Canyons & Crags is based in Cedar City, Utah. We offer comprehensive training for beginner through advanced climbers, canyoneers and adventurers; professional guides and technical rescue teams; plus quality rope and gear.

Check out some of our Testimonials

rich_potholeCanyons & Crags' proprietor, Rich Carlson. Rich has been a wilderness traveler since the early 1970s. He started climbing in 1973 while living in Boulder, Colorado, and has since enjoyed climbing and canyoneering throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

In 1990 Rich gave up on corporate life and started guiding full time. He soon learned that he is happiest when he is teaching outdoor skills like climbing, rappelling, canyoneering, technical rope rescue, land navigation and wilderness survival. His students have included individuals, corporate groups, search and rescue teams, backcountry rangers, law enforcement angencies and the military.

Rich has built a reputation as the most experienced professional canyoneering guide and instructor in the United States. In the spring of 1999 he became the first American to be certified as a canyoning guide in Europe and subsequently founded the American Canyoneering Association, which evolved into the American Canyoneering Academy.

Now retired from guiding, Rich focuses all of his time and energy on teaching. His greatest passion is assisting with economic development and enhancing quality of life for individuals and communities around the world through the provision of training for professional guides and rescue teams. He is especially interested in volunteering his time to serve underprivileged youth and unemployed adults in Native American communities and in developing countries.

Rich's experience in team building began in the mid 1980's with Leadership Reaction Courses in the military. He has since facilitated programs for numerous companies, including many from the Fortune 500.

Rich's qualifications and certifications have included:

  • 10 years Corporate Consultant - Strategic Planning
  • Senior Instructor / Course Manager, Officer Candidate School
  • Army Reserve Officer - Training, Human Resources, Safety
  • Certified Community College Instructor
  • Certified Army Instructor
  • Certified Canyoning Guide, Commision Europeenne de Canyon (CEC)
  • Senior Instructor, American Canyoneering Academy
  • Founder and former Technical Director, American Canyon Guides Association (ACGA)
  • Technical Director, Hong Kong Canyoning Association (HKCA)
  • Certified Wilderness First Responder
  • Certified First Aid and CPR Instructor
  • Certified High Angle Rope Rescue Technician
  • Certified Swiftwater Rescue Technician (SRT2)
  • Certified Ropes Challenge Course Facilitator
  • Honor Graduate, Defense Mapping School
  • Honor Graduate, Officer Candidate School
  • Army Commendations for Innovations in Training
  • AUSA Leadership Award Nominee
  • Arizona Army National Guard Meritorious Service Medal
  • Professional Member, American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)
  • American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certified - Top Rope Site Management
  • Owned and operated AMGA Accredited Guide Service, 1990-2002
  • Technical Rescue Training - CMC Rescue
  • Technical Rescue Training - Rescue 3 International
  • Technical Rescue Training - Ropes That Rescue
  • Technical Rescue Training - Rigging For Rescue

Featured in ...

Rich's adventures and courses have been featured in the media around the world. He has also served as a technical consultant for many news stories, feature articles, film projects and photo shoots. A partial list includes:

Film, Television & Radio
  • ABC News
  • Anyplace Wild, PBS
  • BBC Radio (Britain)
  • Cable Channel 12, Tucson
  • CBS News, The Early Show
  • CCTV 13, National News (China)
  • Channel 3 News, Phoenix
  • Channel 10 News, Phoenix
  • Channel 10 "On the Arizona Road"
  • Gorging
  • Lonely Planet Treks
  • National Public Radio
  • Nature of Champions (France)
  • Nickelodeon GAS
  • Play TV (Taiwan)
  • Treks in a Wild World
  • Worst Case Scenario
Print & Online Media
  • Adventure Sports Magazine
  • Adventure Sports Online
  • America West Magazine
  • Arenal Online (Costa Rica)
  • Arizona Business Magazine
  • Arizona Meetings & Events
  • Arizona Republic, Business
  • Arizona Republic, Travel
  • Arizona Trails Monthly
  • Aventura Vertical (Mexico)
  • azcentral.com
  • Backcountry Blog
  • Backpacker Magazine
  • Canadian Business Magazine
  • Canyon Wiki
  • Cedar City Review
  • Collegian Travel & Adventure
  • Conde Nast Sports for Women
  • Denver Post
  • Elle Magazine
  • Esquire Magazine
  • Jalisco Al Natural (Mexico)
  • Jeep Magazine
  • Living Fit Magazine
  • My San Antonio
  • National Geographic Adventures
  • National Post (Canada)
  • Nations Business Magazine
  • New Times "Best of Phoenix"
  • Newsweek
  • OC Metro
  • OC Register
  • Outdoor Network
  • Outdoor Utah
  • Outside Magazine
  • Outside Online
  • Phoenix Magazine
  • Scottsdale Progress
  • Shape Magazine
  • Spectrum
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Summit Magazine
  • SUU Journal
  • SWEAT Magazine
  • Tucson Citizen
  • USA Today
  • Washington Post

Client List

Rich has had the privilege of serving many diverse client groups from companies of all sizes in a wide spectrum of industries. We look forward to the privilege of serving you as well. A partial list of Rich's corporate and institutional clients includes:

Canyoneering & Canyon Rescue
  • Anyplace Wild
  • Arizona Army National Guard
  • Arizona Game & Fish Dept
  • Army Special Forces
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Cedar City Brian Head Tourism Bureau
  • Cedar City Interagency Hotshots
  • City of Chandler Arizona
  • City of Glendale Arizona
  • City of Phoenix Arizona
  • City of Scottsdale Arizona
  • City of Tempe Arizona
  • City of Tucson Arizona
  • Coconino County SAR
  • Country School
  • Discovery Channel
  • FBI
  • Hawaii Dept of Land and Natural Resources
  • Hong Kong Canyoning Association
  • Iran Canyon Group
  • Lexington School
  • Maricopa Community Colleges
  • National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan
  • National Park Service
  • National Taiwan Sport University
  • Navajo Nation
  • Nepal Canyoning Association
  • Oahu Army Natural Resources Program
  • Phoenix Police Dept
  • Popular Outdoor Outfitters
  • Proctor Academy
  • REI
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe
  • Saudi Arabian Royal Family
  • Sedona Fire Dept
  • Southern Utah University
  • Town of Gilbert Arizona
  • UK Canyon Guides Association
  • University of Hawaii
  • US Forest Service
  • Utah Department of Wildlife Resources
  • Utah National Parks Council, BSA
  • Wai'anae Mountains Watershed Partnership
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe
  • Wide World of Maps
Corporate Team Building
  • AC Delco
  • Accenture
  • Ademco
  • Admiral Beverage/Pepsi
  • Adobe Systems
  • AG Communication Systems
  • American Express
  • American Heart Association
  • American National Can
  • Allied Signal Aerospace
  • Arizona State University
  • Army Family Team Building
  • ASM International
  • A T & T
  • Avalon Software
  • Badger Meter
  • Bank of America
  • Bank One
  • Bell South
  • Bergen Brunswig
  • Bernard Hodes Group
  • BNC Mortgage
  • Boeing
  • Bowne of Phoenix
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Cal-Air
  • CareData
  • Cendant
  • Citicorp
  • Clariant
  • Corporate Express
  • Cox Communications
  • Davita
  • Del Webb
  • Delta Environmental Consultants
  • Dial Corp
  • Discover Card
  • E-Forum
  • Express Scripts
  • Falcon Waterfree
  • Fennemore Craig
  • Finova Capital
  • Gap / Banana Republic
  • General Physics
  • GeoQuest
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Global Crossing
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Intel
  • International Typeface Corp
  • Isuzu
  • Job Corps
  • KPMG
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Maricopa County Health Services
  • Maricopa County Justice Dept
  • MCI
  • MGM Grand
  • Microsoft
  • Monier Life Tile
  • Motorola
  • Netscape/AOL
  • PCS Health Systems
  • Pelle Pelle
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • Roadway Express
  • Salt River Project
  • Samaritan Health Systems
  • Sandpiper Networks
  • Scottsdale Princess Resort
  • Snell & Wilmer
  • Source Informatics
  • Spectria
  • Sykes Enterprises
  • Teradyne
  • Tosco Corporation
  • TRW
  • Tyco Thermal Controls
  • Unichema
  • United Way
  • US West
  • Verizon
  • Volkswagen
  • Windmill Inns
  • XO Communications