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First time climbing in Joshua Tree. HELP!

Original Post
Thijs Leegwater · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Hi everybody,

Me and my girlfriend will be visiting Joshua Tree in may and on top of our to do list is rock climbing.

We climb about three times a week indoors here in the Netherlands and we are really excited about climbing some real rock.

The only problem is, we have no idea how to go about this. We have our own gear (shoes, harnass, belay device) and we know how to belay top rope. No experience in lead climbing though.

What is the best thing to do? Should we hire a guide or are there places where we could toprope?

Anyway, hope anyone can help:)

Greetings from the Netherlands,


gblauer Blauer · · Wayne, PA · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 980
Chase Bowman · · Baton Rouge/Durango · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 600
Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

There are some places you can top rope but getting to the top (and more importantly, getting down!) can be tricky no matter where/how you are climbing in the park. I think hiring a guide is the best option for you. You won't have to buy a rope--which will cost almost as much as a guide and will eat up a lot of your luggage space--and you'll be safe. Win-win.

Jan Tarculas · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 808
gblauer wrote:Hire a guide! joshuatreeclimbinglifeguide…
I second this comment. My buddy Nelson owns this guide service. He is the highest qualified guide in Joshua tree currently. He also owns his own airbnb at his pad. You'll have a place to stay and a personal guide, one stop shop.
Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 60

Very bad place to learn outdoor climbing/throw up topropes. Even popular top rope areas often require a gear anchor and have sketchy descents. Splurge on a guide. You won't regret it!

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

Most of the climbing in Joshua Tree involves leading, most of the anchors at the top of climbs are gear anchors, and getting down off the climbs can be almost as difficult as the climb itself. Hire a guide.

Plan on some very warm/hot weather in May. When it gets really hot, lots of people climb early in the morning, take a break around midday, then head out again in the afternoon/evening. A guide should know when different climbs are in the shade, which will help.

Jeff Scofield · · Yorba Linda, CA · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 310

To get the most out of your trip and enjoyment hire a guide. Bob Gaines group is the best. I didn't have a mentor when I got into climbing so I hired them to learn anchors and placement's etc....

Good luck! And Enjoy the U.S.....

Tony Sartin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 205

Jan wrote "My buddy the highest qualified guide in Joshua Tree currently." Quite a statement. Some might argue that B Gaines, with over 30 years of local climbing, guiding, and prolific first ascent experience, would garner the label of highest qualified. Oh, and Gaines authored the current guidebook as well. How long has Nelson, a transplant, guided in J-tree? Steve Gerbadin is another "highly qualified" guide that shouldn't be overlooked.

Thijs Leegwater · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the replys everyone! Definitely going for a guide!

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35

Be sure to schedule in some time to hike and explore the park. There are many really cool things to check out at the park.

Check out Keys view/ inspiration point at sunset, really pretty views.

Logan Greenwood · · Huntington Beach · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Hi Thijs! as several people have already said, Jtree is probably not the best place to learn outdoor climbing of any type. The guide route is definitely your best option if you have your heart set on route climbing. With that said, if you are interested in bouldering, there is years worth of bouldering in Jtree! I would recommend this if you are not interested in going the guide route. You can pick up a Joshua Tree Bouldering guide on amazon, or at Nomad Ventures in the town of Jtree, just outside the park. Whatever you choose, stay safe, and I'm sure you will have a blast!


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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