Canyoning / Canyoneering – What is it?

What is Canyoning / Canyoneering

Canyoning and Canyoneering are terms used to describe an adventure sport that combines hiking, wading, swimming, jumping, sliding, boulder-hopping, scrambling, rock-climbing, sometimes pack-rafting and always rappelling — often over waterfalls.

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Our Lead Instructor Canyoning through Das Boot Canyon
Gokul – Our Lead Instructor, Canyoning through Das Boot Canyon

Canyoning (or Canyoneering) is a trek through a canyon. When a river or a stream flows through rocks for many decades or centuries, they have a natural tendency to cut through the underlying surfaces. Such geographical structure carved out by the flowing water is called a canyon. Some canyons might still have water flowing through them; whereas some other canyons, if their surrounding area had become a desert, water would’ve ceased flowing tens or hundreds of years ago.

So, hiking to the top of a mountain, getting down into a canyon and following the watercourse is called canyoneering. If some spots in the canyons are waterfalls, then in order to continue further down, we will need ropes and other types of equipment along with the required knowledge and practice to use them. Such a controlled descent of a rock face using a rope is called Rappelling (in Europe it is called Abseiling).

Lena on the second rappel at Seven and Half Cups ( Ezharakundu Falls)
Lena on the second rappel at Seven and Half Cups, Wayanad, Kerala

Is Canyoning same as Waterfall Rappelling?

Though rappelling and rappelling over waterfall are important tools in this adventure sport, there is more involved. In canyoning, we move as a team from one rappel station to another carrying all our gear. The important aspect here is to travel through the canyon.

What’s the big deal?

There are quite a few reasons why we like canyoneering. They are as follows:

  • It’s a mix of many sports like swimming, trekking, rappelling, sliding etc.
  • We will get a lot of time to play in the water like slides, jumps, swims, rappels
  • It’s a team sport. Someone will be setting up the anchor, someone will give belay, you assist each other to down-climb etc.
  • There is a sense of discovery. We travel through places where rest of the population can never reach and we see amazing rock sculptures carved by nature.
Having fun in Hellhole Canyon, Wayanad, Kerala

Skills required for Canyoning / Canyoneering

Canyoneering is an emerging adventure sport in the India, and has grown significantly in popularity over the past few years.  This sport has unique risks and requires a very specific set of technical skills to enjoy it safely. Rock-climbing, caving, mountaineering and swift-water training teach related skills for your ‘toolbox’, but Canyoning has become highly specialized, and much of the gear and many of the techniques of Canyoning are distinctly different from those of the other sports

Related pages

Please visit the following pages
1. Canyoning in India
2. Courses offered by BASCOOL
3. Syllabus of Canyoning Courses
4. Recommended Gear for Canyoning

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