Moab, Utah 8-Day Rock Camp

Moab, Utah is one of the top five premier climbing areas in the United States. Climbers from around the world flock onto the Moab scene in the fall and spring. The weather is ideal for crack and face climbing on the famous sandstone of the Utah desert. The Moab 8-Day Rock Camp takes a relatively new climber who has some climbing background, from gyms or the outdoors, and develops that climber into a fully functional outdoor climber. This course takes the participant through a progression of skills. These skills include: Belaying and rappelling, Movement (face and crack climbing), Artificial Protection Placement, Natural Protection, Anchor Building, Sport Leading, Trad Leading, Multi-pitch Climbing, and Bouldering. You may even get in a day of canyoneering to give the arms a rest!

CMS guides in Moab Utah on the Maverick Buttress. Sandstone climbing in the desert is fantastic


Each CMS guide is AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) trained and certified with many years of personal and professional experience. They will tailor the specifics of the course to the actual participants and create group and individual progressions of skills. Evening campfire discussions may consist of climbing-related topics.  These topics may include: injury prevention, personal journeys as climbers, Leave No Trace ethics, climbing area access and the Access Fund, and more.



Course Details


Day 1: Airport Pick-up, Move in, & Climb. Meet your guide at the Grand Junction Regional Airport (Colorado) at 8am. From there you will ride in a CMS van to your campsite in Moab, Utah, set up camp, and go through a thorough gear check to make sure you have everything you need for the course. If items are needed from the gear list, the team will stop by one of the world class local gear shops. After the initial logistics are taken care of, the team will head out to the cliffs for the afternoon of rock climbing. Toproping basics will be covered on this day to make sure everyone is getting off on the same foot. At some point on Day 1, the group will stop at a grocery store for everyone to do their food shopping.

Evenings & Downtime: For each of the days, evenings will be spent one of two ways: 1) Having dinner and hanging out by the fire in camp, or 2) Eating out in town and maybe chilling at the bar. There will be opportunities for showers most days. There will be downtime here and there to walk around the lovely town of Moab, do some shopping, catch a Yoga class, and check your emails or make some calls.

Day 2: Movement. This day’s focus will be on developing movement skills - face climbing and crack climbing. Movement skills are the foundation of safety in rock climbing - all the equipment is there for back-up.

Day 3: Anchor Building. This day’s focus will be on equipment. Your guides will give a thorough talk on all the pros and cons of each piece of climbing equipment on the market. There are no black and whites with climbing gear - each item has its appropriate use and there are times when each item is not the ideal piece of gear for the situation. From there, you will learn about and practice the art of protection placement, and then move on to anchor building - using artificial protection, as well as natural anchors. Most of the equipment practice takes place on the ground, so at some point, you’ll put the gear aside and get some climbing in.

Day 4: Lead Climbing 101 & Rappelling. After learning about protection placement, you will begin the process of leading. The lead progression begins with sport climbing - using bolted protection for safety. This day will include a thorough rappel school - the many ways to rappel given the various types of situations one may encounter.

Day 5: “Rest Day” & Canyoneering. Your team will sleep in and start the day with some stretching and self care. Afterwards, you will go on a canyoneering adventure that doesn’t involve any upward motion, only down, including multiple rappels, one of which is off of an arch.

Day 6: Lead Climbing 201. After learning the skills of protection placement and sport leading, you will take your understanding to the art of traditional lead climbing. In crack climbing, you have to place your own gear for protection.

Day 7: Multi-pitch Climbing & Bouldering. The guides will take you on a multi-pitch climb and explain the various stages and techniques. After the multi-pitch climb, you will stop by the famous Big Bend Boulders and practice the skills of outdoor bouldering - how to spot, how to fall, how to land, and how to enjoy the simplicity of rock shoes, a chalk bag, and a crash pad.

Day 8: The Finale. The morning will consist of packing up camp and loading the van. Before heading back to Grand Junction, you will get a solid session of climbing in - the team will come up with a climbing plan that feels like a fun way to end the trip. After climbing, you will ride back to Grand Junction and be dropped off at the airport or your hotel.


Participants on this course should have some prior experience with climbing, including a working understanding of top-roped belaying. Fitness requirements include the ability to hike 4-5 miles, rock climb at a level from 5.6-5.9 or higher, and the ability to be physically active for many days in a row. Climbers who already have some leading and anchor building skills will still get a lot out of this course due to the ability of the guides to use the venues to create individualized development.



Participants will get more out of the course by learning as much as they can beforehand. Reading books on anchor building and lead climbing, taking courses at local gyms, going out with friends to the gym or the outdoors will all set you up for success. Fitness training can include both strength and cardio training such as pull-ups, cross-fit, Yoga, stair-master. Climbing requires flexibility, strength, cardiovascular strength, and endurance.


8 Days

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under age 18

Price includes & Excludes:


  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Group climbing gear
    • Technical hardware - climbing protection, carabiners,etc
    • Ropes
    • Technical softgoods - slings, cordellette, etc
  • Transportation in Colorado and Utah
  • Group Camping Equipment
    • Tent
    • Stove
    • Cookware
    • Hot water
  • Camping Fees


  • Food
  • Flights
  • Lodging
  • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
  • Sleeping Bag and sleeping pad
  • Cooked or prepared meals
  • Shower fees
  • Non Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fees
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuity
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School

Meeting location:

Arrival: Book your flight to Grand Junction Regional Airport for the day before Day 1 of your trip. You will stay in a hotel after arriving. The hotels that are close to the airport have shuttle services. Please let us know if you would like to connect with other participants to share hotel expenses.

Day 1: Meet your guides in the lobby at the airport on Day 1 of your trip at 8:00am with all of your baggage/gear for the trip.


Food: Breakfast and half of the dinners will be included in the cost of the course.  Several of the dinners will be spent in town.  Moab has many great restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries - plan financially for some meals to be out on the town, including the option for alcoholic drinks.  On day 1, we will have time to stop at a grocery store to stock up on food supplies for the duration of the trip. Lunch will not be included in the price and participants are responsible for purchasing food and supplies for lunch. There will be coolers available to keep some items cooled.

Sleeping Arrangements: You will be sharing a 3-person tent with one other person. The tent is provided by CMS. You will be camping in federal campgrounds with pit toilets, but no running water. There will be large jugs of water available at camp.

Showers: You will have the opportunity to take showers most days of the course. You will use the Moab Aquatic Center, which has private shower stalls in a public shower/bath room. Showers are about $5 per person.

Internet/Wifi/Cell Service: You will have access to cell service when in the town of Moab. When at the climbing areas and camp, there is no cell service. Some cafes offer free wifi. For charging your phones and cameras, you may plug into the van when driving, though guides get first dibs for risk management purposes. Bringing a solar charger or extra battery chargers are probably your best options for charging.

Participation: Most of the climbing areas are such that if a person is feeling under the weather or tired, they can still hang out with the group, even if they are not climbing and taking it easy. If someone would like to hang out in town for a day and take a day off, in most cases, that would be manageable.

Equipment List:

Please bring everything on the equipment list. However, if you are unsure about certain items on the list, you can either call the CMS office and ask a question, or wait until Day 1 of the trip to purchase the item. There are multiple high quality rock climbing gear shops in Moab that have a great selection. For example, sometimes folks do not show up with actual Approach Shoes, and instead arrive with what they thought were approach shoes but are actually light hiking shoes with normal hiking tread. See the Equipment List.

Personal Climbing Equipment: Your guides will provide ropes and lead climbing equipment. However, you are welcome to bring your own rack of artificial protection, quick draws, rope, etc. CMS will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged equipment.


All of our courses can be run as custom outings.  If you're interested in a course, but it doesn't fit into your schedule, please check out our custom guiding options.