Canyoneering Lecture, Thoughts on Tracking

Friday morning- I have time for a quick post. I went to the Boulder REI last night for a lecture on Canyoneering.  It was very informative, and mostly confirmed what I thought I knew about the “emerging sport”. It also answered a bunch of questions that I had.

First, according to A.J. Pastula (his website is, who gave the lecture, Canyoneering is defined as traveling through canyons.  In every other part of the world the sport is referred to as “Canyoning”.  So, I have been Canyoneering for years and years.  I have been doing non-technical Canyoneering for the most part, although there have been times when I have been in very technical situations.  Canyoneering is different from climbing in that you are traveling down for the most part, or laterally,  and not up.  The technical aspects of climbing- ropes, anchors, belays and so on are still very applicable. There are many new and exciting challenges in Canyoneering that you won’t find in climbing a big, dry wall.  You can still fall, break something, or worse.  But in Canyoneering you can get stuck in a muddy pothole in the middle of a canyon, in the middle of nowhere, with no way out.  It has happened to many people, some who have been rescued, and some who haven’t .

Preparedness, caution, and common sense are key to enjoying and surviving the sport.  Leaving an itinerary, knowing wilderness skills, traveling in goups, and carrying a personal locater beacon are all recommended precautions.

For more information on Canyoneering, visit the American Canyoneering Associatiton website.

On to Tracking

I have noted in many of my posts how my son and I do a lot of tracking, how we follow tracks whenever we find them while hiking- coyote, fox, rabbit, dog and human- to name a few.  I am now taking our tracking further.  I have just ordered a couple of books on tracking- humans mainly- from Amazon.  I will post more about them once I get them reviewed, in the next couple of weeks.  They were on the recommended reading list from the Tactical Tracking Operations School, one of the leading military and law enforcement tracking schools in the U.S.

I found out about this school from the recent Blogs posts of an old friend of mine- a photographer, journalist, and war corespondent-  who is currently attending the British Army combat tracking course in Borneo.  You may recognise him- he has been featured on manymajor news outlets including CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and NPR. You can read his posts from the course at his website- Michael Yon Online. His posts from the tracking school are very interesting.  He is learning some great stuff.  Be sure to take a look at his writing and photos from Iraq and Afghanistan where he has spent many years covering the situations there.

Look for more on both of these topics soon on the Desert Explorer website.

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