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PNW Specific Canyoneering Swiftwater Rescue Course

3 Day Canyoning Specific

Swiftwater Rescue Course

3 Day Premier Course

The Wild Sky Adventure Guides 3 day Swiftwater Rescue Course is our premier offering. We have designed a first of its kind course using the American Canoe Association Swiftwater Rescue curriculum to provide this canyoning specific rescue course.


To Be Announced!


3 Days June 7th - 9th 2024

Experience required

The Canyon Specific Swiftwater Rescue Course is for those with the technical skills required to participate on and lead canyoning adventures in Class C canyons. You must be proficient in releasable rigging.

Fitness required

Must be able to complete 3 full days of moderate physical difficulty. The course entails high amounts of water immersion and corresponding physical and mental difficulties associated with cold water immersion and swiftwater rescue.


$445 per person with all personal gear.
Rental fees are extra and must be planned in advance.

Group Size

3-9 Participants.


Since this is an advanced canyoning course you must be proficient in swiftwater canyoning, self rescue + team member rescue. Please review the participation prerequisites and email info@wildskyguides.com explaining your interest and experience and we will send you a link to book.

Minimum 20 unique "Class C" aquatic canyons (at least 5 A3)

Well practiced at rigging haul systems and self rescue / direct and indirect team member rescues.

Experience and Comfort with:

      • Rigging Releasable Rope Systems
      • Dynamic rappelling
      • Swimming 50' with and without a pack
      • Slides up to 8'
      • Jumps up to 8'
      • Deepwater disconnect
      • Rappelling in moderate flow
      • Canyon rescue rigging techniques.

NOTE: This is not a rigging course. Participants  will be expected to be comfortable and familiar with rigging and anchor management in moving water canyons. 


In order to make the selection process as fair as possible for participants we ask that everyone who wishes to participate send in a synopsis of their canyon resume/experience.

Next please prepare a short video where you perform the following skills:

1.) Rig your prefered releasable system.

2.) Convert to haul, then back to lower and lock it off. 

3.)  Next ascend a rope past a knot convert to descend and descend past the knot.

Please send in the full video to info@wildskyguides.com 

Once we determine that you have met the course requirements we will be in touch with a link to book the course. 

Sign Up To Receive Additional Course Information:

If there is enough interest we will schedule another course for July 2024

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The Swiftwater Rescue Experience:

The Wild Sky Adventure Guides’ 3-Day Canyoning-Specific Swiftwater Rescue Course, is led by renowned Pacific Northwest canyoning expert, Brent Roth and International Canyoning Academy (ICA) trained canyon guide Sam Keller. 

This specialized course stands apart as a one-of-a-kind opportunity, drawing upon the expertise of the American Canoe Association (ACA) curriculum and ICA canyon whitewater protocols and systems to deliver  a professional quality swiftwater rescue course that is tailored explicitly to the challenges of canyoning.

Over the course of three days, participants will delve into a comprehensive curriculum covering essential techniques, hazard assessment, and emergency response strategies.

With Brent Roth’s wealth of knowledge and the ACA+ICA framework, this course promises to equip canyoneers with invaluable skills to navigate the unique water features of the Pacific Northwest.

The course location is TBA and dependent on land manager permits. 

The canyon will be in Snoqualmie Pass or Gifford Pinchot National Forest. 


Day 1 of the Wild Sky Guides 3-day Canyoning Swiftwater Rescue course is a river day. The day focuses on instructing the principles of swiftwater rescue, coupled with hands-on practice of basic movement and rescue techniques within the river environment. This foundational experience establishes a solid understanding of the essential skills needed for effective swiftwater rescue.

On Day 2, the course transitions to a canyon setting, providing a practical application of the techniques acquired on the river day. Participants spend the day in a local canyon, practicing the previous days skills in more dynamic and challenging terrain. Specific emphasis is placed on canyon-specific rescue techniques, ensuring adaptability and proficiency.

Day 3 is the scenario day, where participants put to practice their new knowledge and skills learned the previous two days. The entire day is dedicated to realistic rescue scenarios, allowing participants to apply their skills in simulated emergency situations. This hands-on approach enhances readiness and confidence, preparing individuals to respond effectively to various challenges encountered during canyoning emergencies.

The Wild Sky Guides Canyoning Swiftwater Rescue course thus provides a comprehensive and progressively structured learning experience over the three days.


The pedagogy of the Wild Sky Guides Canyoning Swiftwater Rescue Course is centered around a deliberate and focused approach to skill acquisition. The course prioritizes teaching a select set of essential skills, emphasizing depth over breadth. Rather than overwhelming students with a multitude of techniques that may sound impressive in marketing materials, the emphasis is placed on repetitive practice of the core skills. This intentional repetition is designed to foster competence and mastery, ensuring that participants develop the proficiency needed to effectively respond during swiftwater canyoneering emergencies. By streamlining the learning process and concentrating on the key competencies, Wild Sky Guides aims to empower individuals with the practical skills essential for becoming efficient and confident rescuers in challenging swiftwater scenarios.


ACA Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue Curriculum

Course Overview: The Swiftwater Rescue workshop teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards,
execution of self-rescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal
safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Fundamental and more advanced techniques for dealing with hazards that
carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments, and pins, also are
practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a
team/group context.

Course Objectives:
• Promote proactive prevention of river accidents and injuries.
• Develop and practice key self-rescue skills.
• Identify and avoid river hazards by understanding hydrology, hazards, and river features.
• Focus on fast, low-risk strategies for early management of river accidents
• Develop and practice methods for recovering swimmers, and loose boats and equipment
• Develop and practice more advanced rope-based and in-water skills
• Gain experience using the rescue PFD, and understand its strengths and weaknesses
• Utilize rescue scene management principles needed within a paddling group

Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC):
ACA courses are open to all individuals who acknowledge the ability to perform the following essential eligibility
1. Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)
2. Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water
3. Independently hold head upright without neck / head support
4. Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion
5. Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
6. Follow instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion
7. Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a properly fitted life
8. Get on / off or in / out of a paddlecraft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance*
9. Independently get out and from under a capsized paddlecraft*
10. Remount or reenter the paddlecraft following deep water capsize independently or with a reasonable amount of
11. Maintain a safe body position while attempting skills, activities and rescues listed in the appropriate Course
Outline, and have the ability to recognize and identify to others when such efforts would be unsafe given your
personal situation*
*To participate in adaptive programs, participants must acknowledge only the first six EEC listed above. Entrylevel adaptive programs will involve teaching and practicing EEC #7-11.

Course Prerequisites: All paddle craft are welcome. Boaters should be able to competently maneuver their craft in
Class I-II rapids. However, all boaters, and non-boaters with an interest in swiftwater rescue (e.g., professional rescuers),
will benefit from the class. Participants should be in good health and overall fitness, possess solid swimming ability, and
be comfortable swimming in moving current during river drills. Participants should dress appropriately for weather and
temperature and expect to be in the water for extended periods of time.

Minimum personal equipment for class: PFD designed for whitewater use, whitewater helmet, protective clothing
suitable for extended swimming in cold water, protective footwear, boat, paddle, whistle, throw rope, 15+ feet of one
inch tubular nylon webbing, 2 locking carabiners, and 2 prusick loops.

Course Duration: Two or more days (16+ hours)

Course Location / Venue: A chute of water with deep, clean wave action, well-defined eddy lines and no immediate hazards or risks below. Ideally, the site should contain class II rapids, although it may be taught on less difficult rapids.
Protected space is needed for on-land work, with adequate shelter for inclement weather.

Level 4: Swiftwater Rescue
(Sample Skills Course)
SRC – 02/2020© American Canoe Association



Instructor Team:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Final location TO BE ANNOUNCED. We have put in for permits along the Ohanapecosh River in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We are  awaiting confirmation from Land Managers before we set this as the final location sometime in March 2024. 

In case our permits are denied, or weather forces a change of venue; Wild Sky Adventure Guides courses take place in the Snoqualmie Corridor along I-90 between the towns of North Bend and Easton. We operate in Mt. Baker Snoqualmie and Okanogan Wenatchee National Forests.

Upon reserving your space on a course, you’ll receive a series of emails containing crucial information to prepare for your course. In the 48 hours before your course  begins, your guide will reach out to finalize the meeting point and time, ensuring a seamless start to your adventure on the morning of the trip.


The Wild Sky Operations Zone in King County WA

The lead instructors for the Canyoning Swiftwater Rescue Course are Brent Roth and Sam Keller. 

Both are certified by recognized bodies in their fields and bring a wealth of experience to their course  subjects.

You can find out more about our guide/instructor team HERE.

The Wild Sky Adventure Guides Canyoning Swiftwater Rescue Course includes a comprehensive experience with certified lead instructors endorsed by either the American Canoe Association (ACA) or the International Canyoning Academy (ICA).

The package includes National Forest permits and fees, all necessary group gear, and a well-structured curriculum.

While students are required to bring their personal gear, the convenience of renting out the gear used on guided trips is offered for a nominal fee. Additionally, participants can arrange in advance to purchase wetsuits from Wild Sky Adventure Guides.

Yes, the Wild Sky Guides Canyoning Swiftwater Rescue Course does have the capability to offer an ACA Swiftwater Rescue assessment. However, the emphasis is placed on skill-building rather than training solely for the assessment, especially for participants who are not taking the course for professional resume building. While we do offer the assessment to those who are highly motivated by the assessment, Wild Sky Guides encourages individuals to prioritize the development and refinement of practical skills. This approach ensures that participants gain a solid foundation in swiftwater rescue techniques, fostering competence and confidence in responding to real-world canyoneering emergencies.

The most important thing that you can bring on a Wild Sky adventure is a Positive Attitude and a readiness to exert yourself physically for the day. 

Course participants are required to bring all their personal canyoning gear. This includes essentials such as a harness, helmet, wetsuit or drysuit, canyoning shoes, a backpack, and a bucket — essentially, everything they would typically take on a canyon expedition. Ensuring that participants have their own personal gear contributes to a safe and enjoyable adventure experience.

To keep your attitude positive and your body moving you are going to want to bring enough food and at least 2 liters of water to keep you on the move for the duration of your adventure. 

NOTE: It is MANDATORY for participation in the program that every participant brings a TYPE V PDF for the river day. For insurance reasons without a PDF you will not be able to access  the course terrain. 

For the Wild Sky Canyoning  Swiftwater Rescue Course, we recommend bringing canyoning-specific gear, such as a 2-piece or thick 1-piece wetsuit. Effective options include the Seland Iguazu. It’s advisable to include a thermal base layer, a light microfleece jacket, and a splash jacket like the CE4Y Shield Jacket for added comfort and protection during the adventure. To enhance insulation, we suggest wearing 4-5mm neoprene socks with wool socks underneath. To ensure warmth before and after water sessions, it’s a good idea to pack additional warm clothes, allowing you to stay comfortable throughout the day. Being prepared with the right gear ensures a safe and enjoyable canyoneering experience.

Prior experience requirements vary for Wild Sky Adventure Guides courses, and each trip will specify the necessary background for participants. This approach ensures that instructors can address more advanced subjects tailored to the skill levels of the enrolled students. The Beginner course is an exception, as it is designed for individuals without prior experience, making it an ideal starting point for those new to the adventure. By outlining specific prerequisites for each trip, we aim to provide a customized and safe learning experience for participants at every skill level.


Wild Sky Adventure Guides trips typically commence with an 8 am meetup and conclude around 4 pm. Participants are encouraged to bring snacks and beverages to share at the end of each day, fostering a relaxed and semi-formal atmosphere for debriefing and socializing. This shared experience adds to the overall enjoyment of the adventure, creating a sense of camaraderie among participants as they reflect on the day’s activities.

Please bring an extra pair of glasses or contacts with you on your trip. Leave them in your dry bucket so that you have them if you lose yours in the canyon. Please bring glasses straps to secure your glasses in the canyon. 

At Wild Sky we understand that life is messy and things can change. We have designed our cancellation policy to be fair to our valued customers, but allows us to provide some certainty in our guide schedule.

Cancellation Policy:

More than 7 days before trip begins: Full Refund.


Tips are not mandatory, but are very much appreciated by your instructors.

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