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Climbing Photography Clinic

Upstream OVF Route
May 10, 2022
2 Day Backcountry Ice Seminar with Anna Pfaff
December 29, 2022

Climbing Photography Clinic

Set in the striking landscape of Moab, Utah, this clinic pairs a professional adventure photographer with our certified rock guides to make a memorable two day event. Participants will learn or review the basics of rock climbing, learn about considerations for shooting locations (how will you access, how will you move), practice their skills, and use their skills on a day out climbing and shooting.

The clinic is designed to accommodate all ranges of experience levels, but is geared toward adventure photographers and amateur photographers with their own cameras, lenses, etc.

About Your Photographer

This clinic is hosted by Kiersa Koepnick, professional photographer based in Moab. Kiersa boasts an impressive resume: her work has been featured in several publications, most notably, her multiple print contributions to the Alpinist. She has worked with Scarpa, Petzl, North Face and other major outdoor companies. She’s photographed dozens of professional climbers, and serves as San Juan Mountain Guides in-house photographer, photographing clients and staff on all our adventures.

About Your Guide

As with all of our programs – our programs are led by exclusively AMGA Certified Rock Guides. Your guide, Katie Beringer, has worked as a rock and ice guide since 2017. Katie and Kiersa have worked dozens of events and photography shoots together and now have an efficiency of operations that they are eager to impart to participants.

rexerAscending a fixed line in low angle terrain
rexerAscending a fixed line in steep/ overhanging terrain
rexerDescending a fixed line
rexerBasic anchor building
rexerHow to fix a line
rexerConsiderations for your models/other climbers


Nov 12- 13


$1215 per person

rexerNo Hidden Fees

  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • Instruction from professional adventure photographer Kiersa Koepnick
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)
  • Technical gear for rope ascending (ascenders, slings, carabiners, rappel devices, static lines)
    *Please bring your own camera if you would like to practice shooting on day 2

Photography Clinic Itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide and photography instructor at 0800 at the Lyons Park, Moab Ut.

Carpool to shooting location, subject to change by weather and availability. You will receive a basic overview of rock climbing (varied by group experience). The overview will demonstrate, lead belaying, leading, top-roping, and rappelling. Next you will learn various strategies for ascending a rope, depending on the terrain (low angle versus steep). Once the group has practiced ascending and descending ropes, we will discuss strategies for setting up your shot (e.g.; where to position, how to carry equipment). We will also discuss considerations for location: Will you access your model from above? Will you follow a leader? Will your shot require two teams of two?

Depending on the group’s ability level and time, we will also discuss how to fix a line, building anchors (trad versus bolts), and how to transition/rappel.

Day 2

The group will again meet at Lyons Park to carpool to a shooting location. The day will be spend shooting climbers, applying the skills learned in the previous day. Students will have an opportunity to hang on a fixed line next to our professional photographer for advice while they are actually shooting.


Rock Climbing Equipment List

BackpackDescriptionGuide's Pick
The Osprey Mutant 38 represents an excellent all around performer for Ice Climbing trips in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding San Juan backcountry.
Water BottlesDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend wide mouth Nalgene (or similar) water bottles for the majority of our programs. Two 1 liter bottles is the standard for days in the mountains.
Personal FoodDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lunch begins when breakfast ends and ends when dinner begins. Bring what you like to eat and consider the length, relative difficulty, weight, and other factors when deciding what to bring in the mountains with you. A variety is always best. Don't be afraid of Mr. T.
SunscreenDescriptionGuide's Pick
Essential for all of our programs. SPF 30 would be our minimum recommendation. Typically a 4 oz. bottle will suffice but consider trip length when deciding how much to pack.
Belay DeviceDescriptionGuide's Pick
A belay device is a required item on any of our technical climbing or mountaineering courses. While not necessary to have the Guide ATC specifically, we think owning one of these offers additional versatility as you progress and gain additional knowledge about the various levels of functionality provided by a device of this type.
HarnessDescriptionGuide's Pick
The BD Aspect Harness is a great all around performer for all types of climbing - ice, rock, alpine etc. The adjustable leg loops and integrated ice clipper loops make this a solid investment as your do-all harness.
Locking CarabinersDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend at minimum 2 - 3 personal locking carabiners on our climbing courses and any technical private guided program. We prefer classic screw gate carabiners over other types of locking mechanisms.
Climbing HelmetDescriptionGuide's Pick
A versatile, hybrid-shell helmet for lightweight protection in any discipline, the Vector features excellent ventilation and a ratcheting adjuster.

Training & Follow Up Climbs

As always, being in excellent 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 climbing trip.

Specific to Rock Climbing – it is a great idea to experience rock climbing in a gym first prior to your first experience outside!

Before Your Trip

Familiarity with basic climbing principles such as knots, belaying, rappelling, and other climbing techniques can be very helpful for our Intro Course participants.  Though not required, prior gym climbing experience will help you to acquire and assimilate the information covered in our rock climbing course progression as quickly as possible.

Follow Up Climbs

  • Intermediate Rock Climbing Course
  • Private Rock Guiding
  • Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing Course
  • Intro to Ice Climbing

Moab, Utah: Getting There

Moab, Utah is located in the SE Utah Desert, and is near many of the states National Park units such as Canyonlands and Arches National Park.  Moab is a hub for all kinds of outdoor adventure, from mountain biking and rafting, to hiking and jeeping.  Yes, jeeping.

plane-icon The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Grand Junction, CO. Many airline options exist, and because Grand Junction is a major airline and travel destination there are typically many one-way flights to choose from.


suv-icon You will likely need a to organize a rental car to drive to Moab, UT from Grand Junction. Typically in the summer months you can choose any type of vehicle but in the spring and fall months please consider that weather can change rapidly in the mountains so an All Wheel Drive or Four Wheel Drive vehicle is worth considering. Below are some approximate driving times to get to Moab, UT.

  • Grand Junction, CO: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Ouray, CO: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 3 hours


hotel-icon-2 There are a number of great hotels in the Moab area, but we strongly urge you to consider camping at one of the many local campgrounds.  A great addition to the experience of spending time in the Utah desert.  Plus there really aren’t that many rattle snakes out there.

Program Policies

Registration & Cancellation

Advance Registration is required for this program.  You have the option to either call our office and register via phone or utilize our secure Online Reservation System.  All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.


  • Guiding and Instruction with an AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)



  • Personal Photography equipment (camera, lenses)
  • Transportation to Moab, UT
  • Hotel costs before, during, or after the program
  • Guide gratuity
  • Lunch food or snacks
  • Personal hiking/climbing clothing
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
  • Costs associated with weather delays or other variables beyond the control of San Juan Mountain Guides

Book This Trip!

Online Registration

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Or, call 800.642.5389 to register