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Thoughts on this guide service?
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By BigFeet
From Texas
May 6, 2014

Any thoughts on this guide service? Competent, safe, experienced? Anyone in particular that should be requested? I'm located in Houston, TX. and would be looking at Enchanted Rock or Reimers Ranch area.

www.texasclimbingadventures.com/

I would like to get some proper instruction on rope handling, anchor building, protection placement, etc. - start with basic 101 stuff. My goal for now is to be competent in setting up top rope climbs. I would like to progress to lead climbing at some point.

I've done quite a bit of homework from reading and practicing on the ground. Now I would like to put it to practice. I have just enough information to get myself killed which brings me here.

Would using one of these type guide services be prudent, or should I solicit the services of a veteran from this site?


The gear I have to work with.
The gear I have to work with.


Some practice homework.
Some practice homework.

Other side anchor.
Other side anchor.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
May 6, 2014

Use the local guide service (like the one you're looking at). Guide services are permitted by the land managers to conduct their business in specific areas. It's best to use the ones that are local to the area you want to climb. They'll know their way around and get you on appropriate climbs.

And you won't need any of your gear, other than your personal stuff - shoes, harness and helmet.

Edit: I hope this thread doesn't turn into a "you don't need guides" flamefest.


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By BigFeet
From Texas
May 6, 2014

Thank you FrankPS!

Just want to make sure I'm going to be getting comprehensive training, and not boyscout jamboree level basics. Been there. done that.


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By Andy Novak
From Golden, Co
May 6, 2014
Living the High Life.

If you have the opportunity to pick, I would select a guide service and day/program at Enchanted Rock rather than Reimers. Better place to learn the ins and outs of gear and anchors, and an overall better experience in my opinion. Little bit farther drive from Houston, but you can stop at Coopers BBQ in Llano on the way back.

If you ONLY want to be a sport wanker forever, join the other sport wankers at the Ranch. If you think trad is interesting and eventually want to place your own gear, its Erock all the way. Have your guide take you to Cave Crack.

If you have the means, get a guide.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
May 6, 2014

Lankey wrote:
Thank you FrankPS! Just want to make sure I'm going to be getting comprehensive training, and not boyscout jamboree level basics. Been there. done that.


Be sure to tell the guide service what you want to get out of them, before you send in a deposit. Then, they will decide where to go to achieve your goals.

Edit: One more thing - If you can afford a private course, it would be highly advantageous. Custom-tailored to you and your needs. It costs a bit more, but is well worth it. Way better than a group class.


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By BigFeet
From Texas
May 6, 2014

Excellent advice guys! I believe I will follow through with an E Rock personal course. Birthday is in July which gives me a perfect excuse. Already took the whole week off with no other plans in mind.

I've been to E Rock a few times over the years to explore around and really enjoy the area. The reason I listed the Ranch was because I've never been there - love to explore and find new places.

Thank you both! Maybe I'll see you guys out in the wilderness sometime... there will be a beer in the cooler for you.


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By Dave Swink
From Boulder, Co
May 7, 2014

Explore this: erockonline.com


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By BigFeet
From Texas
May 7, 2014

Great find, Dave! Guess I owe you a beer as well.

I didn't think to search specifically for the Enchanted Rock area. I Googled "rock climbing guides in Texas" and found the site I linked earlier.

I'll lurk on the site you suggested, and see what I can find.

By the way guys, how the heck do you guys from CO. and CA. know about a small rock in a little town in Texas? I ride my Harley all around that area during R.O.T. Rally in Austin and there is nothing out there but scrub. No show girls, gambling, or amusement parks. Were you just passing through and thought to check it out? Compared to the areas local to you... I know you did not hear, "go to hot ass Texas and climb E Rock. That place is sick!" I do have to say that E Rock is pretty cool.

Thanks again, and I'll post some pictures late July so you guys can giggle and critique.

Andy, I want an autographed Superman photo. Awesome, man!


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By Andy Novak
From Golden, Co
May 7, 2014
Living the High Life.

Lankey wrote:
By the way guys, how the heck do you guys from CO. and CA. know about a small rock in a little town in Texas? Andy, I want an autographed Superman photo. Awesome, man!


My main partner used to live in Austin so after a few years of hearing about the short, perfect granite splitters at Erock I had to check it out. I was actually down there last weekend.

As you obviously know, Erock in July is gonna be...like the surface of the sun. I would try to go in the fall if you can, or just start climbing at dawn, take a 12 hour siesta, and then start again around 5 p.m. You might be used to the heat by then though!

And if you're ever in Golden, look me up for that photo :)


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By Tico
May 7, 2014

I would suggest using a guide service that employs active guides certified at the guide level by the AMGA (e.g. Rock Guide or Alpine Guide). That won't be easy in TX. Also check out owa.com and rock-about.com.


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By Ed Wright
May 7, 2014
Magic Ed

In Texas and Enchanted Rock I'd go with these guys


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By Derek Strittmatter
From Houston, Texas
May 7, 2014
Tyrolean traverse in Clear Creek Canyon, CO

+1 for rock about. My climbing partner took an anchor building class from them and found it very helpful!


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By James Faerber
May 14, 2014
James at the start of Stairway to Heaven near Silverton Colorado

Tico wrote:
I would suggest using a guide service that employs active guides certified at the guide level by the AMGA (e.g. Rock Guide or Alpine Guide). That won't be easy in TX. Also check out owa.com and rock-about.com.


Hey Tico!

Thanks for refering us! owa.com

I am James Faerber, owner and director of OWA. We are based in Dripping Spring TX (out of my house and a storage building) and Lake George, CO.....we guide in Texas in the winters and Colorado/Wyoming in summers. Tico is right we do have several AMGA certified instructors and some AMGA rock guides working for us as do some of the other guide services in central Texas. (edited see below)

Lankey, I think it mostly comes down to what you want to learn and where your goals are with climbing. Learning to set up top ropes and lead climbing are great goals and things you can totally learn from a compentent guide at Erock. Fair warning Erock is hot as hell in summer :)Most of us from OWA are in Colorado or Wyoming. It looks lik you already have a lot of appropriate gear and are practicing some types of anchors, working with a guide can speed the process up immensly. Reimers is fun too and you can learn to lead sport there and set up anchors off bolts, it is not a good place to learn to place gear(like the nuts and hexes you have) in cracks (traditional climbing or trad as they call it).

I agree with others the most beneficial day is to take a private lesson although learning with a group can be nice as well, I would recommend vetting the guide services a bit to make sure they have a guide available who has the type of experience you are looking to gain.....any of us can "read the book the day before"... ha ha ha Have fun, Erock is awesome, I have been climbing there in the winters since 2001 and it has prepared me well for a lot of serious routes in other places.


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By BigFeet
From Texas
May 15, 2014

Thank you guys very much for the information so far! I'm going to have to carry around a cooler full of beer at every rock I end up going to so I can make good on my beer promise.

I've been lurking around the site and absorbing as much information as I can. In fact, I ordered two books due to the advice from this site - Freedom of the Hills which just arrived last night, and Climbing Anchors by John Long. I stayed up until early morning reading the Freedom of the Hills book because this is exactly the type of information I was looking for. Thanks, Bearbreeder!

I'm a guy that does a lot of research before "jumping in", for I enjoy the learning and time to build my own knowledge base to make good decisions as to what I'm doing. I'm past the point of chest puffing and such. No need to keep up with the beanie crowd and go for broke. For now I'm happy just sitting in the garage practicing; knots and one handed clove hitches, anchors, backup rappels while hanging from the rafters, redirect belays, etc. I feel that I'm understanding better why things are done the way they are... the mechanics/science of it all.

I'm not leaving the garage just yet, but that being said, I'm itching to put this practice to practical use on some real rock. I've made prior commitments to helping coach a middle school lacrosse team, but this will end the last week of June. As I posted earlier I took the week off for my birthday the middle of July and thought a climbing course would be a great 40th to myself. I have to admit I love collecting and messing around with the gear too... you know, something shiny and all!

I've checked out the Rock About crew and until James came on to the scene this is the group I was planning on using in July. I know Texas is hot in the summer and cooks the rock, but I'm also thinking about available time for personal adventure. For the beginning stage of my training I was thinking of keeping it as low cost and short distance as possible. Not going to be able to make it to Colorado or Wyoming for awhile.

My dream is to do the Eiger, and however cliche it may be, to someday go to Yosemite to climb. We will see how far I fall into this lifestyle before purchasing crampons and ice axes though. ;)

I'll keep you guys posted on the progress, and post some pictures of any adventures I get into.


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By Tico
May 15, 2014

Not to throw James under the bus, but there is a difference between an AMGA certified "Guide" and "Instructor", and to my knowledge there are no AMGA certified guides who work regularly in Texas. This isn't to say that you can't be a competent guide without certification, just as you can be a competent physician or lawyer with board certification.


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By James Faerber
May 15, 2014
James at the start of Stairway to Heaven near Silverton Colorado

Tico wrote:
Not to throw James under the bus, but there is a difference between an AMGA certified "Guide" and "Instructor", and to my knowledge there are no AMGA certified guides who work regularly in Texas. This isn't to say that you can't be a competent guide without certification, just as you can be a competent physician or lawyer with board certification.


You're right in one sense, I was using the term "guide" as that is usually how we refer to ourselves, rather than instructors. Although most of us who are active in central Texas are AMGA Single Pitch Instructors.......probably not the clearest wording by me but it wasn't really the point I was making anyway. That being said we do have a AMGA rock guide who lives full time in Austin who does work for OWA........ soooo check yourself Tico! We also have one who lives in New Mexico and does work for us in Texas and Colorado on occasion, when his schedule permits.... soooo check yourself twice!! ha ha ha you're wrong!


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By Tico
May 15, 2014

Works regularly. Randy isn't a full-time guide, and the other dude doesn't work regularly in TX.


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By James Faerber
May 15, 2014
James at the start of Stairway to Heaven near Silverton Colorado

Lankey wrote:
Thank you guys very much for the information so far! I'm going to have to carry around a cooler full of beer at every rock I end up going to so I can make good on my beer promise. I've been lurking around the site and absorbing as much information as I can. In fact, I ordered two books due to the advice from this site - Freedom of the Hills which just arrived last night, and Climbing Anchors by John Long. I stayed up until early morning reading the Freedom of the Hills book because this is exactly the type of information I was looking for. Thanks, Bearbreeder! I'm a guy that does a lot of research before "jumping in", for I enjoy the learning and time to build my own knowledge base to make good decisions as to what I'm doing. I'm past the point of chest puffing and such. No need to keep up with the beanie crowd and go for broke. For now I'm happy just sitting in the garage practicing; knots and one handed clove hitches, anchors, backup rappels while hanging from the rafters, redirect belays, etc. I feel that I'm understanding better why things are done the way they are... the mechanics/science of it all. I'm not leaving the garage just yet, but that being said, I'm itching to put this practice to practical use on some real rock. I've made prior commitments to helping coach a middle school lacrosse team, but this will end the last week of June. As I posted earlier I took the week off for my birthday the middle of July and thought a climbing course would be a great 40th to myself. I have to admit I love collecting and messing around with the gear too... you know, something shiny and all! I've checked out the Rock About crew and until James came on to the scene this is the group I was planning on using in July. I know Texas is hot in the summer and cooks the rock, but I'm also thinking about available time for personal adventure. For the beginning stage of my training I was thinking of keeping it as low cost and short distance as possible. Not going to be able to make it to Colorado or Wyoming for awhile. My dream is to do the Eiger, and however cliche it may be, to someday go to Yosemite to climb. We will see how far I fall into this lifestyle before purchasing crampons and ice axes though. ;) I'll keep you guys posted on the progress, and post some pictures of any adventures I get into.


Lankey, totally worthy goals! check out the Kathy Cosly Marc Houston book Alpine Climbing; Techniques to take you highter. It has great alpine climbing/mountaineering information.

I don't think it is cliche to go to Yosemite! Lots of Erock climbers train here and climb there. Do post up on your adventures.

I know Adam and some of the Rock-About crew, that is who we refer clients we can't take to, I think you would be very pleased climbing with them. That being said we would be happy to have your business and I can think of one really good guide who is new to Austin who might be just the person to take you climbing this Summer! He works for a few companies so you might get him anyway! The rest of the OWA people (myself included) will be gone.


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By James Faerber
May 15, 2014
James at the start of Stairway to Heaven near Silverton Colorado

Tico wrote:
Works regularly. Randy isn't a full-time guide, and the other dude doesn't work regularly in TX.


You know I was just giving you a hard time right?!

yes there aren't any full time AMGA rock guides in Texas working regularly, but why would there be? we don't really have the terrain for it.

There is a full time AMGA Single pitch instructor who works regularly at Central Texas climbing areas from Sept to May, he has a small house on 2 acres in Dripping Springs with a dog, 7 chickens, 3 cars, 1 wife and 2 kids who he supports by teaching other people how to climb! secretly he thinks of himself as a guide...:)


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By Tico
May 15, 2014

Yeah, I was pretty sure this was friendly. Never can tell with Texans though. I have sort of an issue with the"certified guide" vs "Certified Guide", but its just me that gives a damn. Also it seems you're overrun with chickens, you should get a cat.


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By James Faerber
May 16, 2014
James at the start of Stairway to Heaven near Silverton Colorado

Tico wrote:
Yeah, I was pretty sure this was friendly. Never can tell with Texans though. I have sort of an issue with the"certified guide" vs "Certified Guide", but its just me that gives a damn. Also it seems you're overrun with chickens, you should get a cat.


Feel free to take issue, I am sure you like many others put a lot of time, money, commitment into getting certified! I tried to edit my post a bit to be more clear. The offer still stands if you ever want to come and guide in Texas! ha where are you anyway, was it Austria?

Sorry for the highjack Lankey!


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By Tico
May 16, 2014

Back from euro land, sitting in the Mt hood parking lot, living the dream. I'll be in touch in the fall for sure


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