Image Credit: Trevor Parker (C)

What is Canyoneering?

Section 1

Surprisingly, back in the late 1990s, the sport of Canyoneering was not too well known by the world.  To the unfamiliar, people would almost consider it as "hiking but with ropes".  Technically, yes...But's it's so much more than that!

It's about finding canyons, specifically slot-canyons, and exploring what their secrets contain hidden beneath the desert floor or alpine forest.

Here's what it is from my perspective (and how I still view it):

If you have been to Zion National Park, you may be familiar with the famous Angels Landing hike. Perhaps you even walked the "Zion Overlook Trail" located next to the famous Zion Tunnel?  Maybe it crossed your mind, but as you were doing the aforementioned hikes, did you ever wonder "I wonder what's inside that slot canyon way down there!?" Maybe you though, "this narrow section on this hike is pretty neat...Too bad we can't proceed more due to this cliff"...

 

But I don't stop there! The next question I ask myself is, "I wonder where THAT leads?" 

 

If you have had those same thoughts, then Canyoneering is most likely the adventure sport you have been looking for all this time!

Much later on; now imagine you are fully equipped with the canyoneering gear needed for that specific canyon, knowledge on how to tie specific knots, and how to rappel (and even ascend) a rope.

 

And instead of wondering what lies beyond that canyon drop-off, you can NOW descend that canyon and actually see what mysteries it contains...

Welcome to your new found obsession.

Image Credit: Brett Johnson (C)
Image Credit: Brett Johnson (C)

What if I told you that there is a trail that you can do in the blazing hot summer of Zion N.P., where the temperatures are 100+ degrees Fahrenheit, but deep inside this specific slot-canyon there is a year-round stream that collects from springs and seeps and creates these fresh-water pools that allows you to jump into and swim and and be in awe-struck of the juxtaposition (and stark contrast) of the desert with this incredible watery oasis!

Image Credit: Brett Johnson (C)
Image Credit: Brett Johnson (C)

These pictures are from the famous "Subway" hike found in Zion National Park, Utah.  The hike has been known for many decades, but due to the nature of social media, this hike is the most sought after trail outside of the Angels Landing hike within the Park! 

 

In fact, in order to preserve the pristine look and back country feel, the National Park has implemented a lottery-permit system in order to do this 10-mile adventure. 

 

Currently, only 50 people are allowed to do it per day and those permits are taken from the aforementioned lottery system which is drawn 3 months in advance.  

If you are a lucky one that "draws out" for a permit for the Subway, then your life will forever change as you complete the 10-mile journey, as it did mine. And consider yourself very fortunate!

In fact, that adventure I took back in my scouting days back in the summer of 2000, forever opened my eyes to the fascination and obsession with Canyoneering.  I want to explore, preserve and protect these beautiful creations!

The purpose of this website is to arm you with enough knowledge so that you will desire professional guidance and instruction from local Canyoneering outfitters.  This website doesn't replace, professional instruction, nor does it leave you in the dark, however.

We use our own lingo, have our secret handshakes for canyons that are not published, share our "trip reports" on online forums so that others can live vicariously through them; along with learning from our mishaps, or accidents (and even deaths!).

Canyoneering is inherently risky, as once you pull the ropes on your first rappel - you are committed to going through all the way to the end! There is no escape out of these canyons if you get scared or intimidated. 

 

That's why it is VITAL for YOU and everyone in your group to be self-sufficient.  It is NOT enough for ONE person to know how to tie all the knots or defeat obstacles. EVERYONE in you group must know these too.  

Video Credit: Jake Huddleston (C)

© 2020 Brett Johnson | Canyoneering101.com