Certified Rock Climbing Guides at Joshua Tree National Park | The Climbing Life Guides

Nelson Day, Lead Guide.

Nelson Day, the Lead Guide and Director of The Climbing Life Guides, resides in sunny Joshua Tree, CA. Nelson has been rock climbing since 2008 and guiding since 2012, and is certified through the AMGA as both a Certified Rock Guide and Single Pitch Instructor, making him currently the highest certified guide in Joshua Tree. Nelson is also certified through Wilderness Medical Associates as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). Read more...

Nelson received a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 2002, and is registered in the state of California as a professional engineer in Mechanical Engineering. Nelson’s love for teaching, guiding, and rock climbing is evident if you have ever climbed with him as a client or partner. Nelson has rock climbed in Indian Creek, Joshua Tree National Park, Tahquitz, Big Bear (Holcomb Valley), Riverside Quarry, Moore’s Wall, Red Rock Canyon, New River Gorge, The Incredible Hulk, Squamish, the Bugaboos and various other cragging destinations. Nelson specializes in assisting clients “reach” their rock climbing goals and rock climbing objectives in a patient and positive environment.

Nelson Day Lead Rock Climbing Guide at Joshua Tree

Stephen Williams, Guide.

Stephen grew up in the flat lands of Memphis, TN and cut his teeth as a climber on the steep sandstone of the Southeast. He’s been climbing since 2009, and passionately seeking out new challenges in the mountains ever since. His personal climbing experience ranges from grade V alpine routes in the North Cascades of Washington, to long rock routes in the desert Southwest, to ice climbing in the Canadian rockies. He is an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor and is actively pursuing certification in both the Rock and Alpine disciplines. Read more...

Stephen also holds a WFR through the Wilderness Medicine Institute and a degree in Biology and Math from Oberlin College. He currently splits his time between alpine work in the Cascades and Alaska during the summers and guiding in Joshua Tree the rest of the year. Regardless of the medium, Stephen finds the process of helping people push themselves in the outdoors and gain independence as climbers tremendously rewarding.


Matt Lounsbury, Guide.

Matt grew up in a small Vermont town of around 500 people with a crippling fear of heights. Surrounded by nature Matt explored the outdoors in every way possible. Hunting and fishing gave way to hiking, white water, and skiing. In college Matt studied outdoor education and pursued a degree in fine art glassblowing. Read more...

Later he exited the studio and worked as an outdoor educator in many different parts of the world. Along the way he learned to conquer his fears while exploring the outdoors, eventually sailing across the Atlantic and learning to embrace heights on the end of a climbing rope. Now a full time resident of Joshua Tree he especially enjoys introducing new people to climbing, teaching about the uses of local flora fauna, and tending to his beehive and garden.


Zack Smith, Guide.

Born and raised in Northern Los Angeles, CA; Zack Immediately found a passion for exploring and pushing himself in the outdoors. After high school, Zack discovered rock climbing and immediately fell in love with it. Zack’s drive to climb beautiful features and formations, has led him to travel across the states and abroad. Read more...

When he isn’t out on a climbing trip, you can find him climbing in his local crags, Joshua Tree and Tahquitz, or training for his next ultra-endurance run. He is currently an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor and is actively pursuing certification in the Rock discipline.

Zack Smith Rock Climbing Guide at Joshua Tree

Carlin Reynolds, Guide.

Carlin began climbing as soon as they were left unsupervised in central New Jersey, where there are trees instead of rocks. In college they discovered “real” climbing with their school’s competitive team. Soon they were elected captain, ranking among the top 25 collegiate boulderers in 2018. Over the past six years their climbing career has brought them to the golden Mojave desert and the sweeping granite faces of the Sierra Nevada. Read more...

Their passion is teaching, whether that's technical subjects or helping someone overcome fear on their first rappel. They are an Apprentice Rock Guide, certified Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and Leave No Trace Trainer. They also hold a B.S. and M.S. from Northeastern University in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.


Cezanne Deraymond, Guide.

Cezanne grew up outside of a small town in northern California. Homeschooled until third grade, he was immersed in nature from a young age and learned to love the outdoors. In his early adulthood he studied traditional wilderness skills and animal tracking. This would lead to learning crafts such as bow making, flint knapping and later would transition into blacksmithing and metal fabrication. Read more...

An avid fly fisherman, Cezanne moved to Tahoe in 2018 to persue trout on the Truckee river. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery and superb granite of the Sierras he soon dove headfirst into the craft of rock climbing. As an AMGA certified Single pitch instructor Cezanne is always excited to teach and share his passion for climbing and the outdoors with others.


Nolan Graham, Guide.

Nolan was born and raised in San Diego and has frequented Joshua Tree all his life. Nolan volunteered as a Climber Steward for Joshua Tree National Park in 2021, replacing bolts around the park and ensuring safety among climbers and hikers. Climbing has taken him to amazing places around the states and he is stoked to fire up your passion for climbing. Read more...

You may hear him picking banjo and singing songs all around the park, taking in the beautiful desert landscapes and the energy coming from the rocks.