Guided Rock Climbing and Canyoneering
Moab Desert Adventures is Moab’s friendliest, most passionate, and most professional guide service, offering a wide range of both rock climbing and canyoneering trips. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned veteran, flying solo or with the whole family, our guides are fully capable of helping you have the trip of a lifetime. Please take a look through our offerings and photo galleries to find the adventure that’s best suited for you!
We are the oldest, most respected climbing guide service in Moab, and come recommended exclusively by local climbing shops and other local outfitters. We specialize in rock climbing and canyoneering, and are staffed by only the best and brightest in the industry. All of our guides are AMGA-certified, life-long professionals, who’ve been climbing and guiding in the Moab area longer than anyone else. We are dedicated to our craft, and have over 100 years of combined climbing and guiding experience!
And we’re not just guides. We also see ourselves as stewards of the desert. Moab has seen exponential growth in the tourism industry over the last decade, and we recognize the importance and fragility of the desert ecosystem. We do everything in our power to minimize our impact on this beautiful landscape. On all of our trips, we pride ourselves on our ability to address subjects like local land use, ecology, geology, and local history, providing our guests with an unparalleled experience that deepens our relationship to this landscape.
Founded in 1998 as Exum Utah Desert Adventures, and incorporating into Moab Desert Adventures in 2000, MDA’s founders, Dave Medara and Noah Bigwood were instrumental figures in Moab’s climbing and guiding community. Noah and Dave were the first to ascend many of Moab’s best and hardest rock climbs, and MDA has had a string of amazingly talented climbers as guides over the years, including Zack Smith, Jim Donini, Jay Smith, Eric DeCaria, Micah Dash, Tom Gilje, Eric Odenthal, Lisa Hathaway, Jay Anderson, and many others.
But don’t let this fool you. We fully recognize that putting up hard (5.14!) first ascents doesn’t necessarily translate into the skills of a good guide. That’s why we’ve always focused on the personalities and technical skills of our guides first, to ensure that we’re sending you out with someone who’s not just a good climber, but someone who is a technically excellent guide, caring individual, and all-around good person. This is what we feel sets us apart; our focus on individual talent, amenable personality characteristics, and streamlined guiding technique.
I took over in 2014, and am hoping to live up to MDA’s reputation, both as a business owner, and local climber. After finishing grad school, I thought I’d take a year-long break from academia to have some fun. I started working as a guide for Aspen Expeditions in 2010, under the watchful eye of IFMGA Certified Guide and former AMGA President Dick Jackson, and with the tutelage of one of the AMGA’s senior instructors, Amos Whiting, also an IFMGA Certified Guide. In the Spring of 2011, after my first year with Moab Desert Adventures, I began to realize that going back for a PhD and spending my days in a classroom may not be the path for me after all. Two more years passed and I was sold. I was finding the same satisfaction as a guide that I had hoped to find as a professor, and guiding is just so much more fun! I found that the technical skills and local knowledge that I was imparting to my guests was as valuable to me as the history I had wished to discuss as a Religious Studies professor. Dave and Emma were willing to pass the torch, and I was willing to take it. I hope to carry it well into the future.
Come on down and see us. You’ll find out for yourself why we’re considered the best!