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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Canyoneering Heaven At Zion National Park

Wall Street Journal correspondent Michael J. Ybarra describes the sport of canyoneering in this news article. He explains that about 60% of Zion National Park is inaccessible to most people - just too rough to get through.

"Unless you're a canyoneer, that is -- in which case you're in heaven, what with 50 remote and technical slots feeding into Zion Canyon, making the national park the epicenter of the young sport. Canyoneering combines rappelling, rock climbing, swimming and hiking and is popular enough that the park requires a permit for groups wanting to journey through Zion's numerous gullies, limiting most to a dozen people a day."

"I should be nervous. After all, I've never been canyoneering before and it's been two months since I broke my ankle in a climbing accident; once I drop down the rope, the only way out is to follow the snaking, debris-filled canyon to its terminus. But the truth is that I can't wait to descend into the abyss. I've wanted to explore the deep recesses of Zion ever since I briefly set foot in the park in high school, 20 years ago. I'll worry about the ankle later."

"Another rap and we're in Orderville Canyon, walking in a streambed most of the time, water squishing out of my running shoes whenever we briefly cross dry land. Life and light disappear once more, the walls rear up again. At times I can touch both sides of the canyon by raising my hands no higher than my hips. Sun and warmth are only memories. The downclimbing and rappelling are easy enough for me; the walking not so."

Read the complete article.


  • At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I believe what excites me most about canyoneering is that as you state in the beginning of your post that the canyons is where you leave almost all people where you can be with yourself, your team, and nature.

    Last week I was in one canyon where part of my party was disappointed that there so many people swimming and playing in the canyon. I said be patient and with in 10 minutes all the sounds were a distant dream as rappelling a few waterfalls left everyone to allow us to explore a world that most will never see.


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