Experience & Skills

"Primal Quest takes teams to places other races don't reach. You'll need good outdoor skills to enjoy the experience and make the most of your expedition adventure. Teams should take their skills training seriously."

- David Egbert (Primal Quest Organiser)

One of the most popular questions we get asked is “What certifications are required for me to race?” Although competitors are not required to deliver certificates of competence, it is imperative that each team member garner individual skills and experience to safely compete and successfully complete each of the disciplines that we have. Everyone is required to ensure that they are prepared and have the appropriate skills required and be prepared demonstrate their efficiency and competency in each of the required areas onsite.  Primal Quest reserves the right to pull any individual, or team, from the course if deemed unsafe or incompetent. It is your responsibility to ensure your preparedness.

We encourage all participants to prepare for backcountry travel, navigation, water safety, rope work and mountaineering. Please take your preparations seriously.

Water Safety

Note: This is a minimal list of required water skills:

  • Self-Rescue/Swimming
  • River Fording
  • Enter/Exit Boat
  • Ferry Glide
  • Enter/Exit Eddies
  • Wet Entry – Boat
  • Identifying/Negotiating Hazards (strainers, foot entrapments and avoidance/minimization techniques)
  • Scouting Rapids (identifying safe lines and craft maneuvering Grade 2 & 3 rapids)
  • Lining Craft Around Rapids
  • Portaging
  • River Signals – Hand & Whistle
  • Boat Knowledge E.g. Valves, Patch Kit
  • River Grading
  • Throw Bag Use – Rescuer and Swimmer
  • Towing Swimmer
  • Using Safety Kayaker


Note: This is a minimal list of required ropes/climbing skills;


  • Donning & removal
  • Proper fit
  • Security (double-back strap)
  • Biner/Lanyard attachment
  • Overcoming a difficult edge while descending/ascending
  • Traversing Fixed Lines
  • Passing anchor points using lanyards with carabiners
  • Rappel Related
  • Loading rappel device
  • Body position & edge transition
  • Brake hand placement & proper use
  • Staying in control – Speed / Control (i.e. no bouncing)
  • Prussic tying and use as an auto block
  • Demonstrating an emergency stop (releasing auto block and allowing the prussic hitch to stop the rappel)


  • Whistle
  • Voice
  • Hand signals


Note: This is a minimal list of required mountaineering skills;

  • Walking with ice axe
  • Self-Arrest – slide (front, side, back)
  • Down climbing with crampons/ice axe
  • Crampon – French technique/front pointing
  • Knots and Use – Figure 8, Bowline, Girth Hitch
  • Belay with Device
  • Prussic Back up
  • Glacier Rope Team Travel – 2,4 Man rope teams, double check, pacing
  • Crevasse Awareness – familiarity with hauling systems preferred
  • Avalanche Skills – awareness and preparedness
  • Objective Hazard Assessment – Rock, Ice, Snowfall
  • Lightning protection techniques
  • White out navigation
  • Leave No Trace
  • Emergency Tent/Sil Tarp orientation/anchoring