Can You Use Climbing Rope for Canyoneering? 
A person canyoneering with a climbing rope.

The truth is we never talked about canyoneering in detail on this website. Now, we might’ve mentioned it here and there, but we’ve never really focused on bringing this activity closer to our readers. Needless to say, that’s all about to change. Besides answering the question proposed by the title (can you use climbing rope for canyoneering?), we’ll expand our discussion to cover something you’d call canyoneering basics.

Okay, so what’s the deal with canyoneering? Why does it hold such an important place in the world of climbing that we’re feeling a bit down since we’ve neglected it? In the text you’re about to read, we’ll introduce you to this amazing outdoor activity!

Yes, it’s possible to use your dynamic climbing rope when going canyoneering. However, keep in mind that you’ll pretty soon end up annoyed by going in and out of the water all the time. Also, you’ll want to avoid using the dynamic climbing rope for lead climbing once you’ve tried canyoneering with it. 

Now, the info above shouldn’t stop you from taking a closer look at the text that’s below, right? Right. 

Table of Contents

Canyoneering 101 (FAQ)

Before we talk a little more about our main subject for today (the ropes you’ll use while canyoneering), it’s better we first introduce the sport itself to our readers. Without further ado, let’s examine some of the FAQs that always seem to appear once this topic enters the spotlight.

What is canyoneering?

First things first, let’s give this wonderful term a definition it so right deserves: canyoneering is basically the activity (or sport) of exploring steep & narrow canyons using various methods which include climbing, rappelling, hiking, abseiling, etc. Typically, we can differentiate between two types of canyoneering:

  • Technical canyoneering. This type will require you to invest a lot of skill, technical knowledge, various pieces of equipment, and effort.
  • Non-technical canyoneering. It’s a lot simpler than its upstairs sibling. Basically, you can even call it canyon hiking.

Also, let’s talk about canyons themselves as the backdrop for these outings. They all differ greatly when it comes to depth, width, and, of course, composition. You might want to know that the most frequently visited US site is the famous Colorado Plateau, well-known for its otherworldly-beautiful sandstone canyons. Anyway, here’s the best thing about this sport that’s getting more and more popular in recent years: everyone can enjoy it! Since, as we’ve mentioned at the top, canyons greatly differ, their technical difficulty varies, too, meaning folks of all skill levels are able to experience canyoneering.

What do you need for canyoneering?

Okay, let’s discuss basic canyoneering equipment. One can guess that a sport such as this one will require folks to wear a lot of gear. That’s not that different from the truth. Here’s what you’ll need to pack before going on a canyoneering adventure:

  • A few pairs of sturdy boots that will give your feet the much-needed protection. Of course, you’ll want to opt for waterproof shoes & socks. 
  • Top-quality, durable pair of pants that can’t catch on rocks or vegetation. 
  • Some additional layers of clothing for canyoneering in colder or more humid climates. 
  • First-aid kit. First, you’ll have to learn how to use one. Also, you’ll need basic rescue gear. 
  • A trusty backpack that will keep all the food & water you bring along at the tip of your fingers. 
  • Dry bags are a must, too. 
  • Ropes. You’re soon about to find out which ones. 
  • A harness, rappel device, and locking carabiner. 
  • Some additional slings and tools for making/repacing anchors. 

Of course, all of this gear is more closely related to the technical canyoneering discipline. One can assume you don’t really need a rope for some simple non-technical canyoneering. That’s also why when we say canyoneering we actually mean technical canyoneering.

Can you go canyoneering by yourself?

Even though the activity in question is very enjoyable once you’re in a crowd, some folks still choose to try solo canyoneering. Now, you’ll want to know that it’s absolutely best to try that kind of solo adventure only if you’re experienced in the set of challenges you’ll have to conquer (rock climbing, rappelling, etc.). That’s because you’ll want to minimize the risk of anything going awry while you’ve got no one by your side to help you out.

How do I start canyoneering?

Last but not least in our introductory section, we’ve got some tips on how should one start their canyoneering adventure. Of course, for non-technical canyoneering, preparations aren’t necessary. However, try not to go by yourself or something; always try to find an experienced canyoneering companion. What about technical canyoneering? You’ll first want to take some skills classes in order to learn how to handle climbing ropes and rappel. Once you’re ready, you’ll start by tackling some easier canyons, avoiding the ones that aren’t beginner-friendly.

Okay, so now that we’ve covered some canyoneering basics, it’s time we consider the main question of the day: can you use climbing rope for canyoneering? Stay tuned!

A man hiking/canyoneering with a helmet and a backpack.

Can you use climbing rope for canyoneering?

Now, as always, we’ll play the good old now-before-we-directly-answer-your-question game. Just kidding. Here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for: there’s really nothing that illicit with using your old dynamic climbing ropes for the activity called canyoneering. However, you’ll pretty soon find out that it can get pretty annoying in case you’re going in and out of the water all of the time. Also, keep in mind that you should absolutely avoid using your dynamic rope for lead climbing once you’ve used it in this manner (for canyoneering). There’s a good chance they’d end up wet and sandy, which is, as you might assume, not really a good thing for a lead line.

Now that you know if you can use climbing rope for canyoneering, there’s another question that shows up!

Do you need a dry rope for canyoneering?

The thing is: there’s a certain type of rope we call hydrophobic (and here’s where you can find them). You’ll want to know that hydrophobic ropes don’t absorb water. Needless to say, this makes them an ideal choice when packing for your canyoneering adventure. Since they’re not absorbent, they’ll remain lightweight even once you’ve gone through a waterfall rappel or swimmer. Additionally, some of the materials these ropes are made from will make the item in question float, tich is always a good thing.

How many ropes will you need when canyoneering?

Okay, so before you figure out how many ropes should you pack, it’s best you inquire about the length of rappels you’re planning on tackling. They can go from small-size ones like 15 ft (5 m) all the way to 300 ft (100 m), and sometimes even bigger. Your best bet is to obtain differently-sized ropes so you can go on canyoneering trips just about anywhere. Of course, one might think: wouldn’t it just be easier to get a really long rope? Nope. You’re bound to end up annoyed by having to endure carrying all that unnecessary weight.

Anyway, our suggestion is to find yourself four of these differently-sized ropes:

  • 15-meter rope. Some of you might assume that it’s not that necessary to possess such a short rope, but it could be very nice to obtain a rope for such short rappels; you’ll get away with carrying less and mounting your rope pretty fast.
  • 30-meter rope. Okay, so this one will be long enough to tackle short rappels, but also, once paired with a 6 mm pull cord, it might be able to withstand longer rappels.
  • 60-meter rope. This type of rope will prove to be just the thing for most of the rappels you’ll stumble upon when canyoneering. It’s something you’d label as the most standard length of rope out there. Of course, you’ll be able to get even better results with the aforementioned pull cord.
  • 90-meter rope. Now, as you make your way through the world of canyoneering and obtain some good experience, you’ll notice that some of the canyons you’ll tackle will have rappels that are even bigger than 200 ft (60 m). That’s exactly why a sturdy 90-meter (300 ft) rope is the item you’ll want in your canyoneering-gear inventory.

It might seem like a bad investment, but it’s a good one, trust us. Oh, and if you’re wondering why ropes are so expensive, feel free to click right here.

Anything else?

Yup, there’s something we’ve forgotten to mention: one always needs to be prepared for the worse (without being overly pessimistic or something). The thing is: your rope can always get stuck, dropped, or rendered unusable in any other way. That’s also why one should have handy at least 2-3 times as much rope as the biggest rappel in order not to feel uncomfortable with the risk of something going awry with the rope.

One of the best things about canyoneering or climbing ropes is that the aforementioned accidents happen in the first 20 or 30 feet. Now, as soon as you notice something’s not right, there’s a fair chance that all you’ll have to do is to cut the rope and make it shorter.

Parting words

That’s about it, dear readers! Now you’re well aware of the issue of whether a person should use a clamping rope for canyoneering! As always, we hope you’ve had a fun time reading this one, besides learning some new info.

For more interesting info and tips on various climbing-related activities, you’ll want to follow this link.

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