2023 ACA Schedule Information

Dominica, July 2022.
Howdy ACA Members-
The 2023 ACA Schedule for Training, Assessments and Events is posted!  It is full of opportunities to gain skills and help others do the same.   We’ve added some new items and new locations too, please take a look and see what’s coming up for 23’.  2023 SCHEDULE CLICK HERE
***The free Workshop schedule is coming together and will be posted Feb 15, 2023.  Until completed, we will post workshops individually on our meetup page.
Here’s what’s New in 2023
-Formal ACA Instructor and Assessor Certifications:  Our Volunteers have dedicated many years to mastering the craft of Instructing and Assessing.  We want to harness this knowledge and formalize the process of becoming certified in these highly important ACA roles. These certifications will help maintain continuity and consistency as the ACA continues to grow.  The schedules and prerequisites will be announced February, 15th.
-ACL “In Canyon” Assessment:  Our Canyon Leader assessments held in Escalante last year were well received and proven quite successful. This year we are ready to bring the ACL Assessment to Escalante to evaluate Technical and Leadership skills in a canyon environment.   More commitment, but we feel it’s worth it.
Assessment Fees:  We are implementing a fee for ACL and CL assessments. This is purely to help offset some of the Assessors associated financial costs.  Rates are the following:  ACL $100.  CL $150.  IF this is an obstacle, we will find a way to mitigate that….easily.   We don’t want money to ever hold up a persons potential, student nor assessor.  Money is “easy”.
-Class C training in the Pacific North West:  To aid our ACA Members as they continue expanding their skill sets, we have been diligently focused on creating a reliable source for ACA Class C training, ….. and now we can oblige.  Two of our very talented ACA Pro Guides have relocated to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and will be offering training near Portland, plus workshops and an Aspirant assessment in the Seattle area.  (Dates announced soon)
-ACA Class C Core Skills:  A focused Class C “Core” list to use as the framework for a future path into more advanced levels of this training.   The Core is under review by respected peers and will be the course curriculum to get things started.  Will post when complete, such an exciting moment on our training path.
-Dominica Fest:  Similar to our efforts in Honduras, it’s all about training locals, volunteering to help youth and seeing beautiful canyons.  This event will be open to ACL’s, CL’s and Pros.  Dates, Nov 3rd-6th, 2023.  (Details and sign up info soon)
-Honduras, Second Location:  During this year’s trip to Rawacala, we met a group of enthusiastic adventurers from another region of the country.  They are talented and generous, with a mission quite similar to our own… the promotion of education, safety through training and fun.  We are beginning coordination for a get together.  Dates are Feb 1st-6th, 2024.
-Pacific Northwest Canyoneering Meet and Greet:  A small gathering to meet canyoneers from the region, see beautiful places and spend quality canyon time together.  Dates, July 28th-30th, 2023.  Details and sign up info soon.
Well, once again, that’s it for now!  2023 here we come, lots of good stuff ahead.  Stay strong, stay smart, have fun.
Safe Travels,                                           
Rick Green
EoE Owner/Guide
ACA President

ACA 2022 Year in Review

Circle of Trust. Day one of 2022 GLAR.(Guide/Leader/Aspirant/Rendezvous)


Another calendar year of canyoneering has come to a close and a new one has begun.  In 2022 the dedicated Team of ACA volunteers trained, assessed and certified more individuals than ever before.  The workshops continued to be an excellent source of skill building and additional courses have expanded training opportunities inside and outside of the canyoneering community.  As a group we worked within our established framework of standards, yet remained dynamic and adaptable as new opportunities arose.  Incredible.  So, on behalf of our ACA Membership and all who benefited from this generous gift of time and knowledge, I want to say a huge THANK YOU.  Every person who helped make this a reality shared much of their time and passion. Well played Team ACA!

Some quick highlights of the 2022 Season:
-Added New “Sovereign Canyoneer” Course:  For those who want to be active in problem solving, but are not aspiring for a specific Leader Certification.  Pure canyoneering training, one step up from Core. See link above.
-Updated Assessment Protocols:  Good feedback was received and adjustments were made to the Assessment process.  Initial response has been very positive.
-Assessment “Prep” Workshops:  Pre- Assessment training to address any remaining technical questions, clarify Assessors expectations and provide focused training to ensure the best chance to achieve a positive result.
-Performing “In-Canyon” CL Assessments:  Elevated this critical item by making observations of technical and Leader skills in a canyoneering environment.
-PHF: Wildest flood forecast in a long time!  We stayed flexible, made informed choices and became masters of radar, water vapor loops and watching clouds. Thanks Pros, Leaders and attendees for the extraordinary effort.  Awesome workshops too.
-GLAR:  The Instructors knowledge and experience continues to astound.  The student’s skills levels and enthusiasm are keeping pace.  Quality training and pancakes too, it has really become a fun event.
-Honduras:  Building upon previous successes, 2022 included SWR certification for local Fire fighters (Joe Storms), a day of working with 25 young school children (aka Monster Fest:) and the re-certification of Rawacala’s Single Site Pro Guides. The Travel Team worked smart, ate well and truly helped elevate the lives of many very kind people.  Made lots of great friends too!  Ya rock!!!
-Mexico:  The ACA completed two Pro Guide Courses and Assessments, resulting in 5 new certified ACA Pros!  This is turning into a convenient “off season” Pro cert option.
-Dominica:  Ten days of training and assessing an exceptional group of highly experienced canyoning Guides.  Full Pro certification for 6 and ACL for 1. Top notch Guides and epic canyons.  See LINK for more info.
Well, this is just a few of the many incredible and unique happenings of our year together.  One final THANK YOU to all Members for a great year.  Stay smart, strong and safe.  It’s a honor being the one to type this and play a small role in all we achieve together.  More fun ahead……

Safe Travels,                                           

Rick Green
EoE Owner/Guide
ACA President

ACA Visits Caribbean Island of Dominica

Rick Green, ACA President with Dominica Government Tourism Officials.
ACA invited to Caribbean island of Dominica to assist Government Tourism Board in establishing commercial canyoning regulations. Click HERE for article.

Dominica July 2022

Extreme Dominica Team, ACA Assessment Certification 2022.


The ACA has recently returned from certifying 6 Professional Guides and 1 Assistant Canyon Leader on the Caribbean island of Dominica.  Joe Storms, Bruce Shapiro and myself spent 8 days in a stunning jungle environment, training and assessing the guiding and technical skills of 7 fine gentlemen.  The company’s name is Extreme Dominica, and they have been in operation as a professional canyoning guide service since 2007.  They focus is on running high quality canyoning adventures for folks visiting the island via cruise ship.

LINK HERE for Facebook photos.

Joe is from Jasper Canada, he teaches all critical aspects of Class C guiding and is our Guru in that realm. His analytical skills and detailed feedback are priceless to the success of achieving our objectives.  Bruce Shapiro of SLC Utah has elevated Instructing to a very high level with his work at the U of U.  He can teach complex topics in a variety of styles that opens many students minds.  Also up for pre-dawn explorations and just about anything else.  My job is to talk a LOT about pushing and sequencing butts through canyons, mixed with stories of consequential search and rescue missions and other lessons learned.

The owner of Extreme Dominica (EXDOM) is Niels Noteboom, a man of incredible talent and unending generosity.  Every single need we had was handled easily, no matter how challenging the request.  The support he gives the Team is inspirational.   His Partner and Lead Guide Coordinator Mr. Nahgie Laflouf kept focus on optimizing every minute of our time with the Guides.  When Nahgie says “no worries, we got this”, he means it.  The whole program is run incredibly tight and it is a privilege be around and associated with such dedication to professionalism.  A Five Star operation.

The guides themselves are absolutely phenomenal. The amount of canyon guiding experience they possess is extraordinary and is matched with a clear passion for guests safety and empowerment.  The two Senior Guides have been leading these adventures for a combined total of well over 25 years and had run thousands of people safely through the canyon.   Even the “new guide” had been leading for 8yrs!  Everything Guide had spent years spotting, coaching, sequencing, providing good belays….it was all there.
The canyon and surrounding terrain is fantastic.  The primary routes they guide are through a deep and sinuous slot canyon, cut into soft volcanic stone by a spring fed river.  The beauty is almost overwhelming, but the sliding, jumping and rappelling into crystal clear pools probably helps keep the guests pretty focused:). High quality public adventure is an exotic setting.!

Our days started early at the shop, which is set up very nicely and has everything you need.  Good music, fresh bread or pastries from Berani, a little bad dancing (me:) while we get into wetsuits, then we’d be on our way.  To a canyon, to a river, to a canyon river….training, training, training.  Each evening we’d finish up at late and get to the shop where Niels had a locally catered dinner ready to nourish our tired brains and bodies.  The men focus and skill levels compelled each of us to dig deep inside and elevate our efforts to another level.  One heck of an experience!

As a bonus, we met with the overseeing government authorities who are currently writing rules and regulations for commercial canyoning tours on the island.  They are very dedicated to ensuring their Island has high quality guide services for visiting tourists, and it is great to see their proactive approach to finding a healthy balance between responsible tourism and protecting the Natural environment.
Special thank you to all your Hosts.  Not only did they go out of the way to show kindness and sincere gratitude, they made each of us feel as we were a part of they’re Team.  The openness in which we were received will forever stick in my mind, I learned much, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.  Also much love to Joe and Bruce.  Excellent work, profound experience.
ACA Dominica Fest 2023’.  Ya buddy, more fun ahead!  Stay tuned.  LINK HERE for Facebook photos.


Safe Travels,                                       
Rick Green
EoE Owner/Guide
ACA President

Guide.Leader.Aspirant.Rendezvous 2022 / GLAR

Howdy ACA GLAR 22’ Attendees-  Hopeful that everyone has arrived home safely.  Well, it has been another safe and successful GLAR, and I want to send a quick thanks out to all  who contributed.  Which is all of you.  Bringing together that many talented people in a remote location, working together in harmony towards the common goal of improving safety…its a pretty special thing when accomplished….and that is exactly what we did.  Nice work!

The ACA Instructors generous gifts of both time and knowledge is extraordinary on many levels, and we are incredibly fortunate to have such kind people on our Team.  Instructors rock!  The Attendees were attentive, super helpful and generous as well, offering to assist others in their endeavor to become stronger and smarter canyoneers.  What a very nice thing to be around.

Including just a few quick photos of the fun on then ACA FaceBook.
Safe Travels,                                          
Rick Green
EoE Owner/Guide
ACA President

ACA Updated Skill Assessment Format

Spring 2022 Canyon Leader Assessment
Greetings Members –
The American Canyoneering Association has a new Skill Assessment format.  In response to Member input (thank you), we have refined elements of the program that is working well, and added new items to help us Assess your canyoneering skills effectively and efficiently.  Two experienced “test groups” were part of the experimentation process, extending a special thank you to them as well.  The general feedback from the Test Groups and Assessors is that we have significantly improved the Assessment experience.  Those who passed Assessment felt they grasped the material very well, and those who did not pass understood precisely why, and how to proceed forward.  This is the goal we endeavor towards together.
Quick summary of Assessment Format Changes: 
– 2 Initial opportunities at each station.
– Stoppage of tasks at point of error.  Called a “Strike”.
– Immediate debrief and explanation of error.
– Available Training on tasks between “Strikes”.
– “Comeback”.  A third Strike opportunity, for those meeting qualifying criteria (*see below).
Skill “Stations”-  Each Station will have a task that likely includes a single item to assess or a combination of multiple elements from the Skills Lists.  At Stations, you will arrive, be informed of the task(s) and given the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.  Following this, the Task Assessment will formally begin. It may be a timed task, such as a rescue, or it may be something simple or subjective that is not timed.  Either way, the task and the parameters will be clear, so there is no ambiguity regarding expectation.
Station “Strikes”-   Students receive two initial attempts to pass each Skill Station.  Failures at a Station results in a “Strike”.  If an unrecoverable error occurs, your Assessor will stop the assessment immediately and explain any mistake in technique, sequence, etc.  Following this, the student can practice with trainers or other strong peers and later return to the station.  Two Strikes at the same Station will result in a “Station Standby”.
Station “Standby”- Two Strikes at a Station is a Station “Standby”.  If the student has equal to or less that the qualifying number of Station Standby’s (4-Aspirant, 3-Assistant Leader, 2-Canyon Leader) they receive a third attempt or “Station Comeback” at the Station(s) they have failed.
*Station “Comebacks”   Must be completed within 30 days of original Assessment.  The “Comeback” attempts may occur immediately following the completed Assessment or it may be scheduled.  This will be based on available time and the Assessors discretion.
Assessment Failure-  If a person exceeds the number of authorized Station Standbys, it will be an Assessment Failure.  Students are welcome to stay and observe, or even assist the assessors with certain tasks, but their assessment will be over at that time.  Direct feedback provided by Assessors can be used to develop a training plan for going forward.
That’s it.  Thank you for everyones help in this endeavor to build the strongest training, assessment and certification program possible.  See you at the next workshop, assessment or other event. Train well, be safe, have fun.  GLAR  starts Friday!!!  Honduras next, Dec 1-4, 2022:)
Rick Green
ACA President
LOCAL: 435-826-4714
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