Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Updated 6-30-2019

What should I bring on my Climbing Trip?

Check out Annie's video for a detailed answer to that question!

Why do I need so much water?

The Mojave Desert is one of the driest places on Earth.  You lose water every time you exhale!

There is no water inside Joshua Tree National Park, so come prepared.  Water is safety!  Please bring more than enough water, and have extra water in your car- just in case!


What kind of footwear should I bring?

Good, lightweight trail hiking/running shoes are an excellent choice for trekking around Joshua Tree.  Sturdy hiking boots generally aren't necessary.  Please do not come with flip-flops, sandals, or other open-toed footwear!  The desert is a spiky place...


Is it customary to tip my rock climbing guide?

While tipping is never mandatory, it is always greatly appreciated!  10%-20% of the trip cost is a standard tip in the guiding industry.


Where should I stay on my trip to Joshua Tree?

AirBnb:  Most of our guests choose to stay in a local AirBnb or VRBO.  There are many excellent houses for rent in the area for $100-$200 a night.  Don't limit your search to Joshua Tree city; the towns of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms are also very close to the park and have excellent housing options.

Hotel:  There are some budget motels/hotels in Joshua Tree, but the closest nicer hotels are located down the hill in the Palm Springs area.

Camping:  If camping is your thing, it's becoming very difficult in the park.  Many of the campsites are first-come-first-served, and are full every day!  Jumbo Rocks, Black Rock, and Indian Cove campgrounds are reserve-able online, but book up far in advance.  There are private campgrounds outside the park which usually have open sites.  Check Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground or the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.


Where are some good places to eat around town?

Best Food:  The best food can be found at the 29 Palms Inn.  It's located on a desert oasis with open water, palm trees and turtles!

Barbecue and Music:  Pappy and Harriet's is an old-western style saloon where all the meat is cooked on a mesquite barbecue.  They also have live music almost every night.

Fusion:  La Copine is a fantastic restaurant with a menu that changes frequently.

Family Friendly:  Frontier Cafe has toys and games for kids of all ages, allows dogs, and has won awards for their food.  It's also a coffee shop.

Mexican: Las Palmas

Pizza: Two Guys Pies


I had an awesome time!  Can I leave a review for Stone Adventures?

Yes, please!  We are so grateful for every review that our guests leave.  It helps build our local, family-owned business, and also helps other potential climbers know what your trip was like.  Here are the direct links to some of our review sites:

Tripadvisor

Google

Facebook

Yelp


Where can I find more information about the Joshua Tree area?

Check out this great resource for Joshua Tree food, lodging, attractions, tours and much more!

http://JoshuaTree.Guide


How do I check the availability for a rock climbing trip to Joshua Tree National Park?

To check the availability for Stone Adventures rock climbing guides in Joshua Tree, you can either call, email or submit an online reservation request form inquiring about the date and time you hope to climb.  There are 4-hour, 6-hour or full day trips available.   The office at Stone Adventures is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  So, you will not have to wait long for a response.

Contact info:  760-364-0547, info@stone-adventures.com

https://stone-adventures.com/reservation-request/


How do I reserve a rock climbing trip in Joshua Tree National Park?

Once you are ready to reserve, you can either call, email or fill out our online reservation request.  The information you will need to share at the time of your reservation will be a short description of your climbing experience (first time climbers are welcome!), a short description of your outdoor experience, and what you hope to do on your climbing trip to Joshua Tree.  We also require an email address to send our confirmation email to, a phone number to have on file for the day of the trip, and a credit/debit card to send the charges to.  To reserve, we do require payment in full.  For information on the rates check out the rates page https://stone-adventures.com/rates/

Contact info:  760-364-0547, info@stone-adventures.com

https://stone-adventures.com/reservation-request/


When should I reserve my rock climbing trip?

The short answer is reserve once you are certain you want to rock climb in Joshua Tree.  Some people reserve months before the date (especially for high season dates), other people reserve a couple weeks out.  Occasionally, we are able to take next-day trips.  We do not do same-day trips.  Weekends and holidays between the months of September and May are peak season dates and often become fully booked weeks in advance.  Our reservation policy requires payment in full and the trip is non-refundable unless there is a cancellation for a red weather warning.


What is the cancellation policy?

Once reserved, the booking is firm unless there is a red weather warning.  Red weather warnings for Joshua Tree include high winds, rain, or heat waves.  In the event of bad weather we present you with three options: navigate around the weather, reschedule anytime in the next year, or receive a full refund.  Joshua Tree National Park is 1,238 square miles, and there is rarely bad weather everywhere in the park.  Wind and rain, in particular, are often easy to navigate around by choosing the correct area of the park (without rain) on a climbing wall faced in the appropriate direction (out of the wind).  No matter what the weather, your guide is always willing to go for it.  We put the ball in your court.  Weather cancellations are rare, and we only have weather cancellations 1-2 times per year on average.


Which trip is best for me?  The half day (4 hours), the 6-hour day, or the full day (8+ hours)?

This answer depends on your climbing experience, ambitions and comfort level outdoors.  The half day (4 hours) is actually plenty of time to get in as much climbing as your skin can probably handle!  Our guides are fast, efficient, and know the park well. In small groups (3 or less) our half day climbers often do more climbing routes than your typical recreational climber does in a whole weekend! Typically, we keep the hikes short on half days and visit only 1 or 2 different rock formations so we can spend most of the trip climbing. However, we are able to customize any trip to your liking!

The 6-hour day is great for people who want to venture a little further from the road and/or visit a few different rock formations. Joshua Tree can be full of visitors, but the great majority of them never leave the roadside!  It is amazing how even a 15-minute hike can take you to a world of desert seclusion even on the busiest days.  People who want to explore deeper into the Park and visit multiple rock formations are encouraged to sign up for the 6-hour day.

The full day (8+ hours) is great for people who are comfortable with spending the whole day in the outdoor elements!  Experienced climbers or adventurous people who want to enjoy the scenic hikes as much as the climbing are examples of people who make the most of the full day.  In a full day, we are able to truly customize the day as the guide is able to assess the climbing strengths of the climbers and choose routes or climbing formations that best suit our guests’ ambitions.

For any of these trips, you can expect the first route to be a nice, moderate warm-up climb.  This warm-up climb is a chance to build a relationship with your guide, trust the gear, and read the rock (the quartz monzonite granite out here requires technique very different from the climbing gym).  After the first climb, the guide will have a good idea of what you will do well at and will choose routes that set you up for success yet become increasingly challenging as the day goes on.

If you cannot decide which of these three trips are best for you, reserve for the shorter time and request ‘the option to extend’ your trip. For example, you could choose the 4-hour day with the option of extending to 6 hours.  To reserve, you would pay the 4-hour rate.  You can decide whether to extend on the day of your trip.  If you do extend, the remaining balance will be charged to the credit/debit card on file within a day. If you do not extend, no problem!  There would be no additional charges.


 

How much is a rock climbing trip in Joshua Tree National Park?

The rates depend of how many people are climbing and how long of a climbing trip you sign up for (4-hour, 6-hour, full day). Check out our Standard Rates page for more information. https://stone-adventures.com/rates/


Are the rock climbing guides good with children?

Yes!  Absolutely.  Not only do all of our guides have experience working with kids, they also just seem to captivate little people! All guides have clear ways of communicating with children and have the charismatic voices or personalities that help holds kids’ attention. Our guides are patient and experienced with beginner climbers from ages 2 up to competition climbers in their teens.  Our Sales Manager, Caesar (age 2) has put everyone to the test!


Are the rock climbing guides certified?

All Stone Adventures guides have three levels of certifications.  First, all guides are professionally certified rock climbing guides with either the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) or the Professional Climbing Guide Institute (PCGI), both of which are approved by Joshua Tree National Park.  Additionally, all Stone Adventures Guides are Wilderness First Responders and trained in Leave No Trace practices.  Our lead guide positions are for career guides.  Any secondary guide helping on a larger trip is probably working through our assistantship program (which lasts about a year, or as long as it takes) but are still fully certified in all three fields.  Additionally, Stone Adventures is insured and permitted to legally operate inside Joshua Tree National Park.


What happens after I reserve a rock climbing trip in Joshua Tree with Stone Adventures?

Once reserved, you will receive two emails. The first will be a receipt of payment for the charges. The second will be the confirmation email which will include a Google Maps Link of where to meet your guide, what car to look for, a short self-introduction video of your guide, what to prepare (both in bullets and in video format), and the link that we use for the weather forecast.  However, keep in mind that we never have an accurate weather forecast until 1-2 days prior to your trip. For this reason, we wait until 1-2 days before your trip to send you a weather update for your big day in Joshua Tree!


What should I expect on the day of my rock climbing trip in Joshua Tree National Park with Stone Adventures?

On the day of your trip you will go to the meeting location inside the National Park at the confirmed date and time. This Google Maps link will be in the confirmation email sent at the time of reservation as well as a description of your guide’s car and a short self-introduction video of your guide.  After meeting, you will caravan a short distance to the climbing area.  You will then be outfitted with rock climbing shoes, harnesses and helmets.  Waivers are required to be signed by all of our participants. Children under 18 need to have their waivers signed by a legal guardian. From there, everyone will take their packed bags and start walking to the climbing area. To save time, please come to Joshua Tree National Park with a small backpack prepared with water, snacks, jackets, sunblock and whatever else you need to be comfortable on your trip. Once at the climbing area, your guide will begin to set up the ropes and anchors and the climbing will begin shortly after!  The first route will be a moderate warm up climb. This is an opportunity to become familiar with your guide, trust the gear and learn how to read the rock.  Thereafter, your guide will continue to choose routes that best suit your abilities and ambitions. We do not push people past their fear points.


What is included on the trip?

Your trip includes your own professionally certified climbing guide(s), wilderness first responder(s), and all of the rock climbing equipment including rock climbing shoes, harnesses and helmets. We do not include lunch. The following is advice for how to prepare food for your trip:

For a half day, there usually isn’t enough time to eat lunch.  If you would like to bring food, we recommend quick, easy snacks that won’t take long to eat or weigh you down on the wall.  For hotter days, consider bringing fruit or salty snacks to aid hydration. In this dry climate, oily foods can easily lead to indigestion. Two liters of water is recommended per climber for a half day.

For a 6-hour day, you may want to bring more substantial snacks.  But beware.  Some people take an hour to ‘recover’ from lunch, and move slower, feel heavier and/or less motivated to try hard for a short time after eating.  Because a big lunch could turn your 6 hours of climbing into 4 hours of climbing at your full potential, plan your lunch accordingly.  For cold weather days, you’ll want to err on the side of bringing more calories to help stay warm!  Each climber should bring 2-3 liters of water for a 6-hour day.

For a full day, you will need to bring lunch and snacks to fuel yourself for the whole day. Once again, if it is a cold day, you will want to bring a lot of calories to not only fuel the climbing and hiking, but also help your body stay warm in the cold. Additionally, each climber should bring 3-4 liters of water for a full day.


How old should my kids be to climb?

There is no age limit with Stone Adventures.  So far we have climbed with climbers ages 2-80! Stone Adventures is also equipped with specialty kids’ rock climbing gear, including high performance Butora shoes, full body harnesses for shorter builds, and rock climbing helmets that fit down to the age of 1. All gear is new, clean, well taken care of and high performing.  Additionally, there are over 9,000 rock climbing routes in Joshua Tree National Park. Let us know the ages, skill sets or any other special considerations for your kids, and we can surely find routes that are the right fit for your family!


Is it OK to have a group of climbers with mixed abilities and experience level on our climbing trip?

Absolutely. In fact, during the winter holidays about half of our trips seem to be mixed in terms of climbing ability.  In this situation, we choose a climbing formation that has a wide range of grades and styles so that we can set everyone up on routes appropriate for them at the same place and same time!


Will I be added to another group the day of my climbing trip?

We do not combine groups of people with other people.  On your rock climbing trip to Joshua Tree with Stone Adventures, you will be climbing only with the people you signed up with and your professionally certified rock climbing guide and Wilderness First Responder.


Where is the rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park?

The mecca of rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park is found in the northwest area of Joshua Tree (the Upper Park) and in Indian Cove (near/in the campground). This is where the grand majority of documented climbs are in Joshua Tree, though there is also some climbing in the south of JTNP as well.  Our trips are usually run in the Upper Park or Indian Cove depending on weather.


Do you take beginners?

We often guide people who are climbing for their very first time outdoors, or even their first time ever!  There are over 9,000 routes in Joshua Tree National Park, so there is definitely something for everyone!  Let us know what other sports or outdoor activities you do and we will get a good idea of where to take you on your trip to Joshua Tree National Park.


Do you take people who are afraid of heights?

Yes!  In fact, we seem to get requests to take people who have a fear of heights quite regularly. We offer support that lets our climbers know that they are in control and we do our best to keep the day fun. Climbers are never pushed past their point of fear.  So, if a climber asks to come down after only climbing 3 feet, we lower them down and let them try again when they are ready. If, on their next try, they make it one inch higher, that is one inch of progress!  The important thing is to keep it fun, not scary!  We encourage people to come down as soon as they pass their comfort zone and are not enjoying it anymore.  When we keep building trust and good vibes, our climbers usually reach the top after only a few tries or by the end of a half day!  The power of having fun is amazing!!!


Am I too heavy to climb?

No!  If you can walk, you can climb.  Like all rock climbing gear, our gear and anchors can hold up to 5,000 lbs.  So, the gear is not an issue!  There are also 9,000+ climbing routes in Joshua Tree National Park: something for everyone. Additionally, if you are craving an adventure of just summiting a rock formation with amazing views, our guides can find the right thing for you. We can easily look for lower-angled routes that require more leg power than upper body strength.  We have guided people of many different heights and weights.  If you are on the fence with climbing simply because of your weight, my advice is, “try it!” If there is a part of you that longs for an adventure like climbing, do it!! We are certain you will have an amazing experience.  Just let yourself try.