Canyoning

Canyoning combines hiking, climbing, and abseiling, and while it can be dangerous, there are also more accessible options for beginners. Find out everything you need to know to practice this sport safely.

If you want to enjoy natural landscapes differently, get your adrenaline pumping, and have an adventure, canyoning is for you. This sport involves descending a gorge, ravine, or canyon of a river using horizontal climbing techniques – such as hiking, swimming, or jumping – and vertical techniques – such as abseiling and climbing down/

A sport involving walking and swimming through canyons, mountain streams, or rivers.

This modality has been virtually new and popular since the late 1990s in southern France and Spain. It allows you to discover unique environments and hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that you would not have access to with either of these techniques.

Health benefits of canyoning

As mentioned, canyoning combines other sports, such as hiking and abseiling.

The benefits of canyoning are:

  • The number of calories burned.
  • The preservation of bone mass.
  • The increase in muscle tone and the improvement of mood and stress reduction.
  • Thanks to the secretion of adrenaline.

Canyoning is a dynamic and fun sport. You develop your skills in the canyon by climbing, abseiling, and other movements. Since it involves unstable feet, proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of different body parts) is also developed, and resistance is used in the approaches.

Who can canyoning and who should avoid it?

Although it may seem like a dangerous activity, canyoning also has options for beginners and even the whole family; in these cases, it is done in areas with a lower slope, in easy gorges, and with jumps or abseils at a lower altitude, and with less effort. If you are not an expert in this sport, you should use the services of a guide or even plan an excursion with a company that specializes in it.

If minors participate in the activity, it can be practiced from the age of 6, it is best not to lose sight of them and take extra precautions on the trail.

On the other hand, people with serious health problems, heart conditions, or mobility problems should not participate in canyoning, nor should people with back problems or who cannot have strokes.

If you are infected with the virus, we will tell you what materials you need, except the neoprene, to start training.

Equipment needed for canyoning

You will need a few things to engage in canyoning, mainly related to your safety. If you are a beginner in canyoning and hire a specialized company, you can relax because they will provide you with everything you need to enjoy the activity. All you need is comfortable clothes, a swimsuit and shoes that are allowed to get wet, and of course a change of dry clothes.

In any case, these are the materials you need for canyoning:

1. Neoprene

It is used to get into areas of water that are usually quite cold, maintain a good body temperature, and protect the body from small bumps and scratches. It is usually a full-body suit or two-piece complemented by a pair of pumps. The thickness should be about 5 mm and double lined. If neoprene is used for the feet, it may be 3 mm, and the knee area may be reinforced to prevent damage.

2. Footwear

You will have to walk through complicated terrain and overcome rocks and precipices during the activity, so good footwear is essential. A sturdy sole to prevent slipping, and flexibility and support at the ankle to reduce the risk of sprains and strains, are essential. Canyoning shoes are best, but as a beginner, you can also use trekking shoes.

3. Helmet

This safety measure is important because small stones can fall into the canyons, moved by air, animals, or your companions. Also, this fluid is very slippery, and currents can make you lose your balance, so it is important to protect yourself with this accessory and wear it properly.

4. Harness

This safety item allows you to abseil; it should be in good condition and always close to your body. Its characteristics depend on where the activity is to be performed. Experts recommend choosing a high attachment point so that the weight of the backpack or the water from a waterfall does not throw us off balance, that it is made of sturdy and non-absorbent material so that it lasts a long time and does not break, and that the material has loops on the sides.

5. Gloves

Even in nice weather, they are indispensable because they protect you from cold, cuts, and scratches and prevent burns on your hands from the descender or the rope, which can get hot from friction. In dry areas, you can use leather gloves, neoprene gloves in very cold water, and rubber or PVC gloves for descents in water.

6. Descender eight

This element consists of two circles, one larger than the other, connected in the shape of an eight. It allows a gradual descent because the person has control over the outgoing rope; it is also very safe, and the margin for error in use is minimal. Disadvantages are that they can become unintentionally clogged, can become too hot due to friction, or can be easily lost.

7. Ropes

Ropes are needed to descend canyons, and their length is chosen depending on the characteristics of the activity. Choosing strong, durable, and flexible lanyards over 9 mm in diameter is recommended. Bring extra belts in case they are damaged or lost.

8. Anchor Lines

It consists of a rope and two carabiners, one end longer and the other shorter. Remember that there should always be a carabiner for tethering. It acts as a safety device because if the point where the harness is attached breaks, it acts as a lanyard and prevents a fall.

9. Carabiners

They are one of the most commonly used tools in climbing and canyoneering. Approved pieces should be chosen that have a good carrying capacity; the necessary number in a base group is at least three or four.

It is important to note that there are different carabiners: Carabiners with automatic fasteners, which open and close by pushing, and those with a screw, which has a part that turns and secures the fastener. The former is more complicated if you work with gloves or wet hands, and with the latter, you have to be careful not to adjust them too much.

10. Backpack

This is where you can carry your gear and any extra tools. It is best to choose a backpack with holes, so that water can easily get in and out. It should also be made of a slightly absorbent and tear-resistant material. The size should fit the person’s height and weight to avoid imbalance.

11. Watertight drum

A 6-liter backpack is most commonly used. This plastic container is completely sealed with a lid to prevent liquid from entering. It is often used in water sports, caving, and canyoneering to carry fragile items that should not get wet, such as a wallet or cell phone, and to increase the buoyancy of the backpack.

12. Dry bag

It can be useful to carry food, dry clothes, and items that are not fragile and should not get wet. Backpacks with a capacity of 16 liters are mainly used for canyoning.

13. Razor

It is important to carry a razor in case you need to cut a rope, for example. Make sure you have it on hand.

14. First aid kit

It is practical to carry a small first aid kit in your backpack if a small accident happens. It can contain, for example, bandages, plasters, scissors, gauze pads, gloves, anti-inflammatories, or painkillers.

15. Other materials

Remember to bring other items such as a compass, headlamp, whistle, lighter or firelighters, something to eat (e.g., granola bars), a flashlight, a map of the terrain, or sunscreen.