Canyon Leader 2 Skills Checklist


Original document from the ACA's resource page.

OBJECTIVE: To be effective in the safe leadership of a canyoneering group, competent in mitigating technical challenges, confident in environmental/situational risk assessment, and capable in an emergency.

NOTE: Skills Checklists are cumulative in nature. Students must know all the skills from the 'Core', 'Aspirant', and the 'CL1' Checklists in addition to the skills listed here.


Core Rope Work

Rescue Rigging and Rescue

  • Describe and demonstrate an understanding of how various rigging and belay systems can facilitate or hinder rescue.
  • Demonstrate multiple ways to create a Progress Capture Device (PCD) for hauling systems.
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of mechanical advantage systems using pulleys for hauling. Understand and explain how various haul systems can increase or decrease the load held by the anchor and amount of effort required.
  • Demonstrate cut and lower rescue system utilizing rescue rope for someone stuck on a rope that is rigged double-strand. Use hands free backup (i.e. friction hitch) when lowering.
  • Convert static twin rope rigging (e.g stone knot) to lower. Use hands free backup (i.e. friction hitch) when lowering.
  • Convert tail-up rigging (e.g. fiddlestick) to lower utilizing rescue rope. Use hands free backup (i.e. friction hitch) when lowering.
  • Perform a pick-off rescue of a person stuck on rope utilizing a second rescue rope, including the use of a self-belay.
  • Perform a pick-off rescue of a person stuck on rope without utilizing a second rescue rope, descending the subject’s tensioned rope. Include the use of a self-belay.
  • Demonstrate from-the-bottom-rescue, ascending the subject’s rope from below, passing the person to a position above them, then lowering them to the ground.
  • Demonstrate the use of guide line, track line or tag line when hauling or lowering to hold subject away from the wall. Identify the risks of using tag lines and strategies for mitigating those risks.
  • Demonstrate improvised patient carries that utilize one carrier and multiple carriers.

Canyon Leadership

  • Give initial safety briefing which includes: a) Medical/pre-existing conditions; b) Weather; c) PLB usage d) First Aid Kit location; e) Egress plan.
  • Manage participant fearful of rappelling (from top).
  • Deal with participant fearful of down climbing / exposed traversing.
  • Give pertinent/timely in-canyon safety/technical instruction for task at hand: a) Downclimbing; b) Rappelling; c) Belaying d) Partner Capture; e) Marginal Anchors; f) Swimming.
  • Wilderness First Aid - perform: a) Immobilize potential back/neck injury (do not move); b) Stabilize patient, minor injury & Vertical Evacuation.

Class A/B Canyons — Pothole Escape

  • Escaping a pothole using counter-weight techniques. Deploy counter weights - Pack toss and/or Pot Shots
  • Escaping a pothole using counter-weight techniques. Safely ascend multiple ropes simultaneously.
  • Escaping a pothole using counter-weight techniques - Pass the pothole lip out.

Class C Canyons — Core Skills

  • Jump into pool and moving water, 10 ft max identify hazards/depth, correct body position.
  • Swim for 6 minutes without floatation.
  • Hold breath for 20 seconds underwater.

Recommendations After Training

    Practice technical skills in low-risk conditions, such as on clean and low angle "slab" type environments or on vertical terrain with an effective Top or Bottom (Fireman’s) Belay or Self Belay.
    Rescue skills are necessary skills we hope we never need to use. We must have the discipline to practice the skills so we can draw upon them in those rare moments when they are needed.

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