Category Archives: Books & Articles

Nice National Geographic Photo Essay on Aussie Canyons

If this article and photo essay doesn’t spur you towards Aussie canyoning, I don’t know what will. In National Geographic’s typically colorful and dramatic style, Matt Jenkins takes us along on a trip down Danae Brook Canyon, in Australia’s famed sandstone range, the Blue Mountains. Jenkins sets the scene, introduces a couple “rival” canyoneers, and quickly find his way into a canyon with a local enthusiast. While Jenkins offers an interesting story with colorful characters and lots of descriptive action, the real gem here is Carsten Peter’s photo essay, which is linked on the left sidebar of the article. Peter does an amazing job capturing the color, light, and drama of Australian canyons, and it’s worth noting that he does this whilst dealing with wet, dirty conditions which are particularly unfriendly to cameras. Thanks to Peter and Jenkins for highlighting far-away canyon escapades that bring perspective to our own local canyons and dreams about visiting foreign ones someday.

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Eldorado Ticino – A Swiss Canyoneering Guidebook in English

When traveling abroad with canyoneering in mind, it can be difficult to secure good information on local canyons, and even more difficult to get that information in English. Fortunately, one of Europe’s very best canyon areas, Ticino in southern Switzerland, has a guidebook available in English: Eldorado Ticino, by Anna and Luca Nizzola. Here’s what Petzl has to say about Ticino: Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Located on the southern slopes of the Alps, it enjoys a sunny, mild climate during the summer months and offers many water-based activities, including canyoning. The last ice age ended some 12,000 years ago and in its wake it left a multitude of fine, deep, smooth and fascinating granite gorges that today make Ticino one of the most renowned canyoning destinations in Europe. Though my jaw dropped when I saw the price tag ($75 from Canyoneering USA, or 48 swiss francs direct from Swiss Canyon), the book is stacked with reliable information from local canyoneers and filled with gorgeous photographs to boot. Here are the stats: • More than 100 routes: – 60 canyons with complete written descriptions; route, profile, and topo maps; water safety photographs to indicate when water levels are … Continue reading

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“Grand Canyoneering” Now Available from Author Todd Martin

Todd Martin’s widely anticipated canyoneering guidebook for the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyoneering: Exploring the Rugged Gorges and Secret Slots of the Grand Canyon, is now available for purchase through Todd’s website. Since Rich Rudrow wrote such a fine introduction for Mr. Martin’s book, I thought I’d simply copy it here: After four years of painstaking work, and occasionally some heart thumping adventure, Todd Martin’s encyclopedia of Grand Canyon drainages is finally finished. Grand Canyoneering is the first extensive guidebook covering technical canyoneering in Grand Canyon National Park. At 500 full-color pages, highlighting 117 drainages from Waterholes Canyon upstream of Lee’s Ferry to Tincanebitts Canyon at river mile 264, there is an adventure for everyone. Backpackers will enjoy 34 hikes through remote drainages that do not require ropes. Technical canyoneers will marvel at the stunning microenvironments and challenges to be found in the only limestone slot canyons on the Colorado Plateau. And river runners will be surprised at the slot canyon adventures within easy reach that they’ve floated past for years. Of course, Grand Canyoneering has complete and accurate beta to assist in exploration of these places in Todd Martin’s proven writing style, and more than 100 pages are dedicated to … Continue reading

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ZAC Client Janice Holly Booth Publishes Adventure Travel Book

In fall of 2006, I had the particular honor of instructing two fiesty North Carolinan women, Janice Booth and Carrie Miller, in a 3-Day Basic canyoneering course. Janice was writing for a North Carolina newspaper (The Gaston Gazette) at the time, and, as is her habit, she was melding work and play together to research a lifestyle article on canyoneering in Utah. Most of the details of our time together escape my memory, but what remains is the vibrant image of two bold, vivacious women who were also always ready to take on a challenge, be it physical, psychological, or conversational. Since I met Janice, I receive notes from her on occasion concerning her globetrotting and adventuring: sky diving in Canada… horseback riding in Central America… trapeze lessons in Manhattan. Janice is always up to something, sucking the marrow out of her days well when most folks her age are content making an evening TV show the highlight of their daily experience. And it’s not just Janice’s actions that impress me; it’s knowing that while she’s “doing” all these great adventures, she’s “being” adventurous in her relationships too – asking difficult questions of people she’s just met, exploring her own motives and … Continue reading

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Zion’s “Map and Guide” Summer Edition Available on Web

When you pay your fee at Zion’s Entrance Gate, the fee ranger gives you the “Map and Guide” for the current season to help you plan and enjoy your visit. The Map and Guide contains all sorts of information, including facility hours; ranger program schedules; Park maps; fee schedules; information on lodging, groceries, showers, pets, etc.; seasonal weather; vehicle regulations; contact information; and even firearms regulations. While this information is super helpful during your visit, those planning out trips ahead of time might really like to have this information before they arrive. Zion National Park makes this easy with online versions of the Map and Guide. The Summer Guide just came out; if you prefer your Map & Guide in French, German, Italian, or Spanish look here instead. For backcountry enthusiasts, ZNP issues a Backcountry Guide, with information on backpacking, canyoneering, and climbing, which includes information on Park regulations, safety, rescue reports, and recommended text resources. Thanks to the information and design folks in the Park who make these Guides more informative and better looking each year. It’s always a treat to pick up a “new issue.”  

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“Three Cups of Tea” Author, Greg Mortenson, to Speak at SUU

I haven’t personally read any of Greg’s books, but my wife and many friends have, and all I hear are good things about his writing, mission, and adventures. Basically, Mortenson is a mountaineer-turned-guerrilla social worker, helping thousands of kids in rural Pakistan get schools and education over the past 15 years. He has earned tremendous respect and accolades for his work, and is an outstanding example of how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many. If you are a fan of Mortenson’s books, or simply curious about his story and message, invest in a trip to Cedar City next Tuesday, February 1, at 11:30 a.m. for his talk, entitled, “Promoting Peace Through Education”. The lecture is free, but you may want to arrive early to get a seat, as I expect there will be a large crowd in attendance. For a biography on Mortenson and all the nitty gritty on the event, check out the SUU News Release.

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NYC Reporter Posts Video on Mr. Kelsey for High Country News

This is a little old (10/11/2010), but I thought it was worth sharing. Michael Kelsey is one of those famous guidebook authors who many aspiring canyoneers have heard of (usually through his books), but few have met. Kelsey, often referred to as “The Author” not only in his own books, but by the canyoneering community at large, is surrounded by all sorts of fame, intrigue, and infamy as a result of his controversial canyon descriptions, travel techniques, and occasional newspaper editorials. Author Jeremy Miller offers both photographic and oral glimpses of Kelsey here, but only scratches at the surface of the deeper stories Kelsey holds. An engaging introduction to both The Black Hole and The Author, but it’s time for a journalist to dig a little deeper into canyon lore… I’m ready to sink my teeth into a meatier story. The video supplements the written story, “One More Unto the Breach”, in High Country News.

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Imlay Canyon Gear Offers Canyoneering Calendar for 2011

Tom Jones, ZAC canyoneering guide and head of Imlay Canyon Gear and Canyoneering USA, recently decided to “throw together” a canyoneering calendar for 2011. In Tom’s quintessential collaborative style, he put together a first draft, using whatever photos he had tucked away from his own expansive trip experience, as well as images from friends in the canyoneering community. Then he posted the draft on his website, The Latest Rave, and asked 20 people or so to vote, comment, and/or submit their own work for the calendar. After a few rounds of feedback over a few days’ time, Tom had a final draft of the calendar, which I think turned out pretty well for a spur-of-the-moment production. I love the way Tom works, crowd-sourcing his way to bigger and better. He excels at drawing people in and getting them involved, yet comfortably making the ultimate decisions about the direction of his projects himself. Another part of Tom’s style is to offer insight into his process, which he does in classic form with this project, as he takes us through 1st draft, feedback processing, and final results with image-by-image commentary. Stop in to Tom’s site to check out the canyoneering calendar and … Continue reading

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New Zion Guide Book from Local Author Greer Chesher

Award-winning local author and dear friend of mine, Greer Chesher, has a new book out that’s all about adventuring in Zion National Park. I haven’t gotten my mitts on a copy yet, but I plan to soon. Not only does “Zion Adventure Guide” feature Greer’s eloquent, descriptive prose, but also the notable design talents of local graphic designer and book artist, Sandy Bell, who contributed original maps, illustrations, and the overall design work that makes the book “just so”. Michigan photographer Joe Braun, who I blogged on recently, pitched in about 60 images to the book. With this kind of talent involved, the goods MUST be good. The best place to get your copy of Greer’s book might be Sundancer Books in Springdale this coming Saturday, November 27th, when Greer will be signing copies from 2 to 4 p.m. Stop by Therese’s wonderful book store for a good browse during the festivities this weekend, and pick up of “Zion Adventure Guide” to stimulate ideas for exploring Zion in 2011! Here’s the official news release: Zion Adventure Guide: Exploring Zion National Park by Greer Chesher The Zion Adventure Guide was three years in the making and is the first complete guide … Continue reading

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Local Artists Offer Southern Paiute Lecture Next Wednesday

If you can make it to Springdale next week Wednesday, join the crowd in attending a free lecture and book signing by Rockville writer Logan Hebner and Springdale photographer Michael Plyler. Hebner and Plyler are both skilled artists AND engaging speakers, making their presentations consistently enjoyable. These gentlemen have undertaken some great work in recording oral histories from Southern Paiute elders, pairing these stories with authentic portraits of the storytellers. Fortunately, they have finally committed their endeavors to a printed book; I look forward to turning the pages of a copy. Here is the news release from Z-Arts!: Join us for an evening with local author, Logan Hebner and local photographer, Michael Plyler for a discussion of their highly anticipated book, Southern Paiute: A Portrait, compiled from the Southern Paiute Oral History project.  A book signing will follow the presentation. “In this carefully-wrought book, thirty unforgettable Southern Paiute people speak to us.  Logan Hebner is our guide, our Studs Terkel – unfailingly generous and warm.  Hebner asks: ‘Why, in all this time, has nobody simply asked the Southern Paiute for their stories?”  Hebner did just that, and in doing so, he was able to record stories that exist nowhere else … Continue reading

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