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.

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.

The Competencies Checklist was developed through a joint venture between Canyons & Crags and Canyon Guides International (CGI). Use the checklist as a road map on your journey toward acquiring knowledge and skills to become a more competent and self-reliant canyoneer.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Our Canyon Leadership course will prepare you for the pro canyon guide or recreational canyon leader assessments offered by Canyon Guides International.

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.

Our Canyon Rescue course will prepare you for the Canyon Rescue Technician assessment offered by Canyon Guides International.

We offer private instruction, coaching and mentoring and can customize your training to provide the utmost in personal attention with the ability to progress at your own pace.

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