Waterfall Canyoning - Seattle - 2021

Canyoning Course

Waterfall Canyoning Course

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


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.

required forms

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

Join the waitlist!

Depending on the state of the pandemic, we may be able to expand capacity!


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.

This 7-day course is designed to give students both value and flexibility. We are offering 2 scheduling options to meet a variety of needs.*

Option A - consisting of 3 weekends 
        June 26-27
       July 9
(half day), July 10-11
       July 16
(half day), July 17-18

Option B (SOLD OUT) - a condensed 7-day version
        July 12-18

*Students can indicate their preferred schedule on the participant questionnaire and will 
be notified of  their confirmed schedule by April 25. 

modern techniques recognized internationally

This is an intensive 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.

be part of a community

IMG_0309.JPGGraduates of this course will be eligible to join Mountaineers Basic and Intermediate 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.


A successful graduate of the course will have the skills to independently  run moderate risk canyons. 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. 


  • Completed Online Pre-Learning
  • Have a reasonable level of fitness
  • Be able to swim 20m


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.

Day 0 (June 1) - virtual welcome via zoom

Virtual welcome session for all students. Meet your fellow classmates, get an overview of the course, and have an opportunity to ask any questions prior to the start of the course.

Day 1 - personal movement ON ROPE

On Day 1, 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 2  - 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 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 - personal MOVEMENT IN WATER & basic rescue

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 more advanced rigging as well as rescue on rope and some common emergency scenarios. Students will learn about managing the unique hazards of an aquatic canyon environment. They will practice rope rescue systems including self-rescue, direct rescue and indirect rescue. 

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 - incident management & skills review day

We will discuss common hazards in a canyon, and practice team incident management and evacuation. 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. 

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Important dates:

Option A (Weekends)*:

June 1 (evening online meeting)
June 26, June 27 
July 9 (half day), July 10, July 11 
July 16 (half day), July 17, July 18

Option B SOLD OUT (Condensed 7 consecutive days)*:
June 1 (evening online meeting)
July 12 - July 18 

*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 and neoprene socks. Students will be required to provide their own wetsuit which can be rented locally (minimum 4/3mm). 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 will receive their confirmed schedule by April 25, 2021. Students can receive a full refund before May 1, 2021. Cancelations between May 1 - May 25 are eligible for a 50% refund. Cancelations after May 25 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. The Mountaineers will provide all personal gear except wetsuit and neoprene socks. Students will be required to provide their own wetsuit which can be rented locally (minimum 4/3mm). 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. The following gear will be needed for the course:

  • Wetsuit (full body, minimum 4/3mm). 
  • Neoprene socks (minimum 3mm)
  • Canyon-specific shoes (or old approach shoes)
  • Canyon harness (caving harness is also acceptable. Climbing harnesses are not allowed)
  • 2 dynamic lanyards with locking carabiners  
    ***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) 
    • chest harness or additional single runner (60cm sling)
    • 1 foot loop or 120cm sling
    • 1 canyoning knife
    • 1 pea-less whistle
    • 6 pear shaped (HMS) locking carabiners
    • 3 additional locking carabiners
    • VT Prussik
    • 1 locking XL Master carabiner  or Grivel Vlad
    • 1 Figure Eight Descender
    • Canyon Pack with drainage and flotation
    • Rope bag with drainage & flotation
    • Helmet (Climbing helmets & Paddling helmets both acceptable)
    • Dive Mask (optional)


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

    • Canyon Harness with rescue knife
    • Descender
    • Petzl Basic
    • Petzl Croll
    • Figure Eight Device
    • 4 working carabiners
    • 1 master carabiner
    • 60 cm sling
    • Rope bags, Canyon Packs

    Wetsuits can be rented at https://urbansurf.com

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

    This means that after the course, participants will ONLY need to purchase the following to continue canyoning with The Mountaineers:

    • Helmet
    • Pea-less whistle
    Course Materials

    You must register for this course to see course materials.