Hiking, climbing, swimming and even jumping are some of the activities included in the adventurous nature of Canyoning. The sport is a combination of many skills in the wild and one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities. Below in our detailed article you will find all the necessary information before your first contact with the sport.
Table of Contents
What is a gorge?
First, before we begin the analysis of Canyoning activity, we will briefly explain what gorges are. Gorges in general are a geological feature. They are created by the erosive action of the particularly rapid water currents that exist in the mountains, with the final result of the gradual dredging of the respective soil. Other causes of a gorge can be a tectonic process, an earthquake, the collapse of underground tunnels, volcanic activity, as well as some glacial activity that creates extensive cracks. Gorges are usually mountain rivers, with a continuous or even seasonal flow depending on the soil, depth and temperatures.
For climbing Mount Olympus, you can see our article here.
What is Canyoning?
Canyoning or crossing gorges is an outdoor mountain activity. It can be divided into water or dry outdoor space depending on the type of gorge (if it has water or if it is dry). It is an activity that includes, among others, a lot of exploring. Canyoning as a whole, consists of descents that usually start from the highest point of the gorge and end at the lowest point of water drainage (in the event the gorge has water).
On the way down a gorge you will go through various natural obstacles. As we described in the introduction, canyoning is a mixture of skills. It will require walking, swimming, descending or rappel, and even crawling. The activity of Canyoning, obviously requires special equipment and corresponding techniques that are adapted to the respective environment that we have to face. It is an activity that cannot be undertaken by beginners alone, as there should always be at least one certified and experienced guide in the team and an assistant respectively.
Before the start of Canyoning
First a gorge must be selected that corresponds to the group number. Difficult and demanding gorges should be avoided by groups with a large number of people.
We study the weather, temperature, rain or fog to know respectively whether we should proceed to the end of the activity or not.
Gathering and studying information about the location of the gorge: How to approach it, where to park, how much hiking time it may take and all the relevant details before starting our activity.
When does the activity take place?
There is no specific restriction. Canyoning activity can take place all year round. The only condition is that the weather conditions allow it (if there are no strong winds or thunderstorms).
What is the necessary equipment?
Each piece of equipment has its own use and all participants should be properly trained.
Guides and assistants should have with them:
- Bags for equipment with watertight containers for everything that must remain dry.
- Ropes used for the descent.
- Downhills, lanyards, chestbrakes and handbrakes.
- Rescue and first aid equipment.
- Their personal equipment (clothes, food).
Ordinary participants need:
- One-piece suit and Neopren socks.
- Anti-slip boots, so that there are no accidents when walking, but also when descending.
- Canyoning Zone.
- Helmet mandatory throughout the descent and crossing.
- 2 Dynamic ropes (self-safety) with a safety carabiner and a simple one.
- 1 downhill with 1 safety carabiner.
Personal equipment (clothes, food, water, camera). An explanation of the use of the equipment and how to move through the gorge should be given before the activity begins.
Jumps & Slides
There are several gorges that offer us the opportunity to cross a waterfall without the need for a rope descent. We can just make a jump or use the natural slides that have formed on the rocks from the erosion of the water. The above should always be done under the supervision and guidance of an experienced Canyoning instructor. The moments inside the gorge is what everyone is looking forward to, but we must know at the same time that it is something dangerous.
The jump is always done with the arms and legs closed when we enter the water. Jumping over 13-15 meters is prohibited. The reason is the risk of injury to our waist from the pressure we will receive during our contact with water. We never jump, unless the point where we dive into is checked first.
Obviously the above alternative ways are not obligatory and if someone does not feel well or fit enough, they can continue their normal descent with a rope.
Gorges we have visited
Below we will describe two of the gorges we have visited: one dry and one with water.
The gorge of Myla is located in Kato Alepochori. As soon as we pass Aigeirouses after a few kilometers, we stop at the exit of the gorge. From there the hiking starts to reach the entrance of the gorge. The dirt road we follow is about 2 km and requires a 1 hour walk. This gorge has continuous descents (16 in total) and is narrow and lovely for photos. The largest descent is 25 meters. The exit of the gorge is right where we left our car, on the beach, giving us the opportunity for a last swim should anyone want it.
You may watch a video of the descent down the Mylon gorge below:
The gorge of Kallithea is located above the seaside village of Lykoporia near Xylokastro. From the village “Elliniko” we follow the dirt road in the direction of the church of Agios Loukas, where there is a corresponding sign on the route. After the right side of Agios Loukas, a mini walk of 15 minutes starts until we reach the entrance of the gorge and the descent begins. The gorge consists of 24 descents, several of which can be done by jump or slides depending on the height of the water. Be careful because the waters in this gorge have clay and are cloudy, so check them before each jump. The gorge has water all year round. It would be sensible to leave the car at the exit of the gorge, so that you do not have to walk back up to the church again.
Videos from the descent to the gorge of Kallithea can be seen below: