Assistant Canyon Leader


Assistant Canyon Leader

The holder of this badge has been approved by their branch's Canyon Committee to play the role of Assistant Canyon Leader on Mountaineers Canyon Trips.


The holder of this badge has demonstrated sound judgment, strong leadership skills, and technical proficiency in:The holder of this badge has  graduated from The Mountaineers Assistant Canyon Leader Course or has demonstrated equivalent knowledge and experience.  The holder has demonstrated:

  • All Basic and Intermediate Canyon Skills
  • Rigging and managing rappels
  • Hand line rigging and management
  • Group assessment and management
  • Teaching and leadership


  • Participate in canyoning activities and field trips as Assistant Leader
  • Instruct at Canyon Courses


To get this badge, you must be approved by your branch's Canyoning committee. Sponsoring committees must be satisfied that assistant leaders of canyoning trips have met the following prerequisites:

  • 18+ years of age
  • Assistant Canyon Leader Course or equivalency
  • 5+ unique Canyons, 3 of which are aquatic
  • Wilderness First Aid training
  • Ability to swim 25 meters without buoyancy, 4 meters under water
  • Ability to jump 2 meters vertically into water

Sponsoring committees must also be satisfied that leaders of canyoning trips have the following skills and knowledge:

  • Movement: Assistant Canyon Leaders demonstrate safe movement ascending, descending and traversing canyon terrain including: steep ground, uneven terrain, ridges, gullies, slippery terrain and easy rock steps.
  • Navigation: Assistant Canyon Leaders are proficient in off-trail navigation, have an understanding of and ability to identify the watershed of a creek, and are able to use a variety of navigational tools to find their way to a canyon, through a canyon, and out of a canyon. Assistant Canyon leaders are also proficient at route selection while navigating canyon terrain, including avoiding unnecessary obstacles such as hydraulics and unstable terrain.
  • Camping and bivouacs: Assistant Canyon Leaders adequately plan for and are able to facilitate a bivouac if necessary.
  • Defensive swimming: Assistant Canyon Leaders can identify, analyze and assess water hazards in a canyon. Assistant Canyon Leaders can navigate water hazards as the first person down, and can use rigging and other techniques to divert participants from the hazard as needed.
  • Basic rope work: Assistant Canyon Leaders are proficient at using semi-static and static ropes, rappelling single-strand or double-strand as needed for the situation, utilizing variable friction devices, ascending and descending ropes, employing techniques for eliminating or avoiding rope abrasion, rigging fixed and retrievable hand lines, rigging fixed and releasable rappels, and proper use of rope bags.
  • Emergency procedures: Assistant Canyon Leaders are able to assess an emergency situation in the context of the  canyon. They have an emergency action plan which considers communication techniques, evacuation options, escape options, and roles and responsibilities within the party. 
  • First aid: Assistant Canyon Leaders have first aid training, and are able to assess a scene, recognize and treat hypothermia, cold injury & heat disorders, stabilize an injury, provide remote care including overnight, and direct party members to call for assistance and perform tasks that maintain the safety of the groups
  • Hazards: Assistant Canyon Leaders are able to assess terrain and weather hazards as well as any wildlife that may present a danger in that region. Assistant Canyon Leaders understand basic hydrology, topology and geology in the context of hazards that may be present in a canyon, including: the existence of heavy flow or hydraulics, the absence or presence of escape routes, the rock quality and attributes of the canyon, and the access to high ground within a canyon
  • Protocols: Assistant Canyon Leaders are fluent in communication protocols including hand signals and whistle signals. Assistant Canyon Leaders understand general security protocols including canyon progression, anchor rigging and assessment, rope management, and group management.
  • Emergency procedures: Assistant Canyon Leaders understand The Mountaineers emergency procedures.
  • Land manager protocols: Assistant Canyon Leaders know where to find Land Manager regulations for a given canyon and understand the importance of following them.


Contact the relevant committee contact through your branch's roster for application information and requirements.