Joshua Tree TRAD Courses 2014

Joshua Tree sunsets

 On the Rocks is incredibly excited to now offer climbing courses and adventures abroad! Experience is the best teacher, and escaping the Canadian winters to climb and learn is an incredible opportunity for any climber. Leslie Timms, owner/head guide is now running custom climbing courses all over North America in amazing destinations like Joshua Tree, California.

Check out the custom trad climbing courses that we ran in Joshua Tree, February 2014...
Just another day at "the office" with Mary Ann (Left) and Pia (Middle), my students for the "Introduction to "The Art of Trad" Course .

Intro to The Art of TRad Course:
This 3-4 day course is the perfect opportunity to learn the art of traditional climbing in one of the best trad climbing destinations on earth. During the course you will learn the ins and outs of active and passive gear placements, traditional anchors, top managed belays, trad lead safety considerations, crack skills and much more. All courses can be custom taught to suit your climbing goals and level! Traditional climbing is the ultimate, and Joshua Tree is one of the best places to learn this amazing style of rock climbing.
Pia Thurlow picks out a good line for rappelling off The Chief 5.5
I had such a blast teaching this course to two incredibly brave women from the Alpine Club of Canada- Toronto Section. It was so cool to watch them both grow so much as climbers in such a short period of time. The highlight of the trip was definitely watching them both exceed their own expectations and lead their first ever trad climb with great gear placements the entire way. They continuously stepped out of their comfort zones, tried new things and most definitely reaped the benefits of their efforts!
All taped up and ready to battle some cracks!
Pia dances up the exposed crux of The Chief 5.5

Here is what Pia had to say about her experience: 

"It has been an amazing trip and has far exceeded our expectations. We learned so much and each checked off our first trad lead. Leslie you are always so encouraging and positive that you gave us the confidence to do this. I enjoyed it so much and had some good laughs as well. The weather has been absolutely perfect with sunshine and warm breezes and JTree is a fantastic place to climb. Thank you so much Leslie. We are definitely going to do this with you again in the future."
-Pia Thurlow

Mary Ann learns to crack climb on Trashcan Rock

Pia racked up and ready for her first ever trad lead

Mary Ann climbs her first trad lead with confidence
Beautiful Cap Rock
Mastering Trad Course:
This 2-4 day course is perfect for seasoned trad climbers that would like to further advance their skills. This course can be custom to help you reach your personal climbing goals with lessons and practice with traditional anchors, top managed belays, crack skills, intro to multi-pitch trad climbing and much more. Joshua Tree is a unique location in that you need a wide variety of trad skills to safely enjoy the majority of the climbing. Most climbs are traditional, without bolted anchors, requiring climbers to have the skills necessary to build safe gear anchors, top belay and descend by either technical scrambles or rappels. Most of the routes feature cracks of varying sizes too, creating a great opportunity to hone your crack skills. If you can trad climb safely in JTree, you are definitely set to climb anywhere!
Frank Hardy, the trad master in training, steps out of the comfort zone and leads the famous Joshua Tree handcrack, The Bong 5.5

Here is what Frank had to say about his experience:

"I was fortunate enough to be recommended to On The Rocks when I wanted to make the transition from top rope to sport with the goal of learning trad. Since then, my climbing skills have improved greatly and it has been such a joy to climb on the Niagara escarpment. But if you asked me just a couple of years ago about climbing in places like the Red River Gorge in Kentucky or Joshua Tree National Park in California I would have answered that those places were beyond me and my abilities. Now that I've been to both with On The Rocks I see so many more possibilities.
They made it such a pleasure, I felt safe, did not have to worry about finding the climbing routes,the whole experience was incredible. Absolutely wonderful. Can't wait for the next adventure.Thank-you so much Leslie! Your the best."
-Frank Hardy

Frank leads Circus, an exposed finger crack.

  I have taught Frank Hardy for several years now, watching him evolve from top rope climber and eventually to trad climber. It made me so proud to see it all come together for him in Joshua Tree. Although he found the crack climbing a tough adjustment (though an important one), he caught on really quick and his anchors, gear placements, rope management, top belays, and overall technical skills were truly solidified. It was amazing to watch him evolve into a seasoned trad climber, ticking off many stout and heady Joshua Tree classics, his first time climbing on granite too! Frank was truly in his element.
Having too much fun on the amazing granite jugs of Fote Hog, a classic 2 pitch 5.6

Frank walks the plank on Cap Rock

Frank masters 5.2 with this heady lead, Mastering 5.2

It's hard to call this amazing couple of weeks in Joshua Tree, California work as I think I had just as much fun showing these great folks around as they did. I most definitely look forward to making this an anual trip! Stay tuned for this and other courses abroad at:
and never hesitate to inquire about custom locations all across North America.

BIG Changes for On the Rocks 2014

Leslie Timms, owner/head guide in Joshua Tree, California

I am so incredibly excited for 2014 with On the Rocks!! This year I am making some big changes that will provide Ontario climbers with even more unique learning opportunities on the rocks. Check out the new things happening this years with OTR.

1) New Guides!
I am so happy to welcome three new amazing people to the On the Rocks guiding team. All three guides have great technical skills and amazingly fun personalities; I have no doubt that they will help provide that memorable climbing experience that keeps people coming back to On the Rocks. New guides will be assisting me with some larger groups and even taking out some trips within their abilities if I am unavailable. Kitty Thompson, Pam Paylor and Mark Toma are all certified PCGI Top Rope Guides and each have years of experience as climbers, outdoor enthusiasts and guides. Specific guides can always be requested.

Check out their personal bio's here:

2) Climbing Getaways!
A dream of mine for years has been to guide Canadian climbers in some of my favourite climbing destinations across North America. This year I am so excited to offer two different rock climbing getaways in which climbers can learn new skills, gain invaluable climbing experience on new rock and discover a new climbing destination without the headaches of navigating in unknown terrain. Check out our new "Climbing Getaway's Page" for more information and consider taking your next climbing course somewhere new and exciting!

Go here for more info: and never hesitate to inquire about custom destinations/courses.

3) New Insurance, New Perks!
This year I have upgraded my insurance policy to allow for some new learning opportunities for customers. Check out the new things that On the Rocks can now offer:

- Fully insured multi-pitch adventures and courses
- Ability to guide children as young as 7 years old!
- 4:1 Client/Guide ratio's for lead courses
- Ability to guide all over North America
- Ability to teach in insured climbing gyms
- Ability to hire fully certified guides.

4) Stay Tuned for New Courses/Events
With all of these exciting changes, I will be offering a few new unique courses this season. Stay tuned to our website or facebook page for more information and updates.

On the Rocks facebook page:

I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our customers and the amazing businesses/organizations that have supported On the Rocks. You all rock!
Counting down the days until the Ontario climbing season 2014!
Rock on!
Owner/Head Guide, Leslie Timms

10% off Gift Certifcates

Looking for a last minute gift idea? Give the gift of rock climbing!
Enjoy 10% off all On the Rocks gift certificates from now until Christmas.
Happy holidays everyone!

Congrat's to Ontario's Newest PCGI TRG Guides

Leslie Timms, owner and head guide, is Ontario's only certified and approved mentor for Professional Climbing Guides Institute. Leslie is able to provide PCGI Top Rope and Single Pitch Guide Certification Courses and exams throughout the year. This year we had a full PCGI TRG Course in the spring and several exams running throughout the summer. These certification courses are an incredible resource for any aspiring climbing guide or climber.

For more information about PCGI or there courses go to: or
Contact: Leslie Timms at

On the Rocks would like to congratulate Ontario's newly certified PCGI TRG Guides! You all worked very hard for this and we are proud to have you as a part of the PCGI team.

Carlin Val
Finn Lidbetter

Kitty Thompson

Mark Toma and Pam Paylor

Competitive Youth Coaching

Indiana Chapman is a force to be reckoned with.

This summer has been a juggling act of guiding full time, planning the Beaver Valley Climbing Festival, and trying to climb my dream route at Lions Head. It's been the best kind of busy I can ask for really, and despite feeling exhausted at times, I can thank the amazing competitive youth climbers I have gotten to climb with this summer for keeping my climbing motivation so high regardless! I am so happy to be able to work with so many gifted young athletes from great gyms like Climber's Rock, True North Climbing and Boulderz Climbing Centre. Their intuitive style of climbing is incredibly refreshing to watch, and their eagerness and motivation to learn is amazing energy to be around. Thanks to all of you rock stars for a great summer on the rocks and good luck in competition season!

To check out what the climbing festival was all about go to
The festival raised $4500 for the Ontario Access Coalition.

To read more about the climb I am currently obsessed with, check out
The Wyett's in action, siblings styling 5.11's at Metcalfe Rock.

Justine the Machine, back in action and stronger than ever! A setback is only a set up for a come back!
Team Boulderz and the gun show. Woah.

Alexa, small and mighty, bravely faces fears of falling.
Yah Rock Climbing!!!!

Beaver Valley Climbing Festival

On the Rocks is really excited for the upcoming climbing festival on August 24th! Check out the website and come out if you can. This is going to be an incredible event!

All proceeds will go towards keeping our local crags open, thanks to the hard work of the Ontario Access Coaliton.

MEC Burlington Staff Training

I recently had the pleasure of training the staff members of Mountain Equipment Co op-Burlington. I have run this course for MEC Barrie and Burlington in the past and it is a great opportunity for their staff to learn about all styles of rock climbing (sport, bouldering, trad, top roping, aid climbing) and the gear associated with each. It is also an opportunity for them to discuss specific climbing gear, preferred brands, and any specific questions they had about climbing.

I think that it is really awesome that MEC allows their staff members to take this course! It is not only a really fun opportunity for the staff, but also a great way to educate non-climbing staff members in the world of rock climbing so they can also be available for basic climbing questions. More knowledgeable staff = Happier customers.

6 MEC employees came out for a day on the rocks with me; some were new to climbing and some quite experienced. They were a really cool group of people and I had a blast showing them the ropes! MEC Burlington has been a great support of On the Rocks, I love that store!! Big thanks to Kaylyn Sutcliff and MEC Burlington for being so great to me! If you are ever passing through Burlington, check out their store!


Thanks for a great day on the rocks MEC Burlington!