ACA’s Spring 2018 Guide, Leader, and Aspirant Rondy

Howdy Canyoneers!

I hope everyone is well and getting into the fun of Spring “Rondy” Season!!! We wanted to send everyone a quick update on some of the ACA’s latest “happenings.” Pardon me that this is a little late in coming, the double-whammy of Spring Break and Easter hitting together has really had us chasing our tails, I must admit. The west is full of lots of nice folks wanting to see these beautiful canyons.


Circle of trust!
(photo: Nathan Smith)

The ACA’s Spring 2018 Guide, Leader, and Aspirant Rondy (GLAR) in Escalante was well attended with an enthusiastic group of canyoneers. The cool weather proceeding did not dampen spirits, and as the skies cleared the smiles showed that we were ready for work. Everyone arrived well prepared for a safe and smooth weekend, giving us lots of time to focus on important training as well as some quality time to spend with old friends and to make some new ones. The primary training objective was for us to begin mastering skills and techniques used as competent canyon leaders. Members worked for three days fine-tuning their canyoneering leadership skills to include: trip preparation, training on instruction and coaching, individual and team spotting techniques, and the art of “sequencing” people, equipment, and skill sets in and around a canyon environment. Described as the “soft skills,” the challenges and rewards of being a competent canyon leader and team member reminds us that canyoneering is as much or more about the people as it is about the technical aspects. Just sayin’ people are cool. For an “extra-scoop,” we challenged everyone to ascend Beau Beau (Egypt 1.5), including the 20 ft drop. I witnessed people sharing incredible teamwork, problem solving, and a pot-shot toss that I would have given a .5% chance of success, . . . and it was done perfectly on the third shot. What an effort and what great teamwork everybody. Learning can be so fun! Still smiling thinking about it.


Potshot toss!
(photo: Nathan Smith)

(photo: Nathan Smith)

Our first Aspirant Assessment under the updated skills checklist has been successfully completed! Congratulations to our canyoneers listed below, who arrived well prepared and eager to demonstrate their technical competence. It was obvious to our assessors that a good effort had gone into their preparation, and thusly the ACA wants to thank them personally as well as thank the generous members who helped in preparing them for this challenging set of tasks. Bravo! Super strong group. The ACA recognizes the importance of our Training and Assessments Programs and the positive effect it has on our sports safety. Offering training sooner than later is important to our mission, but getting it correct is obviously much more so. We needed clarity and consistency for our training paths, and completing the new Aspirant Assessment was a particularly important step in that direction. We have now established the model for evaluating and updating our current skills lists and assessment. Going forward we will be able to move thru the L1 and L2 (Leader 1 and Leader 2) programs and assessments rather quickly. Since the consistency of this training is critical to the safety of many canyoneers, we are arranging for assessors to visit the varying regions to certify leaders and Pro’s on becoming qualified in the assessment process. It is relatively simple to run a very solid assessment, but important that we are all using the same techniques. It would be great to see assessment opportunities a few times a year in all the regions we are active in. Regional training, regional assessment. Side note, are you interested in becoming an instructor? Separate from our Recreational and Professional “paths,” I would like to create a rigorous training program for those who are passionate about instruction. ACA Certified Instruction is back.

The Advisory Committee will be having their third meeting April 10. As they continue to prioritize and strategize ways of helping us reach toward our objectives, I have asked them to look into one matter right away. The ACA has a shortage of women in our ranks. It goes without saying that we are best served as an association and as canyoneers when we have a more mixed and balanced set of viewpoints and backgrounds to seek answers from. The ACA has many super strong women, but something tells me we could be doing much more to include them in every aspect of what the ACA does. Based on this, I have asked the Advisory Committee to begin reaching out to the various women’s groups and community leaders to ask if they might give us insight into a way of improving our understanding on this very important topic. I believe it is possible that with ideas and input from our own valued female Membership as well as from other groups and Leaders, we can shed light on a way to a more inclusive and safe American Canyoneering Association.

Well that’s about it for now. Everybody keep in mind that we are always looking for new ideas and are open to suggestions. Until that formal pathway of communication is established, feel free to send me any questions ACA related and I will do my best. Stop by Escalante to say hi if you are down in this part of Earth’s sandstone playground!

Congratulations ACA’s 2018 Spring Aspirants Class:

Vyonne Mincberg

 Kelly Dobitz

 Brent Diggz

Adam Crenshaw

Noah Landrell




ACA President