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An Introduction To The Sport Of Canyoneering & The Technical Skills Required

Canyoneering is increasing in popularity as more people take up the sport in search of a thrill. While it does look like a simple activity, canyoneering actually requires a variety of technical skills to safely descend or rappel down canyons.

What Exactly Is Canyoneering / Canyoning?

Let’s start with defining what canyoneering entails. The desert sands of the Colorado Plateau and Southern Utah are home to some of the most beautiful slot canyons this side of the world. The only way to explore and enjoy these earthen corridors is to descend them. This activity is what is referred to as canyoneering.

While some canyons can be explored by simply hiking through, others call for more technical skills including down-climbing and rappelling. Others take you through riparian environments and water-filled potholes that require wading or swimming. It’s really an exceptional experience.

People of all ages can enjoy canyoneering provided they have the know-how, an adventurous spirit and the right canyoneering gear and equipment to descend the canyons.

Canyoneering is a Technical Adventure Sport

A huge part of canyoneering is learning all that you need to know to safely find your way around canyons. There are several training programs for all levels -from novices to the experienced- that will help you become a more proficient and competent canyoneer.

As much as you can get training, you still need to get out there to build experience and expand your canyoneering skills. One of the fastest ways of doing this is by seeking out and tagging along with knowledgeable veterans on one of their canyoneering trips.

This way you’ll pick up valuable pointers as well as expand your problem-solving skills out on the canyons.

Canyoneering Needs Specialized Rappelling & Abseiling Skills

The skills you need to be a competent canyoneer are different from those you’d need in rock climbing. Most people assume they’re the same.

However, canyoneering not only calls for problem-solving skills on the go but also improvisation and sound judgment. For instance, you’ll need to know how to improvise anchors for rappelling using things like rock spikes, bushes, trees or even stuck logs. Additionally, you’ll need to use your judgment when dealing with awkward rappels in narrow canyons, all while carrying a pack with you.

Other technical skills you’ll need include:

  • Rappelling single or double strand ropes of different thicknesses and in different conditions (wet or dry)
  • Rope work including hooking and rope pulling
  • Partner climbing
  • Getting past keeper potholes and mastering pothole escapes
  • Mastering the use of the various canyoneering technical devices you’ll need

It also helps if you learn how the canyon rating system works so you can choose the right adventure for your skill level and ability.

Get The Right Canyoneering Gear

We at Rocner Canyoneering Gear are proud to provide avid canyoneers with the right equipment and gear to help them safely pursue this exciting and thrilling technical sport.

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