The road less traveled is often the more fulfilling one, especially when it bypasses Robert Frost's tiger pits. Diverge from a rote route with today's Groupon: for $145, you get a four-hour guided rock-climbing trip for two from Joshua Tree Guides (a $290 value). Customers must provide their own transportation, refreshments, beverages, park entrance fees, and lodging. This Groupon does not include gratuity.
Certified and trained by the Professional Climbing Guides Institute, the face-surmounting instructors of Joshua Tree Guides lead aspiring mountaineers of beginner through advanced skill levels in scaling the rocky terrain of California. Adult and child climbers alike can embark on a half-day private climbing trip, during which an expert guide will lead pairs through the cracks and crags of Joshua Tree National Park. Depending on skill level, climbers use top-roping, single-pitch, or multipitch methods, clambering across rocky edifices under the watchful eye of their instructor and the envious glare of bumbling mountain gnomes. With personalized attention, cliff scalers can move at their own pace to learn a new sport or to brush up on skills for future climbs or when sidling up their houses in pursuit of a stray hacky sack. Joshua Tree Guides provides all equipment for the trip, including shoes, harnesses, helmets, and belay devices; however, chalk bags and suction-cup gloves must be brought separately.
Joshua Tree Guides
When 20-year climbing veteran Zeke Federman started a rock-climbing guide service, he needed to situate its headquarters someplace that was more than simply rocky. The spot he settled on falls squarely in Joshua Tree National Park—an area boasting a varied landscape and steady climate that is friendly to year-round mountaineering and offers challenging routes to both beginners and experienced climbers with their own pet mountain goats. Zeke's climbing academy, Joshua Tree Guides, sets its students loose on guided excursions across the region's higher-altitude cliffs. His staff of Professional Climbing Guides Institute–trained guides has won points with clients for combining an easygoing demeanor with a serious attentiveness to safety and the needs of beginners to go slowly. In addition to small groups, the company has also guided successful climbing outings for large corporations such as Google and Frito-Lay.