By PAT HARTMAN
“Canyoneering – a perspective” is mis-titled. The piece gives way more than a point of view; it’s almost like a 101 course. Chuck, a.k.a. the Motor City Exile, is a certified Wilderness First Responder and a self-defined adventure junkie. He says:
Canyoneering is an adventure sport that is still relatively young and not yet as well known as rock climbing or mountaineering. It does require a variety of technical skills and equipment if you want to avoid becoming a Darwin Award winner by removing yourself from the gene pool.
Even the most experienced guide can never guarantee that an excursion will go smoothly. Challenge is inevitable, and a person needs to be up for it. The very big point made by the writer is that book-learnin’ can only take you so far. The most important piece of equipment to bring along is your adaptability. Conformity to expectation will not get you over. And here’s the best part — Chuck tackles the tricky question of political correctness.
I will hurt your feelings and make you cry if you try to insist on me using an anchor or rope system that I think is sub-standard. You are welcome to do the same should the situation be reversed.
He also covers the mental-health benefits and essential equipment and much more. More basic info is available from the American Canyoneering Association. Apparently, “canyoneering” is American for what the rest of the English-speaking world calls “canyoning.” Whatever. Some of the good places are the Dominican Republic; Aviemore, Scotland; Lake Bled in Slovenia; and Asturius, which is in Spain.
At his blog called Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places, David Wallace discusses the culture of secrecy. Some participants in the sport are at great pains to conceal the prime locations from the rabble. No two canyons are alike. Andrew at StraightChuter specializes in those formed from sandstone.
Examiner Jenna Voight who has, among other things, worked in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics, shares her experience of canyoning in Interlaken, Switzerland, where hypothermia is a particular hazard. At Everest Uncensored, there’s a splendid collection of descriptions of canyoning in a place in Nepal called Sundarijal. And great pictures, too.
Did we mention that Kevin went canyoning? In Corsica, of course, where there’s a river called the Fiumicelli. In The Third Tower Up From the Road he says, “One of the good things about canyoning is that you can’t actually get lost in the traditional sense of the word.” Which is always a plus.