Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing

1 Day in California, Lake Tahoe / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$250 Midweek, $275 Weekends
  • Next Available: May 13, 2023 -
  • Upcoming: May 20, 2023
  • May 27, 2023
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About this trip

Learn the basics of rock climbing movement, belaying and the importance of good communication. All while enjoying the weather and views on Donner Summit, outside of Truckee, California. This course requires a 2 person minimum. Outside of summer months, consider booking a Half Day Private climbing session.


  • skill level


  • Duration

    1 Day

Have you ever wanted to climb outdoors on real rock, but don’t know where to begin? Let the professional guides at Alpenglow Expeditions show you the way! This one day course will introduce you to to joys of rock climbing on beautiful Donner Summit, California, and give you important foundational skills to begin your rock climbing career. Whether you’re a seasoned gym climber looking to get the first glimpse of pulling down under the sun, or you’re completely new to the sport of rock climbing, this course sets you up with the proper fundamentals to begin challenging yourself safely on any crag.

Don’t have any or part of the necessary gear to join us? Alpenglow Expeditions provides rental gear at no additional charge. You just need to bring your enthusiasm to learn and we’ll provide the rest.

Skills covered:

• Climbing movement, including crack, face, slab and lie back technique
• Crag safety and risk management
• Basic principles of climbing technical systems
• Belaying a climber in a top rope system
• Rappelling, utilizing a backup
• Proper belayer/ climber commands
• Leave no trace ethics in a crag environment
Prerequisites: No previous climbing experience necessary

Alpenglow Expeditions operates under a special use permit from the Tahoe, Inyo, and Eldorado National Forests. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 


  • Fitness

    Climbers must be in good overall physical shape able to be active outside for many hours.

  • Technical Experience

    No prior rock climbing experience required.

    • 8:30am — Meet & Greet

      Meet your guide and set goals for the day.

    • 8:45am - 12pm — Morning Climb

      Begin learning the necessary skills such as belaying, commands and movement.

    • 12pm - 12:30pm — Lunch

      Take a break and put some calories in for the afternoon session.

    • 12:30pm - 3:30pm — Afternoon Climb

      Build on the skills learned during the morning session. Try some harder climbs or work on technique.

      • Equipment

    • Are there age requirements?

      We welcome climbers over the age of 15 to this program. We can also accept kids younger in certain situations if accompanied by an adult. For requests, please give our office a call at 877-873-5376 or email us at info@alpenglowexpeditions.com. For younger climbers, check out our half day Kids Rock Climbing Camp

    • Do I need to own rock climbing shoes and a harness?

      While owning your own gear is always the best option, Alpenglow does provide rental gear at no additional cost.

    • What kind of experience should I have before taking this course?

      There is no experience needed, however good physical condition is needed.

    • What is the typical group size for this trip?

      Group sizes can vary depending on the course, however our maximum ratio of clients to guides is 4:1.

    • Do I need to bring a lunch?

      Yes, you should bring a sack lunch and water bottle for this full day trip.

    • Is it safe?

      While no outdoor adventure can be completely free of risk without losing the essence of the activity, hiring a professional guide is a fantastic way to manage and mitigate this risk. Activities like skiing and climbing have what we call “inherent risk”, which can be defined as a risk that cannot be completely mitigated by a professional. That is part of playing in the mountains, we encourage you to reach out to the office if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid-’90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North-East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has spent the last 10 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine, and skiing. He is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, and lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Pete Fasoldt

Pete Fasoldt is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide who is thrilled to call Donner Summit his “home crag”. Originally hailing from Maine, Pete has worked as a ski patroller, as the owner of a rock guiding outfit in Acadia National Park, and as a first mate on sail boats, traveling thousands of offshore miles, including a recent attempt at transiting the famed Northwest Passage. Pete has completed several ascents of El Capitan, including a one-day solo. He has established first ascents in several countries across the globe and has a particular love of hard to reach alpine granite objectives. In 2004 and 2006 Pete became certified as a Wilderness First Responder and an Outdoor Emergency Care technician, respectively. Pete has guided people of all different climbing abilities, all over the country, and brings patience, humor, and a deep love of the sport to each course he leads.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Nolan Van Herk

Nolan embodies the spirit, history, and progression of climbing, crimping and jamming his way through over a decade of experience on the rocks. Whether he’s scaling Sierra spires, wiggling up walls or cramming his crack-addicted (and never taped) hands into Tahoe splitters, Nolan’s enthusiasm and knowledge is contagious. Cutting his teeth on the rough granite monzonite of Joshua Tree and the polished proving grounds of Tahquitz, Nolan’s climbing developed amidst the proud ethics and traditions established by the Stonemasters. Ascents of the Rainbow Wall in Red Rock, Sierra gems such as Bastille Buttress, the Incredible Hulk, and Mt. Whitney as well as numerous Needles classics solidify Nolan’s traditional climbing resume and hint at his passion for big adventure. Nolan’s love for the mountains and appreciation for wild places cannot be contained solely by climbing; his backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering resume includes a descent from the third highest mountain in North America, Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, as well as numerous corn-cruising missions on Mt. Shasta. Nolan is no stranger to those huge, soul-feeding days in the alpine and enjoys sharing outdoor experiences large and small with those around him. Nolan currently holds the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Wilderness First Responder certification, and is an AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide. 

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Cliff Agocs

Cliff has been climbing for 13 years and guiding for 6 years. He currently lives in Bend, Oregon, where he guides year round in the Cascades, Smith Rock, and Mt. Hood. He fell in love with climbing in California where he learned to climb on rock and alpine routes and ultimately traveled all over the world. He says the combination of adventure and cultural exploration is what drives his passion for international expeditions. Some of his favorites places to climb are in Chile, Australia, Argentina and Canada. Cliff instructs Outdoor Leadership at Central Oregon Community College in Bend and writes gear reviews for national publications.

Cliff is an AMGA certified rock guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide

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    Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing

Learn the basics of rock climbing movement, belaying and the importance of good communication. All while enjoying the weather and views on Donner Summit, outside of Truckee, California. This course requires a 2 person minimum. Outside of summer months, consider booking a Half Day Private climbing session.