CALIFORNIA CLIMBING SCHOOL OFFERS A COMPLETE CURRICULUM  If you are looking for a climbing guide at Joshua Tree, Tahquitz Rock, or the High Sierras, please consider hiring one of our certified guides. California Climbing School offers a full range of services to climbers of all ability levels.

We offer classes in basic rock climbing, anchor building, lead climbing, crack climbing, self-rescue, rappelling, and more.  Or you can also hire a climbing guide for a private lesson, and we will tailor the lesson 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 is our level of training, our decades of experience honing our craft, 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.

Panel 1 Placeholder
Panel 2 Placeholder
Panel 3

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


Learn how to aid climb, jug, clean, and haul.  By appointment only.      For more details please use this link>> Big Wall Clinic

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
$175 for a private lesson
$110 each for 2   $90 each for 3    $75 each for 4   $65 each for 5   $60 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.

Panel 4


“I just wanted to take a minute to let you know how incredible my experience was this past weekend. I’ve never done anything like rock climbing – I mean when people that know me heard I was going to take a class, their reaction was, “What, and ruin her manicure?!!” Erik is a GREAT instructor – aside from being highly-skilled he is really personable, extremely patient and caring. He totally “got” me and what I could do and pushed me just enough so that I was really happy with what I had accomplished by the end of the class; that’s a good teacher in my book. I also appreciated that you came to the meeting site both mornings to check in and say hello.”

Kim G.

I am writing to express my high regard for the leadership of Theresa Walsh. The wisdom and maturity that Theresa has gained from her own life experience is clear as she instructs others. She is confident in all her actions, while at the same time supremely concerned with the safety of the group.

Theresa is attuned to the learning needs and saturation point of her students. She knew when we needed to stop trying to understand a technique and start practicing it.
Theresa’s interpersonal skills and ability to help the group relate and become a team were quickly apparent. She did not become stressed by any of our personal stresses, and yet clearly showed her compassion for us. Theresa always carefully explained new skills, not taking for granted that we knew them already, or assuming or implying that we should have known them. Always encouraging and patient, never did she berate anyone for their efforts.

Theresa motivated me by her personal example. She took every challenge in her stride and approached it with a refreshing eagerness. Her love for nature and helping others learn is undeniable. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to experience my first Outward Bound course under the leadership of Theresa Walsh.

— Rev. Beverly Butler
United Methodist Minister

Rev. Beverly Butler – United Methodist Minister