“Many thanks to Chris and John with Flagstaff Climbing Guides. From the initial planning weeks in advance to the day of the event they coordinated and lead an incredibly fun day at the crag for the 10 of us.  We were a mixed group with varied climbing abilities as great as the differences in our ages but we were all provided with just the right amount of background education and training to each take on our own individual challenges. From the bottom up, on equipment fitting and usage to better technique and clean climbing ethics, they were not only professional and knowledgeable but you could tell that they took pleasure in sharing their passion with others.  All of us ended the day with big smiles on our faces and not only had a great group experience but feel like we made some good new friends as well.  Thanks for a great event and for imparting some of your climbing stoke to all of us.” -Kris Clapper, SW Sales- Patagonia


“The Vertical Relief team did a great job setting up my climbing day and giving me a peak experience in more ways than one. When I booked my trip, Sam made sure I had all the right information to make good decisions about the kind of day that would be right for me. Jeff, my guide, called me a few days before our climb, which was perfect because I was just going over the equipment list. He answered all my questions and gave me a chance to let him know more about my background, experience, and goals for the day. I had all the layers of clothing I might have needed for what can be a wide swing of temps throughout a Flagstaff day.

I got all the information I needed to meet him at Vertical Relief and we drove a few minutes to West Elden. Then the fun truly began! Jeff picked an ideal location that had a full day’s worth of trad climbing that was ideal for my level of experience. He explained that this was one of his favorite places to strengthen technique and have a truly enjoyable day…and he was right on. He crafted a super mix of trad, toproping and rappelling that gave the day variety, gave me time to rest between challenging ascents, and let him efficiently create and use anchors that worked well for multiple routes. His professional knowledge of the Flagstaff area’s geological history and its development from one of the earliest popular climbing locations in America was a real plus – Jeff was a true professional on every level. He was relaxed, easygoing, and obviously very current in his knowledge of outdoor climbing techniques. 

He was a terrific guide, instructor and coach, giving me great encouragement through the tough spots –he’d say something was going to be tricky, but always in a way that got me totally determined to figure out how to do the climb. Jeff not only chose great routes, but set them up in a progression that meant I was able to keep climbing all day. At the top of the last climb, when I knew I didn’t have any hands left, I knew he had pegged the experience superbly.

And he took super pictures, too – I don’t get to climb outdoors all that often, so picture souvenirs are very special for me. Not only is the West Elden / Deception area lovely, but so is the wildlife. One of the highlights of our day was discovering a pair of what may have been Mexican Spotted Owls in a tree and nearby cliff on a short hike.

We were almost the only ones in the area – I had the advantage of climbing on a weekday – except for Chris, who was teaching two other climbers the trad skills they would need for an upcoming trip to Yosemite. While most of my attention was on my own climb, while I was waiting for Jeff to set another anchor or come back down, I watched them work. I was impressed with the quality of narrative, instruction, personal attention, and guidance Chris was giving to his clients, too.

Thinking of climbing in the Flagstaff area? Make Vertical Relief your first stop.”  -Judy Bradt, CEO, Summit Insight

  • American Alpine Club
  • American Mountain Guides Association
  • Outdoor Industry Association
  • Climbing Wall association
  • The Access Fund
  • Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce
  • United States Forest Service