Technical Canyoneering Rating System

  • Canyon Hiking Non-technical hiking where no rope is required. There might be some scrambling requiring the use of hands.
  • Basic Canyoneering Rope recommended for belays, rappels and possible lowering packs and possible emergency use. Basic canyon scrambling, easy vertical or near vertical climbing and down climbing requiring frequent use of hands.
  • Intermediate Canyoneering Exposed technical climbing. Down climbing could be difficult and dangerous where most people rappel instead. Rope required for single-pitch rappels and belays. Anchors are usually existing. Retreat up canyon will require ascending fixed ropes. Basic pothole escaping.
  • Advanced Canyoneering Includes difficult and exposed climbing, down climbing, multi-pitch rappels, complex rope work, anchor problems, advanced problem solving.
    Normal Water Volume and Current
  • A Normally the canyon is dry or holds little water.
  • B Normally the canyon holds water but the current is light or there are still pools. There might be a trickle on the falls, water deep enough that needs to be waded or swam. Wetsuit or drysuit may be required depending on temperatures.
  • C Normally the canyon contains water with strong current and even waterfalls. Swimming deep pools required. Wetsuit or drysuit may be required depending on temperatures.
    Time Required
  • I Requires only a couple of hours.
  • II Requires a half day.
  • III Requires most of a day.
  • IV Dawn to dark and longer if problem arise. Bring a head lamp and plan for possible bivy.
  • V Expected to take an average 1.5 days.
  • VI Expected to take two or more days.

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