Canyoneering is a TEAM sport
The sport of canyoneering stands apart from other outdoor activities as it places great emphasis on teamwork and group safety. While individual talent is still essential, the safety and success of the entire group depend on the collective effort. In canyoneering, it is crucial to work together to ensure that everyone reaches the finish line safely and efficiently.
This approach requires that everyone in the group understands the essentials of canyoneering, including efficient rappelling skills. This way, the team can reduce the amount of time needed to complete the descent, allowing for more time to explore and enjoy the surroundings or relax at the campsite. The biggest time-wasters in canyoneering are usually the rappels, so it's crucial to minimize the time spent on them. Techniques like down-climbing or setting up the next rappel while the first person is rappelling can cut rappelling time in half, making the descent much faster.
As an experienced canyoneer, I've had the opportunity to witness firsthand the benefits of teamwork and efficient rappelling techniques. For instance, my group and I were able to cut our time spent in Imlay Canyon from 17 hours to just over 8 hours by using these techniques. Similarly, by working efficiently as a team, we were able to complete the Subway in 6.5 hours, half the time it took our larger group of eight to complete the same adventure.
However, it's important to remember that canyoneering is not a competition, and everyone should work together as a team, regardless of skill level. Safety is always a top priority, and everyone must wait until the slowest member of the group has completed the descent before proceeding to the next stage. In canyoneering, you are only as fast as the slowest person, so it's vital to respect everyone's pace and help each other along the way.
Canyoneering is a sport that values teamwork, collective safety, and efficient technique. While individual skill is still essential, it's only through working together as a team that the descent can be completed safely and efficiently. By following these guidelines and respecting each other's pace, everyone can enjoy a thrilling and memorable canyoneering experience.
Remember this adage for all your canyoneering and hiking trips - you are only as fast as the slowest person.