Jumps, water slides, climbing and direct contact with the river. Canyoning is a fun leisure activity. It is like experiencing the thrills of a water park, but in a truly natural environment.
Canyoning consists of going down the bed of a high mountain river. This can be done walking, running or swimming, but always accompanied. Despite the fact that, based on the descent’s level of difficulty, even children can do it, it is an activity that involves some risk.
One must be in good physical shape and know how to rappel and swim. Furthermore, a variety of equipment is necessary: wetsuit, helmet, canvas boots, watertight container, harness and rucksack. Most of this equipment is provided by the company which organises the activity, as part of the package.
Canyoning can be done anytime of year, although each season affects the conditions of this sport in its own way. In the springtime, the ravines flow with a great deal of water due to the thaw. In the fall, the rains also cause the level of the rivers to be high. During the summer and winter, the water level drops, but the possibility of a thaw makes it important to take extra precautions.
In Catalonia, one can find ravines in the Pyrenees, especially in the area of Pallars Sobirà and in the town of Llavorsí, with the Berrós and Estaron ravines. They can also be found in the region of Garrotxa, where ravines such as Sant Aniol and Canals are of special note, and in Tarragona, in the Els Ports Natural Park area.
The best thing to do is contact hiking federations in order to obtain information on different places and competitions. One of the annual events that is not to be missed is the Encuentro Internacional de Descenso de Barrancos, Cañones y Gargantas (GORGS), which makes it possible to practice this sport as well as attend technical and scientific conferences.