Tag Archives: stemming between two walls

Stemming: An Essential Canyoneering Technique

If you ever played on a jungle gym or climbed up the door jambs of your home as a kid, you know how fun it is to play with the simple, opposing bodily forces. Climbing around a natural or structural environment is both intuitive and irresistible to most children, one of the original ways to have good, clean fun. So why, as we grow older, do we stop our monkeying around? I think one of the reasons canyoneering makes us feel so much like kids is the literal return to our childhood travel methods. In the canyons, we crawl, climb, swim, and hang, just like we did when we were kids. My favorite canyoneering technique is STEMMING, the multi-faceted act of using our hands and feet to travel through rock corridors without touching the ground. While there are a number of variations on stemming, such as chimneying, bridging, and galumphing (to name a few), all stemming techniques share a common element: Don’t touch the ground. Practically, there are lots of reasons to get off the ground. We may want to avoid a pool of over-our-heads water, or a deep, dry pothole that would be tough to escape. We may be … Continue reading

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