CALIFORNIA CLIMBING SCHOOL OFFERS A COMPLETE CURRICULUM  If you are looking for a climbing guide at Joshua Tree, we suggest hiring one of our certified guides. California Climbing School offers a full range of services to climbers of all ability levels.

climbing technique
Joshua Tree climbing makes you very aware of what your feet are doing

We offer classes in Joshua Tree in basic rock climbing, anchor building, lead climbing, crack climbing, self-rescue, rappelling, and more.   Or hire a climbing guide in Joshua Tree for a private lesson, and we will tailor the session to your specific needs.  Click here to see a full description of our classes and private guiding options.

What sets California Climbing School apart from other schools located in Joshua Tree is our level of training, our wealth of experience,  our ability to teach well,  and our knowledge of California natural history.  Owners Erik Kramer-Webb and Theresa Walsh have been trained by some of the most respected guides and outdoor educators in the industry.  Erik is an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor.  Theresa is an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor.

Check out our reviews on Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor.


We operate in 3 main areas:  Joshua Tree, Tahquitz, and the High Sierra.

We run year round rock climbing outings at Joshua Tree National Park.  In our opinion Joshua Tree is the best place on earth to learn rock climbing.  The moves have much more variety than most other climbing destinations, which is great for learning new techniques.

Joshua Tree boasts year-round rock climbing, easy access, and climbs of all difficulty levels.  It is considered a must-go for climbers worldwide.

And yet despite the popularity of Joshua Tree,  we can almost always find a quiet area to climb if we hike just a short distance.  Due to the easy approach hikes, world class routes, and stunning scenery, Joshua Tree will capture your heart and keep you coming back for more.

Even though Joshua Tree weather is ideal in the fall and spring,  winter is a very popular time to climb as well.  Winter brings highs in the 50’s and 60’s and typically sunny weather. Joshua Tree summers are hot (highs in the 90’s and low 100’s), but it cools off quite a bit at night.  Our half days starting at 7 am are wonderful all summer long since we will stick to the shade.  Even afternoons after 3 pm are pleasant for shade climbing most of the summer.

Tahquitz Rock

Simply put, Tahquitz Rock is home to the finest rock climbing in Southern California.  It offers superb granite multi-pitch climbing up to 900 feet in height.  These climbs rival Yosemite in quality and feel.  Many pioneers of Yosemite honed their skills at Tahquitz before attempting the big walls of the Valley.  In fact, the “Yosemite Decimal System” was invented at Tahquitz in the early 50’s.  The approach hike gains 1000′ to reach the base of the rock so this is a great place to get a cardio and leg workout as well.

high Sierra
Jeff Newgard on top of Temple Crag with Mount Sill in the background.

The High Sierra is home to some of the most magnificent rock climbs in the world.  Schedule a guided climb of a classic High Sierra peak like Mt Whitney or Mt Russell, and have an adventure you will never forget.  On the first day hike in to an alpine lake and enjoy a spectacular campsite.   Then go for the summit the next morning and hike back out.  Other routes can be done car to car with your climbing guide in one long day.  We typically access the climbs from the eastern Sierra towns of Bishop, Lone Pine, or Mammoth Lakes.  Our season in the High Sierra is July through September.

Better known by her nick name, Ting-ting,  we are proud to have this talented climber and alpinist on our team.  Ting-ting was raised in Taiwan and is fluent in both English and Mandarin.  She is an AMGA Assistant Rock Guide and is quite close to achieving her full Rock Guide Certification, which requires passing an extremely rigorous exam.

Ting-Ting has recently returned from doing first ascents of long rock climbs in Patagonia. She recently splashed onto the cover of the NOLS Leader magazine due to her record-breaking traverse of the Wind River Range in Wyoming.  She climbed 33 peaks while only being in the mountains for 20 days!  Ting-ting also owns her own guide service, called LittlePo Adventures.

Matthew “Mateo” Navarro

Matthew Navarro (aka, Mateo) was born in Palm Springs California, just 20 minutes outside Joshua Tree National Park. Matthew’s background is in traditional climbing but loves to sport climb and boulder as well. He doesn’t just see climbing as a recreational sport, he views it as an art. A way one expresses themselves through the poetry of motion. He believe’s through the movement and experiences climbing provides, one finds many benefits to the Body, Spirit, and Mind. He is also is a big fan of Leave No Trace ethics and is keen on knowing his environment.

Some of Matthew’s favorite climbing spots are Fontainebleau in France, El Potrero Chico in Mexico, local areas like Eagle Peak, and Joshua Tree. Matthew has a current certification as a Single Pitch Instructor with the AMGA and holds a Wilderness First Responder. Matthew is currently looking at furthering his guiding career by enrolling in the AMGA Rock Guide Course in the coming year.

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private guiding and groups

Private Guiding:

Reserve a half day or a full day of private guiding and instruction at Joshua Tree or Tahquitz Rock with one of our guides please use the two links below:

Full day (8 hours)

Half day (4 hours)



Click on links for detailed class descriptions.  Classes are not scheduled during the summer months.  Classes will resume in September.  We teach all these subjects in the summer, but only by private arrangement.

How to Rock Climb

Your first day on the rock begins here.  $155
For details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> How to Rock Climb.

Climbing Technique

Perfect for your 2nd day on the rock.  $155
For details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> Climbing Technique.

Anchors 1 & 2

2 day trad anchor building class.  First day compact anchors.  Second day extended anchors  $165 per day  10% off if you book both days
For details and to make a reservation please use this link >> Anchor Building

Lead Climbing

2 day trad leading class   $165 per day. 10% off if you book both days
For details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> Two Day Lead Climbing Class

Crack Climbing Technique

1 day intro to crack climbing $395 or 2 people for $225 each
For more details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> Introduction to Crack Climbing.

Multipitch Efficiency

Multipitch trad efficiency tips.  $165
For details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> Multipitch Efficiency.

Rescue 1

Hands-on self-rescue seminar.  $165
For details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> Rescue 1.

Rescue 2

By appointment only.  $165 per person
For more details please use this link >> Rescue 2

Kids Climbing Class

Open to kids age 5-17.  $40 per session
Fridays 1-4 pm starting January 11, 2019
For details and to make a reservation, please use this link >> Kids Climbing Class

For detailed information and reservations click on the link associated with each class,
Or Email to or call us at (760) 625-7115

aid climbing class

1-2 days by arrangement
Learn the basics of big wall climbing techniques.    Learn how to aid climb, how to use mechanical rope ascenders, …. for more information, please follow this link >> Big Wall Clinic

Multipitch Guided Climbing

Follow your guide up a multipitch climb in Joshua Tree.  Up to 450′ in height.

For more information, please follow this link >> Multipitch guided climbing

High Sierras

Climb a classic High Sierra peak like Mt Whitney, Mt Russell, or Temple Crag.  Our season is June through September.
Use this link for more details >> High Sierra Trip

Family Climbing

Contact us today to talk about hiring a private guide for your family.  Kids are typically ready to climb at around age 6. We often offer some type of scrambling activity in addition to the roped climbing, which the kids seem to particularly enjoy.  Climbing outdoors in a beautiful natural area can impact kids in profound ways.

For reservations,
Email to or call us at (760) 625-7115

Private Rock Climbing Lessons for Youth 

These private lessons in Joshua Tree National Park are 3 hours long.

Ages 5-17yrs
$200 for a private lesson
$120 each for 2   $100 each for 3    $90 each for 4   $80 each for 5   $75 each for 6

For more details and reservations use this link >> Private rock climbing lessons for youth,
Or email
Or call us at (760) 625-7115


We have provided our services to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school groups,  corporate teams,  recovery groups, and other types of groups as well.   Please let us know what your group needs are so we can make your Joshua Tree adventure just the right amount of challenge.
For more details, please use this link >> Groups
Or email
Or call us at (760) 625-7115


Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts

Joshua Tree is the perfect place for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to camp and climb and experience nature in a rugged environment.    California Climbing School founders Erik and Theresa were both Sea Scouts in their youth in the San Francisco Bay.   As adults they have taught climbing to many different scouting groups from around the state of California.

We have 4 different options to choose from if your scout troop is looking for a Joshua Tree climbing adventure.

Our maximum ratio for scout groups is 1 guide per 5 scouts.  Minimum group size is 10.  For group sizes between 5 and 9 scouts, add $10 to the rates below.

Climbing Merit Badge (8 hours).  $95 per kid  Min group size is 10  Includes 3 climbs, 3 belays, 3 rappels, knots, rope coiling, and 1st aid review.

Full Day of climbing (8 hours)   $85 per kid  Min group size is 10

3/4 Day of climbing (6 hours)  $75 per kid   Min group size is 10

1/2 Day of climbing (4 hours)  $65 per kid.  Min group size is 10

Erik is a current merit badge counselor with the Boy Scouts of America and has recently re-certified his Youth Protection Training.


Wonderland of Rocks Adventure

Hike, climb, rappel, and scramble through boulders as your guide leads you on this unforgettable adventure to the heart of Joshua Tree National Park.  Learn about the plants, animals, pioneers, and Native Americans from your guide as you look for signs of the elusive bighorn sheep.  No climbing experience necessary, but good fitness required because of the rough nature of the terrain. Great opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography.

For more information please use this link >> Wonderland of Rocks adventure 
Or Email to
Or call us at (760) 625-7115


If you are pleased with your guide’s performance, it is customary to give them a tip.

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“Just a quick note to tell you what a great time my son Cole and I had with our 1/2 day session with Erik. I’ve been on a lot of outdoor trips, and I’ve seen a lot of guides in action. Erik was just first rate, in every way. Patient, focused, helpful and effective in his instruction, etc. We had a terrific time, and I can’t think of how we could have had a better day of climbing.”

Rich – “Erik was just first rate in every way”.

“Thanks very much for arranging our outing. Nick and I had a great time, did a bunch of top ropes and even a two pitch ascent.

Erik was a wonderful guide, very knowledgeable and professional, and a great companion and a fount of information about climbing, the locale, and the outdoors in general.
It was a fabulous first outing for my son’s first experience with outdoor climbing, and my first time back in harness in years. Thanks to you and your guide Erik for providing a truly special and memorable day for us. We would definitely love to use your guide service again, and will be contacting you again when we are in the area next year. I hope then to get my wife and youngest son to come along so they can share in the beauty and thrill of climbing!”

Rob – “Erik was a wonderful guide, very knowledgeable and professional”