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Camp Climbing Staff Training with WILD GUYde Adventures, LLC


Increasingly, camps offering outdoor adventure activities need to know that their staff members are qualified, and that their program protocols are up to the industry standard.  This spring, WILD GUYde Adventures is offering a 2-day workshop in western Virginia for camp climbing instructors to upgrade or refine their skills under qualified supervision.  The two-day on-site format will address top anchors, belay systems (styles and backup), equipment options, rappelling, movement coaching, group supervision and instruction, and incident management.  The emphasis will be on current best practice in leading groups in an outdoor top-roping and rappel situation.  The seminar will take place at Hidden Rocks just west of Harrisonburg.  Harrisonburg is 2 hours from Washington DC, 2 hours from Richmond, and 2 hours from Roanoke, VA.   


Dates and Times:          May 20-21, 2019  (8 AM to 5 PM each day)


Logistics:    Participants can explore hotel/motel lodging in Harrisonburg, or camp at the Hone Quarry USFS campground, 1 mile from the climbing site (about $8 per night; limited amenities).  A lunch should be brought along for each program day.  WILD GUYde cannot provide transportation.


How much?  $175 for the first staff person from your camp; $125 each for any subsequent staff (same organization).


Bring EVERYTHING on this list: 

30-50’ piece of static rope                                   Personal climbing shoes

1 full length climbing rope (50m, or 60m)            @ 20’ 1” tubular webbing (can be in cut lengths)

Personal harness and helmet                                16-18’ perlon cordalette (6 or 7mm)

Passive belay device (ATC, Trango Pyramid, etc.)        Personal first aid kit

4-6 locking carabiners (1-2 pear-style)                          Some padding (2 carpet squares, rope bag)

Gri-gri                                                                  2 prussik loops (each 4’ of 6mm perlon cord)

Daypack or climbing pack                                   Weather appropriate clothing (rain protection,

Lunch and ample water (2 qts. minimum)                     warmth, etc.), and hiking footwear

Small spiral bound notebook/pens or pencils                      


*Note: WGA can provide loaner climbing gear if you or your camp do not have it.  Letting me know in advance is helpful! 


Is it safe?    The outdoors is not a safe place.  Part of what adventure means is that not all risks are eliminated.  By teaching proper skills and precautions, and using the right equipment, we attempt to manage risk.  Participants will be asked to complete a medical history form, and sign a waiver acknowledging various dangers.


Memorabilia:  Students will receive a certificate of participation from WILD GUYde, as well as several other vendors’ mementos.


Sign-up:     Each seminar is limited to the first 8 respondents.  To register or ask questions, contact Lester Zook at 540-433-1637 or  Lester@wildguyde.com A signed Medical Form/Participant Agreement, completed Skills and Experience Checklist, and a valid check (payable to WGA) will constitute registration.  Mail to WGA, 1047 Stuart St., Harrisonburg, VA, 22802.  Cancellations until 7 days prior will receive a 75% refund; no refunds thereafter.   


And finally, who is this WILD GUYde?  Lester R. Zook directed the Outdoor Ministry program at Eastern Mennonite University for 27 years.  He has been leading wilderness adventures for college students and camp groups for 3 decades.  He is a Wilderness First Responder, and is a certified member of the American Mountain Guides Association (Single Pitch Instructor) and the Professional Climbing Instructors’ Association.  He has served at numerous camps around the country, and has been a board member for two local camps.  WGA is a permitee with the   George Washington and Monongehala National Forests, and is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

Certified Single  Pitch





Feedback from Previous Seminar Participants:


·        “I enjoyed the covering of rappelling, and also the rescue things at the end.  Great location with lots of excellent climbing.  The time-frame was wonderful – it was appropriate for the skills and information covered.  Thank you for a great class and a good time; I learned a lot, and would gladly take another course with you in the future  (RB, 2005 in VA)


·        “You are obviously well informed on the subjects covered and clear and organized in your presentation.  It is challenging to lead a group of people at different levels and with different needs.  Given the diversity of the group, your performance was, relatively, even better.  I think one of the most valuable things to me of the weekend was splitting in groups, and all setting up our own anchor systems.  Also, while finances are an issue for most of us, I wish the course were longer.  I felt like we were tapping into a deep well of information, and it seemed almost a shame to leave without drinking a little more  (SA, 2005 in  PA)


·        “I feel confident about my ability to set up anchor systems.  You gave plenty of prep time and gave expectations way in advance.  Your teaching style is wonderful.  I respect you for your desire to learn, desire to help others learn, the integrity you demonstrate throughout your life (what I know of it), and your teaching style (engaging, thorough, thoughtful)…” (BB, 2005, in PA)


·        “Overall, it was a good refresher for me.  It was great to just be reaffirmed that I am doing things correctly.  I probably learned the most from watching how you taught others, and thinking about how I could apply similar methods.  I personally enjoyed learning the methods for escaping belays and ascending to an injured climber.  The location was great for me, and I’m glad you had a backup plan in case of rain  (WW, 2005, PA)


·        “I thought the seminar was great – I enjoyed it very much except for the heat!  I liked that you added the leadership and group management in as well.  I have found some of those points to be useful already!  Thanks again  (LK, 2006 in PA)


·        “I think the whole training was fine overall, and the location was good.  It was very helpful to have lots of hands-on activity where we could set up routes, tie knots, run rescues, etc., after you explained everything and showed us the first time.”  (TS, 2008)


·        “Thank you for a great 2 days of training.  All around I could not have been more satisfied.  I very much appreciated your ability to multi-task, instructing 8 people with attention to detail, while maintaining a healthy flow, building skills, and keeping it personal at the same time.”  (DH, 2008)