2021 End of Season & 2022 Season Updates

Rick Green (Ricardo Verde), ACA President spending a holiday with friends in Baja, MX.


The Circle of Trust Grows

I want to start off with a huge thank you to all ACA Members, families and friends.

It has been on an extraordinary two year adventure for the American Canyoneering Association, one with uncertain challenges, significant risk and the potential of reward. By any measure, this time has required sacrifice from everyone, and most people have felt the weight of adjustments to their lives. During this period, the ACA Leadership has relied on the assistance from many wise and caring Members, and was given the honor to be there to help a few others too. Through it all, during times of almost constant ambiguity, the pure intentions of the ACA Team was the anchor to secure our way forward. And to offer our potential for egress, which indeed we needed. We were making last minute adjustments in group sizes, relocations of activities and even cancellation of events….it was a dynamic period that required extra work and grace from many. Yet time and again, each of these challenges (and much more) were respectfully managed with dignity for all. Differing viewpoints and experiences were the core strength that carried us along, helping us to reach the best results together. Diversity of thought with good intent is a powerful combination of forces, and I am thankful to have this positive view of people who give of themselves when things get “spicy”. Therefore, I want to say a huge heartfelt and sincere thank you to all Members, they’re families and friends too. A little over the top perhaps, but it feels like expressing true appreciation for everyones efforts is warranted in this situation.

Fun Stuff Ahead!:

This period in time has left us stronger as individuals and as a community, both technically and socially. We are wiser from our training and canyon experience, plus tighter as a group from the shared adversity. This positive strength will take us into the new year with our very best schedule of courses, workshops and events, release date today Jan 4, 2022. All of opportunity is supported by an incredibly strong and talented Team of Instructors, Assessors and peers who generously share their knowledge and time to empower others.

Here’s a run down of some recent successes and plans for continuing forward:

Recent Achievements:

-Number of students – 522

-Number of practice sessions, workshops and courses – 71

-Number Assessed – 35

-Philanthropy: Through the generosity and hard work of Members, we were able to send aid to 115 Families in Honduras after the hurricanes last year Looking into all sorts of opportunities to help. Ideas?

-Women Pro’s: The ACA Pro Guide Program has Certified very strong Professional Canyoneering Guides. Saori Barlow and Rebecca Haacke, outstanding work! An ACA First!

-GLAR: This gathering for participants of the ACA Leader Program is quickly turning into a World Class Canyoneering Event. The Instructors are awesome, the training areas are too! Quality stuff.

-Pro Guide Cert: Complete update of skills list. New in canyon training and assessments on commercial canyoneering tours. Internships coming soon!

New for 2022

-Updated Recreational Program: We now offer a two stage training program for the pure re-creationalist, Core Canyoneer and the new Sovereign Canyoneer. *See below

-Improved Performance: Our Instructors and Assessors have been training, refining skills and advancing personal knowledge. This dedication to excellence elevates student Members experience.

-Expanded Access: We are offering training in new locations and look forward to providing more opportunities in the future. Check the schedule.

-Travel Opportunities: Pro Guide Assessment in Baja MX Feb 22’. Rawacala-Fest in Honduras, Dec 2022. Opening up Rawacala for greater participation and improved training options.

-Assessment Prep School: Free workshops and paid courses to help students prepare for upcoming assessments in the Leader program. Aspirant, Assistant Leader and Canyon Leader.

-Canyon Rescue Intro Course: Geared for the Sovereign Canyoneer (or anyone) to use for continued education with essential partner rescue techniques.

Full 2022 Calendar of events can be found here: https://www.meetup.com/ACA-Canyoneering-MeetUp/events/calendar/

*The ACA Listens to you!!! The growing demand for a training program dedicated to the recreational canyoneer has been heard! and the ACA’s answer is Sovereign Canyoneer. A new Receational Canyoneer Program with a new technical level of training, to set free those on a journey to explore and have fun with peers.

Step one is ACA Core Canyoneer:

This very popular course helps students develop the skills to be competent as an active participant, when canyoneering. Capable to understand and manage personal safety, to make basic
assessments (weather, time, etc) and assist with some group responsibilities. This course provides students with the basic concepts and critical knowledge to begin seeing these stunning places with confidence and presence while gaining valuable experience.

Step two is the NEW Sovereign Canyoneer:

This course is tailored for the person seeking to be an informed canyoneering teammate. A “partner” in the assessment of challenges and provider of direct input into the processes of finding solutions. Using a hybrid of Skills from the Aspirant and Assistant Leader skills checklists, we have created a course that will increase canyon awareness, expand on workable solutions and provide options to solving some of the more exceptional challenges.

More info on Sovereign Canyoneer here: https://www.canyoneering.net/sovereign-canyoneer/

I want to say a special thank you to our human anchor, Amie Fortin. “The Meat”, who just happens to be vegan. She is a continuous source of knowledge and confidence, going to incredible lengths to improve the ACA experience on every level. The hard work and dedication she puts forth, so things will be better for us, is incredible. When Amies not working behind the scenes to make the ACA run smoother and stronger, she’s out front making sure we are organized, finishing our dinners at Fest and have the correct shirts for the right people. Bad colors are my fault:) When meeting Amie, and you’re organized when contacting her, life is good. If your not……maybe call me first:). Thank you Amie, for ALL you do.

That’s a wrap folks. If you want more yapping from me you’ll have to come down to Escalante or meet up for some vertical fun. I look forward to working together and seeing all of you again soon.

Safe travels,
Rick Green
ACA President

ACA giving back in Honduras

The ACA just completed a small project to help out a little in Honduras. The area we have been exploring and training in was hit particularly hard by a hurricane (Eta), which compounded the economic challenges they were already experiencing due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Special thank you to Mr. Joe Storms, who exhibits great strength and passion when helping others, and to Ciros Omar Lopez Chavez, for showing incredible leadership and empathy when coordinating this for his fellow citizens. Last but not least, to ALL who have contributed financially, physically or shared ideas and words of encouragement. It all added up to something much better than we could have hoped for, as it has created an excellent foundation from which to build a lasting relationship. Thanks everybody.
This coming Fall there are plans to sponsor an ACA Rondy down there. We hope you will join us to experience the beautiful canyoneering and kind locals. Safe travels to all, “Tio” Rick Green. Pardon typos, etc.

ACA Skills Checklists Refinement

The American Canyoneering Association has just completed refining the Skills Checklists for 2020!  This is part of our ongoing effort to contribute to the expansion of knowledge, training resources, and the overall safety of canyoneers around the world. These refinements were made possible through close collaboration and with direct input from ACA Guides, Instructors, Canyon Leaders, Membership, and friends of the ACA. We would like to express our appreciation for and graciously thank all who provided input/feedback during this process.

We will be releasing a new checklist per day, beginning with Core and finishing with Canyon Leader 2, thus tonight we are releasing the Core Skills Checklist tonight.

The Core Skills Checklist is designed for those seeking entry level canyoneering skills.  It encompasses the essential individual skills required for technical canyon descents, plus empowers with the general canyoneering knowledge necessary to understand your surroundings and make informed choices to ensure safety.

The Core Skills Checklist can be found here: https://www.canyoneering.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Core-Skills-Checklist-4-22-20.pdf

Lastly, on Monday April 28 we will introduce our updated Professional Level Guide program and checklists, including the new Assistant Guide Certification.  We are excited to share this level of in-depth training and certification with those seeking a profession as a commercial canyoneering guide.


Safe travels to all,
Rick Green

New Director of Training and Assessment

The American Canyoneering Association is very pleased to announce that Steve Szoke of Salt Lake City, Utah will be our official Director of Training and Assessment. His commitment to helping the ACA achieve its goals of having high quality and consistent programs is quickly becoming….legendary, and we are appreciative he will be sharing this with us.

The dedication Steve has shown to the craft of instruction and evaluation of canyoneering skills is impressive. And his clear intent to help people be safe and enjoy their canyoneering experience is honorable and a gift to canyoneers everywhere. His training techniques are focused, deliberate, and purposeful and I believe it is exactly what this kind of activity requires.

Personally I would like to thank Steve for his guidance, professionalism, and patience with my infinite goofy questions. I also want to express our collective gratitude for the countless hours he has volunteered to help others be better canyoneers. Thank you, Steve. I look forward to seeing where his ideas and leadership take our Training and Assessment programs.

Safe travels to all,
Rick Green


Welcome Jenna Sylvester

Jenna Sylvester


The ACA welcomes Jenna Sylvester as our newest member of the Advisory Committee.

Here is a little bit about Jenna where she shares ideas and values that are in strong alignment with the ACA:

“I grew up on the Central Coast of California watching my sports coaches mold young athletes. Looking back now I realize they were not only crafting technically advanced athletes but also strong, enduring individuals and teammates. I want that kind of coaching for our canyoneering community, especially when it comes to safe practices. Strong, capable, self reliant canyoneers who go out and have the most fun you’ll ever have in your life. Hello from SoCal! ”


Welcome to the ACA Jenna!

ACA’s 2018 Fall GLAR: Guide, Leader, and Aspirant Rondy

The ACA 2018 Fall GLAR – Guide, Leader and Aspirant Rondy is coming!

Howdy American Canyoneering Association Guides, Leaders and Aspirants. It’s time again for our Fall gathering!  Another opportunity to share ideas, renew canyon bonds and continue to build continuity and consistency in our Programs.

The Fall GLAR will be held September 29-30th near Kolob Reservoir in SW Utah, near Zion NP.  A close friend has offered to let us stay on his land (800plus acres) near the head of both Kolob and Oak Canyons.  What a spot!  Anyhow, It is a beautiful location and will provide us access to areas for training, assessing and lots of canyon fun.  I am hoping that moving this Rondy a bit closer to our friends in Nevada and California can make it a little easier to join in on the fun.

Details on training and assessments, camp location, meals etc will be posted shortly. We are planning a CL1 Assessment, some Assessor training/certifications and some interesting skill building workshops. Save the date and practice, practice, practice, fun stuff coming up!

If you want to start practicing for these ACA Assessments, make sure to check the ACA Skills Checklist

This Rondy is likely to be free, so we should be thinking along the lines of some communal meals, sharing or resources etc.  “Family style”.  If you would like to volunteer to help out with the Fall 2018 GLAR please send me an email or give me a call.

Rick Green
EoE Owner/ACA Guide

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