Frequently Asked Questions about Courses

 

Yes, we get questions with visitors planning COURSES, we love to help plan your EXPERIENCE.

Here we have provided answers to some of the most common questions we are asked regarding courses. Please contact us with any other questions and we will respond back to you and include those questions and answers here for others who may have that same question. Thank you for choosing North Wash Outfitters. We look forward to serving you in the outdoors.

 

Do I have to be an ACA member to attend your course?

No.

How much does the courses cost?

Course fees are listed within the Course Descriptions listed under the "Courses" link on top of this page.

Do you offer the ACA Refresher Course pricing?

How it works: Once you take a Canyoneering course from us you may return to take it again from us for $150. Because our courses are limited on the number of students we allow into each session, the refresher program is available to refresher particpants on a space available basis. This meaing that we will first try to fill up the class with first time students before allowing refresher particpants open spots. We will accept refresher participants registrations with the understanding that they may be bumped if a fist time student would like a spot in the course.

Who are the instructors?

All courses are taught by our guiding staff. Some courses may require us to have an outside instructor come in such as Wilderness First Aid where we offer a certification in CPR by the American Heart Association.

How do I REGISTER and pay for a course?

We do all our course registration online through our booking service. This will register you for the class and send you an e-mail with more information to prepare you for your arrival for the course.

Each course page on the website will have a link to it stating "Register Now" or something to that effect. Click the link and it will take you to the registration page for the course. Navigate on the calendar to the proper date for the course to start and fill out the registration information for that date. This will save your registration for the course.

Can I register on site on the first day of a course?

If there is space available, yes.

Where can I get information about specific courses and locations?

Check out each course description under our "Training Courses" page link at the top of this page. The Technical and Canyon Rescue Courses begin meeting at our office located in Blanding Utah.  The Advanced Course is done meeting at the Sandthrax Campground in the North Wash area of Utah.

What is the best time of year weather wise to attend a course?

Obviously weather prediction is a tricky thing to do, just watch your local weather report. Anything more than a week in advance is a guesstimate. We schedule courses based on historical averages of weather patterns.

Courses are scheduled March - June and September - October. We don't schedule any courses November - February due to colder temperatures, and July - August due to hotter temperatures. During the other months we hope that the weather is bearable. Starting about in the middle of June through the first part of October also brings our Monsoon season, although very rarely a problem where we teach the courses. During the warmer temperatures we try to spend more time in the canyons where we can get wet. During the cooler temperatures we try to get through the wet stuff as quickly as possibly, but hope that you are also prepared for the temperatures. We have done courses in extreme heat, fairly cold weather, in rain and almost in snow. We hope that no matter what happens you will enjoy your time with us and learn from the material as we work with the weather mother nature gives us.

This being said, if you are willing to bear the weather you are welcome to book a private course any time we have available space.

What time do the courses start and end?

Courses will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the first day and we try to end by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of the course. Times may change once we get into the course and arrange different activities around weather concerns and daylight.

I am flying in, what is the closest airport?

Larger Airports:

  • Albuquerque, NM International Airport - 320 miles (approx. 5 hrs 25 min drive time).
  • Salt Lake City, UT International Airport - 338 miles (approx. 5 hrs 55 min drive time).
  • Phoenix, AZ International Airport - 372 miles (approx. 6 hrs 10 min drive time).
  • Las Vegas, NV International Airport - 473 miles (approx. 7 hrs 50 min drive time).
Smaller Airports closer that have car rentals:
  • Cortez Municipal Airport - Cortez, CO 65 miles (approx. 1 hr 10 min drive time).
  • Four Corners Regional Airport - Farmington, NM 100 miles (approx. 1 hr 45 min drive time).
  • Grand County Airport - Moab, UT 117 miles (approx. 1 hr 50 min drive time).
  • Telluride Regional Airport - Telluride, CO 124 miles (approx. 2 hrs drive time).
  • Durango-LaPlata County Airport - Durango, CO 135 miles (approx. 2 hrs 35 min drive time).

What kind of facilities are available in Blanding?

Even though we are in a small town (population approx. 3000), we have all the modern conveniences available. I.e.Hotels, Motels, Gas stations, Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Library w/ internet access, etc. Most hotels now have internet and WiFi service. Blanding also has a couple of cell phone towers installed and they work with most carriers or on an extended network (Roam) capability.

What Lodging options are available in the area?

We are asked frequently what lodging options are available in the area. Aside from the various hotels and motels and open public land to camp on, a lot of clients of ours have enjoyed staying in the rental properties provided by
Canyonlands Lodging
. They maintain dozens upon dozens of vacation rental properties in the area and all are generally very enjoyed by our customers.

Do I need to provide my own transportation?

We will be driving from our office if in town, or from the campground if in North Wash to the canyons and practice areas. While we will do our best to carpool, it is usually impossible to fit everyone in one vehicle and students will need to drive and or take others with them in order for everyone to reach the training locations.

Do you offer private instruction?

Yes. Any of our courses can be arranged and tailored for your skill level. These can be scheduled for your convenience on an individual or small group basis. For a price quote and booking please contact us.

Are there any age restrictions?

Our scheduled courses are not appropriate for small children. We recommend a minimum age of 12. Students under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Sometimes the best thing to do with children is to schedule a private class where individual attention can be given to the particular age group.

Why do you have a cap on the number of students in the courses?

Like the problems facing the public school system, the student to instructor ratio is important to the learning quality of the program. Being able to offer a smaller ratio is important to us so that you receive the best quality of training available. Our cap is 10 students per class unless it is a private class scheduled and you desire a larger group. In this case we will try to keep it to a ratio of 1 instructor to 6 students. Private courses need to be scheduled as early as possible to work out the details for extra guides if necessary.

What is Included? What is not Included? Do I have to provide my own gear?

One Day Introduction to Canyoneering: This course is a one day instructional guided tour therefore cost includes instruction, course handouts, and all canyoneering equipment, i.e. ropes, slings, harness, helmet, rappel device and rigging. You should have proper clothing for the season, see our list here for regular tour suggestions. Cost does not include lodging, meals, transportation to and from Blanding, personal equipment, and gratuities (tips) for instructors/guides.

Technical Course: Cost includes instruction, course handouts, and all group canyoneering equipment, i.e. ropes, slings, and rigging, and an ACA lifetime membership. You should be able to bring the minimal beginning equipment for canyoneering. This includes - harness, helmet, a rappel device, several locking carabineers, and proper clothing for the season. If you do not have your own gear let us know and we can provide helmets, harnesses and hardware for you to use. Once here or prior to arrival you also have the opportunity to purchase gear from our store. If you would like to purchase prior to coming be sure to ask about our student discount program. Cost does not include lodging, meals, transportation to and from Blanding, personal equipment, and gratuities (tips) for instructors/guides.
Advanced Course: Cost includes instruction, and all group canyoneering equipment, i.e. ropes, slings, and rigging.
Students Should Have: Your own equipment you are using and becoming familiar with which includes - harness, helmet, a canyoneering specific rappel device, a Totem, 8 - 10 locking carabineers, several non-locking carabineers, an ascending system, cows tails or equivalent, and proper clothing for the season. Cost does not include lodging, meals, transportation to and from Blanding, personal equipment, and gratuities (tips) for instructors/guides.
Canyon Rescue: Cost includes instruction, and all group canyoneering equipment, i.e. ropes, slings, and rigging.
Students should be prepared with: Your own equipment you are using and becoming familiar with which includes - harness, helmet, a canyoneering specific rappel device, a Totem,  8 - 10 locking carabineers, several non-locking carabineers, an ascending system, cows tails or equivalent, 2 VT Prusik's, personal PMP's, Micro Traxion's, GriGri 2 or higher,  and proper clothing for the season. Cost does not include lodging, meals, transportation to and from Blanding, personal equipment, and gratuities (tips) for instructors/guide.

Through the duration of the courses equipment will be shared and you will have opportunities to use other types of equipment than your own and get a feel for what works in different scenarios. Because gear will be traded around it is a good idea to have some kind of markings on your equipment to tell it apart from others. Choose something distinct. One of our guides uses green fingernail polish, another uses purple nail polish, and another one uses green and pink duct tape.

What kind of skill do I need to have before attending a course?

One Day Introduction To Canyoneering: Some knowledge of the sport of canyoneering and what you will be doing is important. You can look through our web site to see what canyoneering entails. Also come with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

Technical Canyoneering Course: Some knowledge of the sport of canyoneering and what you will be doing is helpful. Our best advice is to practice knots. We suggest the book title "Knots for Climbers" by Duane Raleigh or "Knots for Climbers" by Craig Luebben both available through our store.

Advanced Canyoneering Course: This course builds on the skills taught in the Technical Canyoneering Course. You will need to be confident with rappelling and ascending and should have already taken either the Technical Course or the Canyoneering Boot Camp Course and be confident in the skills taught in these courses.

Canyon Rescue: Prior rope skills are required. Attendance in the Technical and Advanced Course or Canyoneering Boot Camp and Advanced courses are required.

 

Will I be required to sign a liability waiver?

Yes. You will get a copy to read and sign in advance and a copy of our Emergency Contact Form. (Both in PDF Format). It includes Acknowledgment of Risk, Representation of Physical Condition, and Medical Consent. For participants under the age of 18 these forms must be signed by the participant and a parent or legal guardian.

What is the cancellation policy?

If You Cancel
Our cancellation policy is based on our investment in time, program planning, staff training and equipment prior to your program. We cannot recover expenses if you cancel, and short-notice cancellations create vacancies in programs, often preventing others from attending.

Full Payments are refundable if written notice of your cancellation is received at least 10 days prior to program start date.

If your cancellation is received less than 10 days prior to the program's start date, Cancellation Fee is the $100.00 per person Deposit Fee. Refunds will be processed 30 days after receipt of your written notice.

Cancellations are effective only upon our receipt of your written notice.

If We Cancel
We reserve the right to change or cancel any itinerary at any time if, in our opinion, conditions so require. If we must cancel a program prior to its start, you will receive a full refund within 30 days of the scheduled start date. We are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred.

Am I supposed to tip my instructor?

Gratuities are not required, though they are an excellent way to show appreciation to your instructor if you had a positive experience, especially if your expectations were exceeded. Some of our instructors teach the courses often without any compensation at all. They just enjoy teaching. Tip amounts are at your discretion, but between $20 and $50 for full-day courses is typical.

Why are none of your courses scheduled through Sunday?

This seems to be a common question I am getting now. We need one day a week that we can rest and recouperate ourselves and spend some time with our families. If we were to guide and teach 7 days a week during the busy season we would wear ourselves out and be poor guides and teachers in the canyons. Safety is importantant and being of sound mind and body are key to being observant and oriented to things going on in the outdoor environment. We need the rest day to center ourselves back to zero in order to start the week again.

How can I contact you with other questions?

Our Contact page. If you have other questions that are not answered here we will try to include those when we update this page.