Tips on learning the exhilarating sport of canyoning

Canyoning is the sport of travelling through a canyon, usually incorporating a stream or river, by whatever means necessary. The skills and knowledge employed in canyoning did not, as many believe, evolve from mountaineering. Instead, the modern sport of canyoning developed from the exploration of bush-walkers and land appropriators intrepidly searching for water sources and ores. 

Tips on learning the exhilarating sport of canyoning

1. What is canyoning?

  • Canyoning provides a full workout and a chance to develop many skills including: hiking, climbing, scrambling, abseiling, jumping, swimming, floating and sliding.
  • Canyoning generally follows a canyon down river and is usually done in groups with one or more qualified instructors.
  • It is an exhilarating, adventurous and adrenaline filled day out that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
  • If you are a fan of the outdoors and don't mind getting wet and wild, canyoning is just the activity for you.
  • On your first day out, you can generally expect the time from the beginning of your introductory lesson to getting back into your warm clothes to be between three and four hours.
  • Bearing in mind that most canyons are found in remote locations, you can expect that, including travel, your canyoning experience will take up the better part of your day.

2. Who can do it?

  • Almost anybody with a good degree of mobility can enjoy canyoning.
  • However, those with a fear of heights or water should think carefully before booking themselves on an excursion.
  • Minimum age limits often apply, and generally range from 10 to 16 years old.

3. Where is it done?

  • Canyons are geological features normally created over many millions of years by water eroding deep into rock from a plateau.
  • Canyons are found all over the world and many people make canyoning an integral part of their travel plans.
  • Popular canyoning locations in Canada include Quebec and Jasper National Park in Alberta.

4. Equipment

  • Most canyoning companies will provide all the safety equipment required including helmets, flotation jackets and wet suits, but always call ahead in case of any extra requirements.
  • Ordinarily, you will need to take your own footwear, towels, clothing and food.
  • Footwear should be comfortable, secure on your feet but with a good grip.
  • Thick soles are advisable as there is a good chance you will be walking over hidden, jagged rocks.
  • Do not take your best shoes as your feet will spend a fair amount of time under water.
  • Most companies will allow you to take a camera that fits to your wrist, waist or helmet, so you can film your experience.

5. Skills needed

  • Aside from being steady on your feet and being fairly proficient in water, the only real skill you will need is to listen closely to your instructor.
  • Your instructor will know the canyon and will possess the skills to keep you safe.
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