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Beginner Canyoneer

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MassanoL, May 12, 2019.

  1. MassanoL


    Hello everyone!

    My partner and I made to the US for the first time back in 2017 for three months. Best roadtrip of my life. Half of it spent in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona only. Why? BEAUTIFUL. Heaven on Earth. The most gorgeous cracks and I've not even seen 1% of it. It depresses me I live so far away and don't have the financial means to go back whenever I would like to. We have nothing like the Southwest over here. Who cares about bloody history, right? You guys are seriously incredibly lucky.

    We are hoping to return in 2020 if all goes well, with some climbing and rappelling experience before actually landing on American soil and some actual learning experiences through canyoneering courses and field experience once we're back in heaven (read: southern Utah. Northern Arizona could also fit in there ;)).

    When we did go in 2017, we spent the majority of our time in the Southwest all of August and some September - I know that was monsoon season. I am well aware of the dangers. (I may not have the field experience and I do know that nothing can beat that but I've spent hours, days and weeks researching so many canyons and canyoneering and dangers (and forums!) around it so I'm at least probably more aware of it than your average Joe that just decides to go into a little crack that looks completely non-harmful...). I hope however I didn't sound like a smartass. I really really really am aware of how dangerous it can be when you have no idea of what the hell you're doing.

    Basically, when do you most prefer to do your canyoneering? The heat doesn't bother. I've grown up in it so I understand the dangers and am comfortable with it. I would just like to know do you guys just mostly avoid monsoon season or do you still have fun but just avoid areas/days with bad weather? (I also know it doesn't need to rain right over that same canyon for a flashflood to clean us off.)

    Also, I've never been anywhere with keepers. I've grown up spending six months of the year by the coast, but I have a fear of being/going underwater and not seeing the bottom/where my fear are going to land. How do you guys get over that kind of fear? And I'm not even talking about pothole escapes (yet). That's the only thing I'm seriously afraid of. I was very good at swimming away from shore before realising I was too far and couldn't see the bottom so I just relaxed and swim back to the beach. I like swimming way too much to let that fear stop me. I suspect it'll be similar with potholes, but it's just that... you know, dirty water and all of that, and you can't. see. shit.

    FYI, I've only ever done 2As (or what I *think* would fit that) such as your Spooky and Peek-a-Boo (Escalante is beautiful and how can it be taken away from the people?????) and a couple around Page that I have unfortunately no idea what they're called. All required a bit of scrambling but pretty easy.

    Apologies if I sound like a completely beginner. We all start somewhere. I'm happy to take advice from people who have done for a lot longer than I have!!! :)

    And once again... I really wish I could spend my time in Southern Utah. The most beautiful place on Earth.
    hank moon and wsbpress like this.
  2. ratagonia


    Mount Carmel, Utah
    Greetings Massanol and welcome to the Canyon Collective.

    I thank you in the name of our landscape for your kind words.

    I am curious - where are you from?

    During the hot summer months, there are some canyons that work out okay, as long as the weather cooperates. Living here it is much easier - I have plenty of things to do when the weather is not cooperating, but when we get a dry spell, we can do canyons.

    September and October tend to be the best times to do canyons in the desert.

    Keepers do not tend to be a big problem: A. you will likely be doing canyons that have information published on them, and you can avoid the few canyons that have nasty keepers; and B. you can do a couple keeper type canyons (with other people) and learn how to escape them.

    Rick Green in Escalante also teaches a very good pothole escape course.

    Canyoneers tend to be friendly, and you might want to do canyons with some of us locals. A few months out, you might want to ask to get on some trips, and we can plan something.

    wsbpress and MassanoL like this.
  3. MassanoL


    Hi there! I'm so happy someone replied!

    I'm from Portugal (in case any of my English was a giveaway :D), my partner is from England but we live in Austria (surrounded by mountains which are nearly not as fun as canyons but it'll do for skiing in the winter and gorgeous hiking in the summer, hehe.)

    I was unsure whether to go May-June or September-October, but I *really* like the hot weather too (I'm a bit crazy I know but I am Portuguese after all! Currently 35C back home!). We were hiking in 40-something C degrees last time we were there and there wasn't much of a struggle. Although the longest hike we did was 8 miles in Moab in August (so much fun in Arches!) and that was pretty doable. (We do hike up mountains over here and it does get warm as well so maybe we were more well-conditioned than most people). Once we left the main trail, we only saw one person for the rest of the hike! Amazing!

    My uncertainty is basically the weather in the evenings during the times you mentioned. As per last time, we will want to be camping and I've been wondering how cold it'll be. In preparation for this (honestly, I am obsessed with getting back and into these canyons), I've put Moab and Escalante on my phone to check what the averages are. I know, of course, this can change every year.

    Thank you for the course mention! That is something I will DEFINITELY check out. I've seen a couple of the most scary ones on the forum here and it scares the hell out of me.

    I didn't think canyoneers would be anything less than friendly! I am a long time lurker over here and you guys seem to be pretty nice, eheh. I'd love to have a chance to do some routes with anyone who is up to take us along for a ride if they don't mind a couple of beginners!! Would love to learn how to solve some problems with some experienced and friendly people! Height of excitement would be to make even more friends while having the time of my life in the desert once again!

    I may go cry in a corner now because I really really really want to be in the desert so bad. I can't say it enough... you guys have the best piece of land in the world!!!!! Long live the Colorado Plateau!!!
    wsbpress and ratagonia like this.
  4. MassanoL


    PS. Thank you for the reply! And my name is Lara. :) My partner's name is also Tom, eheheh.
    ratagonia likes this.
  5. Nordschleife


    Hellevoetsluis, Holland
    If you live in austria you live near enough canyons to have a lot of fun. Not the same kind as in Utah but enough awesome stuff to discover.
    Tessin in Switserland is the european mekka of canyoning. Italy & Slovenia also have some beautiful canyons, even in Austria canyoning is getting more popular.

    And in these canyons you can swim, jump and slide.:happy:
    What i'm trying to say is don't dissmiss your own surroundings. I live in Holland, No mountains to be found here.:cry:
    Tom Collins and ratagonia like this.
  6. Preston Gable

    Preston Gable

    x2 Rick Green is an awesome instructor. Probably would point you to some appropriate canyons once you complete a course with him.
  7. Forc


    "I may go cry in a corner now because I really really really want to be in the desert so bad. I can't say it enough... you guys have the best piece of land in the world!!!!! Long live the Colorado Plateau!!!"

    Love it.

    The canyons on the plateau are different... and amazing. I get it. No place like it on earth.

    I lived several years in Ried im Innkreis, Austria. The Alps are a special place as well.
    ratagonia likes this.
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