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Canyoning Safety - How to be safe in the canyon

From the canyoning experts

Canyoning Safety

Kia ora koutou,

I feel compelled to very quickly throw some words out to a would-be audience regarding safety and preparedness for those weekend warrior adventure type peeps. The idea being to maybe stimulate some thinking about whether we are going into something we are ready for… or not & maybe need to improve some of our required skills for the activity at hand?

Now we do need to ensure the welfare not only of ourselves but perhaps more importantly our mates! Especially whilst playing in the outdoor mecca we have here in good ol' Aotearoa, New Zealand.

It comes at a time when more & more people are abandoning their urban lifestyle coffee shops and stepping into the great outdoors. We are trying new or renewed disciplines to keep life interesting and that old adage of 'living on the edge' to keep the colour in our lives…& with Canyoning that couldn't be more literal. So while we love the challenge of getting out there and giving things a go, just be mindful of certain consequences should your skill base be too marginal for the activity you are about to partake in.

Adventure is what we love, but if we take the definition of Adventure from Cathye Haddock's Outdoor Safety for Outdoor Leaders Manual;

Adventure is an experience where the outcome is uncertain because key information may be missing, vague or unknown.

However, a group leader of a Canyoning activity or any outdoor activity should be able to operate above the level of difficulty that the task requires. So that leader maybe operating in cruise mode but still enjoying the moments with others whom are possibly having a Peak experience where their competence matches the level of difficulty at hand.

Of course if your team of fellow adventurers are all equally skilled then you may like to test these and potentially have a great learning & therefore growing experience. But I might suggest that when venturing into new areas or disciplines, then working as a team serves best to maintain a level of safety and helps keep everyone in check… the last thing you or anyone really needs is an emergency where an injury has occurred due to circumstances within your control, that could have been avoided with forethought.

Planning a canyoning trip - questions to ask our-selves could be:

1.Do we have a map of the Canyon that shows the hazards and any vertical pitches?

2.Do we have all the correct equipment to negotiate all these aspects?

3.Do we have an Emergency Management Plan?

4.Do we know the weather forecast and the influences of rain in this area?

5.Does our team have the skill level to participate safely?

6.What is our expected time of return & do we have a check out person?

7.Do they know what to do if we do not check out at the specified time?



These are just some questions we should have positive answers for but this is definitely not an exhaustive list. There are a number of organisations that can help further your knowledge in regard to skill base requirements.



Canyonz www.canyonz.co.nz will be running a number of Canyoning courses throughout the year from beginner through to advance learning courses. Feel free to enquire if interested.



Thanks for your time and hope this quick message has helped with your thinking processes.