Frequently asked questions
Trips and Camps
HOW MUCH CLIMBING EXPERIENCE DO I NEED FOR TOUCH THE SKY TRIPS AND CAMPS?
We have outings for everyone. Our camps that stay closer to the Bozeman area appeal to a wide range of skill levels. Ideally for these camps, we want climbers to feel comfortable top roping a 5.9. There are other trips, many of the week-long excursions, where it is advantageous to be able to lead 5.11 or higher. These trips are intended for climbers who have dedicated gym climbing experience. Check the individual trip listings for the minimum requirements--these are guidelines for ability and experience for each summer program.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF EACH TOUCH THE SKY PROGRAM?
Our trip cost includes transportation to and from the crags or bouldering areas and lodging (campgrounds for domestic trips). All meals and some snacks from the first day of the camp to the last are included as well. You are encouraged to bring your favorite snack if there is something particular you enjoy having with you. Group climbing and camping equipment is included; ropes, some hardware, crash pads, camp stoves, fuel, pots and pans, and tents (if needed) are all items Touch the Sky provides.
WHAT ARE THE LOGISTICS LIKE FOR CAMPS AND TRIPS?
Most of our outings depart in the morning, leaving from Bozeman, Montana. You will want to fly or drive in the night before if you are coming from out of town. If needed, a local host family can be arranged to pick you up and provide a place to stay for the night. The same thing applies for the tail end of the trip. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) is the largest in the state and brings in direct flights from all over the country. Parents are welcome to send their kids alone, we will take care of the rest.
DESCRIBE THE CAMPING AMENITIES FOR EACH CAMP OR TRIP.
All of our climbing takes place on either US Forest Service land or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. As such, the camping that takes place happens in the nearest campgrounds to the climbing. The majority of these campgrounds have bathrooms, though some don’t have showers. We will have other resources to keep proper hygiene.
ARE THERE OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK IN WITH PARENTS OR LOG ON TO THE INTERNET?
Access to wifi isn’t guaranteed and every trip is different, thus, we can’t promise the same facilities and conveniences for each destination. However, many trips have rest days where the group can search out phone service and an internet connection. Our guides know the best places to do this at all of our destinations.
WHAT IS THE MENU LIKE DURING TRIPS AND CAMPS?
We eat healthy food, prepared together, that fuels our climbing. Our meals are made with whole grains, vegetables, fruits and various protein sources. Big breakfasts are the norm as they help get us prepared for big days of climbing. For lunch, we carry quality snacks, wraps, veggies, hummus, nut butters and the like. Dinners have an adequate balance of carbs, protein and fats to help rejuvenate our bodies and get us ready for the next day. We can accommodate gluten-free and vegetarian requests. Please let us know ahead of time if this is a requirement.
I’M CLOSE TO BREAKING INTO THE NEXT CLIMBING GRADE. DO YOU HAVE A TRIP FOR ME?
These trips are to reward the hard work you put in at the gym or at your home crag. The places we visit are based on who is enrolled in our program. If you are working towards a certain level and have a solid foundation to work from, we will support your efforts the best we can.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC ITINERARIES FOR THE INTERNATIONAL TRIPS?
The itineraries vary considerably for each international destination, though each location has the same outline: climb, eat, sleep. There will be other activities such as walking or hiking, board games, and of course driving. These trips are not sight-seeing tours necessarily, but rest days do offer some flexibility to explore the local culture. The primary focus of each international trip is to climb on some of the best rock in the world.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DETAILS REGARDING AIR TRAVEL?
Our groups are not large enough to get a group rate with any airline. To lessen the chance of any participant traveling by him/herself, we look into making arrangements to meet participants at a large airport en route to the final destination. Each trip is crafted specifically with group safety in mind, and one of the components of this is to fly together as much as possible.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM CLIMBING ABILITY FOR THE INTERNATIONAL TRIPS?
As a minimum, you should be comfortable leading 5.11 on rock. The goal is to be leading as much as possible. When in doubt, gaining more domestic experience climbing outside is never a bad thing. Contact Touch the Sky if more clarification is needed.
IS CLIMBING DANGEROUS?
Rock climbing can be a dangerous sport and participation can cause injury or death. High-quality, proper rock climbing gear is required or will be provided by Touch the Sky. Our trips, camps and outings focus on single-pitch sport climbing or bouldering at well-established and developed crags. Touch the Sky attempts to mitigate all potential hazards by minimizing risk. We keep the participant to guide ratio small (5:1 or better), we do regular equipment checks, and we don’t place ourselves in compromising situations (i.e. crags with considerable rockfall potential). In our 20 years of operation, we have never had a serious accident beyond typical scraps and bruises.
ARE YOUR GUIDES CERTIFIED?
All of our guides have passed an internal certification that Touch the Sky has developed, based on industry standards, to ensure maximum safety while rock climbing. All of our guides are First Aid and CPR certified, with some guides holding EMT or Wilderness First Responder certifications. Our guides are there to work with youth who have already experienced climbing in the gym and want to further their strength and skills outside. In a mentorship role, we help our youth climbers realize their potential while at the same time preventing mistakes and mishaps.
DO WE HAVE TO WEAR HELMETS?
Touch the Sky has a helmet waiver parents can sign if their child does not want to wear a helmet. However, we do retain the right to have all participants wear a helmet if the terrain warrants it, or if there is rockfall hazard. Please pack a helmet if you are enrolled in a sport climbing trip. Contact Touch the Sky if you do not own a helmet, we have some extras to loan if needed.
DOES TOUCH THE SKY HAVE INSURANCE?
Touch the Sky has substantial general liability, accident and vehicle insurance. As a participant, you will be required to have proof of personal health insurance (a photocopy of the current insurance card is adequate).
Additionally, the contract for services is deemed to be entered into the State of Montana, that Montana law applies in the interpretation of the contract documents.
Financial Assistance and Scholarships
ARE THERE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR TOUCH THE SKY TRIPS AND CAMPS?
One of our main goals as an organization is to make our programs accessible to all. We occasionally have specific scholarship amounts available to offset costs. Fill out the scholarship application and talk with us about your situation and we can help make a trip happen. To complete a scholarship application click here.