I first heard about canyoneering in 2003 when I did a back pack
trip through the Narrows at Zion. We started from the top
of the Narrows and stopped about 8 miles in to camp, then did the
other 8 miles out the following day. I enjoyed being in a
slot canyon very much and wanted more. About 2.5 miles
before getting to the bottom of the Narrows, we saw a few people
coming out of Orderville Canyon which dumped into the Narrows.
They told me it was a more technical canyon and some gear would
be needed to do all of it. When we got back I stopped to
talk to the people at the Zion Adventure Company in Springdale
(the town just outside of Zion). They told me what
Canyoneering was and I decided I would eventually do some of it.
Luke standing on a boulder in the Zion Narrows - 2003.
In 2004 I was on the Thunder River Tail in the Grand
Canyon. On that trip we went to the Colorado
River through Deer Creek. There is a slot canyon that the
trail takes you around to get to the river. After we
enjoyed the river we hiked back up and around the slot canyon.
Ron and I decided to drop into the top of the Slot canyon to see
what was there. We hiked a ways down enjoying the scenery
and were soon stopped by a large drop off. We were at the
top of a 20 foot water fall. Looking up we saw a
bunch of logs that were lodged between the walls above us.
I wanted so bad to to see what was further down but I thought it
was not possible. A few years later (2007), I ran across a trip report
for that very slot. Needless to say it's on my to do list.
Luke and Ron starting down the Deer Creek narrows to explore.
Looking over that water fall that stopped our travel down stream.
In 2007 I was introduced to Canyoneering by Ron Graham (not the same Ron
from the Thunder River Trip). He was leading a group of people
through Fat Man's Misery in Zion National Park and I was
invited. I fell in love with the sport on that trip.
It was a beginner technical canyon, so I was not in over my
head but I got a small taste of what was to come. I got to
rappel into the first drop off and see the ropes pulled down
with us after we were all in. It was a cool feeling at
that moment to realize no matter what, I could not turn around!
We did not have the gear to get back up. The only way out
was to complete the canyon. Along the way I rappelled
several more times and got to experience rapping into pools of
water where I then had to swim with my pack. After that I
wanted more, more, more!
I like canyoneering because it combines many of the things I enjoy
and is mentally challenging.
Over the years I have spent my time backpacking, hiking, learning to
climb (just a little), kayaking, rappelling and various other
outdoor activities. While canyoneering I get to hike, scramble
rappel and occasionally climb. Some of the canyons require
an overnight stay so I get add the back packing aspect to it as
well. Although I don't get to add the kayaking aspect in I do
get to frequently wear a wet suit while in wet canyons.
Canyoneering offers a mental challenge as well. It is fun
learning the technical stuff, but can be mentally challenging
applying it. I also like the feeling of reaching the point of
no return. After completing the first rappel and pulling the
ropes there is no turning back. Every time this happens I
enjoy the feeling of knowing the only way out is to finish the
route. What ever lays ahead must be worked out.
Another aspect I enjoy is getting to see things I would not see
anywhere else, well in a picture here and there maybe. Some
canyons are quite popular attracting a lot of people. Other
canyons on the other hand are visited by a much smaller segment of
the population. Knowing I was lucky enough to be one of those
few people in a difficult to access place, makes me feel all warm