One of highlights of the Primal Quest Adventure Race is it’s ropes course; big, exposed, airy and difficult.  In 2006 Utah the course consisted of 6 miles of rope at 5 separate locations, involving ascending, rappelling and traversing thousands of feet of vertical rock walls, canyons and desert towers.  This was without a doubt, the world’s largest ropes course ever constructed.  Only 24 teams completed the entire ropes section.  Many called it the best part of the race while others called it the scariest thing they have ever done!

2008 presented new challenges with 5.7 free climbing and wild, via ferrata type ridge ascents adding to the mix, up slender spires in a wild setting.  With top teams proclaiming that this was the most varied and awesome ropes course ever constructed, future races will take these trends to a new heights, demanding greater skill levels and more free climbing.  We at Primal Quest want to help prepare you for this challenge.

Jay Smith, Primal Quest’s ropes course director, in conjunction with Moab Desert Adventures, is offering training sessions in Moab, Utah.  These 2 and 3 day programs will teach you all the necessary skills required to be safe and efficient while climbing hundreds of feet off the ground.  We will show you the latest and lightest equipment, how to rig your systems and safe efficient techniques to ascend, traverse, rappel and free climb any terrain that you could possibly encounter, not only in adventure racing but, in any vertical environment.

We will have a “real”, spectacular and exciting multi-pitch ropes course set up, complete with a highline, on which to practice and refine your skills.  Through individual attention we can help “dial in” a system that works for you on any angle of terrain, including “overhanging” with a pack. These are proven techniques that are the most versatile and efficient, used by climbers the world over and adapted to Adventure Racing. 

I have seen numerous types of systems used in my 18 years of involvement with AR and without a doubt our systems out performs all others in energy saving, speed, light weight, versatility and safety.  In 2008 there was a 9 to 10 hour difference between the fastest and slowest teams.  It is our opinion that even the fastest team could shave hours off their time with proper techniques and practice.  How much training time have you devoted to your rope skills?  As much as paddling? Half as much as Mt. biking? One whole day? We are the ones designing the ropes course and testing the competitors.  We know exactly what will be required of you. Get that competitive edge and save valuable time and energy.  Be safe, fast and a winner.  Get the training you need with the best-qualified instructors in the nation.  This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco.  Were not just playing games. This is Primal Quest, the world’s toughest human endurance race.  Get with the program and be the first on the summit!

Jay Smith


Course Content and Dates

Two-Day Program

Instruction includes:

  • Equipment selection, and set up.
  • Ascending fixed ropes with ascenders and use of Croll with chest harness option. Use of the Absorbaca and Basic Ascender
  • Vertical, overhanging and low angle.  Knot passing.
  • Buddy system rappels with various devices.
  • Highline and handline traverses
  • Via ferrata type climbing
  • Mini Traction free climbing

Three-Day Program

Includes everything taught in the Two Day Program with an additional day of free climbing.  Crack and face climbing.

Equipment:  Same as PQ requirements for the ropes section, a medium daypack and appropriate clothing. Please inquire if you have any questions.

These courses are only offered during the scheduled dates due to the preparation of a full ropes course being pre-rigged.  We will take reservations on a first come basis and a non- refundable deposit must be paid at the time of booking.  These programs are limited to 8 competitors (2 teams) per program and require eight people to participate to be cost effective.  We will work with your team to try and schedule accordingly. To make enquiries and book, use the contact information below. Please complete and return this registration package .

Moab is a great place to train! We have hundreds of miles of varied desert and mountain terrain, world class mountain biking, rock climbing, river rafting, kayaking, base jumping, endless navigational challenges, beautiful landscapes and mild weather.  Come and get the edge on the competition!


Programs are offered:

March 21st through March 29th and June 6th through June 14th

Prices: Two-Day program – Team price $1000 or $125/person/day
            Three-Day Program – Team price $1500 or $125/person/day

Please contact Jay Smith and High and Wild Mountain Guides: or call (435) 259-4271

You can also book through Moab Desert Adventures: or call (435) 260-2774