Famous for powder ski resorts, rejuvenating hot springs, stunning trails and climbing destinations, Banff is a mountain town packed with outdoor adventure.
An intro to the sport…
Taking place deep in the canyons of West Vancouver, with waterfalls, swimming holes, and natural waterslides aplenty, canyoning is sure to leave you exhilarated and thirsty for more Adventure. But what exactly is this up-and-coming sport? Our team headed out with Yervana Local, FX Gagnon, to try it out!
What is Canyoning?
Are you looking for an Adventure that helps you work your body and mind in a variety of ways? Canyoning is where you’ll find fulfillment! But what is canyoning (known as canyoneering in the US)? What does canyoning even involve? Obviously there’s nature, adrenaline, physical activity, and fun – but what are you really going to do?
Our Local, FX Gagnon says, “be prepared to travel through canyons using techniques that include outdoor activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling [rappelling] and swimming. It’s like entering a jungle gym mixed with a natural aquapark made for adults! It’s a tonne of everything.”
Let us tell you more.
The ideal canyoning canyons are usually cut into bedrock stone- forming narrow gorges with numerous drops, beautifully sculpted walls and spectacular waterfalls. Not only does canyoning involve finding natural water slides cut into the rock, it also involves descending impressive waterfalls using skills like rappelling to lower yourself through the falls. You’ll learn to get in tune with your body and navigate new environments, while getting a healthy boost of adrenaline.
“Canyoning is the easiest way to feel totally disconnected from the real world. You’ll be in a new environment and be provided with a change in scenery- similar to an Indiana Jones adventure!” — FX Gagnon
What we love about Canyoning
Our Yervana team recently went on a canyoning Adventure with FX and we quickly fell in love with the sport!
We began the trip with a safety briefing, and got fitted with helmets and harnesses right off the bat. Before heading to the waterfalls, FX works with you to ensure everyone is comfortable rappelling down dry rock. We started with the basics and worked up to an actual rappel. For anyone who’s a little nervous with heights (or completely new to working with ropes) this is a perfect introduction. And hey, we get it, the initial feeling of lowering yourself off a rock can be a little daunting, but as soon as you realize that you’re completely in control of your speed you’ll feel confident in your new skills. Plus, FX does a great job of taking it slow and encouraging comfortability.
Next, the canyon!
After suiting up in our wetsuits, wetsuit socks and canyoning shoes we hiked for ~30-40 minutes on a trail that meanders along the canyon. Before starting our journey on the ropes, we went down into the canyon and set up beside a gorgeous waterfall for lunch (provided by FX) – tasty build-your-own sandwiches, hot soup and coffee. With a little food in our bellies we were ready to go. FX rigged up our first waterfall rappel and off we went.
Each waterfall is rigged a little differently, keeping the entire experience interesting from start to finish! That being said, the first waterfall was one of our favourites – as you get closer to the bottom of the waterfall, another line guides you away from the waterfall (so you don’t get caught up in the gushing water) and gives you a really smooth landing into the pool.
We rappelled down 4 waterfalls in total, each one different to the last. In between the waterfalls, we explored the canyon, swam in clear pools and dived into the deeper pools! FX made each section feel fun and exciting, while also making sure everyone was aware of safe practices.
Getting into it
Canyoning is an enjoyable, educational and low-risk activity when the risks of the canyon are noted and managed. This is NOT a sport that should be attempted without a guide if you have little or no experience.
The best way to get started is by going with someone who knows what’s up! If you’ve tried this awesome Adventure and you’re really starting to fall for the sport, you can work your way up to more advanced levels. For example, FX adds extra waterfall stops to his canyoning routes with varying difficulty. If the craving for more is burning inside you, he also does training for new and upcoming canyon guides.
So, consider reaching out to FX! As a certified member of the Canyon Guides Internationals he can answer your questions, build your excitement, and take you on the trip of a lifetime. Plus, he’s got some wicked humour and stories to share with you.
Pushing limits in safe and supportive environments is a great way to get to know yourself and your friends on a whole new level! You may know the forests around you, but do you know the canyons? Get to know them on a Canyoning Adventure this summer!
Rain, fog, or shine, Canyoning is a perfect Adventure for any day! Treat yourself to beautiful views, exhilarating rappels, stunning wateralls and memorable moments with this epic Adventure with FX.
RAPPELLING EVENING SESSION
Spend the evening learning how to rappel with this introductory canyoning Adventure. You’ll learn how to check rappel gear, how to prepare for descent, set up the rappel, and rappel down, all on dry land.