Intermediate Canyon Skills Course

Field trip: Intermediate Canyon Skills Course

Intermediate Canyon Skills Course - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

A 2-day technical course

  • Challenging

actual time to be communicated closer to the date but plan on being at the program center from 7:30am-6:30pm

This course  focuses on technical skills that build upon those learned in the Waterfall Canyoning Course, and are also applicable to those in a leadership role on a canyon trip. Course content includes intermediate-level personal movement, rigging, rescue techniques, anchors, group management and efficiency, and problem solving. 

Students who enter this course are expected to have enough canyon experience and enough proficiency with basic canyon skills that they can begin to understand more nuanced skills. While you will learn specific techniques, our hope is that students will leave this course with an ability to think critically about their rigging and movement decisions, and have a depth of understanding of their gear that allows them to make safe and efficient decisions.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the rigging hierarchy
  • Understand how pulley systems work, and begin to be able to quickly assemble and adjust mechanical advantage based on the situation
  • Quickly convert and release a fixed system
  • Perform a pick-off quickly and efficiently
  • Rig simple twin systems that are suitable to the situation, and execute a rescue on these systems
  • Move safely and efficiently on a double-rope system
  • Rig guided rappels that anticipate rescue

This course covers a lot of material in a short timeframe. Students will need to practice these techniques on their own both in and out of canyon  after the course to be able to effectively use what you learn when you need it.  


Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

Required Equipment

Required Equipment


  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Adjustable Friction Canyon Descender
  • 4 working Carabiners
  • Alpine Canyon Draw 
  • VT Prusik*
  • Figure-eight Descender 
  • Footloop
  • Mechanical hand ascender
  • Mechanical harness ascender/chest ascender
  • Progress-capture Pulley*
  • Petzl Tibloc (optional but recommended)
  • Rollclip Carabiner (optional)
  • Double-ended rope bag (optional)

The Mountaineers has gear to loan - please contact the leader

*Note that VT Prusik's come in 7mm and 8mm versions. Either diameter is acceptable, but should be compatible with your Progress-capture Pulley. An Edelrid Spoc can accomodate a 7mm VT, a Petzl Microtraxion can handle a minimum of 8mm. If given options, we recommend purchasing the longest VT prusik available.

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