Since 1990

Providing you with the best technical training available.

Canyons & Crags offers an approach to learning that goes far beyond memorization to provide you with a logical path to technical excellence, as you gain confidence and an increased sense of self-reliance.

Comprehensive Training for Canyoneering

Canyons & Crags continues to set the gold standard for courses in recreational canyoneering, canyon rescue and professional canyon guiding.

As the founder of the American Canyoneering Association in 1999, Rich Carlson developed the curriculum that is still being taught and copied by most canyoneering instructors in the U.S. Now serving as the Senior Instructor for Canyon Guides International, Rich continues to develop and refine courses that are comprehensive and fun.

Whether your goal is safer, more enjoyable adventures with friends or a career guiding canyons, your training with us will be a valuable investment in yourself.

Our Entry Level course covers the basic knowledge and skills you need to descend canyons (up to and including Class 3) with competent leaders/mentors. The curriculum includes Rappelling Basics, plus Canyoneering Essentials.

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

This beginner-intermediate course is designed to teach you the skills necessary to be a contributing member of a team descending canyons up to and including Class 3.

Even if you have already been descending canyons for awhile, this course is your first step in transitioning from a handful of memorized techniques to a true understanding of anchor, rigging and rope systems.​

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

In this intermediate-advanced course you will gain knowledge and competence with anchors, rigging and rescue systems while honing your personal rappelling, ascending and problem-solving skills to enable you to become a contributing member of a team descending intermediate to advanced canyons, up to and including Class 4.

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In this course you will learn the technical, problem-solving and group management skills needed to lead a team descending beginner to advanced canyons, including when things don’t go completely as planned.

Ideal for both recreational leaders and professional guides who desire the knowledge and skills needed to lead canyoneering groups safely and efficiently.

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This course goes beyond the self-rescue and basic partner rescue techniques covered in our level 1, 2 and 3 canyoneering courses.

Canyon Rescue is an advanced technical rescue course that will teach you the skills and methods needed to respond to group emergencies with minimal gear.

Topics include:

  • simple, compound and complex mechanical advantage systems
  • efficient mechanical advantage progressions
  • improvised progress capture devices
  • creating and using a “set of fours” on the fly from components you have on your harness
  • patient carry methods for evacuation
  • and much more

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

Along with our training partners, Rich has been teaching swiftwater canyoneering and swiftwater rescue for more than 20 years in locations around the world, including Arizona, Colorado, California, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Scotland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bali and Nepal.

Topics include:

  • hydrology
  • identifying and coping with hazards such as recirculating currents, siphons, strainers and undercuts
  • swiftwater swimming (defensive and aggressive)
  • safe stream crossing methods
  • proper use of a rescue throw bag

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

In this course you will learn how to cope with the unique challenges encountered in slot canyons.

Topics include:

  • chimneying, stemming and bridging
  • pothole escapes
  • sequencing team members through problems
  • partner assisted down-climbs

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

As canyoneers we go into canyons seeking adventure and beauty. We want to capture our experiences with photography, but getting the dramatic photos we desire can be extremely challenging.

Whether you are a professional or a novice; taking photos with a DSLR, a rugged point & shoot or a smartphone, you will benefit from the knowledge of composition, light, contrast, color balance and other factors that result in compelling canyon images. All of these topics and more are covered in this class.

This course is taught by well-known canyon guide and pro photographer, Adolfo Isassi.

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Transforming lives through the outdoor experiences that we facilitate. 

Our passion is helping people grow through technical excellence and personal challenge. We use canyoneering as an activity and metaphor to encourage people to rethink the way they relate to the natural world and to transform the way they choose to live their lives.

For groups, Rich has been providing innovative, fun and effective team building activities since 1990. He has had the privilege of serving many clients from a variety of industries, including Fortune 500 companies.

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

Rappelling and Technical Rescue Training

Although best known in the canyoneering community, the principles, skills and techniques taught by Canyons & Crags have applications across the spectrum of vertical rope work. Students in our rappelling and technical rescue courses have included outdoor leaders and instructors, professional and volunteer rescue teams, law enforcement and the military.

Rappelling is the act of descending a fixed rope. It is an essential skill and a lot of fun! This course is designed for beginners looking for a new experience, climbers looking to advance their knowledge, and anyone else who needs rappelling training.

Topics include:

  • gear selection, use and care
  • basic knots and anchor systems
  • rappelling techniques
  • safety back ups and belays
  • self-rescue for dealing with unexpected situations like getting your hair or shirt caught in the rappel device.

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

For those who already possess basic rappelling skills, this course focuses on rappelling to access a victim and to descend with a victim.

Techniques covered include:

  • rapid rescue anchors
  • improvised harnesses
  • assisted and tandem rappels
  • mid-wall pick-offs (rappelling and lowering)
  • bottom up rescues
  • lowering a victim from a position mid-rope
  • descending a tensioned rope
  • balancier rescue techniques

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

Our Rappel Master training program will provide you with the knowledge and fundamental skills you need to manage and supervise non-tactical rappel operations, while you are also honing your own personal on-rope skills.

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Rigging & Rescue goes far beyond memorization of basic systems. You will learn to rely on knowledge and skills rather than the latest hardware, along with improv methods to accomplish your mission with minimal lightweight gear.

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

Along with our training partners, Rich has been teaching swiftwater canyoneering and swiftwater rescue for more than 20 years in locations around the world, including Arizona, Colorado, California, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Scotland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bali and Nepal.

Along with our training partners, Rich has been teaching swiftwater canyoneering and swiftwater rescue for more than 20 years in locations around the world, including Arizona, Colorado, California, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Scotland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bali and Nepal.

Topics include:

  • hydrology
  • identifying and coping with hazards such as recirculating currents, siphons, strainers and undercuts
  • swiftwater swimming (defensive and aggressive)
  • safe stream crossing methods
  • proper use of a rescue throw bag

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

 

The Canyon Rescue Technician (CRT) is a multi-skilled rescuer trained in a combination of technical canyoneering, canyon, cave, river and high angle rescue skills. He is one member of a Rapid Access Team (RAT) of first responders that can quickly access an injured or stranded group of canyoneers, initially assess the scope of the problem, provide escape assistance, first aid for any injured parties and be the liaison between the party being rescued and the High Angle Rescue Team (HART) on the rim. He also has the skill and training to initially package and transport an injured patient to a place in the canyon more accessible to the high angle rescue team or helicopter.

See Events Calendar or contact us to Schedule Private

Open Enrollment Courses

We schedule courses throughout the year in various locations around the world. These courses are open for public enrollment and usually posted in our Events Calendar.

Private Instruction, Coaching and Mentoring

If our course schedule or objectives do not align with yours, consider private instruction, coaching or mentoring. You will receive the utmost in personal attention and have the ability to progress at your own pace.

Pricing
One on One: $650 per day.
Two People: $425 per person per day.
Three People: $350 per person per day.
Contact us for a quote for larger private groups.
 
Private Course Terms
50% non-refundable deposit is due at the time of booking. Balance will be due at the start of the first day.

Get Your Passport

Canyoneering Karma Passport holders receive substantial discounts on all of our hands-on training courses, both open enrollment and private. Your investment will likely pay for itself with the money you save on just one course.

Discounts for Military Personnel

Thank you for your service. As an expression of our appreciation we offer a 20% discount on private training and open enrollment courses to all active duty soldiers and veterans. If you are currently on active duty, the offer extends to your immediate family (wife/husband and dependent children).

NOTE: Discounts may not be combined with other discounts or offers.

Discounts for SAR Volunteers

20% discount on private training and open enrollment courses is also available to volunteer members of Search and Rescue groups.

NOTE: Discounts may not be combined with other discounts or offers.

What our students and clients are saying ...

A person's most useful asset is not the head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help.

I’m so thoroughly satisfied with how much l learned this weekend! I feel so revved up to keep at it! We shared so many different ways to complete various tasks on rope. My favorite thing about Rich Carlson as an instructor was how open he was to let others share how they like to do things. I dig a leader that doesn’t have pride issues. Very personable, lots of stories, thorough and patient with all my questions. Thank you Rich for expanding my abilities this weekend.
Lisa Hewitt
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