Utah Vacation: Canyoneering

Back in October Christian and I ran away for two weeks of adventure in the gorgeous state of Utah. I'd like to share some highlights from that trip because it really is a beautiful place.

Our entire vacation to Utah was planned around one activity: canyoneering. I've had that item on my bucket list for almost 10 years and I knew I wanted to do it before we had kids. I love trying new, adventurous sports. Canyoneering is a combination of hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, and, in some cases, swimming through slot canyons.

Canyoneering is a technical sport and since we had never done it before, we hired a guide from Zion Adventure Company in Springdale, Utah which is just outside of Zion National Park. We met up with our guide, Mike, at ZAC before the sun was even up. He fixed us up with our gear and then we piled into a 4-wheel drive vehicle for a 45-minute bouncy ride down rugged roads to the canyon trailhead.

We donned our packs (loaded with ropes, helmets, dry suits, warm clothes, food, water, harnesses, and other climbing gear) and set off down the trail. From the trailhead we had to hike up the canyon to reach the top of the slot that we would be descending. Canyoneering is first an uphill sport and then a downhill sport. 

The hike was pretty brutal. We ascended more than 1,000 feet and many areas required scrambling over rocks.

Once we reached the top of the slickrock mountain, we had a small descent to the canyon start. 

We donned our gear and then it was time for our first rappel. Nothing like jumping right in!

Christian on the first rappel
I'm at the bottom belaying Christian.

The first rappel emptied into a pool of water so we got to go swimming right off the bat. We had drysuits on and multiple insulating layers underneath but the water still felt freezing cold. 

The next rappel was a 2-parter: a little drop, swim the pool while still hooked into the rope, and then another drop.

Each rappel threw a little something different at us. This one had a bottomless pothole that you had to skirt around.

This rappel was 180 feet - my gear was pretty heated up after that one!

We didn't just rappel the whole way down-canyon. We waded through pools...

...squeezed our way through some tight places, and scrambled down scary ledges.

After our last rappel...

...we took off our technical gear, stuffed everything back into our packs, and hiked back to the truck.

Once back in Springdale, we went out for big, juicy burgers and microbrew at Oscar's. We were starving!

This day of canyoneering was one of the most fun days of my life. If we lived closer to slot canyons I could see myself really getting into the sport. I am hooked! 

And Zion Adventure Company - we would book a trip with them again in a heartbeat. Our guide was considerate, accommodating, fun, and made sure we were safe every step of the way. What an awesome trip! 

Up next on our vacation: Zion National Park - Angels Landing

Most of the canyoneering photos were taken by Mike from ZAC. Thanks, Mike!


Kathy said…
Simply amazing! My knees got weak just looking at the pictures…you are an adventurous spirit!!
kathatravelling said…
That looks pretty amazing. Maybe I should put that on my holiday ideas list too...

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