Canyoneering is not a new sport; it has been around for decades. It has, however, enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity over the past several years. Unfortunately, many of the people who are discovering this exciting sport remain unaware of the inherent risks and the complex technical skills required to enjoy it safely. The rope skills learned from rock climbing and rappelling are a good start, but will prove to be inefficient, and sometimes dangerous, in an aquatic or semi-aquatic canyon environment.

Since 1999, the American Canyoneering Association (ACA) has been the premier source for training, technical information and services for recreational canyoneers, canyon leaders, guides and rescue professionals in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and around the globe.

The ACA Curriculum

The ACA established a standard training curriculum, developed by three of the most experienced canyoneers on the planet - Rich Carlson, Dave Black and Charly Oliver. The curriculum follows a series of Skills Checklists and represents the most comprehensive technical training available, designed to enhance safety, efficiency and enjoyment for canyoneers of all experience levels.

Level 1 - Intro to Canyoneering

Intro to Canyoneering provides students with the basic personal canyoneering skills needed to descend easy canyons as team members with competent leaders and mentors.

Level 2 - Technical Canyoneering

Technical Canyoneering provides students with the intermediate anchor, rigging and on-rope skills needed to become contributing team members with competent leaders and mentors.

Level 3 - Advanced Canyoneering

Advanced Canyoneering provides students with the advanced rigging skills needed to become effective problem-solvers for a team of canyoneers.

Level 4 - Canyon Rescue

       Canyon Rescue provides students with companion rescue skills needed to become
self sufficient problem-solvers for most canyon problems.

Seek instruction from ACA Guides/Instructors who follow the ACA Curriculum to learn skills from the ACA's Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Skills Checklists. Get out and descend canyons. Lots of canyons. Practice your skills. The key to becoming a good leader or guide is to become accomplished in the sport.

You will find many courses, workshops and practice sessions (many of them free) listed on the ACA Canyoneering Meetup Group.

What people are saying …

"Thank you to Rich and the rest of the group for sharing all your knowledge with me and taking the extra time to help me get up to speed with the rest of the class. Even if I only remember a fraction of what I learned it will be worth every minute in the class."

May 28, 2015

"Absolutely loved the workshop with Rich Carlson. Definitely a fan of the Totem and VT prusik . Every canyoneer needs these versatile tools in their pack. I would recommend this course to anybody wanting to get instruction from one of the best canyoneers in the world. Thanks Rich!"

May 28, 2015

"A very fun, highly informative course that covered anchors, rigging, techniques, and then some! Between Rich's experience and the multiple days of valuable information provided, this course was an absolute bargain!"

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

"Rich is a gifted instructor with a good sense of humor. I found his descriptions of complex (at least for me) systems and setups to be clear. He's also a great evaluator of skills assessment."

May 28, 2015

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