Moab Desert Adventures

Climbing • Canyoneering • Indian Creek • Desert Towers

Celebrating 20 years as Moab's most legendary guide service for rock climbing and canyoneering. Fully staffed by AMGA-certified guides. Guided by Passion since 1998

Splitter Camp Climbing Clinics 2019

Indian Creek Clinics for Crack Climbing

Our Fall 2019 Splitter Camps will be Oct 5-7 and Oct 19-21! The latter clinic is already full, and there are only a couple of spots left in our first clinic so call, email, or send in your registration form before it’s too late! We can also arrange private guiding at Indian Creek, so contact us if interested!

Our Spring Clinics for 2020 will be April 4-6 and April 11-13 Feel free to call or email for further details or send in your registration form!   

Moab Desert Adventures Splitter Camps

The rock climbing at Indian Creek is unparalleled. It is the world's greatest crack climbing area, and we're proud to have been guiding there longer than any other company. Our Splitter Camps were the first of their kind. They are the original Indian Creek crack climbing clinic, and are facilitated by world-class crack climbing experts; true desert rats that live and breath the essence of what it is to climb at The Creek. Our guides have put up first ascents and climbed the hardest routes that exist on those hallowed walls. Initially created by Jim Donini, a national treasure and one of America’s greatest climbing heros, the Splitter Camps were taken on by Moab Desert Adventures because our philosophy and our guides fit the niche so perfectly. We truly are, and have always been, hardened desert climbers at heart. 

The Clinic:

A proficiency with cracks is the keystone for anyone who wishes to expand his or her climbing beyond indoor gyms and bolted crags. If you see alpinism in your future, or are simply wanting to travel to different areas to climb, the ability to climb cracks is a must. Of all of the varieties of climbing, developing expertise with cracks is the most dependent on using proper technique. Once you get the technique dialed, some of the worlds greatest routes, such as those in Yosemite Valley, will be within your grasp. 

Splitter Camps are clinics designed to demystify crack climbing. Three intensive days with renowned instructors at the one and only, legendary Indian Creek, will greatly improve your technique while giving you a new appreciation for crack climbing. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Indian Creek is a climbing wonderland set in the high desert canyonlands an hour drive south of Moab, Utah. If you ever hear someone refer simply to "The Creek", this is the place.

Cracks of every size and difficulty split The Creek’s stunning cliffs of red Wingate Sandstone. With short approaches to stacked cliffs, one's climbing is limited only by stamina, technique, and, sometimes most importantly, desire. The climbs at Indian Creek start at 5.9 and will seem strenuous to the uninitiated. The Splitter Camps are intended for climbers who at a minimum can follow 5.9 traditional climbs, or 5.10 sport. The course will be trying, exhilarating, and is guaranteed to improve an attendee’s crack climbing immeasurably.

The Method:

We believe that you learn by doing. Expect a lot of time on the rope. We will break down into small groups based on skill levels and needs. Our instructors will demonstrate appropriate techniques and critique the attendee’s climbing. You will be getting in plenty of "mileage" on the rock. Repetition and assessment are the keys to our system. Small nuances in body position and jamming techniques make a world of difference when negotiating parallel cracks on hold-less vertical walls. With the emphasis on learning through climbing, you will get the most out of the camp if you arrive in good physical condition. We’ll climb cracks of all sizes; finger tips, fingers, thin hands, hands, fists, off-width, and everything in between. We’re open to addressing specific routes or crack sizes as well, and we’ll cover it all by the time we’re done. 

The Ethos:

The climbing in Indian Creek is world class.  Every year, people come from all over the globe for a pilgrimage to The Creek. The camping is certainly equal in aesthetic quality to the climbing. While the cragging will be unforgettable, the rest of your time in Indian Creek will be equally memorable. Pristine desert scenery, petroglyphs, abundant wildlife, and unmatched night skies are all a part of the Indian Creek experience. Throw in good company and lively dialogue around a sparkling campfire and you have the makings of a truly memorable experience.

Indian Creek is one of the most special places in America. Splitter Camps are intended to improve your ability to climb cracks, and to develop a feeling of stewardship for our spectacular deserts, Indian Creek especially. The high desert of Utah is as fragile as it is beautiful. As more people discover this and other unique areas, the need for preservation grows. Our feeling is that we are in the perfect position to foster a trend for stewardship among climbers. Climbers are better than most when it comes to taking care of the places where they play, but we can do a better job.  We have the opportunity to create a template for preservation that others can use for the wild places that they enjoy. All of us at Moab Desert Adventures will be a part of preserving the future of Indian Creek. We'll encourage you to connect with the Friends of Indian Creek, an organization that our company helped found, and we hope that you'll strive to be a part of Indian Creek's future as well. 

The Staff:

The Splitter Camp staff includes some of the most experienced and knowledgeable crack climbers in the country. We have well over a century of combined experience to offer.  Our instructors are skilled communicators who convey an irresistible enthusiasm for their craft, and aprés climbing sessions around the campfire are likely to be as lively as the day’s cragging. With a 3 to 1 ratio between participant and instructor, actual climbing time will be substantial, and individual needs will be addressed. 

Depending on availability, our staff may include: 

Jim Donini - One of America's true bad-ass pioneers.  Jim has been a steward of The Creek for longer than many of us have been climbing, and has received recognition from local land agencies for his tireless work on the infrastructure we all benefit from. It would take volumes to address Jim's contributions to climbing, so do some research!  

Geoff Unger - Like all of our staff, Geoff is a certified badass in addition to his actual IFMGA certifications, and one of the best guides in the US. A long-time denizen of the Canyonlands region, Geoff is a master crack climber with over a decade of experience honing his technique, and a deep familiarity with the nuances of our landscapes. Geoff is also a world-class guide on any terrain, and a genuine and fun individual to spend your time with. His communication style and technical tips will have you taking it to the chains before you know it! 

Amos Whiting - Amos is hands down one of the best guides in the country, and has been one of my mentors from the beginning. We are very fortunate to have him be a part of Splitter Camps. Amos is an IFMGA-Certified Guide, head guide and owner at Aspen Expeditions, an instructor for the AMGA, runs his own deep-water soloing camps in Mallorca, and is a stone-cold crusher when it comes to splitter cracks! Whether he's imparting his decades of crack climbing skills in the desert, or skiing in the backcountry of Japan's Hokkaido Island, Amos is the consummate professional. If there's something you want to know about the technical side of climbing, whether it's the elusive thumb-stack technique or how to streamline your safety systems, Amos has got you covered. 

Zack Smith - An un-sung hero of modern American climbing and alpinism, and one of the county's best guides. If you've thought about it, or sprayed to your friends about it, Zach did it first and in better style.  Zach is the author of such ideas as the Maestri-bolt-free Compresor Route on Cerro Torre, and routes such as Burl Dog (a sandbag at 5.12+) and the elusive Seppuku Flake (5.12-) at The Creek, among many others.  Zach is as humble as it gets, but don't be fooled, the guy climbs .12+ off the couch, can tour the backcountry with the best of them, flies a mean paraglider, and has put up first ascents in Alaska, the Black Canyon, and Patagonia.  Zack is also a masterful teacher, conveying even the subtlest of climbing techniques in an approachable and understandable way. 

Dave Medara - Founder of Moab Desert Adventures, and an instrumental character in the history of Moab desert climbing. Dave has put up first ascents all over the region, and has been running Splitter Camps since the beginning. Dave has an infectious enthusiasm, and is one of the most personable climbers you’ll ever meet. A truly caring individual, he’s got as much life wisdom to impart as he does crack climbing prowess. With Dave's awesome California drawl, you'd never know that he's an East Coaster...until you make him mad!

Nate Sydnor - Current owner of Moab Desert Adventures, and host of the event. I can't say much about myself in comparison to the rest of the crew, but I've been climbing and guiding in The Creek for over a decade (Supercrack was my first roped climb!), and think of myself as a pretty personable guy. I've also put up a route or two myself in the last few years, and in an attempt to play catch-up and impress everyone, I've made a tradition of climbing at least one hard project per Splitter Camp over the years.  I specialize in the mentality of climbing, bringing a meditative approach to the game that I think is essential. Whether you're climbing a mellow classic or trying to push your on-sighting or red-pointing to the next level, a mindful approach will enrich your climbing experience. A consummate gear-tinkerer, I can help you calm the nerves and run it out over that last tiny piece. Take it to the chains!

Coleman “Troutman” Blakeslee - One of America’s hidden treasures, Coleman got his nickname hiking the Appalachian Trail, but has made a name for himself as a climber in areas such as Patagonian Argentina, Indian Creek, and Yosemite Valley. He’s summited Fitzroy, climbed what was then the hardest crack in Indian Creek (Learning to Fly - 5.13c), and been a positive influence on countless young climbers through his never-ending psych and amazing story telling. Over the years, sometimes spending months at a time in Indian Creek, Coleman has put up numerous first ascents there, including the Immaculate Conception, which Hayden Kennedy named as one of the BEST finger cracks in The Creek. To hear Coleman spin a yarn is truly phenomenal. He is the epitome of an oral historian, with some of the most enlivening, hilarious stories you’ll ever hear, and an in-depth knowledge of climbing technique and history that is hard to rival. 

The Sponsors:

Ropes are provided by Sterling Ropes and Metolius will help keep you from getting gobies in the first place by providing tape. We thank them for their involvement, and hope to garner more support as time goes on. 

How to Register:

Simply fill out the registration form, the link for which is above, and download the waiver. Send in completed forms and contact Nate for deposit information. We reserve a non-refundable $100 deposit for registration. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 804 814 3872 or email. For registrations within 1 month of the camp, please call ahead for availability. 

Cost and Dates: 

We run 2 Splitter Camps every year, in the Spring and in the Fall. The 2018 dates are: April 7-9 and October 6-8. For 3 FULL days of instruction the cost is $675.00 ($775 as of 2020)

To read what others thought about the Splitter Camps click here.


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