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Desert Rock & Crack Climbing Camp

Trad Leaders Seminar
August 8, 2017
Gym to Crag
August 11, 2017

Utah – A Crack Climbing Mecca

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 itinerary calls for 2 days of crack climbing in Moab or Indian Creek, with a 3rd day reserved for a climb of a desert tower such as South Six Shooter or Castleton Tower.

rexerCrack climbing basics
rexerBelay with an ATC and GriGri style devices
rexerUtilize effective communication and commands
rexerHand jams, finger locks, arm bars, chicken wings
rexerGear placement in desert rock
rexerClimb a desert tower

2024 Dates

Reach out to set up custom Crack Camp trip. Minimum 3 people.


$699 per person

rexerNo Hidden Fees

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

Desert Crack Camp Itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide at 0800 at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Your Course Leader will give you a quick briefing, help you fill out a couple forms, and fit you in whatever demo equipment you might need.

A short hike will take you to the rock climbing venue where you will begin the days instruction. We’ll start with an introduction to basic climbing gear (helmets, harnesses, carabiners, rock shoes, etc.) and move straight into knots and belay/rappel setups. The day will progress with plenty of climbing and “hands on” application of the topics for the course. The day will finish up no later than 4:00 pm.

Day 2

Course participants will meet at 0800 at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Review fundamentals from Day 1, then the group will move into the topics of anchoring, top rope setups, additional knots/hitches, and of course – plenty of rock climbing. At the conclusion of the course, your instructor will give you personal feedback regarding your potential next steps in the climbing progression.

We have honed our curriculum and itinerary through many years of ice climbing instruction. These courses offer a great way to introduce yourself to the sport of rock climbing in a fun, more affordable group atmosphere.


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

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/Trained Guide
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)



  • Transportation to Boulder, CO
  • 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!

We Offer Online Registration

  1. Click on Book This Trip
  2. Select your Program dates
  3. Enter your Info and Payment


Or, call 800.642.5389 to register