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When athletes are presented with a list of outdoor activities, they become glossy, and they would want to try something beyond what they can find in their home environment.

Rock climbing and canyoneering are some of the favorite games to many sportsmen and women, and a fair number would go for them.

Interestingly, most people get confused between canyoneering and rock climbing.

People tend to use them interchangeably since both have to do with mountains, but this is not the case.

In canyoneering, you explore sports by engaging in rafting, waterfall jumping, and rappelling.

These two sports are quite different, though some of the used gears may be similar, the two games are different.

In this article, therefore, we are going to make a comparison between canyoneering vs. rock climbing in terms of technical skills that are required in the two games, needed physical fitness, techniques or approaches, goals, and equipment required.

Canyoneering vs. Rock Climbing: How do they compare?


Lauren Monitz wanted to explore the two games and get the difference.

When she compared the two, she found that canyoneering is more enjoyable and approachable and has its unique way of exploring incredible landscapes.

It can take sportsmen and women as young as three years old and as old as eighty years.

On the other hand, Lauren found that rock climbing can be a frustrating mind game and especially when you are trying to determine the best routes and outsmart nature.

This requires more techniques and much learning curve.

Equipment needed

For canyoneers, when they are navigating paths along with pools, waterfalls, and streams, they jump, slide and descend through gorges, with the help of technical equipment.

Though it is primarily done for fun, it is always good to be in the correct gear for safety.

Below are some of the safety equipment that is used for rock climbing and canyoneering.

As we had mentioned earlier, the two sports are much similar and may share some of the gears.

For example, in both games, they require the use of a helmet and harness.

But when it comes to shoes, they are different. In rock climbing, you need special shoes.

These shoes are sockless for grip, but in canyoneering, you wear regular hiking/gym shoes.

Apart from shoes and helmets, there are devices that you require for a safe and fun canyoneering trip.

They include appropriate clothing, ropes, rappelling gears, and a sturdy pair of gloves that will make your hands sounder and also safe to help you when cruising the rocks and even help you when gripping the terrain.

You will also need a waterproof bag that will help you not damage your gadgets, such as the phone, when wet.

Wetsuits, too, will help keep warm and keeping you dry.

For rock climbing, you require carbines, quick-draws, descender, and be-layer devices sling, cord, and webbing.

In canyoneering, you use permanent bolts that serve as anchors while in rock climbing, you set your anchors and ropes in each location.

In rock climbing, you use one rope for the climber and one for the be-layer, but in canyoneering, you use either one or two ropes lines depending on the efficiency you want to achieve and the friction.

Technical skills

Canyoning can be a pretty dangerous game. Therefore, we have several things that you should check before you go out for fun.

Most of these things are taken into consideration by most of the guides and event organizers.

Whether you are planning for a group or independent canyoning trip, make sure you have read about the canyon and the area. This will make you familiar with the quirks and the dangerous spots.

Something that is also very important to do is check the weather report to ensure there are no heavy rains.

Heavy rains can be disastrous as they can make the water levels to rise which can easily sweep you away.

Another factor to consider is your body fitness as the process is involving and only those who are fit can maneuver with ease through the gorge.

All gorge walkers should be fit and be able to swim.

If you are making independent canyoning, you should make sure that you have a guide or someone who knows how to rig ropes.

In both sports, players need technical skills when it comes to choosing routes since it is an involving matter.

You need to take into account the difficulty of the activities and the style to use.

You will also need to choose the quantity and quality of protection that you will need.

Therefore, if you can use a guide book, it will benefit both rock climbing and canyoneering.

The other technical skill that is common in the two sports is abseiling.

Abseiling is a widespread technique in the two games used by the sportspeople when they are on a steep slope, and it is not safe to descend without protection.

The technique was founded by Jean Charlet-Striton, who was a Champion guide.

The equipment required for this technique are ropes, helmets, gloves, ropes, knee pads, auto block knots, and boots.

Canyoneering is frequently done in a rugged and remote setting, and often you are required to possess specific skills to enable you to navigate route-finding and other activities.

Canyons that are ideal for canyoneering are cut from bedrock forming narrow gorges that have numerous drops. Sometimes it may have waterfalls and sculpted walls.

Some of the skills required to have include: scrambling, swimming, walking, jumping, and abseiling.

On the other hand, in rock climbing, you must have the following skills: belaying at the top, trad gear, leading a trad route, placing equipment, racing up, rope system in rock climbing, jug system, finger lock system open hand system, etc.


Canyoneering has become one of the world’s fastest-growing adventure sports. It is never short of a thrill.

The main goal of this sport is to explore.

Canyoneering provides an excellent opportunity to explore the deep and remote canyons that have been etched by years of erosion.

As one examines, sports give an opportunity that leads to areas that are rarely viewed or experienced by other people.

Many people take part in the game for adventure and adrenaline activation.

This is one of the sports where men and women can do as much or as little as one may want.

When it comes to rock climbing, it is primarily for fun since there are many possibilities for each route, and only a small fraction can lead to a successful climb.

Besides, rock climbing can help fight diseases such as depression, increase motivation, and help people deal with problems and their challenges in life.

Also, completing a climb brings satisfaction that comes from completing a challenge.

Final thoughts

In both canyoneering vs. rock climbing, to have the best experience that is enjoyable in good weather conditions, it is best to walk to the gorge in the summer.

You will stay active in a wet environment, and moderate water levels and warm temperatures will provide the ideal conditions for the sport.

It’s a good idea to make your plans for the gorge when there are no heavy rains and thaw. Water levels majorly rely on winter precipitation.

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