curriculum that's taught during the AGMA Rock Instructors Course without the "Guide" part of it.
You know the AMGA Rock Instructor course is a ten-day course? Even though you wouldn't qualify for that (need to have been climbing for 5 years), I'm not sure if you intend on taking ten days of instruction. There's a lot more than improvised rescue to that course (I haven't taken it).
Daniel Evans wrote:
Solely the mountaineering aspect of it.
I don't think you mean "mountaineering," as that involves snow and ice. So you wouldn't be practicing that at Joshua Tree.
Have you looked into Vertical Adventures? They also guide and instruct at JTNP. I don't have experience with the two companies you asked about, but have heard the owner of Uprising is competent, although not certified as a Rock Instructor (you might want to verify that).
Edit: Many of the guide services offer a two-day self-rescue course, which is what it sounds like you are looking for.
If you want to learn the curriculum similar to the AMGA Rock Instructor course, take a course from a guide/guide service that is affiliated with the AMGA.
Full disclosure - I work for the American Alpine Institute and work full time in the fall/winter/spring in Red Rock, however I get down to Joshua Tree and also work in the Cascades/Alaska/British Columbia in the summer. As a guide I have done my own research and the AMGA is the only credible certifying body of guides in the United States. It is my opinion that you would be wise to take a course from an AMGA guide/guide service.
I would also like to echo what the previous poster mentioned. It is a good idea to be realistic about exactly what it is you would like to learn and focus on that. Rescue skills can eat up multiple days worth of coursework, as can multi-pitch efficiencies and techniques. Focusing on one thing or the other for a two day course would be ideal, or extending the amount of time into a private course situation would give you 1:1 instruction that meets your needs and goals directly.
Feel free to PM me directly if you would like more information. Best of luck in your training and growth as a climber.
The company and "certs" don't really matter(certs in quotes because anybody can start an organization that claims to be THE certifying authority...kinda how Rand Paul is a self-certified opthamologist) The individual guide who teaches you is what really matters.
I'd opt for a regular one-on-one guided day (instead of some pre-packaged course) and be very specific about what you want/need to learn. Write it down ahead of time so you don't get sidetracked into other discussions and show it to the guide or their booking staff.
One last item, it's already hot and about to be like the surface of teh sun in JT, maybe look for someone guiding out of Idyllwild.
+1 for cliffhanger guides! I have personally taken the PCGI lead guide course with Seth, and It was an amazing experience. Not only is Seth a rad dude to work with, he teaches a great course as well. Support small business!