Can You Go Canyoneering by Yourself?
A person canyoneering by themself, in some shallow water.

As canyoneering is getting more and more popular within the outdoor and extreme-sports community (such as this one) worldwide, it’s only natural one would ask: wait, is it possible to go canyoneering by yourself? Also, some folks like to experience nature all alone. That makes our question even more relevant.

So, what’s the catch? Is canyoneering necessarily a group kind of thing? Do you need a guide each time you hit the canyons? To find the answers to those questions – you’ll simply want to read the article that’s in front of you. In it, we’ll show you if it’s possible to go canyoneering by yourself. Whatever the answer might be, we’ll tell you why things are the way they are.

It’s best you go canyoneering inside a group. By going alone, you’ll be the only one carrying the equipment and making all the decisions. Still, if you’re experienced and skilled enough to tackle a canyon by yourself, make sure some folks know where you are, so they could send rescue if you’re not back by the agreed time.

That’s not enough to satisfy anyone, even the laziest of us. Read the whole thing!

Canyoning or canyoneering? (FAQ)

Before we tackle the main subject with all our intellectual might (a bit of an overstatement, obviously), it might be good to consider some basic info surrounding the topic of canyoning. Or is it: canyoneering? Let’s make that our first task, to see if there’s a difference between the two terms.

Okay, so what’s the difference? Well, it’s like the age-old saying: tomato-tomato. That’s right, both canyoning and canyoneering represent the very same thing. Whether a person will use this term or the other will depend on their cultural background. For instance, canyoning is the term most folks around the world use to describe this activity, while folks from the United States prefer to use canyoneering. That’s all there’s to this confusing “ambivalence”. Also, that’s the reason why you’ll see us sometimes use canyoning, and sometimes – canyoneering.

Let’s see if there are other questions folks like to type into the search bars, besides the one we’ve answered, of course.

What activities are considered canyoning?

Good question! If someone hears about canyoning for the first time, there’s a good chance they’ll somehow picture how the whole thing works, but still wonder: what activities are considered canyoning? 

So, how does one define the activity better known as canyoning (or canyoneering)? The thing about canyoning is that it represents the exploration of an individual canyon from point A to point B by utilizing various outdoor techniques. We’re talking about hiking, sliding, stemming, rock climbing, rappelling, and swimming. A single canyoneering adventure might include all of them, but that’s not always the case. You’ll be happy to know there’s even something called gorge walking (probably the least physically demanding canyoning-related activity).

Wait, what exactly is gorge walking?

We had a slight notion you’d want to know what gorge walking represents. It’s an activity very much like canyoneering. However, it doesn’t involve going down the canyon. In other words, you could say that gorge walking is the tamer version of canyoneering. It’ll often involve folks making their way through a river canyon, some jumping, and some sliding.

Also, if you’re wondering if canyoning is cold, follow that link.

Is canyoneering dangerous?

For our last bit in this introductory section, before we dive deeper into our main dish for today, let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: is canyoneering/canyoning dangerous?

Just like any other extreme sport, canyoneering has the potential to be dangerous. However, if all safety precautions are taken, nothing can go wrong (we’ll talk about it later on in the text). The thing is: as we’ve said, the sport/activity/however-you-wanna-call-it includes disciplines that add some good old risk to the whole experience. That’s why a person must consider all safety issues that might come up and prepare for them in the right manner. Here’s an example of how things can take a wrong turn:

  • Imagine you’re tackling a narrow slot canyon. Needless to mention, they come with some difficult obstacles for canyoneers to manage. That’s because sometimes the only way out of this type of canyon requires you to climb to the top. If in case of an unfortunate event, a canyoneer fails to do some of the moves this strenuous climb requires, they can end up trapped in an area where a rescue scenario is downright difficult. 

Now, of course, this shouldn’t stop folks from trying out this amazing activity. They’ll just need to make sure they’re ready for the task. Both in terms of the required equipment (if you’re wondering whether a dynamic climbing rope fits into that category, click here) and skills (training). Anyway, the topic of canyoneering safety brings us to the main section of the text. Continue reading to find out if a person can go canyoneering by themself!

A man canyoneering, dressed in black, at the bottom of a canyon.

Can you go canyoneering by yourself?

It’s not that unusual to see folks that love to enjoy the outdoors solely by themselves. It’s a feeling that one needs to experience in order to understand. However, should there be some kind of a ban on going alone on certain outdoor adventures such as the ones that include canyoneering? Let’s check that out!

As we’ve already noted, canyoneering isn’t exactly what you’d call the safest activity in the world. There are a lot of things to watch out for and a lot of equipment that you’ll need to carry if you’re going by yourself. Now, even though some outdoor enthusiasts have enjoyed solo canyoneering in the past and remember it as being a thrilling adventure, we recommend that you always go canyoneering in a group. Here’s why we suggest this:

  • By solo canyoneering, you’re the one making all the decisions and carrying all the equipment. Needless to say, that’s not something most folks would enjoy. Also, in terms of decision-making, a couple of heads is almost always better than a single one. Certain canyoneers tell us that they’re prone to making “strange” decisions while tackling a canyon by themselves. So, yeah, it’s safe to say canyoneering in a group’s the way to go.

If, of course, one’s skilled enough and insists on canyoneering alone, it’s crucial that the individual informs a couple of other folks about the location of the adventure. That way, if something goes awry, and a solo canyoneer isn’t back by the agreed time, this group of individuals can contact rescue teams. All in all: if you’re still planning to canyoneer in your own arrangement and by yourself, please make sure you’ve undertaken all safety measures.

Now that we’ve gone through the main bit of this text, let’s see if there’s anything else worth mentioning!

How to start canyoning? (Beginner tips)

Here we’ll introduce you to some beginner canyoneering tips that you’ll find pretty useful before hitting them canyons. The first one has a lot to do with today’s main topic.

#1 Enjoy a guided tour

If you’ve got absolutely no experience in canyoneering, it’s a necessity that you enjoy a guided trip first. Skim through the outdoor community websites, forums, and message boards, and see if there are folks willing to take beginners on a guided tour. Facebook groups or a website such as Meetup might be a good place to start your search. All in all: don’t try anything by yourself just because you’ve read something on the web. 

#2 Learn rock hop

Even before you find a group for your first, guided canyoneering trip, you’ll need to brush up on some movement skills. In other words: you’ll want to try out rock hopping along open creeks. This will help you work all the little muscles you don’t usually use. Also, here’s an additional plus to this activity: you’ll enhance your balancing skills and you’ll learn just what a certain type of rock feels like, are they slippery or not, etc. All in all: this activity will settle the mood for the things to come.

#3 Get fit

Those two words in the title sum up all the physical preparatory steps one must take before hitting the canyons. It goes without saying that canyoning/canyoneering/whatever involves a lot of physically-demanding challenges. That’s, among other things, why you’ll want to maintain a good baseline of fitness. Try to be active as much as possible. Do your best to exercise every weekend and try to squeeze in a session or two during the working week.

Also, are you a swimmer? If your answer starts with “Well..”, it’s probably time to learn how to swim. If you’re looking for more info about the relationship between swimming and canyoning, read this article we’ve published recently.

Final thoughts

Okay, folks, that’s that when it comes to the issue of canyoneering by yourself! As you could’ve read, canyoneering is a fun, yet physically demanding activity that includes a lot of safety risks. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended you don’t venture into a canyon by yourself.

For more tips on this amazing outdoor activity/extreme sport/however-you-want-to-call-it, feel free to follow this link.

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