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Some emails we've received...

I hope this finds you well - I am contacting you on behalf of Outside Magazine's Premier Active Traveler Team! We are currently working on our February issue and it appears that Vertical Adventures is going to be covered in our School's In Feature Story in the February issue! Outside's Editors attended the world's best camps to master a new skill and found your rock-climbing clinics to be the best in the business...Congrats!
Kristen Ude,
Active Travel Director, Outside Magazine

For all the right reasons I suspect that this email is a repeat for you, but...I wanted to say thank you again for the incomparable time this Wednesday out in JT. Your instruction came through precise, informed and professional. I enjoyed our conversations, and while climbing really dug when you knew when to toss up a little beta- and when to let me or my dad just enjoy working it out on our own. You really fleshed out the whole experience as I got some perspective not just of the rock but the plants and the wildlife surrounding us. I felt your love of the place reflected. Now I love it there too.
Thanks again. I always say there's 1000 days in your life that define it. Wednesday was one of the 1000 for me. hell- it was one of the 100.
Mike Brown

Can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed climbing with you. Many thanks for the entire experience. I’ve made a lifetime memory with your help. I can’t remember when I’ve had more fun.
All the best,

Hey Bob!
What a terrific class! Your instructors were amazing, cool, fun, and absolutely brimming with experience and knowledge! Looking very forward to finding time to take the next progression of classes with you.
Thanks a million.
Klaus Gerhart

I climbed with two of your guides in Joshua and loved the experience. I have gone quite a few places to climb and hired guides and none have been as good as yours - safe, knowledgeable, friendly. I really appreciated their time.
Mollie Bogardus

Good Afternoon,
I just wanted to reach out and say that my fiancee and I had the best experience yesterday with our guide Chris at Joshua Tree. As you know, it was our first time outdoors and we absolutely loved it and it really had a lot to do with our guide. He was beyond knowledgeable, safety conscious and made sure we had fun and got our money's worth. Thank you so much for a great experience and also having such a high standard for your employees. We will definitely be back for another trip and couldn't imagine using a different company.

I just wanted to say what a fantastic day my kids (10 & 7) and I had climbing with Jarad. He was great company, and set up some excellent top-rope climbs for all of us. He was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, and of course ultra-safe. It was far and away the highlight of our trip. We’ll look forward to climbing with Jarad when we’re back in Joshua Tree next year. Thank you!
Best regards,

Hi Bob,
I just wanted to thank you again for hosting such an incredible weekend. The training I got from both you and Peter will undoubtedly enhance my climbing and help me reach my goals. It was truly an experience of a lifetime and it will be permanently ingrained in my memory. I have gained so much from each of your classes and I look forward to enjoying more of them in the near future. You are a fantastic teacher with an incredible wealth of knowledge and I'm grateful to have your help taking my climbing to new heights.
Wayne Smith

Dear Bob,
I wanted to send this to say thank you for our experience! Sofia and I had an amazing 2 mornings with Chris.
He was an incredible guide! Friendly, funny, kind, a great instructor. He managed to create an experience for us that took into account our different levels and provided climbs that had challenges for each of us and were also at levels where we could both really enjoy the experience. He was also fun to talk to! He provided helpful instruction and a safe experience. He was excellent with my 15 year old and coached her through a couple of challenging climbs. She was thrilled with the experience and it has really fueled her enthusiasm for the sport.
I will certainly recommend your company to others and I will highly recommend Chris.
Thank you!
Angela Schillace (and Sofia Schillace)

Dear Bob,
The true testimonial to an art form is the impression. Teaching others to engage in a sport that requires you to step outside your comfort-zone and really challenge individual boundaries, makes a genuine art form out of teaching others "how" to rock climb.
I want to thank you not only as a group but personally, because both you and your guides have inspired me (as an amputee and previous rock-climber) and an unusual group of individuals (some of whom probably never saw themselves climbing a rock in their lifetime) to pursue rock climbing further and that is the true testimonial to the success of your craft. Through their instruction, your guides absolutely reinforced in me (and I think the group as whole) that the limits of an individual is readily defined by their ability to understand that limitation and embrace it as a foundation, more so than a place to end...and for two days worth of climbing instruction, you have definitely left a profound impression in all of us as to what it is to be a rock climber.
Thank you and you will definitely be hearing from this band of hooligans again :)
Sam Paneno

Dear Bob:
Just wanted to send you a letter letting you know what an influence you had on myself and the Solana Beach rest of my fellow mates in the class this past week. The patience you showed in teaching us all the proper knots and placements for our anchors was phenomenal. You are a truly gifted climber and I am proud to be able to tell people "Bob Gaines taught me that". Josh and I have already told a few people that your company is a great resource to use for a start in rock climbing. Once again thanks a bunch and keep up the good work.
Mike Westley
Sales Manager A16

Hi Bob,
I hope all is well and that you're having a great week! I wanted to send along some positive feedback for you! Last year, we began sending out surveys to our customers after they enjoy their experience and Vertical Adventures has received great feedback. We've received several responses and the overall experience rating is 10 out of 10 and the last customer we sent had the following comment: "It was a really great time. So laid back and fun, yet still packed with tons of information and hands on experience. I really loved it...I am so happy with my experience."
Thanks so much for taking great care of our customers - it shows! In a world where people typically only reply to surveys to complain or point out the negatives, this is fantastic. Keep up the good work!
Best regards,
Lindsey Weller|Cloud 9 Living

Hi Bob- just wanted to shoot you a quick note to let you know Jarad did a great job guiding yesterday. He’s a great addition to your team! We had a phenomenal day and really got in a lot of quality mileage. Great pointers for me for crack climbing too.

Omg love the photos so much. We had the best time ever. Mentoring under you, Michael and I both won the lottery. We both learned so much in the two days we spent together. We can't stop talking about you and our experience.
Thanks so much for such a wonderful enlightening vertical adventure.

Hi Bob,
I just wanted to say thank you again for providing Corey such a great experience in Joshua Tree on Monday. He learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We feel doubly lucky that the weather was so great and that circumstances conspired to have you be his guide!
Best to you in the New Year,
Janet Guen

Hi Bob, Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend of training! I can't wait to practice all my new skills and read your new books when they come out. I found all your anchor, gear, guiding, and technique expertise to be invaluable, and I'm sure I will rely on it for many years to come!
Good luck with your books and thanks again,

Hi Bob,
Thanks for all your help this year with all of our SPI candidates. I have already told you, but it deserves repeating, you have made a big difference in the quality and safety of our Sierra Club rock programs. Aside from that you are a great guy to boot! Thanks again for all your help and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Hey, Bob.
We all had a great time, and it was an excellent learning experience. Without exception, the four girls are convinced they will be climbing the rest of their lives! Tony did a fine job--relaxed, patient and confident. A good choice for us!
Thanks very much, Bob. It was good to see you again, and we look forward to more adventures!

Hey Bob,
It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, get to know you a little and see how you work. Thanks for a great course and getting across a huge amount of valuable information!
With very best wishes,
Wills Young (& Lisa)

Hi Bob,
I wanted to thank you for the great training this passed weekend. The information was interesting and insightful. Your teaching technique is clear and straightforward which made the course a huge asset for me...
I'm excited to practice these new skills and fine tune my climbing and teaching ability so that one day I can help others to safely develop a passion for this incredible sport.
Ryan and I have made plans to work together to practice the techniques you showed us and I am looking for any opportunity to embed these new skills into my climbing repertoire.
Thanks again and I'll see you in the fall if not sooner.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the Rockcraft seminar last weekend. I was concerned that it might be too basic for me, but that wasn’t the case after all. My confidence on rock has increased dramatically. Both Chris and Jarad are top notch, passionate climbing instructors, and I believe uniquely talented in their ability to teach sometimes complicated topics efficiently. Beyond that they just seem like good, fun people. I felt immediately comfortable out there with them and I think the rest of our group did too.
Thanks for great weekend.
Justin Barham

Dear Bob,
We had a great day with Tony while we were at Joshua Tree! He is a perfect climbing guide--patient, encouraging, instructive, and a lot of fun to be with. We look forward to another opportunity to come back to Joshua Tree, and will certainly call you when we do. He was especially inspiring to our 11 year old son!
Thank you and best regards,
Cheryl Klauss

I just wanted to let you know that we had a great outing with Chris. He is an awesome guide! He really helped us have an experience we could not have had elsewhere or with someone else. I’ll be sure to post an online review but just wanted to say thank you to you.

Thanks again for making the intermediate class work on Wed. Jarad is a great instructor, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and positive!
Doug Whitener

I just wanted to drop you a quick note and mention to you that I really appreciated your assistance with setting up this half-day for me. I was working on a very tight and ambitious schedule and your diligence was greatly appreciated. Also, Chris was absolutely top-notch.
In the past, I have gone out with guides from Eastern Mountain Sport Climbing School up in New Paltz. Although they were good, none had gone through technique nearly as much as Chris went through with me. He was also highly knowledgeable of the Joshua Tree stone and eco-system. It was really a pleasure to go out with him and learn from him. While my hands are still scabbed up and sore, I love it and cannot thank you and Chris enough for such a wonderful afternoon.
John T. Cofresi, Esq.

Hi Bob,
Yesterday was such an amazing day. Perfect weather in the most gorgeous surroundings. Tony was terrific. He showed me a couple of challenging climbs that were just so exhilarating to get through. I really wish I could come out more often. Thanks as always for providing such great guides every time I the climbing bug hits me.

Hi Bob,
Just wanted to let you know that I had a great three days with Chris (March 9-11). I learned a lot and visited a bunch of areas in the Park. Tops for me was my first multipitch -- The Swift. I also really enjoyed Sundog too, the new slab that you guys put up in Echo Park area.
Chris was flexible, a good teacher, and overall a great guy to spend three days with. Please pass along my thanks to him.

Hi Bob,
Thanks again for the lead climbing classes! Jarad did an awesome job as usual. Looking forward to reading your new book and more great classes with Vertical Adventures!

Hi Bob,
Had another great outing with Chris last week. He is wonderful.

Hi Jarad,
I just wanted to thank you for the guiding last Monday. Harrison and I really enjoyed ourselves and look forward to climbing with you/Vertical Adventures again. Most likely this Summer up in Idyllwild!
Keith Herman

Thanks Bob!
I cannot stress enough what an amazing guide Chris was, he was so patient, calm, and educational. We could not have asked for a better experience this week!

I wanted to reach out and tell you what an amazing trip we had rock climbing in Joshua Tree at Turtle Rock. Jarad was a fantastic guide. Pushed everyone's limits, but not too far. It was truly the highlight of the trip and it was an excellent vacation.
We will definitely be back. And have recommended it to others.
Thanks Again,

Hey Bob,
Just a quick email to say thanks so much for a great 4 days.
We really couldn't have asked for more and we adored Chris, really great guide, patient mentor, and honestly one of the best dudes we've ever met. Instant family.
We'd love to talk about doing self rescue as soon as our schedules allow and we'd like to do that with Chris...Let us know and thanks again. It really was a life changer.

Hi Bob,
Just wanted to let you know what a terrific job Jarad did as our guide last week. He is super patient and so knowledgeable, he made my first outdoor climbing experience as enjoyable as possible considering it’s a big change from climbing in the gym.
He even carried my open can of Yerba Mate’ as we scrambled into climb Cat House.
Best Regards,

Thank you and Chris for another great day out! Jessica and I had a wonderful time and learned even more. Chris was a wonderful guide!
Jess gave me a big bear hug and thanked me for being her mom and the great adventure.

Hi Bob,
Thanks for setting this up for me! I had a great day with Jarad and the two others. Jared was a good coach and I felt very safe with him the whole time. Also, I matched with the other two climbers quite well.
If I ever return, Vertical Adventures will be my first stop for climbing.

Hi Bob,
What a great experience we had with Chris! He was excellent.

I wanted to write in to give you a great report for what an awesome time we had with your guide Jarad last Thursday in Joshua Tree. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience, or guide. We hope to purchase some of our own gear and schedule another time with you that Jarad could guide us through safely using our own equipment.
Thank you again,
Stevie & Randy Chapa

Chris did a great job. My wife and I had a ton of fun! Will be in touch next time we are in town.

Thank you so much. Chris was absolutely perfect. A great teacher and really fun to spend time with. I will definitely try to set something up to climb with you guys again.

Hi Bob,
Jarad is an amazing instructor! He is very knowledgeable and super helpful and supportive. We are looking forward to taking another class with him.

Hey Bob,
Enjoyed climbing with Chris very much. He’s a good teacher with a good patient manner and gave me everything I wanted out of the weekend.

Thanks so much, we had a great time climbing with Jarad!
Misha Zatsman

Dear Bob,
My wife and I recently climbed with one of your guides, Chris Baumann, in Joshua Tree (you and I met briefly in the car park at intersection rock). I just wanted to say thank you for everything. We had an excellent two days climbing with Chris - he was great. Chris balanced our two requirements very well and even though I've climbed for many years I learned some new stuff. I will fully recommend Vertical to all my friends.
Simon (and Liz)

Thank you for reaching out! We had a great time. Jarad was a terrific guide. He gave good lessons on technique and safety as well as made the experience fun for all. Joshua Tree was just beautiful!
Many thanks!

Wanted to let you know that Tony did a great job. He was both professional, but easy going and fun. As a former guide, I pay attention to the little things....his willingness to take pictures, his encouragement and positive attitude served me well. Thanks for the opportunity to help me reach my goal of fifty classic climbs on my fiftieth.
On Belay,

Hi Bob,
Just wanted to drop you a quick note about my trip last week to Joshua Tree. I had an awesome time and it was exactly what I wanted and more. Chris was fantastic. He provided the perfect mixture of climbing, coaching and technical sessions. It was great to meet someone who so obviously enjoys his job and is passionate about what he does. He really inspired me to get out climbing more often which was what I was looking for. I'd like to fly down again for a 3-4 day trip in late Feb / Mar if that works.
Thanks again for a super weekend,

Chris, Let me first apologize for taking so long to send these to you. The second we hit the ground back home, it's been a constant whirlwind of activity from everyday life to planning our new relationship together. Just looking at these pictures again took me out of the moment and put me back there for a short period of time. Everyone and everything has been going great and Diana and I are on overdrive with the planning.
After that day with you, we kind of sat down with each other and contemplated the gravity (no pun intended) of what it all meant to us. Climbing aside (which I am now a huge outspoken advocate of) it was utterly life changing. Hanging out with you, just having fun, and showing us things we probably would have never discovered on our own really shifted our focus and priorities in a way we really didn't even imagine possible.
Just us getting to know you as a person and then not having more time to spend with you is something we both wish we had more time of after our return. You really did help change our lives, not just in what you helped me setup; but the perspective, clarity, and utter enjoyment you had in climbing and with us. It's a feeling that has been at least with me every day since we have been back and reminds me to stop and breathe every so often. 1000% I want to go back and spend more time in the park and hang out with you - hopefully next time I can bring more friends to experience what I have.
Your description of climbing has been my best description to people over here - that it is, "The only thing I've done in my entire life that has completely removed any thought or worry from anything else going on. It is the only thing you are focused on." This description alone intrigues everyone here because it's something alien hat they simply don't know how to do. I couldn't imagine going back and not bringing you along again, the confidence and guidance you've given us in not only climbing, but taking that to other facets of our life has been amazing. I hope these pictures find you well, I am pretty sure this is all on our end but will certainly triple check. Hope to speak to you very soon! If you have a hard time downloading these, just let me know and I will split them up and send them in smaller groups.
Warm Regards,
Mike and Diana

Dear Bob,
Eric and I wanted to let you know what a fantastic guided experience we had with Chris last Monday (3/18) during our time in JT. Below is a little write-up / review for you, Chris, and V.A. Feel free to cut and paste as you see fit. Thank you Vertical Adventures for a spectacular climbing trip! Our guide, Chris, made our experience in Joshua Tree. Not only did he quickly hone in on our climbing ability, (climbing gym, but little to no outdoor experience) he also encouraged us in a manner that built on our strengths and he intuitively knew how we needed to be challenged.
It was clear that Chris loves his job. His enthusiasm for the park, knowledge of the area, 25+ years of climbing experience was infectious and we were smiling from ear-to-ear all day. His respect for you (Bob) and the other guides at V.A. was clearly evident and confirmed what we already knew based on a friend's recommendation, that Vertical Adventures is a great climbing company. By the end of the day, Chris had become a friend - his kindness, encouragement, and humor made us feel at ease, and, needless to say, we're totally hooked on outdoor climbing!
Many thanks!
Caroline and Eric

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the list. My last day with Tony was incredible. It was 2pm before either of us even thought about lunch and even then, carried on. He's a wonderful teacher. Words cannot express the quality of my experience with all three of you.
Many thanks for everything.
Most Sincerely,

My friends and I hired a guide a few weeks back from your company to help us tighten up some of our anchor skills. Chris Baumann was great. After getting a feel for our competency levels he provided great instruction and provided knowledgeable feedback on our existing skills. I have noticed a great increase in my climbing confidence since our day with Chris.
Thank you for having such expert staff.
Brian Casey

I had a blast climbing with Chris today. We got tons of climbing in. He had lots of great suggestions to improve my climbing. He also seems like a really good person and was fun to hang out with. Do you have his email address so that I can thank him again?
Don Cummings

Just a note to say how pleased and impressed I was this last weekend with both your company and our Guide Tony.
I’m not sure what I expected, but what we (my son Jesse and I) experienced was beyond my usually high expectations. The small class size ( only three of us) and the super patient and knowledgeable Tony got me hooked again on the sport we have put on the back burner for such a long time.
Thank you, and we will see you again real soon, hopefully for the leading class.
Best Regards,
Mark Wrobel
General Manager
So Cal Ship Services

Good morning,
I wanted to offer some positive feedback on our guide Chris. He was very professional and exceeding our expectations. Great job.
Paul Reyes

I Just wanted to say we all had a great time working with Chris on anchor building and placements. He was easy going friendly and handled the day in a manner that flowed well. He reaffirmed some key concepts for us and we learned a lot of new things as well. Thank him again for us. And thank you for providing us with a great guide!
David Cisneros

I had a great time. Chris was excellent. In fact all your guides have been outstanding. Feel free to use this feedback on your website. If I'm back in Ca I will climb with you again.
Greg Finlayson

Hi Bob,
Just wanted to say thanks for a great day. Jason and I had a fantastic time; your company is very professional and the course was well done and tons of fun!
Thanks again,
Shannon Lamb

Hi Bob,
Thank you for an excellent program. The most frequent Boy Scout "Rose" was earning the merit badge and the most frequent "Thorn" was not being able to stay longer. I will recommend Vertical Adventures to all my Scouter friends.
Cathy Lesnick, Troop 412

Hi Bob,
I had another great experience with Vertical Adventures. The anchoring class was great and I learned a ton. I had an especially good time climbing again with Chris. Thanks. I'll definitely be in touch with you in the future about another course or guided climb.
Take care,
Jake Scott

It was very nice meeting you this morning at Joshua Tree. I had a great experience today in my first-ever rock climbing class with Todd and Chris. They did an excellent job instructing as well as building confidence. I've been teaching and coaching my entire adult life and these guys are first-cabin!
Chuck Currier

I had an outstanding time climbing with Tony today. He picked a selection of routes that were excellent climbs and also helped expand my climbing ability. I have been very impressed with the service offered by yourself and your guides both times I have climbed with you.

Hi Bob,
It was nice seeing you again on Saturday.
Just wanted to let you know that Rico and I absolutely LOVED the class this weekend! Tony was wonderful, he was able to beautifully balance a mixture of beginner and intermediate climbers, giving each of us exactly what we needed to progress in our individual levels. His knowledge of various routes that could accommodate not only our differing levels but also the temperature and time of day was invaluable. Before taking the class, I felt like a "general" climber, but now I feel much more specific and conscious of each move and understand more clearly which moves work better under which conditions and why (and which moves I am better at and why).
Rico and I really want to send our praise to Tony. He made the class the success that it was. He is a phenomenal teacher, very supportive, patient and clear, and we absolutely loved learning from him.
Thanks for the fantastic instruction and service your school provides and thanks again for the discount. We are definitely looking forward to our next course with Vertical Adventures (and Tony!) when we are ready!!!
In love and light,

Hi Bob,
I just wanted to write to say what a great experience I had with Tony. I figured that your guides would be knowledgeable and expert climbers, but he was also incredibly patient and truly wanted my experience to be a great one. Physically, I probably should have waited until I was in better shape post surgery, but mentally, I needed to get out and do something to challenge myself. I haven't climbed in about a year (and was certainly no expert even then) and this has definitely reinvigorated my desire to get climbing again. I will definitely use your company again in the future. Thanks!

Tony is top-notch. He has a gift for explaining key concepts and the rationale clearly. He's an excellent teacher.
Thanks, Rob McLain

I just wanted to deeply thank you for your professionalism all throughout the two day anchoring. You did a great job adapting to each level of experience to ensure that each one in the end were more competent when the class ended. Your down to earth instruction truly brought together the important principles of anchor systems, knots but more importantly the safety aspect.
I truly enjoyed the way your shared your wisdom and experience, this truly brought every aspect of safe anchoring systems together. That reinforced key principles that need to be considered when placing and building a anchoring system. Each system that was built, you talked through it and helped the class learn so many different aspects that must be considered each time a system is place.
Lastly, I want to thank you for giving that little attention at the end. This attention brought home some key parts that I know are take away's for me to be more confident.
Again thanks for being a true guide and mentor to my son and I.

Just wanted to say thank you, and that Tony was an awesome guide. We all had a great experience and are looking forward to using everything we learned. Might even do the leading or rescue classes in the near future.
Thanks again,

Thanks for setting this class up! Tony did an excellent job! We all learned a lot, and really enjoyed having him as our instructor!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. --Thoreau

Infinite thanks. I really love what you guys do and the level of service. Outstanding operation. Thank you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Finished the 2 day Rockcraft class... I had a blast. Both instructors are first rate climbers and first rate people. Each day was fun, safe, and full of learning- I can't wait to come back to do more classes with you guys. Please let them know how much I appreciated all their efforts.
Happy New Year,

From a post on
Thought I'd follow up with a trip report. I climbed at Tahquitz yesterday with a Tony Sartin, one of the guides from Vertical Adventures. We ended up doing The Consolation (5.9) on the Northwest Recess. The weather was excellent and the climb was very good. Tony was a great guide. I'm looking forward to getting back to the West coast again.

Excerpts from some letters we've received:

"Thank you very much for a marvelous day - superb instruction, reasonable challenges, and good company."
- Deirdre Porter, San Francisco, CA

"We wanted to thank you for being responsible for one of the most exciting and fun weekends that we've ever had. We really look forward to climbing with you again."
- Rafael Wonderman, Irvine, CA

"Thanks for your expert instruction and guidance. You helped me make my dream a reality. Had a great time!"
- Mal Harwood, Sierra Madre, CA (After his successful ascent of Switzerland's Matterhorn)

"Your expert guidance has helped me to achieve some personal bests - with success & pride. Thanks for your patience, support, and good humor!"
- Debbie Jiamian, Los Angeles, CA

"I can't speak highly enough of your expertise, professionalism, and patience. I will always recommend Vertical Adventures to anyone who is interested in intense short courses in rock climbing in beautiful surroundings."
- Janet Heineck, Seattle, WA

"My compliments to you on running a first class organization - excellent instruction, superb attention to safety, exposure to a wide range of situations, and very personable staff. Most of all I thank you for making climbing fun for me - you made a convert."
-Janet Tansley, Vancouver, British Columbia

"Climbing has been great for my son Tony. I've seen his self-confidence grow as he accomplishes what at first appears to be an impossible goal. Thanks for the "uplifting" and safe experience you provided for us!"
-Kristyne Segneri, Bloominton, IL

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Vertical Adventures®, Inc.
63624 Rapallo Road
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Office: 800.514.8785 Mobile/Text:949.322.6108
Bob Gaines, Director | Email:

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