Tag Archives: wet canyoneering

Wet Spring Conditions in Birch Hollow

A few interesting things to glean from this video of a recent (4/29) Birch Hollow descent: • Birch is still flowing (2 -3 cfs, from the vid?), which makes for a fun and interesting decent of a usually-dry canyon. Birch is NOT somewhere I’d want to be in a flash flood, but the relatively constant nature of spring melt makes for great wet conditions. • These guys demonstrate a nice variety of assisted-downclimbing and rappel techniques, along with the benefits and detriments of each. Definitely entertaining and educative to compare. •  The author notes that while the canyon was fun, it was also cold and slow. The entire party was numb halfway through, which probably decreased the fun value. Bringing wetsuits or drysuits would have likely made things a lot more comfortable.

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Flowing Water Makes Spring Canyoneering Awesome

In The Secret Knowledge of Water (I think), Craig Childs writes about canyons as enormous, beautiful machines for moving water. The desert’s plumbing system, if you will. Twists and turns and slopes and swirls, all carved, grain by grain, by water making its way downward, in unthinking efficiency. And the remnant of this dynamic fluidity, these rushes and trickles and torrents, are our canyons. If you’ve never experienced a flowing canyon, it might be difficult to understand how alive a canyon can be, how someone could equate a flowing canyon to a living, breathing animal or being. And you might be GLAD you’ve never been in a flowing canyon, as most people equate flowing canyons with life-threatening flash floods, borne from summer thunderstorms. Every spring, however, as the snow melts from higher elevations and the saturated soils rejects spring rains, the canyons reliably flow, creating a wonderful world of water music, waterfalls, and raised voices, straining over the cacophony of running water. While spring canyoneering often requires drysuits or wetsuits to fend off frigid waters, the fun it absolutely worth it. There is nothing like enjoying a good dousing while rappelling through a waterfall, or swimming in deep, fresh water between narrow … Continue reading

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Ouray Canyoning Guidebook Now On Sale

For all you canyon hounds looking for a wetter, colder, louder breed of adventures, check out Micheal Dallin’s new guidebook, Ouray Canyoning. Detailing eight fine canyons in the Ouray, Colorado area, the book goes for $16.95 and likely gives you enough info to get into and out of trouble in some hard-rock canyons featuring good flow. We haven’t gotten our mitts on the book yet, BUT you can peruse a few pages at the link above for examples of the natural history, canyon schematic, and logistics information layouts. Which is nice. If you’re hot to get out to Ouray for these canyons, plan ahead. Unlike the near-year-round accessibility of southern Utah’s canyons, the window for Ouray canyons is somewhere in the 30 – 75 day range, right between torrential snow melt, summer downpours, and autumn ice glazing. Hit it right, though, and you’re sure to have some serious Class C fun in some beautiful high country. If you’re in CO, find Ouray Canyoning in Ouray at Ouray Mountain Sports, or in Boulder at Neptune Mountaineering. If you’re further afield, find the book on-line at Canyoneering USA, or just keep a sharp eye out for the book’s eventual arrival at your … Continue reading

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