The Ultimate Thrills and Chills are Found in the Canyon
~ ZZ Troutski
Diehard sports lovers want thrills. They want to be able to dive into a sport that increases the pulse rate and allows the adrenaline to rush through their bloodstream.
Although there’s a list; motocross, deep-sea diving, parachuting, etc., canyoneering is increasing in popularity in the United States. Heading into the canyon is exhilarating, and the techniques that can be chosen for the descent are many.
The easiest is seen as the canyon hiking technique – which is exactly what it states. Although it fits into the canyoneering category, many feel that it’s far too easy to walk into a canyon than actually rappel into the area and utilize the learned skills of technical climbing, ropework, and more. And never forget one of the harshest and most adrenaline-filled choices of descent – the canyon swimmer – which is a sport that is so rough it could be an Olympic competition.
Remote, rugged terrain; locales where there seems to be no life except the creatures that stare at you from their natural habitat and wonder what on earth you’re doing there; these are the ‘givens’ when it comes to taking on and learning the art. Not only must you learn the technical descent you wish to use, but you’re also talking about a sport that involves finding your way. In other words, you are in a location that resembles the ends of the earth. You must use navigation and other major wilderness travel skills to get there. (And, no, your navigator on your cell phone is not allowed).
The first choice of sportsmen and women when it comes to finding an elite canyon, is one that’s actually cut into the natural bedrock (limestone, granite, basalt, etc.). When nature does its job and not Man, the ultimate in canyons appear. These natural formations come with narrow gorges, huge, steep drops and some of the most amazing waterfalls on the planet.
When it comes to choosing a locale, canyoneers look for danger as well as a whole lot of fun. This is one sport that tests both mind and body, and the difficulty level is always the number one factor people consider.
The gear used in canyoneering is varied; again, depending on the choice of descent that you like the most. The climbing hardware and static ropes must be the best, and there are suppliers and manufacturers of specially-designed shoes, packs, rope bags, helmets and more that are state-of-the-art.
An avid canyoneer wants more. That’s a fact. And they receive a trillion choices when branching out across the world. Globally, the sport is referred to as canyoning, and there are many countries that have actually established the sport by offering some of the most beautiful and frightening canyoning routes ever seen.
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey – and a list of other countries – are side-by-side with the U.S., increasing their economies with more and more visitors arriving in their land in order to partake of the canyoneering locations.
When it comes to America, there are a host of slot canyons carved in the sandstone that basically make up the Colorado Plateau. However, up in the San Gabriel, Sierra Nevada, Cascade and Rocky Mountains, there are a thousand more to choose from, which makes canyoneering an endless adventure for many.
Keeping in mind the fact that actual escape out of the canyon is near impossible, achieving the entire descent is the only way for the person to be able to achieve success. Not to mention, survival would be impossible considering the inaccessibility of some of these canyons; which means making sure you can actually do this sport and do it well is mandatory before ever trying it in the remote wilderness.
To spice things up a bit there are always the canyons that have those waterfalls and flows. The water, added to the already frightening canyon, requires extremely specialized ropework by the canyoneer.
In other words, the thrills and chills are there – just make sure to put your life ahead of your adrenaline rush.