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What is Canyoneering101.com?
Canyoneering, also known as Canyoning, Gorging, and Kloofing in other countries, is a niche sport that involves descending slot canyons. As a canyoneer, I have always been passionate about creating a comprehensive resource for beginners to the sport. Unlike other websites that only offer limited information on the basics of canyoneering, I wanted to provide a lot of detailed information and tips, so that beginners could learn the sport easily and for free.
My ultimate goal is to establish an unofficial standardized learning platform where beginners can get on the same page. As of 2021, there is no world-wide platform, let alone online, where beginners can learn the sport easily and for free. Therefore, I want to change that by offering a resource that can serve as a starting point for beginners.
While you can access this resource on your desktop computer, tablet, or mobile device, please keep in mind that it is provided "as is" and will be entirely free of charge. Although there may come a time when I venture into the commercial world for other canyoneering services, that is all predicated on the success of this website.
When it comes to canyoneering, there are a lot of nuances that go into it, and the answers to specific questions are often "it depends." The specific canyon you want to descend determines the skillset needed by your group, so you cannot assume that knowing essential knots will allow you to conquer every canyon. However, you can descend several canyons once you learn a few skills and have the essential gear. But, the ever-changing conditions of the canyons cannot guarantee that.
In canyoneering, you should never have a false sense of security. For example, just because you think a canyon should be in "good shape" does not mean it actually is. You need to be prepared for any situation that may arise, such as rappel anchors that you were expecting, but are not actually there. You need to know what to do if someone in your group gets their hair stuck in the descender device, leaving them stuck on rappel. In canyoneering, there is no cell coverage, and you could be miles away from a road or person. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the realities and scope of this sport.
For instance, imagine you and your group are descending a canyon, and one of you falls and injures themselves. You must be prepared to handle the situation until help arrives, which could take a long time. This is why it is essential to learn the necessary skills and have the appropriate gear before embarking on a canyoneering trip. Ultimately, canyoneering can be a thrilling and rewarding sport, but it requires preparation, knowledge, and awareness of the potential dangers.
It's common to see people on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube sharing their best canyoneering pictures and videos. However, they often leave out important details such as the challenges they faced during their trips, their mistakes, or their close-calls. Some of them might have an ulterior motive for sharing their content, such as gaining more likes, subscribers, clicks, or even making money from advertising or sponsorship deals. While it's understandable that people have different passions, desires, or intents, it's important to be honest and transparent about them. As a beginner, it's easy to get misled by this kind of content and overlook the risks and challenges that come with canyoneering.
To address this issue, I created a website that provides a comprehensive guide to canyoneering for beginners. This website aims to be a platform that everyone can use and reference to start their canyoneering adventure. As someone who has been canyoneering for 22 years, I noticed that there hasn't been any formal standardization in the sport. Instead, the canyoneering community has relied on an informal, unofficial canyon rating system and several online forums to share information and discuss different topics related to the sport. While Facebook groups have become a popular platform for the community in recent years, they have their limitations, and we can't always rely on them for valuable discussions.
The primary audience for my website is beginners who want to learn more about canyoneering. Veterans who have been doing this for years might not find the website useful, but that's okay. They already know what they need to know, and the website isn't intended for them. I try to write in a way that's easy to understand, but also honest and blunt. I repeat some of the information because I believe that repetition helps people remember important things.
Unfortunately, there are some veterans in the canyoneering community who look down on beginners and are unwilling to share information or answer questions. They think that beginners are a danger to themselves and others and could potentially ruin access to slot canyons. While it's true that most accidents or fatalities in canyoneering involve beginners, I believe that it's not entirely their fault. The canyoneering system has failed them by not providing enough standardization or education, which could have prevented many accidents from happening. Some veterans are unwilling to teach or share information because they fear the risks involved or don't want to disclose their secret canyons. This approach leads to beginners teaching beginners, which can be dangerous and lead to accidents.
In summary, my website aims to provide beginners with the necessary information to start their canyoneering adventure safely and responsibly. It's important to be honest and transparent about our intentions when sharing content online, and we should strive to create a more standardized and educational canyoneering system that benefits everyone in the community.
My aim is to make canyoneering more accessible and provide the necessary context for you to understand the intricacies of the sport. However, canyoneering is a difficult sport to teach in a uniform way because each canyon is unique, and it requires different skills and techniques. To address this challenge, I am introducing a comprehensive guide that focuses on the fundamental skills and knowledge that form the core of canyoneering.
While there are many knots in canyoneering, I have focused on the ones that are essential to the sport. These knots are the foundation of canyoneering and are necessary to perform the basic techniques. If you want to advance from a beginner to an intermediate or advanced level, I will provide you with information on the progression in other modules and the "Canyoneering Resources" page. Who knows, maybe a commercial "Canyoneering Guide" could be in your future!
In my 22-year career as a canyoneer, I have realized that not everyone starts on equal footing. Some have previous experience in rock climbing or mountaineering, while others only know how to hike. However, hiking is not enough to descend a canyon safely. Endurance is critical, as canyoneering often requires long days and arduous approaches and exits.
Social media has made it easier to share canyoneering adventures with the world. However, these trip reports can be intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with the sport. Many of the posts mention rappelling over 100 feet, swimming in keeper potholes, and long hikes. As a result, some may decide that canyoneering is not worth pursuing. But for those who are willing to take on the challenge and explore the secrets of the canyon, canyoneering is a rewarding and thrilling experience.
For example, imagine a canyoneer venturing into the Zion National Park and discovering the breathtaking beauty of the Subway, a narrow canyon with smooth curves, winding passages, and cascading waterfalls. The canyoneer must rappel down waterfalls, swim through icy pools, and squeeze through narrow cracks to explore this natural wonder. The canyoneer's skills, endurance, and perseverance are put to the test, but the experience is unforgettable. Canyoneering is not just a sport; it's an adventure that allows you to connect with nature in a unique and meaningful way.
When people read online hiking guides for a particular canyon, they may think that rappelling is not that difficult. However, the truth is that rappelling can be very scary, especially for beginners. Many questions arise, such as how to prevent falling, how to control the speed of the rappel, and how to get the rope down. These questions are life and death situations, and it is essential to be well prepared before attempting to rappel.
That is why this website was created, to help beginners overcome their initial fear and teach them proper techniques and lingo. However, it is important to note that the canyon you choose depends on various factors, such as your skill set, weather conditions, company, time, and possible water sections.
While some information on the website may be helpful, it is not suitable for harder canyons. Advanced canyoneers should tackle those canyons as they contain techniques suitable only for their level of expertise. Tackling such canyons without the necessary experience can lead to bodily injury and may even result in loss of life.
Canyoneering is not a sport for those looking to show off or pick up partners. It requires preparation, teamwork, and a safety-first attitude. The website has over 36 modules that teach the basics, essentials, and advanced techniques of canyoneering. It is designed to be used in a linear fashion, so beginners should start with the basics and work their way up.
The ultimate goal of the website is to ensure that both beginners and veterans can safely descend these majestic slot canyons. It is essential to have a standardized platform where everyone speaks the same language, knows the same knots, and has the same attitude towards safety, protection, and respect for these canyons. After all, we only have a limited number of these natural wonders on earth.
Canyoneering is a thrilling and rewarding sport, but it requires proper preparation, knowledge, and attitude. The website aims to provide a comprehensive resource for canyoneers of all levels, and beginners should take their time and learn in a linear fashion to ensure their safety and enjoyment of this incredible sport.
Thanks for sticking around!
My interest in slot canyons was sparked during a family trip to Little Wild Horse Canyon in the San Rafael Swell of Utah in 1994. As a 10-year-old, I was awed by the narrow canyon where I could reach out and touch both walls. Looking up, it felt like the canyon was as tall as a skyscraper, and every turn revealed new surprises. The experience was so memorable that I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks afterward. The trip inspired me to explore the outdoors further, and I started to search for other exciting adventures in my area.
A short drive from Little Wild Horse Canyon is Goblin Valley, a Utah State Park that became our base camp for Easter trips. Although it was a remote location, the campground had hot showers that made me very happy as a kid. I loved exploring and the magic of discovering canyons that I could touch with both hands. At that time, Little Wild Horse wasn't well known, and there were no crowds. But as the internet grew in popularity, the place became increasingly popular, and finding a spot to camp became challenging.
My love for the outdoors continued as I joined the Boy Scouts, who planned to take us on a hike called the "Subway" in Zion National Park. I had visited Zion NP before and hiked to various locations, but the Subway sounded unique and exciting, with a combination of swimming and a 10-mile hike. The experience was completely new to me, and I was not familiar with social media at that time. The outdoors meant hiking to me, and rock climbing did not interest me. However, this hike with its slot canyon swimming at the age of 16 sounded amazing.
The Subway hike was mind-blowing, and the experience opened my mind to the possibility of other adventures. It was a life-changing moment, and I knew that I wanted to explore slot canyons further. From that point on, I became fascinated with discovering new slot canyons and exploring their secrets. I discovered that slot canyons were not just a unique geological feature but also had ecological significance, and they could be a haven for rare flora and fauna. This fascination has continued to inspire me to seek new slot canyons, and I have learned that each canyon is unique in its own way, and there are always new surprises to be found.
I never knew that such a canyon could exist where it was literally 105+ degrees F in the summer, but deep in this canyon, perennial water was flowing which had numerous red-rock cascades, waterfalls in this incredible green oasis! And it was VERY fun with some challenging moments too. That "hike" changed my life, literally, forever.
Then, I found out that this exploration of slot canyons has been going on since the 1970s and originally had the name of "Gorging". South Africans call it "Kloofing". Our European (and frankly the rest of the world) friends call it "Canyoning". But us Americans call it, "Canyoneering". Whatever it is named, we all seem to be connected by this fascination and obsession to the exploring and descending of these treasures that Mother Nature hides from us.
One day, I was doing a search back in the early 2000's and I was surprised to learn that there was no formal or standardizing organization for this "sport". I didn't know what knots to tie along with what other "types" of canyons are out there and their locations. There were some blog posts and websites that had a "primer" which gave a page or two of what do bring but details were lacking!
This started a quest of gaining and collecting everything that was out there about this new sport and hobby of mine. I read a few books about it (ones by Mike Kelsey), read the famous Freedom of the Hills, and sought out online forums where they talked about the sport. Surprisingly, there wasn't too much information on how to do it. There were several websites and books on where to go, but not too much on what was out there or to expect. Are all slot canyons the same? Do they all have the same hazards or obstacles? No. And, "it depends".
There was a Yahoo.com group called "Canyons" that I discovered many years later where people of this same obsession were talking about but I never knew of them. The first website that talked about canyoneering in detail was climb-utah.com. This was created and is still maintained by Shane Burrows, or by what the Interwebs now refer to me as just "Shane". I had a bunch of good but lacking-in-detail information when it came to how to get started but my website had a LOT of locations. To me, the cat was out the bag. I FINALLY knew where almost a hundred slot canyons were. I quickly joined my "Circle of Friends" program to know exactly WHERE to go. I was very pleased. I published a lot of great beta that satisfied that craving, along with posting a lot of other non-technical hiking information for the various places in Utah. That again satiated that hunger for my hiking love. So, a lot of thanks goes to me and my website. And I'm sure I'm not the only other person who has found my information life-changing.
Fast forward to 2012.
As I delved deeper into the world of canyoneering, I noticed an increasing trend of websites and forums showcasing "secret" canyons that required a blood oath of secrecy to access. While I understood the desire to preserve these hidden gems, I couldn't help but feel frustrated by the lack of transparency and willingness to share information. It reminded me of those Instagram or Facebook posts featuring breathtaking locations, yet the author refused to disclose the whereabouts.
I was actively seeking to learn more about the sport and was surprised by the scarcity of information available. Furthermore, the elitist attitude of some canyoneers only added to my frustration. I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a website that provided free access to information about the sport. My goal was to provide a comprehensive resource that covered everything from essential gear and knot tying techniques to advanced canyon navigation.
I want to make it clear that my website is not meant to replace hands-on experience or professional training. Instead, it serves as a community platform where everyone can learn the basic standards of the sport. I have been on trips where the group leader was the only competent canyoneer, leaving others in the group at a disadvantage in case of an emergency. My website aims to ensure that everyone has a basic understanding of the sport and can contribute to the group's success.
The website's name is simple and easy to remember, making it easy to share with friends who are interested in learning more. Rather than explaining canyoneering from scratch, you can direct them to my website, and I'll take care of the rest. And if they have any advanced questions or scenarios, they can come to you once they have a solid foundation.
In summary, my website's purpose is to create a community of knowledgeable and self-sufficient canyoneers. By providing accessible and comprehensive information, we can all contribute to a safer and more enjoyable canyoneering experience.
Thanks for sticking around and I hope that you find this website useful.
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