ACA Canyon Leader Certification is a recreational certification program. It is intended for individuals who facilitate canyoneering programs in group settings such as college outdoor recreation leaders, experiential education program instructors, wilderness therapy staff, camp directors, youth leaders, and recreational canyoneers looking to improve upon their technical skills.

The mission of the Canyon Leader Certification Program is to improve canyoneering safety by developing qualified mentors, thereby reducing the number of canyon descent parties that have only beginner level skills. Goals of the program include: (1) Provide training and mentoring for beginner canyoneers, and (2) Provide advanced skills and canyon rescue training for experienced canyoneers who volunteer to serve as mentors for beginners.

Our Canyon Leader Certification Program consists of three levels:

  • Aspirant
  • Canyon Leader I
  • Canyon Leader II

 

Aspirant Canyon Leader

An Aspirant Canyon Leader (Aspirant) is an individual who has passed an Aspirant Assessment that includes skills from the ACA's Level 1 and Level 2 Skills Checklists. Aspirant Assessments are conducted by Canyon Leaders, I or II or higher. Aspirants have expressed their intent to pursue additional technical training, leadership training and mentoring through the ACA.

If accepted into our Aspirant Canyon Leader program you will have opportunities to assist ACA Canyon Leaders in conducting Intro to Canyoneering Workshops and Level 1 and 2 Practice Sessions.

In return, the ACA will offer opportunities for advanced training. You will also be eligible to participate in our Leader-Guide Canyon Rendezvous.

Note: Aspirant Canyon Leaders may not accept any form of compensation from participants for their service.

Aspirant Canyon Leader -- Step by Step

1. Pass the ACA's Aspirant Assessment.

2. Create and maintain your member profile on the ACA's website.

3. Submit a Canyon Resume that reflects the following:

  • minimum of 25 canyon descents;
  • minimum of 5 unique canyons descended.

Canyon Leader I

A Canyon Leader I is an individual who has passed the Canyon Leader I Assessment that includes skills from the ACA's Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Skills Checklists. Canyon Leader I assessments are conducted by Canyon Leader II or higher.

Once certified as Canyon Leader I you will be eligible to participate in free leader skills clinics and practice sessions, as well as our Leader-Guide Canyon Rendezvous.

Note: Canyon Leaders may not accept any form of compensation from participants for their service.

Canyon Leader I -- Step by Step

1. Pass the ACA's Canyon Leader 1 Assessment.

2.Create and maintain your member profile on the ACA's website.

3. Submit a Canyon Resume that reflects the following:

  • minimum of 50 canyon descents
  • minimum of 10 unique canyons descended
  • minimum of 10 canyons descended in which you performed in a lead role

How long does Canyon Leader I designation last?

Canyon Leader I designation is valid for three years, provided you (1) keep your member profile current on the ACA's website, (2) Participate in 16 hours of continuing education. (3) Must hold a valid basic First Aid/CPR certification.

Canyon Leader II

A Canyon Leader II is an individual who has passed the Canyon Leader II Assessment that includes skills from the ACA's Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 Skills Checklists. Canyon Leader II assessments are conducted by Pro Guides or higher

Once certified as Canyon Leader II you will be eligible to participate in free leader skills clinics and practice sessions, as well as our Leader-Guide Canyon Rendezvous.

Note: Canyon Leaders may not accept any form of compensation from participants for their service.

Canyon Leader II -- Step by Step

1. Must be current Canyon Leader I.

2. Pass the ACA’s Canyon Leader 2 Assessment.

3. Create and maintain your member profile on the ACA's website.

4. Submit a Canyon Resume that reflects the following:

  • minimum of 75 canyon descents;
  • minimum of 15 unique canyons descended
  • minimum of 20 canyons descended in which you performed in a lead role

How long does Canyon Leader II designation last?

Canyon Leader II designation is valid for three years, provided you (1) keep your member profile current on the ACA's website, (2) Participate in 16 hours of continuing education. (3) Must hold a valid WFA certification.

 

What people are saying …

"I wanted to thank you again for the course on technical canyoneering last weekend. It truly was a great course and I am very glad I took it. I learned so much that I think I went into information-overload. So I tried to focus on the main principles you reinforced in the scenarios more than anything else: repetition, repetition, repetition. I guess I am writing because I am so grateful. I have been on the ACA website these last few days and I have noticed how much effort you put into the site, promoting the sport and the proper techniques. Thanks, it has opened up a whole new world for me.”

May 28, 2015

"Rich is a wealth of knowledge in his field. His funny, open-hearted teaching style is welcomed by all students. I felt more prepared going forward in my own canyoneering. I look forward to learning more from him."

May 28, 2015

"It was a privilege learning from a master like Dave. The natural anchor systems he taught showed a great deal of creativity. It was refreshing to hear from someone who could speak from many years of real practical experience, instead of those chest-thumpers on the chat group. Thank you for caring about us newbies."

May 28, 2015

"Excellent course. Well thought out. I felt I learned a great deal and had a lot of fun doing it."

May 28, 2015

"Rich's­ Anchors, Rigging and Techniques class was excellent, and well worth attending. We learned so much that was useful from this master teacher. Thank you Rich!"

June 6, 2015

"Rich Carlson could be considered the father of American canyoneering because of his influence on style, technique, and ethics. In 1999 Carlson established the American Canyoneering Association to promote safety, responsibility, and ethics in American canyoneering. Rich and the ACA have been critical factors in building national standards that have become the cornerstone of canyoneering at the recreational and professional levels throughout the Americas." --Dave Black

May 28, 2015

"I just wanted to let you know I had a great time at the canyoneering course. Thank you guys for being so flexible with the group and for making sure we were all being taught material that suited our experience and interests. I hope to be able to attend one of the advanced courses in the next year."

May 28, 2015

"The knowledge I have gained in these few days was incredible. My expectations were far exceeded. Thanks to Rich and Stefan for great instruction and smooth improv when needed."

May 28, 2015

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