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Canyoneering Ethics

Section 6


  • Follow "Leave No Trace" ethics in all outdoor-related activities.

  • Take....only pictures.

  • Leave...only footprints.

  • Leave an "Emergency Note" in your vehicle before you leave the trailhead.

  • Help everyone out!  This is a team activity.

  • Wear a helmet!

  • Bring enough food/water (plus some extra).

  • Hike in the drainage of canyons where possible to avoid creating "social trails" or extra trails.

  • Avoid stepping on "crypto" (cryptobiotic soil).  It takes seconds to destroy but years (even decades) to grow back.

  • Always have a first-aid kit in your party.

  • On long canyoneering days (8+ hr hours) bring a bivy (bivouac) in case you need to spend the night.

  • Say "watch out below" or "I'm going to throw a rope down" vs "rope!" when canyoneering meets the public.

  • When fellow canyoneers ask you to "play through" or pass your slower group, please LET them. 

  • Please take pictures of graffiti in canyons and report it to the rightful property owners. 

Do Not!

  • Do NOT bring your furry animals, please!  Take them through non-technical canyons instead.

  • Do NOT horseplay when on rappel or near edges!

  • Do NOT over-estimate your ability to do that specific canyon or the sport.  (In fact, people overestimate their abilities and underestimate the canyon).

  • Do NOT bounce on ropes as this causes a significant increased load (or force) on the anchors.

  • Do NOT create rope grooves.  If you are installing a new anchor point, look at HOW the rope pull is going to be retrieved.  Anchors that go over rocks, will typically create a groove.  Look at placing them on the wall or at a higher point on the wall.  For advanced canyoneers, look at doing a retrievable anchor or place a "toggle" (both of these are not taught on

  • Do NOT talk loud and holler when canyoneering meets the public. Most people despise rowdy groups and individuals that show-off.

  • Do NOT yell the word "rope!" when dropping or throwing a rope-bag on a rappel in public areas.  The public doesn't understand what the term "rope!" means when yelled from above.

  • If a group of canyoneers is wanting to pass you, please don't inhibit or block them.

  • Do NOT trespass.  This is not how the community gains access to canyons by abusing trust with land-owners.  Your disregard can make the entire community lose access forever.

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