General Beta and Route Descriptions
- SummitPost - a very extensive and well-used guide to mountaineering areas. Also includes active forums.
- SuperTopo - excellent rock climbing resource
- Mountain Project - rock climbing
Related Caltech/JPL Clubs
- Caltech Y does social outreach as well as outdoor related activities. They have a professional staff. Gear pickup happens here.
- Caltech BikeLab Bike shop on campus, provides tools to fix your own bike.
- Caltech Surf and Windsurf Club
Local University Alpine Clubs and Outdoor Programs
- Stanford Alpine Club
- UCLA Outdoor Adventures
- UCSD Outback Adventures
- UC Riverside Outdoor Excursions
- USC climbing club
Local Organizations (Non-University)
- Southern California Mountaineers Association (SCMA) is active, and you must pass some tests to join. They often reserve group campsites at Joshua Tree. Several alpine club members are in the SCMA, so ask them about it.
- Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club
- Central (Tehipite) Chapter of the Sierra Club
- California Mountaineering Club (CMC). You can become a member, pending their approval, for $30. They have an email list for members.
- American Alpine Club (AAC).
- Rim of the World Climbing Club, based in the San Bernardino Mountain area.
Online Groups and Forums
General Climbing and Mountaineering
- SuperTopo forums is the climbing discussion forum. Where else does John Long regularly post? After major climbing ascents, or accidents, this is where the buzz happens. It has unfortunately shut down in 2019, but the old posts are up for posterity.
- MountainProject.com. If you had to pick a single website from which to get route beta, this would be it. Best used for obscure areas that don't have a guidebook, or for climbers too cheap to have a guidebook (or rich enough to have an iPhone), or to getting extremely recent routes.
- SummitPost Forums. Active forums for many mountaineering topics. Note the California regional message board.
- SummitPost is the single most useful mountaineering site -- the equivalent of mountainproject, but this time actually for mountains, not crags
- ClimbFind.com. New, as of 2009. a collaborative website, useful for finding partners, local info, maps, topos, etc.
- CascadeClimbers. A forum for climbers in the Cascade area, but useful for other climbers. Info on Cascade climbs. They also run a pretty useful gear exchange.
- Colin Haley's Alpine recommendations on Cascade Climbers
- Climber.org is a big, weird, web 0.1 site. It is a bit clunky to navigate, but often you find summitpost pages link to driving directions and old trip reports from Climber.org. They have most data on California and Colorado. They are self-described as follows: "Climber.Org is for individuals, but we cooperate with several climbing organizations, including several activity sections of the Sierra Club, the Colorado Mountain Club, and the American Mountaineering Center.
- Whitney Portal Store forums for everything about Mt. Whitney (only a 3.5 hour drive from Pasadena). Very active.
- As of 2009, there is a competing Mt Whitney Hikers Association forum at whitneyzone.com -- they made the splinter forums because they felt that the whitneyportalstore forum (run by Doug, who owns the Whitney Portal Store) was becoming too authoritarian.
- California Mountaineering Group on Facebook. Not the same as California Mountaineering Club!
- The SummitPost California Forums have good timely information.
- Mt. San Jacinto message board
- Mt. San Gorgonio and San Bernardino Mountains message board
- Mt. Baldy (aka San Antonio) and San Gabriel Mountains message board
- SoCal Hiker forums hiking message board
- For Avalanche forecasting websites, see our Avalanche page.
- NOAA National Weather Service (NWS). They provide standard weather forecasts, plus terse descriptions of the actual trends from actual meteorologists, who discuss the two computer models (e.g. "Both the models agree that a storm will arrive Thursday..."). Useful! Here's the description from NOAA San Joaquin center and also the description from the Las Vegas center.
- Sierra Wave Media weather forecast by Dennis Mattinson
- SoCalWeather.net is run by some guy who has a propensity for typos and exclamation marks, and is a bit hostile towards real "meteorologists", but is still a quite useful website for weather, i.e. do you want to take the day off from work and ski at Mt. Baldy or not?
- NOAA interactive map with a variety of overlays.
- NWS model data. It appears that it directly gives you virtually every model parameter used for the forecast for any point in western united states, viewable in either table or graph form. These include temperature, dew point, wind speed, wind gusts, wind chill, cloud cover, precipitation likelihood, type and amount, and a few others; you can also customize the output to some extent (things like time intervals, display format, and a few others- play around with it a bit).
Commercial Guiding/Training Services
Most national parks, Joshua Tree included, have strict regulations on who can guide, and each guide service has a special permit.
- Vertical Adventures is Bob Gaines' guiding service, and good at SoCal rock (e.g. Joshua Tree and Tahquitz). He employs Tony Sartin, who climbed occasionally at the Caltech rock wall in the mid-2000s, as well as employing uber-famous climber Peter Croft. They guided our crack climbing clinic in 2010 and were great!
- There are many Bishop-area based guides.
- Sierra Mountain Center (SMC). They taught our Avalanche Course 2007. S.P. Parker is a very nice guy. They also taught a one-day crevasse rescue course in 2010 which turned out to be not so exceptional - real glaciers and more field work were missing.
- Sierra Mountaineering International (SMI). They taught our Avalanche Course 2009, and several members know Kurt Wedberg.
- Doug Nidever based in June Lake, ran some ice climbing courses for the club in the early 2000s.
- Sierra Mountain Guides (SMG). Some club members have used these guides a lot and formed close relationships, so that's a very good sign. They also have a Conditions Report that includes up-to-date information on Ice climbing, Backcountry Snow, and Couloirs.
- The Wilderness First Aid 2006 course at Caltech was taught by the Wilderness Medical Institute (WMI), which is part of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS and Outward Bound are the two big outdoor experience programs in the USA.
- Outward Bound has many outdoor programs in all kinds of areas, and they range in length from a day to a semester.
- American Alpine Institute. They are famous for their glacier travel courses offered in Washington State. They also teach very basic winter mountaineering courses in the Sierra Nevada. These local courses, though expensive, are good if you have really no experience.