Desert Crack/Trad Camp
Become a Better Crack Climber
The Utah Desert – and specifically Indian Creek – is the undisputed home of crack climbing. Practically the perfect cragging destination in the U.S. is host to a wide array of classic climbs and towers, not to mention scenic car camping. It’s a great place to learn the subtleties of crack climbing, and hone your climbing skills.
We guarantee that you will be a better climber after your trip with us to the desert. We have two unique offerings to climb with us in the Utah Desert – plus the opportunity to schedule Private Guided Climbs/Courses. Our scheduled 3 day Trad Camps were designed for climbers who want to receive professional instruction in the art of crack climbing and learn other climbing principles such as trad climbing, gear placements, anchors, and multi-pitch systems.
Our Guides – Your Instructors
As with all of our programs – our programs are led by exclusively AMGA Certified Rock Guides. Our guides are not only professionally certified, they are also passionate about rock climbing. Given our proximity to the Utah Desert that means plenty of time spent in the desert, perfecting and mastering not only the art of crack climbing, but also becoming uniquely knowledgeable about the best places to climb and camp in Indian Creek and Moab.
The Fall (September – early December) and Spring (March – early June) are typically the best seasons to climb in southern Utah, but the winter months are also an excellent time to climb. In the winter we tend to climb at sunny crags in order to be comfortable. Temperatures in the winter can be very pleasant (mid to high 50′s) but it often feels like the 70′s when you’re in the sun. It’s a great way to get some warm weather rock climbing in during those long winter months.
In a nut shell Bill is a valuable Demon of a climbing guide with a naturally gifted approach to guiding. After a few days at Indian Creek making big leaps in my crack climbing ability, I’m looking forward to returning in July for two more days in the Black! – J. Edmonds
Desert Crack Climbing Camp – 3 Days
3 solid days of Desert Crack Climbing. What could be better in the fall or spring!
Arrive to the Moab area. It is also feasible to fly into Durango, CO and then shuttle over with our guide on the first day of the program. Contact our office for help with travel and more info about what works best for your arrival/departure schedule.
The group will meet in the morning at Newspaper Rock (entrance to Indian Creek) and then head on to the climbing areas. After arriving at the climbing area for the day we’re off onto instruction about hand jams, fist jams, finger locks, arm bars, and all the latest techniques that are used to crack climb will be introduced, discussed, and practiced, to help you gain crack climbing competency.
After a well-deserved and hearty breakfast, we’ll head back to the crag for more work on crack climbing technique. Due to the low ratios and small group sizes on this program, the guides have the opportunity to customize the instruction based on your progression from the previous day and help you with your crack climbing technique in the areas where you need the most work.
More climbing at Indian Creek to develop additional crack climbing skills, with some added instruction on lead climbing and anchor set ups. Our low client-to-guide ratios on this portion of the program give us maximum flexibility in terms of where you can go and what climbs can be accomplished. At the conclusion, participants will depart through either Moab or Durango.
Add additional climbing days on at your discretion! We can schedule additional days of Private Guiding in the area if you would like to continue your trip and climb other towers in the area or crag at Indian Creek!
Rock Climbing Equipment List
- Backpack: approximately 35 – 45 liters capacity
- Appropriate climbing clothing
- Sunscreen: we recommend at least spf 50 for the desert
- Water Bottles: at least 2 liters of capacity
- Lunch Food & snacks
- Rain jacket
- Climbing Helmet
- Climbing Harness
- Climbing Shoes: Size these comfortably for crack climbing – NO sport shoes!
- Approach shoes: Those made by climbing companies like Scarpa or FiveTen are best
- Belay/rappel device: such as the “Reverso”, “ATC”, etc.
- Carabiners: An assortment of locking and non-locking carabiners
- Sleeping Bag: A 20 degree bag is perfect for cool desert nights
- Sleeping Pad: Air mattresses are best. Bring a comfortable one – we’re car camping!
- Digital Camera
- LED Headlamp
- Personal Items, Toiletries, etc.
Training & Follow Up Programs
As always, being in good physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great program.
2Follow Up Programs
If and when I decide to tackle the big mountains I will call you guys for sure. I was very impressed with the guides and the service on my last class. Thanks again! – Chris N.
Moab, UT: Getting Here
Moab is undoubtedly the outdoor adventure capital of Utah. Surrounded by a multitude of National Parks, including Arches and Canyonlands, as well as the majestic Colorado River, it’s no wonder why so many outdoor enthusiasts descend into Moab to get their desert adventure fix. The Moab area boasts some of the finest desert climbing in the area. It’s a great place to hone your climbing skills, or tackle a desert classic like Castleton Tower.
We offer introductory through advanced level instruction at popular cragging destinations such as Wall St. and the Ice Cream Parlor, both of which are excellent for acquiring basic skills and crack climbing proficiency. We also offer guided climbs on tower climbs such as Fine Jade (5.11a) on the Rectory, or the Kor-Ingalls (5.9) and North Chimeys (5.9) on Castleton Tower.
We’ve been leading trips in this area since the early 90′s, so we know our way around. All of our guides are AMGA Certified Rock Guides or have completed advanced level training on AMGA courses, meaning you’ll recieve the highest degree of professional instruction and guiding.
The best seasons to climb in the Moab area and Utah desert are in the spring and fall; March – early June and September – early December. The weather lends itself to optimal climbing conditions during these time periods, with warm daytime temperatures and cool, clear nights.
Flights: The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Durango – La Plata County Airport. Multiple airline options exist, and most connections originate from Denver, Phoenix, or Dallas. The airport is a 20 minute drive from our office. Many hotels offer a free shuttle pickup. Buckhorn Limousine offers a shuttle as well.
Driving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Moab. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive.
- Durango, CO: 2.5 hours
- Salt Lake City: 4.5 hours
- Cost Includes:
- AMGA Certified Guides/ instructors
- Group gear (ropes, rock gear, etc.)
- Tents and cooking gear
- Breakfasts and dinners on the program
- Not Included:
- Transportation to and from Indian Creek (this can be arranged through us for an additional fee)
- Hotel costs before, during, or after the trip
- 5% land use surcharge, trip cancellation insurance
- Lunch Food
- Guide gratuity
- Registration and Cancellation:
- You will need to fill out our Domestic Registration Form, cancellation policy agreement, and liability waiver.
- Reservation Policy:
San Juan Mountain Guides requires full payment at the time of booking. HOWEVER, YOU MAY CANCEL THE TRIP FOR A FULL REFUND AT ANY TIME UP TO 30 DAYS PRIOR TO THE TRIP START DATE. Inside of 30 days you may cancel the trip at any time up until 10 days prior to the trip start date retaining a full credit for a future trip, less a 15% rebooking fee. Cancellation within 10 days of the trip start date will result in the issuing of a credit for a future trip minus a 50% rebooking fee, so please consider purchasing travel insurance if you think short notice cancellation is a possibility.