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Thread: Required skills for those you take through a canyon?

  1. #1

    Required skills for those you take through a canyon?

    I take a small group of family through one or two canyons a year. Due to proximity and lack of skill I usually take them through Yankee Doodle using the shorter two rappel entry. Well I think they are finally hooked on canyoneering and want to do a different canyon. Iím thinking about hopping the freeway and doing something like pine creek or the likes. But with more rappelling and a longer day I want them to be more competent before taking them.

    What are a list of skills you prefer the people you take through a canyon have?

    Just a few off the top of my head: locking off, setting up a simple bolted anchor, how to carefully pull a rope, how to handle something getting stuck in the rappel device...

    What else you got?

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  3. #2
    1. How to safely belay from below (Fireman's) as well as above.

    2. Proper rappel techniques - i.e. how to rappel without fraying the rope over the edge of the drop.

    3. Natural anchoring techniques.

    4. How to tie basic canyoneering/rappelling knots.

    5. How to read a topo map.

    I can think of many more although they might be considered intermediate to advanced...such as: Adding friction to your rappel, setting up biner blocks, how to tie your own harness from webbing, how to stop mid-rappel, contingency anchoring techniques.
    "The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man." -Malcolm X

  4. #3
    Maybe if something happened to you in the canyon, would you trust them to get you out safely?

  5. #4
    From your post, it seems to me that Pinecreek might not be the best choice for your group. Since you mentioned that you opt for the shorter raps in Yankee, be aware that the final rappel in Pinecreek is 90' and nearly all freehanging. Even just rigging the rope can be intimidating. If everyone in your group is OK with heights, they might be fine with it. But, if heights are a problem with anyone, maybe pick something else.

    If you haven't been through Keyhole, that should be at the top of the list.

    We took our young kids through Middle Echo years ago and had a blast, but the log to escape the keeper pothole is now missing so beware of that as well and go prepared with pothole escape skills.

    Check out Diana's Throne, although I've never been through it, I've heard it's beginner friendly.

    You really need to head to the North Wash. Right Fork Leprechaun, the Blarney's and the Shillelagh's are fantastic for beginners and families.

  6. Likes Iceaxe, Rob L liked this post
  7. #5
    ^^^That right there is some excellent advice.

  8. #6
    Perhaps take a canyoneering course. I've been with a few people that have and they learned a lot real quick.
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  9. #7
    Thanks for all the responses! Not that it matters too much, skill is skill, but these family members are all grown active men, not kids. Again, skill is skill, not trying to insinuate that age is a replacement for practice - but they are quick learners. I've taken one of them through keyhole and he had a great time. No one is scared of heights, and everyone at least tries to understand the inherent danger in canyoneering and adventuring outside in general. Having taken relatively new people through Pine Creek before, I think its a good step up in canyon for those that can keep it together - especially, as mentioned, the last rappel.

    I'll definitely suggest a canyoneering course, thats a great idea.

  10. #8
    I've been taking newbies every year. I try to have one other "somewhat" experienced canyoneer with me that goes 1st, and I go last.
    Sometime I end up practicing with them before the trip and sometimes, the 1st day of the trip in Yankee Doodle or Lambs knoll (Proper safety checks at beginning of rappel, get comfortable with weird rappel start / Proper rappel starts (don't put hands under the rope, don't let your feet be at the height of your eyes or else you flip, etc.), Fireman belay, how to fold a rope so we're efficient in the canyon, Static and Dynamic (,CRITR,) friction setting, lock off rappel, other basic BKMs: DON'T jump, partner assist, etc. Sometimes, and if time allows, we practice some 2:1/3:1 pulley, and ascending the rope).
    I've been taking at least a couple folks who are afraid of heights, but ended up doing with no problem Pine, Mystery, and Spry. It just takes longer :)

    As for family friendly canyons: Diana's throne is as easy as it gets, I've done Birch Hollow, Keyhole and Pine (I find that people mind the cold water more than the height of the rappel). I also did Water canyon, which can be a long day with newbies, and what I like about it is that there are many escape/bypass options.

    Hope this helps.
    Have fun and be safe

  11. Likes ratagonia liked this post
  12. #9
    Thanks everyone!

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