Inspections & Maintenance

The current industry standards require an annual technical inspection of all Challenge Course elements and equipment for reliability. The Challenge Works team are all ACCT certified inspectors and are experts at inspecting a wide variety of course elements, structures, design and equipment. It is vital that the person inspecting your course have a thorough knowledge of the current standards and can interpret those in relation to your course.

Once the inspection is completed, a written report is issued which details the condition of all elements on the course and safety equipment. Included with the report are any recommendations concerning alterations to the course to bring it up to current industry standards, repair work needed and suggestions to streamline the operation of your course.

Employing an ongoing maintenance schedule is a necessary component of Challenge Course operations. This will help to ensure that your course is always performing optimally, any safety issues are dealt with promptly and your course continues to meet current industry standards.

An effective way to organize this maintenance schedule is to incorporate it with the annual inspection. This allows for an accurate evaluation of your course and an immediate solution to any issues that may arise.

ACCT Certification & Training Information

Within the levels of ACCT certification there is something for every practitioner at every stage of experience level: from new facilitators to those seeking high levels of responsibility in the industry. Challenge Works provides certification at Level I and Level II.

Level I:

Level I is an “entry level” credential that requires no previous challenge course experience prior to the first training and denotes a practitioner who is proficient with core technical and facilitation skills and can deliver routine programming. This certification lasts 1 year.

What you'll learn:

Essential challenge course skills for the operation of low and high challenge course elements including spotting, spotting skills training, equipment use, knot tying, belay skills and risk management techniques. Knowledge of icebreakers, warm-ups, cooperative games, and problem solving exercises. Creating a positive environment for learning, positive group norms and reflection/processing techniques, selecting and sequencing activities for optimal outcomes with groups.


Some of the specific skills covered in this workshop are as folows:

  • Goals of the challenge course
  • Group development theory
  • Goal setting
  • Team challenges
  • Debriefing Sequencing
  • Spotting
  • High/Low course set-up/take-down
  • Course components
  • Daily inspections
  • Equipment inspection
  • Group management
  • Emergency procedures
  • Belaying
  • Platform skills ?(transfers, zip line, etc.)
  • Lobster claws
  • Equipment and hardware
  • Knots
  • Documentation


     Requirements to participate in and complete a FULL Level I Certification:

  • Must be at least 18 years or older.
  • Be able to complete a 40 hour, 5 day training for a Level I Full certification
  • Pass a written test with a score of at least 80%.
  • Pass a practical skills test.
  • No portfolio required.

Level II:

Level II is an “intermediate” credential that shows that a practitioner has not only mastered the fundamentals but also has more specialized skills, the ability to handle the unexpected, and can provide leadership for less-knowledgeable staff. Level II is designed for the more experienced facilitator seeking a greater degree of responsibility with program delivery and staff supervision. This certification lasts 3 years.

What you'll learn:

This course is an advanced challenge course operations workshop. It is designed to help practitioners reinforce and improve the requisite technical and facilitation skills needed to effectively operate a low and high challenge course program. Emphasis will be on developing a deeper understanding of challenge course systems, program planning design and facilitation skills, and cultivating a critical eye for risk management.

Some of the specific skills covered in this workshop are as follows:

  • Review of basic skills: knot tying, proper use and maintenance of equipment, belay skills
  • Enhancing program outcomes through thoughtful program design, sequencing and processing activities
  • Self belay techniques for challenge course access, set up and gear retrieval
  • Risk management
  • Emergency action plans
  • Basic rescue procedures
  • Facilitation tips for dealing with difficult group situations, creating positive group norms, working with diverse populations and managing large classes
  • Creating a positive environment for learning, facilitating involvement and ownership of learning experiences
  • Specialty element operations such as Flying Squirrel, Pamper Pole/Plank, Zip Line, Rappel, Giant Swing


    Requirements to participate in and complete a FULL Level II Certification:

  • Must be at least 18 years or older.
  • Completed a Level 1 Certification
  • Portfolio documenting at least 200 hours of facilitation experience as a Level 1 Facilitator
  • Be able to complete a 40 hour, 5 day training for a Level II Full certification track.
  • Pass a written test with a score of at least 80%.
  • Pass a practical skills test.

Ropes Course Rescue

*Maximum of 8 participants, minimum 5 to run. Due to the intense nature of this course participation is limited proof of previous experience on a ropes course will be required. THIS IS NOT A CERTIFICATION COURSE.

What you'll learn: 

This is an an intensive two day workshop.  Participants must have prior experience operating a ropes course. This workshop will focus on the mechanics of rescues in a high ropes course setting. Belay escapes, belay switches, overhead lowers, ground lowers, mechanical advantage, vector pulls and Zip Line rescues will be covered.



Course Design

  • Tree Courses
  • Pole Courses
  • Low Elements
  • Indoor Courses
  • Climbing Walls and Towers
  • Accessible Courses

Challenge Works Inc. is pleased to offer high quality ropes course design and installation services, based on your needs and the possibilities inherent to your site. One of the first and most important decisions to make when considering the addition of a challenge course to your facility is whether to build the ropes course in existing trees if available, or to install utility poles on which to build the course. During our initial site visit, we will consider with you the potential of your site in regards to: what type of challenge course is most appropriate; where and how the course can be laid out for maximum value and minimum impact; what combination of ropes course elements may work well for you; your program needs; budget; and the long-term vision for your challenge course. One thing that sets Challenge Works apart from other challenge course companies is our focus on individual client attention and our commitment to your needs and satisfaction!

Tree Courses
If you are lucky enough to have a healthy stand of appropriate trees on your site, we can use the natural terrain to build your challenge course into the existing trees. A ‘live’ ropes course lends a feeling of magic to the participants and the program. Ropes courses built in trees tend to be less expensive to build since the major structural elements are already in place. We take great care in our construction practices and program recommendations to make sure that the trees remain healthy and scenic. A challenge course built in living trees provides an entirely unique experience to the participants, many of whom may never have even climbed in a tree before.

Pole Courses
The use of utility poles allows for completely custom challenge course design and placement. Ropes courses built on poles tend to require less maintenance than ropes courses built in trees and waylay the concern for the impact your course may have on the health of your trees. Properly treated poles can remain in service for up to 50 years. Utility poles can also be combined or integrated into a stand of trees, thereby preserving the natural setting for the participants and increasing your design options while minimizing impact on the trees.

Low Course Elements
Low ropes course elements are generally designed to present challenges to an entire team or group. A low challenge course can be integrated ropes courses built in trees or poles. They can also be designed to stand alone or as portable elements which can be moved from place to place in order to accommodate different programming needs. The addition of low ropes course elements will add flexibility and scalability to your program.

Indoor Courses
A possible choice for facilities with limited outdoor space or special environmental conditions such as weather. Indoor challenge courses require special design and construction considerations. Element modifications are generally necessary to adapt to the structure of the building.

Climbing Walls and Towers
A fabulous supplement to your challenge course, or an exciting activity area on its own; a climbing wall or climbing tower is an excellent addition to any adventure program. Climbing walls can be built inside of existing buildings or on their own free-standing structure. A climbing tower can be multi-faceted, providing opportunities for a wide range of experience and skills. Various materials, textures, inclines, overhangs and combinations of holds can be used to simulate different rock climbing experiences and modify the challenge.

Accessible Courses
In a continuing effort to serve all populations, we are able to provide our clients with a variety of universally accessible ropes course elements. Building your challenge course with the special needs in mind of wheelchairs and individuals with other physical challenges makes your adventure program available to those who otherwise would not be able to participate and who may benefit a great deal from the challenge course experience. Challenge Works is happy to offer experience in designing and building accessible low and high ropes course elements and to discuss with you the possibilities and considerations involved in including universal challenge course elements into your course.



When it comes to professional facilitation of experiential learning programs, we refer that work to our friends at APEX Adventures.

They work on many of the courses we build, or they can come to you with their indoor or outdoor programs focused on teamwork, leadership development, and building community.

For further information contact Shaw Dunton direct at 1-800-549-0388 or via their website at