Another Frequently Asked Question we get from a lot of first-timers who are interested in taking a tour, but are new to rappelling and canyoneering in general is, of course: What exactly IS canyoneering, anyway?
We’re glad you asked! The simplest description of canyoneering is: The exploration of canyons. To go a little more in-depth, let’s take a page (literally) from Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons, second edition, by our own David Black. (pp. xi, 1-2.) First off, a canyon is a deep, narrow valley or chasm with steep sides or cliff walls that have been carved and shaped by moving water. (For you trivia fans, a gorge is usually steeper and narrower than a canyon.) The exploration of a canyon (and descending/ascending it) may require any number of activities, such as hiking, scrambling, jumping, sliding, rappelling, and swimming. In North America, there is a vague distinction between “canyoning” and “canyoneering,” but more often than not, the terms are used interchangeably, with “canyoning” being the favored term in English-speaking countries outside the United States. Other names for canyoneering include “kloofing” (S. Africa) and the Welsh phrase”cerdded ceunant.” One thing that separates canyoneering from hiking is equipment, such as ropes and harnesses. It can be summarized as a hybrid of rock climbing, hiking, river running, and wilderness skills. For those of you who are wondering, we keep our canyoneering day tours on the recreational side. There is some hiking and swimming during the tour, but no technical rock climbing, navigating or camping.
Canyoneering in America is at least several hundred years old, but during the late 20th century, canyoneering became popular with aging climbers who had the skills and penchant for exploring some of the world’s loneliest places. Word spread via guidebooks and the media, and by 2000, canyoneering was one of the fastest growing adventure sports.
You can sample a tasty morsel of canyoneering during a Rappel Maui day tour. These are recreational experiences for the uninitiated and experienced alike, and last about 6 hours. The tour is great for those looking for a unique outdoor activity that weds incredible tropical scenery with excitement and fun. It’s great for families, couples, groups, conferences and solo travelers. Learn more online or call us at 808.270.1500 7 AM-7 PM any day of the week to ask your own questions.
For a deeper dive into the principles and practices of canyoneering, take a one-day or multi-day class in canyoneering. These are led by master guide Dave Black, and take place in a wet rainforest canyon on Maui. Classes cover the full range of canyoneering subject matter, with lots of hands-on practice, from introductory to advanced, plus the availability of specialty classes in wilderness rescue and first aid. Have something special in mind? Learn more about canyoneering classes here or call 808.270.1500.