Outdoor Trips


outside rockclimbing in the fallThere are as many different ways to enjoy a guided outing as there are services available at Climbmax Climbing to service a client’s desires.  Our private guide service and climbing school, ClimbMax Mountain Guides, we offer everything from an excellent first day on the rock to instruction of advanced techniques such as multipitch leading or self rescue.  All our offerings include all necessary equipment.

Check out all our options below!   Click Here to book!

Download our Medical Questionnaire and Participant Agreement.

Interested in our Booking and Cancellation Policies?  Check them out Here

Sample Climbing  (~6 hours)

Two people belaying outsideThis is our half day option for those wanting to have a great sampling of rock-climbing, mountain hiking, or rappelling.  This option is perfect for all ages and experience levels and is an excellent introduction to the world of playing in the mountains.  Our Sample Climbing option is a private experience that focuses specifically on your goals.

$175 for one.  $60 for each additional participant.

Appropriate for all ages and experience levels.

Full Day of Climbing (~8 hours)

Expect a full day of climbing, suited for both beginners or climbers with previous experience. Before heading out to the rock, your guide will check with you about your goals and will build a day to help meet them. The focus of the day is typically climbing a variety of routes, learning lead and top rope belay techniques, learning safe rappelling techniques, developing climbing movement skills, and having a great adventure. The physical and mental challenges, coupled with a beautiful surrounding makes for an unbeatable experience.

$195 for one.  $80 for each additional participant.

Appropriate for all ages and experience levels.

Multi-Pitch Climbing (~8 hours)

If you are looking for a big adventure, here it is! Plan to spend nearly the whole day on the rock in a multi-pitch setting, high above the forest canopy. Our area is blessed with rock formations that at times exceed 1000 vertical feet. On a full day multi-pitch climb, we ascend an average of 3-5 pitches, or 250-400 feet, but could be up for more if you are! Our guides have the experience to lead you through the excitement of multi-pitch climbing. Due to the varying difficulty of climbing routes climbers without much outdoor experience can also enjoy multi-pitch climbs that are of a difficulty suitable for beginners.

$275 for one, $355 for two, $435 for three.  Maximum ratio for multi-pitch climbing is three guests to one guide.

Appropriate for all ages and experience levels.

Private Instructional Climbing (~8 hours)

Looking to learn how to set up top rope anchors, break into lead climbing, increase your safety, become more efficient in multi-pitch climbing, or improve your existing skills? ClimbMax Mountain Guides offer private instruction for those who want to learn specific techniques related to the skills or movement of climbing. This is our most popular option for climbers who are working towards getting out and climbing on their own. We also offer Instructional Courses such as our Gym to Crag program, but if you have more specific skills in mind, private instruction is the way to go.

$275 for one.  $80 for each additional participant.

Don’t forget to check out our Instructional Courses.

Ice Climbing (~8 hours)

When conditions are right, our region offers world class ice climbing. Join CMG to learn proper crampon and ice axe usage while climbing vertical ice. Typically, ice climbing in North Carolina occurs on frozen waterfalls or water run offs. This program is suitable for beginners and experienced climbers alike.

$275 for one.  $80 for each additional participant.

Appropriate for all ages and experience levels.

Corporate Programs and Group Outings

Need a team building exercise or have a larger group?  We can handle it!  Come to us with your group and we will design a day on the rock that is just what your team needs.  Group pricing is based on total group size and client to guide ratios. Due to group size restrictions (set by forest service) we may have to separate the group into two different activity sites.

Client to Guide Ratio:
4 to 1: $340.00
4 to 2: $500.00
5 to 1: $375.00
5 to 2: $600.00
6 to 1: $390.00
6 to 2: $700.00
8 to 12 participants is $50 to $70 per person (depending on guide usage and type of program).

Boy Scouts of America Climbing Merit Badge:  One of our many group programs is teaching the BSA Climbing Merit Badge.  This program covers all the curriculum in the handbook.  This program takes places over the course of an evening and full next day.  The instructional aspect of the badge will be covered one evening in one of our two indoor climbing facilities, the practical portion takes place the next day, all day, out on real rock, and is taught by one of our BSA Climbing Merit Badge Counselors and AMGA Climbing Instructor.  Click Here for more information.

Group Trips:  We also occasionally offer organized group outings to various destinations in North Carolina and the Southeast.  Check our ClimbMax Mountain Guides’ Facebook Page for up to date information on the next trip and click Here to register.


Instructional Courses

ClimbMax Mountain Guides teach a variety of instructional courses that are designed to teach specific skill sets.  As these courses are in a group setting and based upon a certain registration numbers we are able to offer them at a lower rate than our private offerings.  We offer the following courses..

Crag-based Climbing Basics  (One day, $175 per person)

Top Rope Systems and Anchors  (Two days, $300 per person)

Traditional Lead Climbing  (Two days, $300 per person)

Guides Training:

American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)  Climbing Wall Instructor Certification  (20 hours, typically $300 per person)

Our CWI programs are run by our very own Stuart Cowles, AMGA CWI Provider

climb wall instruct PP

Check our Instructional Courses page for more information and our Facebook Page to find out when the next course is!

Day Hiking  (~7 hours)

Woodland Stream During a Day HikeThe mountains surrounding Asheville are some of the oldest mountains in the world, The Craggie range, the Blacks, and the Smokys, and in our opinion, these are some of the most beautiful. From a distance the mountains look like rolling ridges that merge, endlessly into one-another. Upon a closer look, each mountain has its own uniqueness and beauty. From rolling trails that undulate with the terrain of the mountain to trails that ascend to the highest reaches of the clouds, Western North Carolina offers a wide spectrum of hiking and day hiking opportunities. Waterfalls, steep cliff lines, and wide open grassy meadows are just some of the neat things one might encounter.

Why choose a hiking guide?
As with any area that we may not be familiar with, finding a local who is knowledgeable about the lay of the land and the features of the region that make that particular place special, is a valuable resource. Our guides take pride in the fact that they live in these mountains and each has a special way of sharing that love.

Mountain Hiking Guides

  • provide a strong knowledge of the region they work in
  • are familiar with the area’s weather patterns
  • are knowledgeable in the history and plant life of the region
  • have a large repertoire of trails to choose from and are knowledgeable with each in terms of difficulty, length, and time
  • can help manage time, heart-rate, and energy levels which will lead to a more enjoyable hike
  • Are highly trained in wilderness first aid
  • Can plan every aspect of a journey
  • Are familiar with bear protocol and prevention

$175 for one.  $50 for each additional participant.

Backpacking Adventures

Woodland Trail During a Backpacking AdventureBabbling brooks, stunning views, and old growth forest are just some of the treats one may experience when traveling deeper into the woods of the Appalachia. The layers of rich green scenery, and the hundreds of rich colors of the fall foliage are like the oil paints of an artist’s pallet. Sometimes the best way to experience the full beauty of these old mountains is to strap on a backpack and travel deep enough to require an overnight stay. Whether one chooses an overnight journey or one of longer duration a backpacker can have the chance to experience the various delights of the changing day. Morning light on a distant peak, mid-day sun on a ice-cold brook, or the evening twilight shimmering through the smoke of a campfire, these are all pleasures one could experience from an overnight journey.

Our guides will work with each client to educate them in the proper fit of a backpack an share hints to make the steps flow easily.  All guides are trained in ‘Leave No Trace’ ethics and will share these skills in a manner that will encourage all participants to truly recognize their impact and their role in preserving the environment. More than just words these concepts can be learned and practiced daily and the results are ever present.

ClimbMax Mountain Guides can provide as much or as little equipment as may be needed for an overnight journey. We will work closely with the client to form a meal plan and choose a route that meets their specific desires. Planning, routes, checking equipment lists, and providing pre-trip fitness plans are things our guides specialize in. So whether a seasoned hiker in a new land or a novice outdoor adventurer choosing a qualified guide to help you plan and prepare for your journey will surely be an educational and valuable experience.


Blue Ridge Horizon During a Fitness HikeWant to break a sweat?
Hiking is an excellent workout and a wonderful way to experience the mountains. ClimbMax Mountain Guides will work with each client and group to determine the best trail and the appropriate pace to meet the client’s need. The hiking guide will work closely with the client to help to monitor and achieve various heart-rate and fitness goals. Hiking with trekking poles, in true European or Swedish style adds a higher degree of exertion and will quickly move one’s heart-rate to a higher level. Our guides will educate the client to the proper usage of trekking poles and will help incorporate them into a fitness hike.  Being a trained and seasoned mountain guides requires a certain level of fitness. Hiking is one of the best ways to maintain that high level.

Some clients seek day-hiking as a means to get in a great workout while enjoying nature.
Our guides can manipulate the pace and terrain choice to meet any desired level of challenge.  Walking by the creeks, hiking up a mountain ridge, or traversing over a grassy bald, hiking in the southern Appalachian mountains is a treat, any time of year.

Rates: $175 plus $50 per person additional.

Destination Trips

Where Do You Want To Go?

Our experienced guides are qualified to plan and lead trips to anywhere on the planet. So our question to you is, “Where do you want to go?”

Choosing a Destination can be as easy as closing your eyes and dreaming Think of exotic lands, interesting people, remote wilderness areas, and alpine peaks. ClimbMax Mountain Guides can make your Dreams come true.  Come to us to help you  design your own adventure somewhere in the world. We commonly run trips to the many climbing destinations in the southeast but we can go anywhere you can dream up!

Stuart Cowles is the founder and creator of ClimbMax Mountain Guides. In addition to being an excellent climbing guide, Stuart is also a great teacher with over 25 years of experience working with youth in an outdoor learning environment. When not working or guiding in the Southern Appalachia, he loves to travel the world seeking out high adventures.

Cowles has certification & training in the following areas:

  • AMGA Certified Member
  • AMGA Certified Climbing Wall Instructor
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor
  • WMI Wilderness First Responder First Aid Training
  • AMGA Alpine Training
  • AIARE Avalanche Training

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  • Come to SMAC on the 20th and the 21st of this month to get your sole rejuvenated by @onsightresoles! Ian does great work, with a super fast turnaround! Make your old shoes like new again!
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  • We went a little crazy on this wall recently, adding 3 more problems to an already fairly dense area! @pebblewrassler said there weren’t enough slopers, so he added a bunch! Come try them out today! We also have new topropes going up downtown this week!

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  • Even more magic going up at SMAC! Come get your boulder on today, tons of problems from V0-V8!!
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  • It takes much longer than 35 seconds... but, this means new boulder problems going up all day today!!! #asheville #bouldering #climbing #northcarolina #smac #climbmaxnc #climb #gym #settinglife
  • @pebblewrassler running a lap on the new lead set! We have new top rope and lead all throughout SMAC this week! #asheville #climbing #climb #climbmaxnc #climb #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #smac #nc #climbsouth #gym #indoors #fun #jump @elementclimbing
  • New flat wall set! #asheville #climbing #bouldering
  • @pebblewrassler throwing down on some new problems in the cave area! Also new is the flat wall! Come get it!
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  • We have tons of new routes up from 5.6-5.12! Come get em! 
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