Joshua Tree Rock Climbing Guides – (760) 364-0547

Head Guides

Info for Head Guides



Head guide is a management position.  After the reservation process is complete, the Head (Lead) Guide of the trip will receive an email confirmation of the trip and can find the details of guests on the Team Up Calendar. From there, the guide can begin to plan the trip.  Depending on the time of year, the guests will either need to be kept in the sun or shade or out of the wind.  For most of the year, it is enough to have a plan A, B, and C.  However, for peak season dates, a plan A, B, C, D and E could be necessary!  After thoughtful consideration of the guests ambitions and skill sets, weather and possible parking limitations, the Head Guide will plan the day.  Once in Joshua Tree National Park, the Head Guide will manage the trip in a way to keep the guests safe, comfortable and happy.


The Basics

To be on time, a guide must be 20 minutes early for every trip with the meeting location inside the park and 10 minutes early for every trip that meets in the shop.  Guides must show up for work with all the climbing gear they need to guide, look presentable, be clean, have their own personal food, water and layers for the trip as well as be attentive and ready to care for their climbing guests.


Groups of 5-7

If the group is 5-7 people, the guide will be working with an assistant guide.  In this case, it will be the Head Guide’s responsibility to reach out to the assistant guide at least 1 day in advance to begin the planning process. By 5:00 pm the day prior to the trip, both guides should have an agreed upon plan A, B and C for the trip. The Head Guide will have the responsibility to meet and greet the guests, collect signed waivers from every climber and person accompanying the climbers, assist climbers with fitting into the personal climbing gear (rock climbing shoes, harnesses and helmets) and lead the caravan to the crag.  From there, the head guide will direct the flow of the guided trip.  The climbing/lowering demonstration, the moving of the anchors, cleaning anchors and climbing area, escorting the guests back to their car and collecting climbing gear back from the guests will all be a team effort under the supervision of the Head Guide.  If there are two head guides assigned to the same trip, the meet and greet will be done by the “Lead Guide” as marked on the Team Up Calendar.


Groups of 8 or more

For groups of 8 or more, the “Lead Guide” of the trip will coordinate with all other guides assigned and come up with a plan A, B and C two days prior to the trip.  The Lead Guide will also make a plan for gearing up the group and cleaning the gear.  The work should be a team effort, however, the “Lead Guide” will manage the trip and receive additional pay of $30.


Cleaning Gear

The quality of our guide service depends on the smooth reservation process, professional and friendly guides, a positive climbing experience AND clean presentable gear!  Every guide is expected to thoroughly clean the gear after every trip.  Harnesses should be wiped clean with a wet towel. Shoes should be wiped clean inside and out with a wet towel.  Everything, including helmets, should get a quick spray of disinfectant. Once dry, the gear is stored in bins or in the gear storage in the shop.


Documenting Trips

After each trip, the Lead Guide edits the “Post Trip Notes” field of the trip on Team Up Calendar and types in what crags/routes were climbed as well as any other important information s/he believes future guides should know.




For 4, 6 and 8 hour trips, Head Guides are respectively paid $130, $160 and $200.


After Year 2

Head Guides who complete 2 seasons of guiding become eligible for bonuses. To receive a bonus, guides must be available for 90% of peak season dates.  There are 87 peak season dates listed, however, two of these dates are Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Guides are not required to work on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day but have the option to for payment of 50% more of standard wage. Guides must be available to work 76 of the 87 peak dates.  Guide must also (of course) complete every trip assigned to them.


After Year 5

Head guides who complete 5 seasons of guiding become eligible for bonuses as long as they are available for 80% of the peak season dates.  This is 68 of the 87 peak dates listed.


Climbing Gear

Head Guides will be outfitted with Stone Adventures sun hoodies, t-shirts, static ropes, cordelettes, and rock climbing ropes. These items will vary from year to year.


When To Take Time Off

Please take time off during the non-peak season dates.  As much as possible, avoid taking the same dates off as other guides.  Exceptions to this include very slow periods such as first 2 weeks of December, non-peak season dates in January, first week of March, non-peak season dates in May, and summer (June -September).  Other exceptions include taking time off to re-cert for the WFR or climbing certs.