Safety

Canyoneering is an inherently risky activity. Possible causes of injury or death include falls, drowning, and hypothermia. Jumping into water is very risky. Those doing so have a responsibility to check the water depth and make sure there are no submerged hazards. Canyons can and do change. A jump or slide might be done safely under favorable conditions but be extremely dangerous under others. You cannot assume that a jump or slide that was made safely by the author of a description is still safe when you get there. Lower the first person by rope and have him check for water depth and under water hazards. A diver's mask or goggles are recommended. Northwest canyons are typically full of cold water. A full body wetsuit is a good idea for most canyons. Dry suits are less useful as they are likely to tear on rocks and fallen logs. Persons following descriptions or suggestions found on this website do so at their own risk and assume complete responsibility for their safety and actions. It is not possible for a description to warn of every hazard and difficulty. Canyons change constantly. Rappel anchors can be washed away in floods. All canyoneers must be prepared to deal with these contingencies. Those who lack adequate training, experience or judgment to deal with outdoor emergencies and canyoneering difficulties are strongly urged not to go. Please report any changes found in canyon conditions or inaccuracies in canyon descriptions to this site. Safe canyoneering in northwest canyons is normally dependent on safe water conditions. This usually means the low water levels of summer or early fall. The descriptions on this site were written with low water conditions in mind. A canyon which can be done safely at low water may prove deadly at higher flows. Winter snow pack varies from year to year as does the time and duration of the spring run off. It is the responsibility of canyoneers to check the water level before entering any canyon.
Distances given in descriptions are estimates. Heights given for waterfalls, jumps or slides are either visual estimates or have been taken from other sources such as waterfall websites. Actual distances or heights may vary substantially from those found in the descriptions.

Rappelling is a risky activity. Rappelling down waterfalls is dangerous. Rappelling down waterfalls into deep water is more dangerous. Rappelling into deep water with current and or hydraulics is extremely dangerous. People have drowned after rappelling only eight feet into deep water! The techniques and equipment used for such rappels are in some ways different from those used in rock and mountain climbing. Those who wish to rappel in wet canyons should not do so unless they have adequate training and experience.

Both natural and artificial (i.e. bolts) rappel anchors have been known to fail, with catastrophic results. Most of the rappel anchors mentioned in the descriptions are trees or fallen logs in creek beds. Fallen logs are in a constant state of weakening from decay. They are destroyed or moved by flooding. Even large rocks are moved in heavy runoff. Trees fall down or die. There is no guarantee that the rappel anchors mentioned in the descriptions are still safe or even exist any more. Bolts corrode and lose strength with age. Indeed, they may have been installed improperly and been unsafe from day one. It is the responsibility of canyoneers to evaluate all existing rappel anchors and learn safe anchoring techniques.

The wet rock in northwest canyons is very slippery. No matter what kind of footwear you have on, it is a virtual certainty that you will slip at least some of the time.