An exciting sport that some rock climbers may have heard about but is less known until recently in the United States is called canyoneering. Outside of the United States it is also known as canyoning. Canyoneering has become more well known in recent years not necessarily because of a huge increase in canyoneers, but because of what most would call a tragic event that occured.
Canyoneering, for those that don’t know about it, obviously has something to do with canyons. Canyons are often not just a simple channel that was cut by one river at one time. Canyons are often a maze of many channels all leading down to a main river channel. A great example of this is the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Canyoneering is often the descent down one of these channels and it includes a number of different types of methods used to get down to the end point that may be the main river or could just be part of a hike that one goes out on. When canyoneering you will often swim through channels, jump into pools, repel down cliffs, climb through a variety of pitches. Routes one embarks on can be very short or very long and can vary in technical difficulty to an easy stroll.
Canyoneering became more well known from a recent accident involving Aron Ralston. Aron was canyoneering in Utah when he found himself trapped and unable to get out of a situation. In order to free himself from his predicament he chose to cut off his own arm that was pinned by a rock. Recently a movie called “127 hours” was made about this very incident.
Canyoneering is not an easy sport and really should not be attempted alone or by inexperienced individuals. If you want to try it out, go with a group, or pay a guide to take you. Remember, you only have two arms.