Canyoneering Rating System

Rating System


Asking different people how difficult a particular canyon is, can get a wide variety of answers.  Everyone has different skill sets and different ways of expressing themselves.  Asking specific questions about a canyon (how long did it take?  Was there water? etc) can help take some of the subjective nature out of those answers.  The ACA canyoneering rating system does just that in an attempt to quantify what makes a canyon more or less challenging.  No matter how fine tuned a rating system some aspects will still be subjective.

The rating system is divided into 4 sections.  Technical - assigned a number 1, 2, 3 or 4.  Water - assigned a letter A, B or C.  Time - assigned a roman numeral I, II, III, IV. V or VI.  Risk - assigned a letter R or X.  The chart below breaks down each section and explains what is meant by each.  Here are a few examples:  4 B III X        3 A IV          4 C II R.

Canyoneering Rating Chart

Back to Canyoneering Opening Page