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Castle Rock Climbing School

The Bay Area's World Class Climbing School and Guide Service

Mike Arechiga – PCGI Certified Guide


Mr. Arechiga is a local legend. He has been an integral part of the Bay Area climbing community, the climbing development and stewardship of Castle Rock State Park. He has numerous First Ascents and collaborative projects in route development all over California, summed up in his current 40 year climbing career.

He is a prominent figure in the route development of the Southern Yosemite Range. Mike has even published his own Select Guide Books for Fresno Dome, Courtright Reservoir and Shuteye Ridge. Mike has also been involved with Planet Granite climbing gyms for the past 14 years in various roles such as route-setter, climbing instructor, and construction builder. 

Mike is great to hang out and climb with. He can tell you stories while hiking and by the time you know it, you’re at the base of a crag, revving to go climbing. He is inspirational to climb with. He is always willing to share beta and loves to meet people who share the same passion in climbing. You will have a fun time climbing with Mike.

​Nissa Guerrero - Senior Certified Guide and Instructor


When Nissa isn't rock climbing or staring through binoculars at every bird that flies by, you can find her at her day job working as an EMT for the County of San Mateo, CA.

She has been an EMT since 2001. She is an avid climber and has taken all of her friends climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada, Bishop, CA, Joshua Tree National Park, Yosemite National Park and many more climbing destinations. Nissa knows the risks involved in outdoor rock climbing and as a trained EMT knows the benefit in rescue training.

Nissa started climbing 8 years ago and has taken the CRCS 2-day rescue course to prepare her for any emergency situation while climbing outdoors. She is a PCGI Certified Top Rope Guide and is currently training to become a Wilderness First Responder Instructor.

She also heads our Los Gatos/Saratoga Recreation Camps throughout the year. It doesn't matter if it's you're first time climbing or you're looking for a 3 day camping & climbing retreat, Nissa can't wait to be you're guide!​​

​Casey Gray - Senior Certified Guide and Instructor


Casey is a California native who grew up camping in the Sierras, including yearly trips to the Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows and Lake Tahoe. While fishing the Merced River with his dad, Casey found his eyes attracted to the small specks of life (big wall climbers) working hard up on El Capitan. This was all it took to plant the climbing seed.

After 7 years of bouldering, he has finally gave way to plugging gear and high times off the deck. For 10 years Casey has enjoyed climbing throughout the High Sierras, Joshua tree, Lake Tahoe, the Northern California coast and up to Squamish, Canada.

Casey currently works full-time for Planet Granite climbing gyms and works as a climbing guide in his free time. Casey is a PCGI certified guide in the Top Rope level and will be continuing his guide training for his Single-Pitch or Lead Guide certification this Fall. Climb with Casey and be assured a memorable adventure.

Beth Lim- Senior Certified Guide and Instructor


Beth hails from the East Coast, where she fell in love with climbing more than 10 years ago. She settled in the Bay Area in 2010, but not before having the opportunity to live and climb around the world, travel across the U.S. and to see some of its' greatest climbing destinations including the Gunks, Rumney, Red River Gorge, Joshua Tree, Red Rocks, and of course Yosemite.

Beth works full time mixing climbing and finance, and guides in her free time. She is a PCGI certified Top Rope Guide, certified Wilderness First Responder, and currently serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer of the Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI).

She has a sharp wit and enjoys clever banter. You will definitely have fun climbing with Beth!

​Valerie Giordano - PCGI Certified Guide


Valerie is a Bay Area Native and grew up in Portola Valley, Val recently moved to Davis, CA and has been attending UC Davis since the fall of 2013. She started climbing with friends at a local climbing gym. Val then got a job there and worked as an Event Staff then quickly moved up to Youth Climbing Team Coach.

On her free time, she can be found climbing at local climbing areas such as Castle Rocks and Pinnacles. She would adamantly admit that she is hooked on getting outdoors as much as possible. Valerie can also be found bouldering in Bishop or trad climbing in the Lake Tahoe area and Yosemite. After a solid day of climbing, she often enjoys a victory watermelon with friends.

As an apprentice for Castle Rock Climbing School, Valerie is looking forward to many fun days guiding outdoors and sharing her love of climbing with others. It is very important to her that those climbing with her have the best and most welcoming experience possible, while learning climbing etiquette and wilderness stewardship. 
© 2014. Castle Rock Climbing School. All rights reserved. Bay Area Rock Climbing, Rock Climbing Bay Area, Rock Climbing Lessons and Group Trips.​​​

Meet Our Guides

Rick B. Picar III, M.S. - Owner and Chief Guide


A local bay area climber, certified guide and experienced Yosemite Big Wall climber. Rick has been climbing for over two decades in world class climbing destinations such as Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Inyo National Forest, Red Rocks, Nevada, Devil's Tower, Wyoming, El Potrero Chico, Mexico, and Tonsai, Thailand, just to name a few.

Rick has a Master's degree in Counseling. He has been a professional counselor and educator for over 20 years. His background enables him to work extremely well with clients of various demographics and abilities. Clients have always appreciated his professionalism and outgoing demeanor. He is a lot of fun to climb with and you can be sure that having fun and your safety is his top priority.

Rick is a PCGI Certified Lead Guide and Approved PCGI Mentor for aspirant guides. He also serves as the current President of the Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI). Rick is also a Certified Wilderness First Responder.