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Canyon Gear for Wet Canyons

What do I need to go canyoning in Washington?

Do I need a wet suit?

Should I have a canyoning harness?

What do I need on my harness?

Do I need a canyon rope?

These are all great questions people should get answers to before rapping down in a PNW canyon. I see a lot of new folks out there not fully prepared to be in PNW canyons, typically climbers, SW canyoners and even kayakers. All these folks have some gear to do canyon things and a enough knowledge to get them in a PNW canyon. The difference between them and having to right gear is how much you will enjoy the experience. Some gear is a must for safety, but the level of safety and comfort can very for each user.

Behind the Scenes

When Ryan first showed up to do the first canyon video he was amazed at how much different gear there was to do, what seemed to be, a similar sport to climbing. In between our canyon days he said "lets go inside and shoot some gear stuff" and what you see is what you got! 😂

After Posting Thoughts

Working with Ryan it can be hard to follow up with all the questions and comments from one video because he is putting out sooo much content. I am glad he now has this space to for me to answer some questions and fill in the blanks of the video.

Details of My Canyoning Harness

Here is my canyoning harness. For the swiftwater canyons I run, I setup my harness as described in the V7 Level 1 Course. I liked the concept of group members having a similar gear making solving problems and dealing with emergencies easier. With everyone carrying a little extra, no one person ends up having to support the team when needed.

You can approach you harness kit two ways:

  1. Gear Based - Buy all this gear and you're good-to-go. It works, but the problem is the gear is only half of the solution... You need to know how to use it.

  2. Task Based - I set up all my harness with these questions in mind:

  3. Can I go down rope?

  4. Can I go up rope?

  5. Can I self-rescue?

  6. Can I connect to an anchor?

  7. Can I build an anchor?

  8. Can I do a partner rescue?

I have found, with training and practice, I can do all of these task with a variety of gear. So I carry just what I need to be the best team member I can.

Left Side



Right Side


Foot Loop - Having a dedicated foot loop makes for faster self-rescues.

Variable Friction Descender - It is important to have one of these to deal with the varying conditions while on rappel.

Master Carabiner - This is the first on last off carabiner when rigging a system. Having a different looking carabiner makes managing an anchor easier. The Vlad keeps your anchor organized. 😉

VT Prusik - The VT Prusik is the single most useful piece of kit you can carry. Check out the HN2 Episode about VT's here.

Chest Ascender - Having a chest ascender ready to go makes you more efficient when you need it. Having one that is operated by one hand is even better.

4 Working Carabiners - These are locking carabiners used for general rigging.

Pulley and Rope Grab - I use the Petzl RollClip and Tibloc to make the most compact efficient system needed for mechanical advantage systems.

Shock Cord - I put this around my neck to keep my Croll in the upright position when I'm using it. It stays around my waist must of the time.

Canyon Draw - This is made up of two locking carabiners a 60cm sling and a figure 8. It is primarily used for rigging releasable anchor systems.

Progress Capture Pulley - Rarely needed but when it is it's worth the weight. This is another key piece in executing basic rescues and solving problems.

Long/Short Lanyard - Having two lanyards as a Personal Anchor System (PAS) is imperative to safety when doing maneuvers on rope such as traversing and knot passes. Using a captive carabiner on the long one help keep my Basic in place.

Non-Locking Carabiner - Handy for storing gear

Non-Locking Carabiner - Handy for storing gear

Hand Ascender - Having a one-handed rope grab at the ready is key for self-rescue maneuvers. I prefer the Petzl Basic due to its compact size and single handed operation.

Knife - A knife is a key piece of safety equipment when working with ropes and moving water. Having it easily accessible will make you happier when you need it. 🙃

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