It sounds like something you might order in a bar, but it's actually the business model for a year-old Tucson company: adventure on the rocks.

The locally owned company, Pangaea Mountain Guides, provides climbing instruction and also offers adventure trips around the United States and abroad.

"Forming the company was all about the sense of adventure - getting to remote areas for climbing and introducing other people to it," said Alexis Finley, co-owner of Pangaea.

Finley and his fellow owners, Jon D'Auria and David Merin, are like other guide services in that they teach climbers of all skill levels at cliffs in the Catalina Mountains and elsewhere around Southern Arizona.

"We differ from some other climbing services in that we do everything in our power to sculpt trips to the desires of our clients, whatever they may be," said D'Auria, who handles many of Pangaea's administrative tasks. "There's nothing too big or too small. The stuff we do is the stuff people sit in their offices and daydream about."

The company also offers hiking and backpacking trips, but climbing remains the main focus.

D'Auria said Pangaea has obtained permits to teach climbing on public lands, carries adequate insurance, and provides technical climbing gear to clients.

Finley and Merin - both experienced climbers who are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association - handle most of the instruction and guiding with occasional assistance from other guides.

They've led clients up steep rock faces at Joshua Tree National Park in California, mountains and parks in Maine, cliffs at El Potrero Chico in Mexico and many other sites.

"Our guides are itching to get to the Himalayas and some climbs in South America with clients," D'Auria said.

Finley said Pangaea also is working to develop "retreat-style courses where we take people out for weekends and do a combination of yoga and rock climbing, and camp along the way."

He said the company seeks to minimize its environmental impact through the use of so-called "green travel" techniques.

"For instance, if we take a trip to El Potrero Chico in Mexico, we work with carbon credits," he said. "That's an effort to make it carbon neutral."


Name: Pangaea Mountain Guides

Services: Climbing instruction and adventure travel

Rates: Private instruction costs $180 for a half-day or $270 for a full day. Groups of five or more pay $95 per person for a half-day or $120 for a full day. Rates vary for multi-day trips depending on destination and duration.

Information: www.pangaeamountainguides. com or 207-6564

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192.