Basic Waterfall Canyoning - Seattle - 2022 - C

Canyoning Course

Waterfall Canyoning Course - C

Learn the technical skills needed to explore the aquatic canyons of the PNW

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.


The Mountaineers is committed to helping make the outdoors accessible to all. In addition to providing gear to loan, we aim to reduce financial barriers by providing scholarships. Our scholarships are funded by donors who believe in The Mountaineers mission to help folks get outside, and to preserve our wild landscapes. If your current financial situation limits your access to the outdoors, we encourage you to complete a scholarship application. The link is easy to find in the course header at the link above. If you're inspired to contribute to making the outdoors more inclusive, we encourage you to make a tax-deductible donation through our website.


This course has three groups of 8 students, all with unique schedules. View all 3 schedules to choose the one that's best for you!

View all 3 schedule options


Within 2 weeks of registering, students are expected to complete the participant questionnaire found in course materials.


The world-class aquatic canyons of the Pacific Northwest might be our best kept secret. This course will give you the skills to safely descend our aquatic canyons and become a part of one of the fastest growing canyoning communities in the world. It is appropriate for complete novices, as well as desert canyoneers and climbers who are new to an aquatic environment.

modern techniques recognized internationally

This is an 8-day canyoning training course, which encompasses the most up-to-date canyoning skills, knowledge and techniques, developed by highly-experienced instructors with a vast knowledge and experience in international canyon exploration and professional canyoning. Different from skills used in the desert canyons of the Southwest, this course teaches techniques specific to our aquatic canyons in the PNW that also apply internationally. You will be equipped to explore our local canyons as well as in many other areas in the world.

online companion course

The course also includes a complete online companion course through V7 Academy including videos, pictures, and text, which is accessible at any time. (V7 Levels 1 & 2 are included in the course fee). If a student needs more time to work on a specific skill, the online companion course allows for the student to study and review at their own pace.  Students will have access to the online companion course in perpetuity which allows them to review at the beginning of each future season. As techniques change in this fast-growing sport, students will receive free updates in their online portal, so that they can stay up to date with the newest techniques and equipment without having to pay for a new course.

practice tools

Ongoing practice is essential in canyoning - not just when you're learning, but throughout your canyoning career. On the first day of the course, we will provide you with a set of magnetic bolts and a short length of rope that you can use to practice rigging techniques, following along with V7, at home.

be part of a community

IMG_0309.JPGGraduates of this course will be eligible to join Mountaineers Basic Canyon trips. You’ll have opportunities throughout the summer to descend canyons with people you trust in this tight-knit community, as well as opportunities throughout the year to attend practice sessions and keep your skills fresh and community strong in the off season.


Proficient canyoneers combine training, experience, and practice to safely descend increasingly difficult canyons. This course is designed to give you the training that you can apply in canyon as you gain experience. A successful graduate of the course will have the technical skills required to participate as contributing teammates on basic Mountaineers canyon trips. The graduate will show a strong comfort in canyon environments, demonstrating excellent anticipatory skills for reducing risk to themselves and teammates. The graduate will understand and implement safe and efficient rigging solutions in a moderate risk environment. 

course requirements

Fitness Requirements: 

  • You should be able to hike 2 miles with 1000' of gain and a 25lb pack in 90 minutes.
  • You should be able to swim 20 meters without flotation

Complete Online Pre-Learning at levels 1 and 2

  • Level 1 will be required before you can select your Pre-course Seminar
  • Level 2 will be required before the first weekend of the main course

Complete the required 1-day seminar: Waterfall Canyoning Pre-Course: Canyoning Fundamentals

  • This seminar teaches rappelling and knotcraft. Those who have previous experience can optionally test out in the morning. Those who are new to rope work are encouraged to attend multiple days.
  • Additional optional evening and weekend pre-course sessions will be offered, and we encourage you to attend!

Attend all course sessions - no exceptions.

Pass the movement and technical assessments.

  • There will be an opportunity at the end of the course to take the assessments. Those who wish to have more practice can schedule an assessment later in the summer.


Due to the dynamic nature of canyons in the PNW, each day's itinerary is subject to change based on a variety of factors including weather, group size, and water flows. This is a rough guideline of progression but the exact itinerary of the specific days may be shuffled a bit.

pre-course opportunities

Students are invited to optionally participate in pre-course practice sessions. This is a fun way to meet some of your instructors as well as other students, and get a head start on course content. 

day 1 - Canyoning fundamentals

On Day 1, you'll learn how to rappel using a variable friction descender, and you'll also have an opportunity to practice the knots you learned in V7. (Note that V7 Level 1 is a pre-requisite to register for this day). Those who come to the course with some canyoning experience can choose to test out in the morning.

Day 2 - personal movement ON ROPE

On Day 2, you'll check out gear that is sized for you and become familiar with the unique equipment we use. Competent canyoners are proficient at moving quickly and efficiently on rope in challenging terrain. This includes ascending, descending, passing knots and obstacles, moving horizontally and on an incline, and transitioning from one rope to another. This day will be spent learning and practicing personal progression on rope. 

Day 3  - RIGGING 

A full day of rigging. We'll cover modern techniques specific for  an aquatic canyon environment. Students will learn options for rigging retrievable hand lines, fixed and releasable rappels, guided rappels, and multi-pitch rappels. We'll cover a variety of anchors, how to assess and build anchors, and techniques for managing the anchor as a leader. By the end of Day 3, students will have learned the skills to rig some of the more technical canyons in the PNW.

Day 4  - CANYON EXPERIENCE (focus: personal movement, fun day in canyon)

We will have a fun descent of a local canyon, focusing on personal movement and practicing the techniques we have learned so far.

Day 5 - canyon day (focus: rigging and rescue)

We will spend time practicing rigging skills in a canyon environment, followed by a fun descent of one of our local canyons putting our skills to use. The focus will be rigging and rescue  as students will have an opportunity to practice their skills  and receive feedback in a canyon environment.

Day 6 - personal MOVEMENT IN WATER & incident management

Half of this day will be spent developing water movement skills specific to a canyon environment. We'll practice swimming in current, ferry angles, as well as aggressive and defensive swimming. We'll discuss the important considerations around flotation and pack management for safe descent in a narrow aquatic canyon environment. The other half of the day we will focus on some common emergency scenarios. Students will learn about managing the unique hazards of an aquatic canyon environment. 

Day 7 - basic rescue, special rigging, and open practice

We will learn some very simple rescue techniques for your teammates, as well as rigging for special circumstances. We will then do a review of all of the skills learned and students will have an opportunity to practice before the assessment on the final day.


While instructors will provide ongoing feedback throughout the course, the final day gives students an opportunity to put all that they’ve learned to the test.  A formal assessment by the instructors gives students a clear understanding of what proficiencies they have, as well as specific areas for continued improvement. It's an opportunity to put all of the pieces together and receive specific feedback on your overall proficiency in a canyon environment, and what your next step should be as you progress as a canyoner.  During the in-canyon assessment, your instructors will assess your personal movement in canyon, and will assign you one rappel to rig, manage, and clean independently. Students who would like more practice before doing an in-canyon rigging assessment can choose to postpone their in-canyon rigging assessment and arrange to be assessed on a canyon trip later in the summer.

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day 8a - Program center assessment

On an evening during the week following the main course, you will return to the Program Center to demonstrate your knowledge of the core rigging and movement skills taught in the course.

course celebration

On the Thursday after the course, we'll gather in the evening for a pot-luck BBQ to celebrate the course and your new community! 

Important dates:

Pre-course dates

April 15 - you will receive access to V7 Level 2 (at this time cancellations are eligible for no more than 50% refund)
May 15, 21, 22 (8am-5pm)- Choose one of these dates to attend Day 1: Canyoning Fundamentals  (those with no prior rope experience are encouraged to attend more than one)
Other dates in May - keep an eye out for evening and weekend practice sessions!

Course Dates*:
Saturday, June 18 - Sunday, June 19
Sunday, June 26
Saturday, July 9- Sunday, July 10
Monday, July 11 (6:30pm-8pm)
Tuesday, July 12 (6:30pm-8pm)
Friday, July 15 (5:30-9pm)
Saturday, July 16
Monday, July 18 (6:30-8:30pm)
Thursday, July 21 (evening celebration!)

*All days are full days (roughly 8am - 5pm) unless otherwise noted.


Students who have canyoning gear are encouraged to bring their own gear so that they can learn on their personal gear. The Mountaineers will provide all personal gear except wetsuit, shoes, and neoprene socks. Students will be required to provide their own wetsuit which can be rented locally (minimum 5/3mm). Neoprene socks can be purchased online for around $15 (minimum 3mm).
No additional gear purchasing is required for the course, as any gear that students do not have will be provided to loan for the course.

Click on the "Required Equipment" tab below for a comprehensive gear list, and to learn about gear available to graduates to use after the course.

CANCELATIONS and refunds:

Students can receive a full refund before April 15, 2021. Cancelations between April 15-May 6 are eligible for a 50% refund. Cancelations after May 6 are not eligible for a refund.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Students who have canyoning gear are encouraged to bring their own gear so that they can learn on their personal gear. However, no technical gear purchasing is required for the course, as any technical gear that students do not have will be provided to loan for the course.

Students will need to purchase or rent the following gear for the course:

Wetsuit (full body, minimum 5mm on the core). Drysuit is also acceptable though less desirable.

Neoprene socks (minimum 3mm)

Closed-toed approach shoes with sticky rubber or canyon-specific shoes

The Mountaineers will provide the following for students who do not wish to purchase their own:

  • Canyon harness (caving harness is also acceptable. Climbing harnesses are not allowed)
  • 2 dynamic lanyards with locking carabiners  (PAS is not acceptable)
    • students will get to keep their lanyards, which will be sized to each student. Students will NOT get to keep the carabiners. If there are two pieces of gear we recommend purchasing, it’s:
      • An HMS carabiner with a keeper wire (Sterling Falcon Talon is preferred because it is round-stock, but a flat-stock carabiner is acceptable, as is an HMS carabiner without a keeper wire)
      • A small locking carabiner (Petzl Sm’D twist lock is recommended, but a Petzl Spirit or other locking small carabiner is acceptable)
  • 1 variable-friction descender with locking carabiner (examples: Critr, Pirana, Hannibal, Hoodoo, Oka, Resonator)
  • 1 compact mechanical hand ascender (Petzl Basic recommended)
  • 1  mechanical chest ascender (Petzl Croll recommended)
  • 1 single runner (60cm sling) OR chest harness
  • 1 foot loop
  • 1 canyoning knife
  • 1 pea-less whistle
  • 6 pear shaped locking carabiners
  • 1 locking XL Master carabiner OR Grivel Vlad (recommended)
  • 1 Figure Eight Descender
  • 1 locking alpine draw (60cm sewn sling plus two locking HMS carabiners)
  • Canyon Pack with drainage and flotation
  • Rope bag with drainage & flotation
  • Helmet (Climbing helmets & Paddling helmets both acceptable)


Our goal is to make canyoning accessible to everyone. Graduates of this course will be qualified to participate on Mountaineers Basic Canyon trips. On Mountaineers trips, participants will have access to borrow the gear they borrowed for the course.

Wetsuits can be rented at

Many participants choose to purchase canyoning shoes, however many others use old approach shoes. Any shoes with sticky rubber soles will work.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.