Canyoneering
Warnings and Disclaimers

Warnings & Disclaimers

Warning Sign.

I am in no way responsible for your actions or decisions based the information here.  Canyoneering is a dangerous sport.  No matter how careful you are, how much training you have, how well planned your trip is or much experience you have; there is still the possibility of being severely hurt or worse.  Nothing will completely eliminate risk from this sport.  Learn all you can and be safe.  The information on this site is provided as just that, information.  Gather as much information from multiple sources as possible.  Above all be safe and THINK for yourself.

There are a few canyons that are too skinny for a lot of people to visit.  If you are claustrophobic you will be very uncomfortable.  Also if you are too large you simply will not fit!  Be careful and understand what you are getting into before you venture into one of those very tight canyons.  Check out the Skinny Canyon Warning page for a little more information.

Canyoneering includes a variety of dangers to be aware of.  Being aware of these dangers can help plan to prevent them or deal with them when they arise. 

Dehydration can easily occur while on a route if enough water is not consumed.  Traveling in the heat can bring on dehydration rapidly.  Plan to bring enough water along to keep yourself hydrated.  It is a good idea to bring a little extra along incase you miscalculated or somehow lose part of your water supply by breaking a container.  Some areas will have no water on your entire route so bringing everything you need is important.  Other areas will have water along the way and you can refill while on the route.  If you are on a route with water be sure to bring along some form of water treatment kit.  All water, no matter how good it looks, should be filtered.  There are times when the only water you are presented with has been sitting for weeks or months in a pothole full of wood, leaves, or what ever else has found (or wandered) its way into the hole.  Treating the water may not make it taste good but will make it safe.  If traveling in the heat salty snacks or electrolyte replacement drinks are recommended to keep your salt levels up.  Your body needs to maintain a balance between the salts and water levels.  As you sweat you lose salt and water.  If you drink only water to rehydrate, you are adding little or no salt.  This throws off the balance of salt and water in your body.  If this balance gets too far off you will develop hyponatremia which can make you nausea and a head ache.  If your salt and water balance continues to get worse hyponatremia can progress to coma.

Heat and Cold can present serious dangers on the same outing.  Traveling in the heat can quickly dehydrate you leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Wearing clothing to shade you from the sun can not only help with keeping you cooler they can also keep you from getting a serious sun burn.  Another way to avoid getting overheated is to plan routes in hot areas with lots of sun exposure for cooler months.  Cold can be a very serious danger in the wet canyons.  On some routes the hike to the canyon may be well over 100°F, but inside the canyon you will find yourself in 40°F or 50°F water for prolonged periods of time.  This cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia which can be fatal.  Wet suites or dry suits are often used to prevent this.

Falling or something falling on you are some of the obvious risks while on a canyon route.  It is possible to suffer a severe or fatal fall while in a canyon.  While navigating down canyon you may be climbing up, climbing down, rappelling or traversing a ledge.  Loose rock can be the cause of you falling or be what falls on you from above.  Anchors or your own equipment may fail while on rappel.  While maneuvering where you might fall be careful and check for loose rock you might be standing in.  If you are above someone climbing or rappelling try to stay away from the edge so you don't kick loose rock down on your partner.

Flash floods and water flow in the canyon can pose a sudden threat.  A dry calm canyon can very quickly become a raging torrent.  Rain from many miles away can cause a flash flood in the canyon you happen to be visiting.  Before going into any canyon look at the weather reports and ask local authorities if there might be any dangers of flash floods.  The skies may clear over your head but a good down pour 5 or 10 miles away can in some cases result in deadly water flow in your canyon.  If the weather gives you any doubts about how safe you are from flash floods, consider calling off the trip.  Better to do it alive and well later than take the chance.

Potholes offer another unique danger to the sport.  Some potholes are shallow and easy to climb right out of.  Others are deep and not at all easy to get out of.  In some cases the pothole will have standing water in it that is deep enough to make standing impossible.  You have to continue to swim until you find a way out.  At the same time the ledges may be 10 or 15 feet over head and the walls are over hanging on the way up.  These potholes are carved from water so the walls of these are generally smooth.  If you find yourself in a pothole with deep water and high smooth walls you will need special gear to assist you in getting out.  The proper gear is no guarantee you will be able to get out if you do not know how to use it.  If you are unable to get out of one of these potholes you will be forced to swim there until help arrives.  If help does not arrive in time you will swim there until you are exhausted and either die of hypothermia or drowning.

Animals offer another obvious danger.  Snakes and scorpions among other venomous creatures camouflage themselves quite well so be on the look out for them.  Mountain lions can present a risk if you encounter them in a tight section of a canyon.  When cornered a mountain lion will feel the need to fight for it's survival.

These are only a few of the dangers of canyoneering.  Although the sport is inherently dangerous, these dangers can be minimized and make the sport very rewarding.

Canyoneering
Data Disclaimer

GPS coordinates may not be exact.  This is information I have gathered myself during the trips.  The coordinates are generally accurate to within 50 feet or so, usually less than 30 feet.  I try to get as accurate a reading as possible on my GPS before logging the waypoint.  There are times when it is not possible to get an accurate fix or a fix at all, due to degraded GPS satellite reception.  In these cases I use the time stamp from pictures and make note of how fast or slow we were traveling between known GPS acquired points.  From there I can create waypoints on mapping software that are still pretty accurate.  I try to be as accurate as possible but some errors are bound to happen because, well things happen.

Elevation data is not given for every waypoint.  I give the elevations for points that might give an overall picture of the canyon.  The start of the route, the top entry for the canyon, a camp area in the canyon and the bottom of the canyon are some of the common points there will be elevation data listed.  The elevations listed here are only approximate.  I generally use the elevation the GPS had when the way point was created.  GPS elevation data is not perfect.  If no elevation data was available or the number appears to be way off, I look at it on maps on the computer at home and make an educated guess.

Rappels and labeling.  Some drops in a canyon may be a rappel to one person while being a downclimb to someone else.  Everyone has thier own skill set which will determine what they view as a rappel or downclimb.  Some people would rather jump 15 feet into a pool rather than rappel.  So some would call these rappels and some would not.  Also there may be a rappel in low water conditions which maybe a small hop down in high water conditions.  This makes labeling the rappels accurately, difficult.  One person under a certain set of canyon conditions may label a canyon as having 25 rappels and another person under other canyon conditions may label the canyon as having only 17 rappels.  It is important to keep in mind that any guide book or map is only a helpful hint of what you will experience in a canyon.  Be prepared!

Mileages Listed in Quick Facts.  In the Quick Facts section of a route description I list Total Mileage and Technical Mileage.  Total Mileage is simply the total number of miles a canyoneer will travel on foot to complete the route as described.  Technical Mileage is a little more complicated than that. 

In general I list the Technical Mileage as the distance between the points on the map marked as the “top entry to” and “bottom exit from” the canyon.  All of the distance between those points may not actually be technical in nature.  Technical difficulty is not the only criteria used to determine the location of these points on a map.  The visually obvious head of the canyon or the bottom of the drainage where it dumps into another drainage are points I commonly use to mark the top and bottom of the technical section even though that entire distance is not technical.

The Technical Distance listed in the Quick Facts section is to give a basic idea of how long the canyon or technical portion is.  It is not intended to be exact.

In some cases (i.e. the Lodge Canyon Route) the technical mileage will differ from the actual measured distance between the  “top entry to” and “bottom exit from” the canyon points.  Read the trip report / route description to get the full idea of what you will encounter.

Gear Needs Listed.  The items listed on the "Gear Used for Canyon" list is there to show what we used on our journey through the canyon.  For gear needed, I list the things I would bring on future visits to that canyon.  You may need different items depending on the canyon conditions or your skill level.  This list is not intended to be a definitive list of what is needed for this canyon.  If you are in doubt about what is needed, ask a fellow canyoneer.

Canyon conditions change from forces of nature so be prepared for a surprise here and there.  This is an adventure sport after all.  Canyons also change for man made reasons.  Some one might decide they don't like a bolt and yank it out.  Many times natural anchors are added, removed, moved and changed by those traveling the route.  Be prepared to think a little.

Route descriptions listed, are as accurate as possible but things may be different at a later time.  Canyons change with water flow, flash floods and the intervention of man.  The reports may also contain a mistake here and there.  With that in mind remember to always be prepared for the unexpected.  The beta for these canyons is as accurate as possible but you may find a few surprises on your journey through the canyon.