Level 1 Guide

The UKCG Level 1 guide assessment is aimed at people who want to guide in non technical canyons up-to grade 3A.s

It is also aimed to allow Pro guides to use SP guides as competent seconds.


This Guide assessment is taken over 2 days.

Day 1 would be spent doing personal skills in a canyon or on a crag and lectures.

Day 2 the guide would be expected to guide a group through a canyon within this remit and show personal skills for the other half in this environment.

Core Syllabus:

Rope and Equipment Care:

•               Understand and apply good rope care practices

•               Coil rope; alpine coil, canyon coil

•               Stuff and use rope bag

•               Understand and apply good equipment care practices


•               Figure eight knot; on a bight, rethreaded

•               Tape Knot in webbing

•               Create prusik loop with cord using double fisherman.

•               Connect two load-bearing ropes for rappelling (e.g. double fisherman bend, rethreaded figure eight, square fisherman bend, overhand knot)

•               Bowline knot; double bowline, bowline on a coil

•               Clove hitch

•               Larks foot

•               Münter hitch; improvised lower, belay or rappel

•               Mule hitch; load releasing

•               Safety back-up knot (e.g. overhand, fisherman)

•               In-line loop (e.g. butterfly knot, directional figure eight)

•               Friction hitches (e.g. prusik, klemheist, bachman, hedden)


•               Understand and apply good principles of anchor location;

•               DEAR (Dry, Efficient, Accessible, Rope Retrieval)

•               Understand and apply good principles of anchor construction; EARNEST (Equalized, Angle, Redundant, No Extension, Solid, Timely)

•               Evaluate and rig single-point natural anchors

•               Evaluate and rig multi-point natural anchors

•               Evaluate and rig existing fixed artificial anchors

•               Sequence marginal anchor

•               Use meat anchors


•               Set up and use blocked rope system (e.g. carabiner block)

•               Set up and use releasable rope system (aka contingency anchor)

•               Lower a person

•               Set up and use top-rope belay system

•               Set up and use system to extend tie-in point for top-rope belay system (e.g. Australian system with alpine butterfly)

•               Set up and use edge protection

•               Set up and use system to change rope abrasion point (e.g. double-rope münter/mule, Shunt, Gri-Gri)

•               Rig system to isolate rope strands (e.g. stone knot)

Climbing, Belaying, Hand Lines:

•               Spot a climber, down-climber

•               Belay a climber, down-climber

•               Set up and use retrievable hand lines


•               Rappel; control speed, brake

•               Rig rappelling device for correct friction on 8mm to 11 mm ropes, single and double strand

•               Add friction while rappelling

•               Lock off while rappelling using leg wrap

•               Lock off rappel device while rappelling

•               Provide bottom belay for rappeller

•               Understand pros and cons of using self-belay (e.g. auto-block); rig and use

Swimming, Jumping, Sliding:

•               Swim with gear (minimum 20 yards)

•               Jumping; identify hazards, outside boil line, body position

•               Water slides; body position


•               Read contour lines on topographic map;

•               identify terrain features (hills, saddles, ridges, drainages),

•               determine relative steepness of grade,

•               identify potential high ground and escape routes

•               Identifying relative size of watershed using topo map

•               Orient map with compass and terrain

•               Evaluate weather forecast; temperature, relative humidity, high/low pressure systems, warm front vs cold front

•               Differentiate between cloud types; cumulus, stratus

•               Describe variables that contribute to flash flood risk

•               Describe flash flood warning signs

•               Describe appropriate responses to an impending flash flood

•               Understand UKCG Canyon Rating System

•               Possess suitable gear for canyons rated up to 3B


  • Release a stuck abseiled from a relsable blocked line.
  • Manage a casualty from the water to safety and action emerceny procedures.
  • Understand and use a cut away rescue.

ADDITIONAL SKILLS ASSESSED – Written test, Group management, Risk Management, Route finding, Emergency Procedures.


Technical Canyon course, Swift water canyon or swift water rescue course

A Canyon log book with at least 10 personal canyons, 2 of which should be rated grade 3/4  and 20 guide days.