Vertically Speaking offers 3 core levels of training for tactical rope operations. Based on agency needs, budget, and time availability, these can be combined or expanded as requested, but the basic recommended layout is described below and recommended as a complete program. Each level has learning objectives associated with it, some of which are shared with other levels. T2 does have a skills assessment at its conclusion and passing this is required prior to work on T3 intervention skills.

All levels address use of force considerations, as vertical operations put a unique twist on most use of force policies that are often overlooked. Our cadre are experienced firearms and use of force instructors as well as rope operators.


T1: Vertical Operations Support:
(4 days) This is for operators who may or may not be called to leave the ground, but can provide the rigging and ground support needed for a large majority of vertical operations. There is a lot such an operator can do to facilitate vertical operations without ever leaving a flat surface or going “over an edge.” Many military and SWAT schools offer a “Rappelmaster” course which is mostly about setting up anchors, safety inspections, rappelling programs and techniques for running standard SWAT confidence training, and perhaps a little bit of rope climbing and officer rescue, primarily in terms of contingency anchors. Such courses are too “diluted” to be effective for true operator efficiency...combing rigging support, vertical mobility and some superficial interventions. The T1 course is something ANY officer can take and be a major support asset to any vertical operation. This should be STEP 1 for a tactical rope operator. You should not be deploying on tactical rope missions if you cannot fully rig, inspect, and trouble shoot the anchor, edge, and redirect challenges.

T2: Vertical Mobility: (4 days) This is the work horse level, and is simply about making the operator “fluent on rope” while carrying their tools of trade, in all conditions. That’s it…just rope travel….gaining access to a vertical location to perform work, observe, or make entry unopposed. It is akin to learning how to swim REALLY well before you become a lifeguard and fancy yourself a rescuer. Graduates of T2 should be able to negotiate virtually any rope obstacle by themselves, and get themselves out any problem or climbing system malfunction / jammed descender, etc. Arguably, any tactical rope operator going over an edge should be at least at this level.

T3: Vertical Intervention: (5 days) This is the capstone level and deals with operators who are already fluent on rope at the T2 level or equivalent, and covers dealing with suspects on rope, conducting officer rescues, hostage / subject extractions via rope, etc…in other words…..interfacing with other people on a rope medium. You do not dare do this unless you are an accomplished rope traveler or you are asking for disaster, just as a novice swimmer diving in after a drowning subject is asking for disaster. Course will begin with an SRT skills entry test to ensure T2 or equivalent skills have been retained.

TRS: Tactical Rope Skills: Can’t decide? Or only have time / budget for a single course? If your team members already have basic anchor building and rappelmaster skills, our Tactical Rope Skills Overview may be a good choice to quickly increase your skill sets.

This intensive weeklong course combines several learning objectives from all 3 levels of our program into one overview course. The emphasis is on developing SRT skills, but will also cover some contingency anchor building and rope deployments, and a few more basic rope interventions, such as officer rescue, and some basic system interventions with diminishing loops and counterweights. This does not have the same level of detail as our full program, but covers the most critical and relevant portions of each. You can decide to follow up with more training later.

A basic entry skills test is required to show basic knot tying, and that students can perform a basic rappel and have a functional rope climbing system. (Student must arrive with proper gear, and be able to perform basic rappels and ascents.)