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 learned more in 2 days of class from Rich than I have learned in the last 5 years of canyoneering. His style of teaching makes seemingly complicated ideas extremely simple. My confidence level in my abilities has greatly increased as a result. I will surely be taking future courses from Rich."

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

"Rich has a passion for teaching simplicity, efficiency, and most of all, safety while traversing through the beauty of our Colorado Plateau slot canyons. His humility and humor offset his directness in dealing with misconceptions and outright dangerous methodologies."

August 18, 2015

"This was a great opportunity for me to get exposure to a myriad of new techniques for use in future canyoneering exploits. The experience and perspective of the instructors added another dimension and contributed greatly to the value of the course."

May 28, 2015

"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

"I'm so glad I went! I felt like I was learning from the source of knowledge on canyoneering. Really, Rich teaches guides and rescue teams. Instead of me going to a guide, who was probably trained by Rich, I was able to learn from the source! That really shows when he would explain the different techniques/views and how those have changed over time and why. I felt like I was well trained in canyoneering, and also given a depth of understanding that I couldn't get anywhere else. I would highly recommend Rich's classes!"

June 1, 2015

"Any time that you can learn from the pro, Rich Carlson, its a fine day of learning and meeting people with the same interest and passion as you have for the sport of canyoneering!"

May 28, 2015

"My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the course and now have a new rule for choosing canyoneering partners - ACA course graduates only. You guys are the real deal and you are raising the bar for all canyoneers.”

May 23, 2015

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