It’s been awhile since I’ve found a really good article on canyoneering, but leave up to the Backcountry Blog to deliver the goods. They’ve posted an excellent article that highlights some of the dangers of the sport, with a first hand account of someone running an “X” rated canyon.
Now anything “X-Rated” sounds like a good thing right? Well, not in the case of canyoneering. One thing I learned while reading this article is that slot canyons have a rating system not unlike that used in rock climbing. Where as you will see a pitch rated as a 5.6 or a 5.10 rating, in canyoneering the canyon can be graded as a 3B II or 4C V. You can find more about the rating system on this page. On some ratings, you’ll find an “R” or an “X” added to the end to signify that the canyon is abnormally risky (R) or may run the risk of death. (X)
Once the brief explanation of that above rating system is laid out for us, the rest of the article is a trip report of three canyoneers setting off to explore an “X” rated canyon. The article goes into some interesting, but scary details, of what the three men had to go through while exploring the slot canyon they decided to target that day. In the end, it’s certainly a risky adventure, and not one you should do if you don’t have experience in rock climbing and canyoneering, but it also sounds exhilarating, challenging, and fun.
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