Frequently Asked Questions

Reservations & General Information
Rock Climbing
Ice Climbing & Mountaineering
Kayaking
Paddleboarding

Cancellation Policy

Payment is due in full at time of reservation to secure your reservation. Events run rain or shine. Eastern Mountain Sports Schools reserves the right to cancel or reschedule events for low participation, weather or safety concerns at any time. We will try to give as much advance notice as possible, but may not always be able to give much advance warning, especially for weather cancellations. Cancellations or schedule changes 8 days or more prior to the event start date will be fully refunded or credited with no penalty. Reservation changes of any kind within 7 days of the event start date will not be refunded and you will not be allowed to carry over deposits to future events. For participants 17 or younger, a parent must sign a waiver form prior to climbing. If you have any questions please call 800-310-4504. We will be more than happy to review our cancellation policy with you.

Reservations & General Information

Q: How do I make a reservation?
A:Reservations for scheduled group classes can be made online any day of the week or by calling 800-310-4504. Private, group and family programs must be booked over the phone (800-310-4504) and paid for in full before the reservation is confirmed.

Q: Where are your Schools located?
A: The EMS Schools operates programs all over the Northeast. The main office is located in North Conway NH. We also have offices in New Paltz (Gunks), NY; and Lake Placid, NY. To reach our Schools between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm please call 800-310-4504.

Q: What if it rains or the weather is bad?
A: We reserve the right to cancel for any reason, including rain and hazardous weather conditions. If rain or severe weather is foretasted for your day we will notify you the day before to cancel and reschedule if possible. There is no penalty to you if a cancellation is made due to rain or hazardous weather. You are welcome to a full refund or to reschedule if possible.

Q: I made a reservation but did not receive a confirmation?
A: A confirmation email should be sent out after confirming your reservation. If you’ve made a reservation but have not received a confirmation please call 800-310-4504 or email schools@ems.com to verify your email address is correct. We would be more than happy to send you a new copy.

Q: How do I redeem my 20% off EMS Shopping Discount?
A: Upon making a reservation you will be emailed a confirmation. On the bottom of the confirmation are details about the 20% Off EMS Shopping Discount. This discount can be use up until 30 days after your program and can be used by anyone in the group. Please present the printed confirmation to an EMS associate at checkout or redeem the discount online using the code located on the confirmation.

Q: What if something comes up last minute and I need to cancel? Do I get a refund?
A: If you need to cancel please do so a week or more before your lesson. No refunds or credits will be given for reservation cancellations within a week of your program date. Please mark this date on your calendar.

Rock Climbing

Q: What is the difference between a private climbing day and joining a group class?
A: Private classes are custom tailored to the individual and are available any day of the week. Private reservations do not have to reach a minimum enrollment to run and are guaranteed to run barring rain and bad weather. Private reservations are great for those who wish to have more personalized instruction, who have a narrow window of availability or just want a guide to themselves without being matched with other climbers in a group. Joining a group class: If you have a flexible schedule and don’t mind being matched with other climbers then joining a class is a great cost savings option. Classes require a minimum of two participants to run and may be cancelled up until the last day if there is low enrollment. Joining a group class is a very popular option for new climbers. Class dates and prices can be found online, and reservations can be made online 24/7.

Q: What rock climbing equipment do you provide?
A: The EMS Climbing School will provide all participants with technical rock climbing equipment for each days climb at no extra cost. This includes rock shoes, harness, helmet, climbing hardware and ropes. If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to use it. There is no discount if you provide your own climbing equipment. Please see gear list for items you will be responsible for bringing.

Q: What do I need to bring?
A: A complete gear list is available online. Please read through the gear list before you arrive for items you will be responsible for bringing. In general you should be dressed appropriate for the weather, pack a lunch & water, have a backpack, and wear close-toes-shoes on your feet (no sandals).

Q: Where do we climb?
A: Your exact climbing location is usually determined when you arrive in the morning for your lesson. Guides make the decision where to climb based on knowlegde of traffic at the crag, weather, and skill level of the group. This is all taken in to consideration in the morning before you arrive at the Climbing School.

Q: What is your guide to climber raio?
A: Guide to climber ratio for a basic toprope climbing day is 1:5 (1:4 in New Paltz (Gunks)). Multi-pitch climbing days run at 1:3 guide to climber ratio. If you have more than the maximum number allowed in your group additional guides can be added to satisfy the ratio requirements. Please contact us if you have questions about climbing ratios.

Q: How much of the day is spent climbing?
A: Most of the day takes place at the cliff. In the morning you will meet your guide, get fitted with gear, then drive to the climbing site. EMS does not provide transportation so please be prepared to transport yourself and all group members to and from the cliff. Actual climbing time comes down to the size of the group and your willingness to participate. To maximize climbing time we recommend booking a full day private lesson and keep the guide to climber ratio small (1:2).

Q: My son/ daughter wants to climb but I only want to watch. Is this okay?
A: If you are only along for viewing purposes and do not wish to participate then you must still register and pay in full to be with the group. Climbing guides are responsible for managing the climbing site and everyone that is there no matter if you are climbing or watching. This rule is in place for the safety of climbers and the guide. Special all inclusive family rates are available for families with kids 15 and younger.

Q: Where do we meet our guide?
A: Groups typically meet at 8:30am (9am in West Hartford and Boston). Please refer to your confirmation for meeting time and location. This was emailed to you upon booking your trip.

Q: Can I request a specific guide?
A: Yes. If you would like to climb with a specific guide please let us know when making your reservation. We will do our best to match you with them. Check out all our guides here.

Q: What if it rains?
A: We reserve the right to cancel for any reason, including rain and hazardous weather conditions. If rain is foretasted for your climbing day we will notify you the day before to cancel and reschedule if possible. There is no penalty to you if a cancellation is made due to rain. You are welcome to a full refund or to reschedule.

Q: What if something comes up last minute and I need to cancel? Do I get a refund?
A: If you need to cancel please do so a week or more before your lesson. No refunds or credits will be given for reservation cancellations within a week of your program date. Please mark this date on your calendar.

Q: Are children allowed to climb?
A: YES, OF COURSE!! We encourage families with kids to get out and climb with the School as much as possible. In addition to great exercise, climbing challenges the mind too. To make it easier on families, we have put together a discounted rate for families with any child age 15 or younger. This can be any combination of mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparents, and friends. Only thing you need to qualify for the family rate is one person in the group must be age 15 or younger. The full day family climbing rate is $350 for up to 5 people (4 in New Paltz (Gunks)) and includes all climbing equipment. If you have more than the maximum in your group an additional $350 will be charged for an additional guide.

Q: At what age can you join a climbing class?
A: Rock climbing classes are reserved for students age 15 and older. Please remember that if you are signing up your 17 year old or younger child to climb you must be present to sign a waiver form and you must be available to provide transportation to and from the cliff in the morning and at the end of the day. For this reason we encourage parents with kids who do not drive and are not 18 to sign up with a parent or book a private lesson.

Q: Can I tip my guide?
A: Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. If you enjoyed your climbing day and would like to thank your guide, please feel free to do so.

Ice Climbing & Mountaineering

Q: What is the difference between a private climbing day and joining a group class?
A: Private classes are custom tailored to the individual and are available any day of the week. Private reservations do not have to reach a minimum enrollment to run and are guaranteed to run barring rain and bad weather. Private reservations are great for those who wish to have more personalized instruction, who have a narrow window of availability or just want a guide to themselves without being matched with other climbers in a group. Joining a group class: If you have a flexible schedule and don’t mind being matched with other climbers then joining a class is a great cost savings option. Classes require a minimum of two participants to run and may be cancelled up until the last day if there is low enrollment. Joining a group class is a very popular option for new climbers. Class dates and prices can be found online, and reservations can be made online 24/7.

Q: What if the weather is bad?
A: We reserve the right to cancel for any reason, including hazardous weather conditions. In in the winter it’s rare to cancel a class because of weather unless road travel is hazardous. If we do need to cancel there is no penalty to you. You are welcome to a full refund or to reschedule. Please do not assume a class is cancelled unless you hear from us first.

Q: Is it necessary to show up early for my program?
A: No. The time listed on your confirmation is the time you should be at the door waiting to enter the Climbing School. If you arrive early please be patient and wait until one of our guides opens the door. You may see some activity inside prior to the doors opening as our guides need time in the morning to organize gear and get ready to start the day.

Q: What climbing equipment do you provide?
A: The EMS Climbing School will provide all participants with technical ice climbing & mountaineering equipment for each days climb at no extra cost. This includes plastic mountaineering boots, ice axes, crampons, harness, helmet, climbing hardware and ropes. If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to use it. There is no discount if you provide your own climbing equipment. Please see gear list for items you will be responsible for bringing.

Q: What do I need to bring?
A: A complete gear list is available online. Please read through the gear list before you arrive for items you will be responsible for bringing. In general you should be dressed appropriate for the weather, pack a lunch & water, and have a backpack.

Q: Do I need everything on the gear list? What if I forget something?
A: ALL ITEMS ON THE GEAR LIST ARE REQUIRED UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. PLEASE READ OVER GEAR LIST CAREFULLY PRIOR TO ARRIVING AT THE SCHOOL. Depending on the item you forget we may be able to accommodate you before heading to the cliff. Not all School locations have access to a retail store so please do not wait until the morning of your program to purchase items on the gear list. If you are missing an item that we can not give you, you may be asked to sit out on the class. Click here for gear list.

Q: Do people usually buy their own boots or are most fine with the ones you provide?
A: Many of our climbers choose to use our boots, as new boots can be pricey. For a good all around pair of ice climbing/ mountaineering boots you should look to spend around $350-$450. These boots usually have a durable plastic outer shell and synthetic inner boot liner (similar to an alpine ski boot). If you plan to continue climbing it may be worth investing in a pair since rentals can add up over time. Having your own boots allows you to break them in to fit your foot and you always have them available for those last minute adventures. Higher end boots ($600-$800) are often lighter, warmer, and more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Do your research and ask around before committing to a pair. You can also ask your guide what they recommend (or just look at their feet!)

Q: Where do we climb?
A: Your exact climbing location is usually determined when you arrive in the morning for your lesson. Guides make the decision where to climb based on a lot of factors including ice/ snow conditions, weather, and skill level of the group. This is all taken in to consideration in the morning before you arrive at the Climbing School.

Q: What is your guide to climber raio?
A: Guide to climber ratio for a basic ice climbing/ mountaineering climbing day is 1:4. Multi-pitch and more technical climbing days run at 1:3 or 1:2 guide to climber ratio. If you have more than the maximum number allowed in your group additional guides can be added to satisfy the ratio requirements. Please contact us if you have questions about climbing ratios.

Q: How much of the day is spent climbing?
A: Most of the day takes place outside. In the morning you will meet your guide, get fitted with gear, then drive to the climbing site. EMS does not provide transportation so please be prepared to transport yourself and all group members to and from the cliff. Actual climbing time comes down to the size of the group, weather and snow/ice conditions and your willingness to participate. To maximize climbing time we recommend booking a full day private lesson and keep the guide to climber ratio small (1:2).

Q: My son/ daughter wants to climb but I only want to watch. Is this okay?
A: If you are only along for viewing purposes and do not wish to participate then you must still register and pay in full to be with the group. Climbing guides are responsible for managing the climbing site and everyone that is there no matter if you are climbing or watching. This rule is in place for the safety of climbers and the guide. Special all inclusive family rates are available for families with kids 15 and younger.

Q: Where do we meet our guide?
A: Groups typically meet at 8:30am (9am in West Hartford). Please refer to your confirmation for meeting time and location. This was emailed to you upon booking your trip.

Q: Can I request a specific guide?
A: Yes. If you would like to climb with a specific guide please let us know when making your reservation. We will do our best to match you with them. Check out all our guides here.

Q: What if something comes up last minute and I need to cancel? Do I get a refund?
A: If you need to cancel please do so a week or more before your lesson. No refunds or credits will be given for reservation cancellations within a week of your program date. Please mark this date on your calendar.

Q: At what age can you join a climbing class?
A: Winter climbing classes are reserved for students age 15 and older. Please remember that if you are signing up your 17 year old or younger child to climb you must be present to sign a waiver form and you must be available to provide transportation to and from the cliff or trail head in the morning and at the end of the day. For this reason we encourage parents with kids who do not drive and are not 18 to sign up with a parent or book a private lesson.

Q: Can I tip my guide?
A: Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. If you enjoyed your climbing day and would like to thank your guide, please feel free to do so.

Kayaking

Q: What kayaking equipment do you provide?
A: The EMS Kayak School provides all kayak equipment for all programs. This includes appropriate kayak, PFD, paddle at no extra cost. If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to bring it along. Kayaks must be appropriate for the class you are enrolled for. If you have questions please call the School at 800-310-4504. Please see gear list for items you will be responsible for bringing.

Q: What do I need to bring?
A: A complete gear list is available online. Please read through the gear list before you arrive for items you will be responsible for bringing. In general you should be dressed appropriate for the weather, pack a lunch, snacks & water, and wear something on your feet (preferably water shoes).

Q: What if it rains or the weather is bad?
A: We reserve the right to cancel for any reason, including heavy rain and hazardous weather conditions. If heavy rain is foretasted for your kayaking day we will notify you the day before to cancel and reschedule if possible. There is no penalty to you if a cancellation is made due to rain. You are welcome to a full refund or to reschedule. Please do not assume your class is cancelled unless you hear from the School.

Q: Do I need to know how to swim?
A: No. Swimming is not required for any kayak program unless otherwise specified. All paddlers wear Coast Guard approved flotation devises (PFD’s) and your instructor or guide is always close by to help if you do go over.

Q: What is the minimum number of paddlers you need to run a class?
A: Most kayak lessons and tours require a minimum enrollment of 3 people to run. If you are booking as a single or with one other, please note that we reserve the right to cancel a class due to low enrollment at any time. If you would like to guarantee your kayak program runs, please call 800-310-4504 and ask about booking a private lesson or tour.

Q: At what age can you join a kayak lesson or tour?
A: Kayak lessons and tours are reserved for paddlers age 15 and older. Please remember that if you are signing up your 17 year old or younger child to climb you must be present to sign a waiver form.

Q: What is your instructor to paddler raio?
A: Instructor to paddler ratio for kayak lessons is usually 1:6. In some cases like like with our rolling classes we keep ratios smaller, 1:3. Please contact us if you have questions about kayaking ratios.

Q: How much of the day is spent kayaking?
A: Most of the day takes place in a kayak. At the beginning of your program you will meet your guide, get fitted with equipment, and then maybe do some quick dry-land instruction. For the most part we will be on the water.

Q: My son/ daughter wants to kayak but I only want to watch. Is this okay?
A: If you are only along for viewing purposes and do not wish to participate then you may do so from shore and away from the group as not to distract the students and instructors.

Q: Where and when do we meet the group?
A: As meeting times and locations vary please refer to your confirmation for where to meet and when. A confirmation was emailed to you upon booking your trip. Please do not wait until the last minute to map out a route to the meeting area and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Programs start promptly at the time listed on the confirmation.

Q: Can I request a specific guide?
A: Yes. If you would like to kayak with a specific guide please let us know when making your reservation. We will do our best to match you with them. Check out all our guides here.

Q: What if something comes up last minute and I need to cancel? Do I get a refund?
A: If you need to cancel please do so a week or more before your lesson. No refunds or credits will be given for reservation cancellations within a week of your program date. Please mark this date on your calendar.

Q: I have kid(s) age 14 and younger. What are my options for setting up a kayak lesson or tour?
A: If you are a family with younger children please give a call to 800-310-4504 to discuss a private family kayaking day.

Q: Can I tip my guide?
A: Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. If you enjoyed your kayaking day and would like to thank your guide, please feel free to do so.

Paddleboarding

Q: What paddlebaording equipment do you provide?
A: We provide all paddling equipment for all programs. This includes appropriate paddleboard, PFD, paddle at no extra cost. If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to bring it along. Boards must be appropriate for the class or tour you are enrolled for. If you have questions please call the School at 800-310-4504. Please see gear list for items you will be responsible for bringing.

Q: What do I need to bring?
A: A complete gear list is available online. Please read through the gear list before you arrive for items you will be responsible for bringing. In general you should be dressed appropriate for the weather, pack a lunch, snacks & water, and wear something on your feet (preferably water shoes).

Q: What if it rains or the weather is bad?
A: We reserve the right to cancel for any reason, including heavy rain and hazardous weather conditions. If heavy rain is foretasted for your paddling day we will notify you the day before to cancel and reschedule if possible. There is no penalty to you if a cancellation is made due to rain. You are welcome to a full refund or to reschedule. Please do not assume your program is cancelled unless you hear from the School.

Q: Do I need to know how to swim?
A: No. Swimming is not required for any paddle program unless otherwise specified. All paddlers wear Coast Guard approved flotation devises (PFD’s) and your instructor or guide is always close by to help if you do go over.

Q: What is the minimum number of paddlers you need to run a class or tour?
A: Most paddlebaord lessons, tours and fitness classes require a minimum enrollment of 3 people to run. If you are booking as a single or with one other, please note that we reserve the right to cancel a program due to low enrollment at any time. If you would like to guarantee your paddlebaord program runs, please call 800-310-4504 and ask about booking a private lesson or tour.

Q: At what age can you join a paddleboard lesson or tour?
A: Paddleboard lessons and tours are reserved for paddlers age 15 and older. Please remember that if you are signing up your 17 year old or younger child to climb you must be present to sign a waiver form.

Q: What is your instructor to paddler raio?
A: Instructor to paddler ratio for paddleboard lessons and tours is usually 1:6. Please contact us if you have questions about kayaking ratios.

Q: How much of the day is spent on the board?
A: Most of the day takes place on the water. At the beginning of your program you will meet your guide, get fitted with equipment, and then maybe do some quick dry-land instruction. For the most part we will be on the water for the whole program.

Q: My son/ daughter wants to kayak but I only want to watch. Is this okay?
A: If you are only along for viewing purposes and do not wish to participate then you may do so from shore and away from the group as not to distract the students and instructors.

Q: Where and when do we meet the group?
A: As meeting times and locations vary please refer to your confirmation for where to meet and when. A confirmation was emailed to you upon booking your program. Please do not wait until the last minute to map out a route to the meeting area and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Programs start promptly at the time listed on the confirmation.

Q: Can I request a specific guide?
A: Yes. If you would like to paddle with a specific guide please let us know when making your reservation. We will do our best to match you with them. Check out all our guides here.

Q: What if something comes up last minute and I need to cancel? Do I get a refund?
A: If you need to cancel please do so a week or more before your lesson. No refunds or credits will be given for reservation cancellations within a week of your program date. Please mark this date on your calendar.

Q: I have kid(s) age 14 and younger. What are my options for setting up a paddleboard lesson or tour?
A: If you are a family with younger children please give a call to 800-310-4504 to discuss a private family paddling day.

Q: Can I tip my guide?
A: Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. If you enjoyed your paddling day and would like to thank your guide, please feel free to do so.

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