What our students and clients are saying ...

Over the years I have had the honor of serving thousands of canyoneers, climbers, rescue teams, professional guides, non-profit groups, corporate groups and others. I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve you, too.

"When I first got into canyoneering I quickly realized that I needed some training. While doing a deep internet search, two names kept popping up as people I might want to train me. When I found out that Rich Carlson had trained the other guy I knew I wanted him as my instructor.

Over the years I have received training from other instructors, but I consider my training from Rich to be the best. Rich has taught me so much about canyoneering and I still learn every time I attend a course with him. I never thought I would go as far as becoming a guide and instructor myself, but here I am and I thank Rich for all he has taught me.

He gives more than his knowledge to the community around the world and it’s usually for minimal financial gain. Rich was my instructor in the beginning and now he is also my friend. Thanks Rich!"

“My first course was taken over 20 years ago. But what I learned that week, and over several continuing courses, rendezvous, workshops and outings was a safe and efficient method to explore the marvel of the world of slot canyons.

These courses are invaluable for those who not only want to become competent canyoneers, they are also a resource for learning how to solve problems and prepare for the unexpected while in the wilderness. They are also a huge resource for making contacts with like minded adventurers. The canyoneering community is small, but it is huge compared to when I entered it. I have met many wonderfully fascinating people over the years and have made friendships that continue to this day. I have explored canyons in numerous states and several foreign countries. I have survived close calls because of what I learned through these courses and I have taught what I have learned to numerous others. I can’t thank Rich enough for the years and patience and guidance.”

"I don't even climb, but I dig rope stuff and recovery/emergency kit hardware. You sir, are an addictive, glowing, rope sensei. Your calm voice delivering vertical sorcery of the good kind just has my head shaking. Amazing stuff!"

"I started canyoneering about four years ago. I took a class from Rich and quickly realized there was so much more I needed to know to be safe. He teaches the skills necessary to be a competent canyoneer while reinforcing critical thinking to understand why and not just how to do things. I feel more confident in my skills and abilities as a result of his training."

"Rich is a very good instructor, with a gift for training. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from him. He provides a great mix of listening, explaining and practice activities to provide a very safe, supportive learning environment."

“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.”

The instructor was full of knowledge and [the Rappel Master course] was taught in a way that I could learn (hands on). I liked that the class could be shifted to certain areas that we as a group wanted to learn which pertained to our profession (law enforcement).

I absolutely would recommend this course to others and have already told some coworkers about it.

[Rich] did a great job of explaining the materials and did a great job of having us all work through the processes several times to make sure we understood it. He did well in evaluating everyone's knowledge while continuing to instruct new material. 

I do not have any suggestions for improvement as it was all more than I expected it to be.
I would highly recommend this course to others interested in this type of knowledge.

Thank you for a great [Rappel Master] course and for all of the knowledge passed on to us!

”The canyoneering classes that I have taken from Rich Carlson not only have been a passport to places only accessible via rope work, but have created a foundation of understanding of risk management in natural vertical environments. If you are looking for a path of self-reliance and clear understanding of canyoneering and rope work, look no further.”

“I have known you for a long time now and I want to express my thoughts. It’s going to sound a little mushy. I have appreciated the leadership and intimate details you display with training. Your knowledge on several subjects is next level ( I have no other way to describe it). I enjoy watching you head off students before they meander down the road of no return, meaning you know exactly the mistakes they are about to make before they even know they are headed in that direction. I have learned an immense amount from you and for that I am grateful.”

“I’d say the real value of your training is it provides competence, critical thinking with a problem-solving approach, and the ability to assess the situation and adjust the approach to the problem and the resources available.”

“I have had the opportunity to take several courses from Rich Carlson, and have come away with so much more new information than I expected. His depth of knowledge and experience is invaluable and it seems the more I learn, the more he has to teach.

I most enjoy that no matter your level of rope work education, Rich makes the curriculum easy to grasp, and offers concepts and methods that challenge even the most skilled students.

Rich has taught me that every situation has nuances that dictate the options and applicable best practice, and that “it depends” is an important mantra to prevent getting stuck in a “one size fits all” mentality. I have greatly benefited from Rich’s instruction and highly recommend!”

“Great class, Rich. You truly have a gift for teaching. I’m glad you’ve dedicated so much of your life to it.”

“Online or in person, you will not find better training anywhere, or a more qualified and committed instructor than Rich. I highly encourage everyone to make the investment in yourself. It’ll be worth every penny!!!”

“I’m so glad I went! I felt like I was learning from the source of knowledge on canyoneering. Really, Rich teaches guides and rescue teams. Instead of me going to a guide, who was probably trained by Rich, I was able to learn from the source. That really shows when he would explain the different techniques/views and how those have changed over time and why. I felt like I was well trained in canyoneering and also given a depth of understanding that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I would highly recommend Rich’s classes.”

“I am really impressed with not only the skills and techniques but the fact that you put together such a great course. You did a great job and I learned a lot.”

“Invaluable source of knowledge.”

“Rich’s Anchors, Rigging and Techniques class was excellent, and well worth attending. We learned so much that was useful from this master teacher. Thank you Rich!”

“I had a great time in this class even though I missed some of it. Rich you’re a great teacher and you know how to make it fun.”

“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!”

“The class was fun and loaded with so much useful information. Thanks Rich for providing a warm and relaxed environment to learn and practice the ART of Canyoneering. I also found it to be another opportunity to meet great people and network to get out and have fun!”

“Save lives (and make them more enjoyable) - support canyoneering education efforts, especially Rich’s!”

“Great course! I learned a lot and look forward to putting it all into action. Rich was particularly great with doing clean and easy to follow demonstrations, and answering tangential questions.”

“Awesome opportunity. Rich knows his stuff. His emphasis on safety, patience and his obvious love of teaching canyoneering really make the difference.”

“Any time that you can learn from the pro, Rich Carlson, it’s a fine day of learning and meeting people with the same interest and passion as you have for the sport of canyoneering!”

“After attending my first training course with Rich Carlson this last weekend (Rigging and Rescue) I wanted to post that the course was exceptional.”

“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 California for a workshop. Do NOT miss it!”

“The cumulative structure of the course was right on. We had three opportunities to learn each technique — classroom (camp), controlled situation (bridge), then actual application in the canyons.”

“I again want to say what a good class it was and we definitely found it valuable.”

“Rich did a great job (as usual). He knows how to cater to a large, diverse group and make everyone feel welcome.”

“Loved every minute of the Rappel Master course.”

“Rich has a passion for teaching simplicity, efficiency, and most of all, safety while traversing the beauty of our Colorado Plateau slot canyons. His humility and humor offset his directness in dealing with misconceptions and outright dangerous methodologies.”

“ART of Canyoneering 3-day course was very informative. It included indoor class time and outdoor practical application. Rich is a “true” teacher, very patient and knowledgeable. I concur with others that this course was a bargain and absolutely worth my 8-hour drive to get there. I will be telling others about this course. Thank you, Rich, for your servitude.”

“The technical information and application of methods was outstanding. Rich and Stefan provided some great approaches to common canyoneering problems. If Rich had not told me that it was the first [ACA] course, I would not have known. Everything went very smoothly.”

“I will always be humble with the amount of information you run with and how you have changed canyoneering for the better.”

“The knowledge I have gained in these few days was incredible. My expectations were far exceeded. Thanks to Rich for great instruction and smooth improv when needed.”

“Excellent course. Well thought out. I felt I learned a great deal and had a lot of fun doing it.”

“I have trained with Rich and not only do I see the immense value of his knowledge, I also see the practical benefit of sharing that knowledge. Beyond the technical expertise, he provides the tools to help you think through the challenge, and apply the knowledge. His training will make you safer, more prepared, and a better leader or guide.

“Rich is a great person and a great canyoneer. It’s been a privilege to have met him and learned from him on different occasions.”

"What a learning experience, Rich knows how to get the right info across, great style, actually gets you to answer your own questions and concerns, excellent hands on, and field experience, would highly recommend the workshop to anyone that wants to get into canyoneering, great value. Thanks again Rich”

"Phenomenal teacher, phenomenal training! I highly recommend this training for any canyoneer, whether beginner or experienced.”

"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!"

"My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the course and now have a new rule for choosing canyoneering partners - [Rich’s] course graduates only. You guys are the real deal and you are raising the bar for all canyoneers.”

"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.”

"I just wanted to let you know I had a great time at the canyoneering course. Thank you guys for being so flexible with the group and for making sure we were all being taught material that suited our experience and interests. I hope to be able to attend one of the advanced courses in the next year."

"It's unbelievable how much we have learned in one week. Great teaching and patience displayed by all instructors. Great body of knowledge taught. Good hands-on experience. Good pace and sequence of topics."

"I wanted to thank you again for the course on technical canyoneering last weekend. It truly was a great course and I am very glad I took it. I learned so much that I think I went into information-overload. So I tried to focus on the main principles you reinforced in the scenarios more than anything else: repetition, repetition, repetition. I guess I am writing because I am so grateful. I have been on the ACA website these last few days and I have noticed how much effort you put into the site, promoting the sport and the proper techniques. Thanks, it has opened up a whole new world for me."

"In all my years of guiding I've learned to use many varied anchor systems. In just one day of the course I learned three new and efficient ones specially adapted to canyoneering."

"This was a great opportunity for me to get exposure to a myriad of new techniques for use in future canyoneering exploits. The experience and perspective of the instructors added another dimension and contributed greatly to the value of the course."

"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."

"Even though I have climbed for 15 years, I learned a lot of new, cool techniques. Wow! Great course."

"It was immediately obvious that your instructors are not just canyoneers, turned guides, turned instructors. The course structure and quality of instruction was as good or better than any college course I have ever taken. Very professional."

"Your devotion to the sport and your concern for your students was very apparent during the course. The entire canyoneering community is in your debt for the fine work you are doing."

"Maybe I shouldn't say this since I'm planning to take more courses in the future, but your fees are too low. I learned more in three days than I have in my first six years of canyoneering with friends. The course is worth at least twice what you are charging. Kudos."

"I have been a rock climber for over a decade and didn't really expect to learn anything new. Was I ever wrong. I didn't realize that there were so many specialized systems employed in canyoneering. All of it makes sense. Rock climbing systems are fine for dry rock, but not at all appropriate in a canyon - especially if there is water present."

"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."

"Thanks Rich for a fun packed two days of great canyoneering training. New methods, new tricks, new tool, the Totem."

"This course will easily become the standard by which any other canyoneering course will be judged. It was amazing that the professional mountaineering guides found a lot to learn, but the pace was such that a neophyte like me could also pick things up quickly."

"All I can say is WOW! Terrific course. I had already taken a course from a private guide service and was concerned I might not learn anything new in [Rich’s] basic course. My concerns were totally unfounded. I paid half as much for this course and learned at least twice as much. By my math that's four times the value. Keep up the good work, Rich."

"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."

"Super helpful class - I learned a lot of rappelling and rappel set up techniques that I can't wait to use on my next trip. In the meantime, I have A LOT to practice."

"Rich is a wealth of knowledge in his field. His funny, open-hearted teaching style is welcomed by all students. I felt more prepared going forward in my own canyoneering. I look forward to learning more from him."

"I learned more in 2 days of class from Rich than I have learned in the last 5 years of canyoneering. His style of teaching makes seemingly complicated ideas extremely simple. My confidence level in my abilities has greatly increased as a result. I will surely be taking future courses from Rich."

"Not only is Rich an expert but he's a great teacher as well. He's patient and explains procedures and techniques clearly. I appreciate that he is willing to do these classes for the community. I've been able to attend several of his Meet-ups, but also his 3 day canyon leader course with the Boy Scout group from Salt Lake. He provides a great resource to the community. Thanks, Rich!"

"Every canyoneering guide in the U.S. - and the overwhelming majority of recreational canyoneers - have learned from or have learned from someone who learned from Rich Carlson."

"As always I am much the richer for my time with Rich. An excellent instructor. Always come away with having learned something new."

"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."

"I learned more ropework in 6 days with Rich than I learned in 25 years of climbing. Thank you for introducing me to the world of canyoneering."

"Rich Carlson could be considered the father of American canyoneering because of his influence on style, technique, and ethics. In 1999 Carlson established the American Canyoneering Association to promote safety, responsibility, and ethics in American canyoneering. Rich and the ACA have been critical factors in building national standards that have become the cornerstone of canyoneering at the recreational and professional levels throughout the Americas."

“Learning canyoneering from Rich is like learning religion from the Pope."