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Canyoneering Ethics & Unspoken Rules In The Sport

Canyoneering is one sport that can take you to unique and fragile environments. Whichever environment you encounter deserves to be preserved and protected for future generations. Besides, humans aren’t the only ones using these places, a variety of wildlife also rely on them for their habitats.

As a responsible canyoneer, you should play your part in protecting the environment by learning and adhering to the ethics and unspoken rules that govern canyoneering.

These include:

  • Always plan and prepare adequately for your trip.

  1. Ensure you carry all the equipment and gear needed for the trip and cater for the weather and emergencies. Take a look at ROCNER Canyoneering Gear for affordable canyoning equipment.
  2. Educate yourself on the canyon rating system and choose one that matches your abilities.
  3. Learn the regulations and rules for the area you’re visiting.
  4. Visit in small groups and if in a large party, split up to groups of 4-6.
  5. If going to a technical climbing or canyoneering area, do not place permanent anchors or bolts.
  • Ensure you travel and camp on durable surfaces.

  1. Travel or camp on established trails and campsites or durable surfaces like snow, gravel, rock or dry grasses.
  2. Always walk in a single file and stay in the middle of the trail.
  3. Keep campsites small and avoid altering an already existing campsite. Focus your activity on spots with sparse or no vegetation.
  • Practice proper waste disposal.

  1. If you pack it in, pack it out – including toilet paper and hygiene products. Always leave your campsite better than you found it so clear all litter, trash, and leftovers.
  2. Human waste should be deposited in catholes dug 6-8 inches deep and located at least 200 feet from trails, camps, and water. Properly cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Leave what you find.

  1. Observe but do not disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites or artifacts.
  2. Also leave plants, rocks or other natural objects undisturbed.
  3. Maintain existing ecosystems by avoiding the transportation or introduction on non-native species.
  • Reduce the impact of campfires if overnighting where permitted.

  1. Campfires can leave a lasting impact on the backcountry so ensure you only light fires where they are permitted.
  2. Keep fires small and only use established fire rings, mound fires or fire pans.
  3. Only collect and use sticks that can be broken by hand and ensure you burn all wood and coals to ash.
  4. Before leaving make sure you put out campfires completely and scatter the cool ashes.
  • Respect the wildlife you encounter.

  1. Give wild animals space and do not follow or approach them.
  2. Avoid wild animals during sensitive times like mating, nesting or if they’re raising their young as they tend to be more aggressive then.
  3. Never feed wild animals and ensure that your food and trash is safely secured.
  • Be considerate of others.

  1. Respect other canyoneers you meet, be courteous and yield to others on the trail.
  2. Avoid shouting, talking in loud voices or other loud noises, especially at campsites.

Learning and sticking to the basics of canyoneering etiquette ensures everyone enjoys themselves.