Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Orderville Canyon

Two summers ago I was introduced to canyoneering. 
Canyoneering is a fun sport that allows the participants to explore beautiful slot canyons. Canyoneering at a beginning level may be nothing more than a walk through a narrow canyon or it can be technical needing harnesses, ropes and a good amount of knowledge and skill. There is something for everyone in canyoneering, but please be sure to go with someone who has already been through a canyon and has had some training so you don't find yourself on the news being rescued or worse. Be smart, be careful and have fun if you go.
Zion is a beautiful place to canyoneer. The slot canyons are gorgeous. We went and did a canyon called Orderville this week. It is classified as a non-technical canyon meaning ropes and harnesses aren't necessarily needed, but they are recommended for those who are not experienced and proficient down climbers. We did not take them because we had a good group of experienced people. 

Once we got past the approach to the canyon (where we ran across a rattlesnake who was up and ready to strike, rattles going and all :O) it was beautiful. There were several difficult down climbs along the way. It was a rugged canyon in my opinion. Rugged because there were so many rocks that it was difficult to walk quickly and I found my ankles wanting to turn and my knees feeling weaker. Take really good canyoneering shoes if you go. This is a must in this canyon. 

Negotiating a down climb

Putting on neoprene socks for the chilly water
The start of another down climb

The Virgin River portion of the hike

Why walk it when you can float it?
I am not going to give any beta about the canyon as all of that is easily and readily found online in several other spots. Canyoneering is an amazing activity. At the end of this canyon our feet had blisters, my muscles were sore we had a few scratches and bumps, but overall it was a fantastic and beautiful outing.
I would not take anyone under the age of 12 and then they need to have good gear and be in good physical condition as the hike totals out to be 12.3 miles. To top it off there is good amount of scrambling and rough terrain.
Happy canyoneering:)