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 Academy (formerly the American Canyoneering Association) 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 and rescue skills needed to become effective problem-solvers for a team of canyoneers.

 

Seek instruction from ACA Guides/Instructors who follow the ACA Curriculum to learn skills from the ACA's Level 1, 2, and 3 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 …

“The class was awesome!

Rich is an amazing instructor. He’s patient, his instructions are clear and he makes sure everyone understands before moving on to the next step. I learned so much in this course. If I only remember half, I’ll still be way ahead. I highly recommend this course to anyone.”

“Thanks Rich for a fun packed two days

of great canyoneering training. New methods, new tricks, new tool, the Totem.”

“This was definitely an eye-opening experience

into understanding how much there really is to canyoneering. It was a challenging week with tons and tons of information and skills to be learned. Thank you for taking extra time and effort in seeing I understood things clearly. I’m very pleased with the setup of the course. I had so much fun – the canyon trips were excellent. My excitement for canyoneering has greatened even more.”

“Just wanted to drop you a quick note

to let you know that I really enjoyed your course. Thanks for your patience. You are a great teacher. I have found in the past that just because one has the knowledge on something, doesn’t mean they have the ability to convey that information to others in a way they can retain it. You actually have the gift. I know I retained more that I thought I would. It was a pleasure spending those three days under your guidance.”

“This is the place to be…

Rich shares his expertise and passion for the sport like no one else. Patient with everyone from beginner to experienced and yes, sometimes the experienced ones require the most patience! Although Rich is headquartered in Utah, he frequently comes back to CA for a workshop… do NOT miss it!”

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