First of all I want to make clear that I am a simple fan of canyoning, not a professional like others, and that everything I explain in this article are tips based on my personal experience. I do not have a personal blog about Canyoning so I will use this channel to tell my experience in my travels and the world of canyoning, and always advise you from my experience what equipment to buy according to the level you have.
For me canyoning, canyoning, is the most complete, fun and beautiful sport I know because it includes other techniques such as trekking, climbing, diving, rappels and even swimming and diving. All this in a natural environment, normally virgin and out of the ordinary, since a torrent surprises because it does not resemble the landscapes to which people are accustomed. In fact sometimes it gives the feeling that you enter another world apart, with vertical walls, no noise, no people.
Although I started 8 years ago to practice this sport in Mallorca, where I live, in the first I only made two or three ravines a year at the most. It has been in the last two when I have really started to practice more seriously, being rare the week in which I do not do one or two and I have been knowing different flagship places of this sport apart from Mallorca, like Guara in Huesca, the Pyrenees Lleida or Ticino in Switzerland. Although I always say the same thing: “the most dangerous thing we do a day of ravine is when we go and we go back by car”, we must not forget that it is a “risk sport”. And to minimize the same you have to always practice it with experienced people (in this particular discipline and in the ravine in question that we are going to do) and with the right equipment. The way to practice canyoning will depend on each person.
There are people who prefer to go fast and alone and be equipped with a neoprene suit very thin but very flexible, and if they know the ravine in question, even go without harness as they jump or disturb everything. However, it must be remembered that in a torrent there can be an infinity of unforeseen circumstances (trees or freshly fallen rocks that prevent the passage or a jump or that have broken the meeting that was put in a rappel, unforeseen storms with the consequent danger of avenue , slips with fall that cause an injury, etc.), which can transform something very easy a priori in a very complicated situation to overcome.
It is very important to keep in mind that a torrent changes radically depending on the flow it carries. For example, I know two cases of fatal accidents per avenue in the easiest a priori torrent in Mallorca: Coanegra. Never underestimate a torrent. And sometimes it can happen that a torrent changes radically when it dries and it is very difficult to get out of certain pools or that the ropes that we normally carry to do it, are not now long enough, as it can happen in the Gorg Blau-Sa Fosca.
WHAT BASIC EQUIPMENT BUY TO DO BARRANQUISMO
Topography of the ravine.
It is very important not to rely completely on existing topographies, which tend to have many errors and never go on just ropes, which, by the way, get shorter with time and use. Which can also lead to some unpleasant surprises. Usually you get a guide to ravines of the area in question or the Internet.
Neoprene (with or without inner lining), booties and gloves.
Like each of the materials used in ravines, wetsuits are a world. The normals are two pieces (5 mm bib and jacket with 4 mm hood) with reinforcements in knees-shins, ass and elbows. When one begins to make ravines it is usually very slow, so by many layers of neoprene that you wear, you end up going cold. Neoprene also does not work if it is windy, so you can also put windbreaks on top. It is essential that the neoprene fit us as best as possible but without cutting our circulation or preventing us from moving as if we were a Michelin star. My advice is that in the ravines, in order not to get cold, you have to go as fast as possible. Whenever you can take a leap, do it before setting up rappelling (in which you usually waste a lot of time) and as long as it is quite aquatic, wear the hood because water usually enters the neck of the suit. I have several wetsuits. If it is not summer, I usually wear a pair of lycra with hair underneath and on either a Tribord 4 and 3 mm windsurf neoprene or a 5 and 4 mm Sealand Inferno in one piece.
As for the booties and gloves (always take them) I have about 3 mm and other 2 mm for summer. In summer the gloves sometimes are left over. Although sometimes it is more advantageous what protects you from chafing and bumps. That depends on each. Interior Lycra underneath the neoprene I always wear. They have to be with inner hair, otherwise they do not prevent the heat from escaping You can also put one a neoprene vest. I also wear it when it’s very cold, on top of the lycra and under the outer neoprene.
It is a highly recommended option. As I said, in very aquatic ravines, most of the heat is lost by the water that enters the neck in each jump (in case of not wearing the loose hood). Normally, wetsuits with a built-in hood are usually very thick and, therefore, remove much mobility. The loose hood you can put it with a neoprene much finer (one of surfing, for example) and flexible and you can not lose heat, which fulfills its function without removing mobility. I have a luxury xxx. Although in the middle of winter I take the neoprene of two pieces.
Helmet. The helmet is like the seatbelt in the car.
You can do a torrent in many ways, even in balls if you like, but never without a helmet. In a torrent you can always fall a stone, more if the day is windy and / or rainy. And I have seen on more than one occasion how someone has fallen on a stone that without the helmet would have caused a serious accident. Apart it protects you from the impact of water in high waterfalls or high flow. Or if you hit a rock or branch. A helmet must be homologated and above all safe and comfortable and must be able to fit perfectly to our head. I also have different helmets (with or without camera support). All of them Peltz. My recommendation: the lighter is usually more comfortable. I have seen people wear bike helmets and others. It is not advisable. The canyons are specifically designed for this activity, they bring straps to place the front, they are designed to jump in case that in a jump too high the thrust of the water on it can damage the neck, etc.
FOOTWEAR FOR CANYONING
It can be used from sneakers to boots, whether specific to ravines or not. My advice is not to use different shoes for the approaches. In the end it means more weight and volume to transport. And above all, wear shoes with soles that grip as much as possible in the wet, which under my personal experience are the Canyoneer 5.10, by far. There are specialized boots such as Adidas or Bestard. I used the latter, which although they were quite durable and comfortable, did not hold especially well. Since I tried the 5.10 I have not used others. Although they last less, the greater security they give more than compensates. Remember that a slip avoided in a torrent, where a rescue is very complicated, is priceless. And always 3mm booties under the footwear. I take them since I get out of the car (except in dry torrents in summer). The feet is the only part that is always in contact with the water, no matter how little the torrent carries it (unless it is completely dry). And there can always be pools and steps where you get your feet wet. With the booties that stops being a problem, even in the approaches.
Types of harness for canyoning
There are many types. They can be used as scalds, although it is best to wear protective capes (profitable if you make many ravines) or specific ravines. There are also some options to take one of climbing and place a culera that are sold separately, but be careful, it will not happen to me, I bought it online and then did not fit into my climbing harness. The harness is the safety element, along with the rope, in which you will lose your weight. If it is damaged, throw it away. It is not worth gambling for 60 or 75 euros. I used a climbing one before, without a kick. I currently have a Singing Rock, although the tightness of the waist does not stop convincing me. While the culera reguarda much to the neoprene. Although you lose some grip
Descender with basic carabiner and types of knots
Although the normal thing is an 8 (there are many typologies, although for me the greatest of all life is the best), I recommend a Piranha for ravines, which I usually carry with the rope in fast. It is the most versatile and easiest to block. Try to block yourself in a flyer with an 8 in fast, you will see that it is not easy. I also have an OCA (Kong). But he does not finish liking me. I see it too big but it’s easier to block even than the piranha. You can descend with a carabiner and a dynamic knot, but the rope curls and wears a lot. The truth is that by descending you can do without a descender. I do not recommend it. The advances are to make things easier. You can use others like the Stop (only for big verticals and without water !!). But be careful. In a torrent many times it is more dangerous to drown (even in the middle of a waterfall) than to fall and stick a good crash
Vagas (2) with carabiners
Many meetings are on exposed or slippery sites. You always have to make sure. It should be transformed into a custom that can always avoid an accident. You can go with just one vague or even without it. I do not recommend it. Ideally, one is long and the other shorter and the carabiners are self-insured In addition vague will serve to use with a fist to ascend a rope or self-block to solve a problem (knot in the rope or any obstacle or mishap) You can buy them already made (with flat ribbons or ropes) or make them yourself with a long enough rope. One thing, the vague ones are not dissipating, you can do them with climbing rope or ravine, it does not matter, you will not notice the difference. Another thing is the ferrata dissipaters, which do spring effect, but are not suitable for ravines. In the next post I will share what equipment I consider optional and advanced and where to buy. I leave the links where I usually buy my equipment here in Palma, I hope to be of help! If you want to share a comment about my post or you want to ask me something, I’ll be happy to answer you!