This question came to mind from another post, and rather than continue to muddy the waters of that post I thought it was time to give this question it's own room to breathe. Am I a beginner? I think I know my own answer but would like to hear your opinions, and this is probably a healthy question to ask yourself as you prep for a new year and scout new canyons. I have 20 years of casual climbing experience. That means weekend warrior type sport climbing. I've only ever followed trad climbs, and only 4-5 pitches. I had professional climbing instruction in the beginning, but that was a long time ago. I get out my ascending kit at least once a year to refresh my technique and struggle up a couple hundred feet of rope. I spend much more time researching canyon and rappel techniques online then I ought too, and I practice rappelling as it's own skill before going to a technical canyon. I plan my canyons around my limited skillset and only chose canyons that are well within what I consider a safe threshold. They are usually short, with few rappels that have well documented simple anchors. If I can't convince my wife that it is a simple safe anchor then I can't use it, so nothing buried. I've only completed around a dozen technical canyons, and only one or two with experienced canyoneers. I believe in tom's beginner statement "don't be a beginner leading (or being led by) a beginner," but I worry that every time I take my family down a short simple canyon close to home, I am breaking tom's rule. Am I lucky, or is knowing my skillset and choosing canyons appropriate for it move me out of beginner territory in those canyons? I have led my family safely and successfully through the subway, high spur, and several other very short canyons requiring one or two rappels. What are your thoughts?