Bluff repelling and camping

Many stunning and unique slot canyons with sheer rock wall cliffs, deep natural pools, and gorgeous cascades and water falls can be found in Arizona, which is a wonderful state known as “canyon country.” Many of these stunning canyons are still little-known, infrequently explored, and close enough to popular travel routes to be accessible and reachable in a single day’s travel. “Canyoneering” is the process of hiking, climbing, boulder hopping, scrambling, swimming, and rappelling in order to enter these wilderness canyons; rappelling is the

most dangerous and technically challenging of all the canyoneering techniques. During a jump, have you ever had to deploy your reserve parachute ...

When rappelling or the use of ropes is necessary to safely continue the descend and explore a canyon area, canyoneering changes into “technical canyoneering.” Therefore, learning how to rappel is where you should start your journey into the thrilling world of technical canyoneering if you’re seeking for more adventure, more of a challenge in the outdoors, and the capacity to further explore more of the stunning and secluded rock canyons of Arizona.

According to the definition of rappelling, it is “a specialist climbing method used to descend mountains or cliffs by using a controlled slide down a climbing rope anchored to the top of the cliff’s ledge. Before setting out with a guide or on your own, you should receive professional instruction and practice in the advanced canyoneering skill of rappelling. I recently discovered the sport of canyoneering, and I’m now motivated to keep honing my skills in order to explore more of these secluded backcountry canyons. I eagerly and immediately signed up for the beginner’s introduction to rappelling session offered by the Hiking Hikers Hiking Group (also known as Triple H) at Coon Bluff Recreation Area on the Lower Salt River.Hike | Lower Salt River Nature Trail | Salt River — Arizona Hikers Guide

Coon Bluff Recreation Area is a picturesque and well-liked area for camping, picnicking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and bird watching. It is situated on the lovely Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, about 17 miles northeast of Mesa. They claim that bald eagles, turkey vultures, and even wild mustang horses that stray in from the desert in the early morning hours are frequently seen along the river’s banks and in its rich riparian habitat. A $6 per car day use Tonto National Forest Pass is required to enter the Coon Bluff recreation area. Before leaving, you can buy a pass online or at a nearby sports goods shop like The Big 5 Sporting Goods.

So, after stopping to pick up a Tonto National Forest passHiking Wind Cave and Pass Mountain Loop in Tonto National Forest, Arizona on a bright, beautiful Saturday morning in November, I headed south on I-17 from North Phoenix to meet up with my wonderful friends and fellow hikers for our first rappelling class and adventure. We discovered that Coon Bluff, with its 92-foot sheer vertical rock wall cliff, is a well-liked location for practicing rappelling techniques, regardless of your level of experience or expertise. Because I have a severe fear of heights, I immediately thought, “Oh my God, 92 feet?” I was quite anxious and unsure of my ability to follow through, at least without a huge push from behind.

We were finally prepared to travel to Coon Bluff after picking up our final companion in Gilbert in the East Valley. According to the directions, the best way to get to Coon Bluff from PhoenixCoon Bluff Campground | Outdoor Project is to take route 60 east to the Power Road exit, then take Power Road north until it merges with the Bush Highway. After traveling the Bush Highway for about 12 miles, you will first encounter the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Site Road. However, if you continue for another half a mile, you will encounter the Coon Bluff Recreation Area Road on the left. We took a left at the fork in the road and arrived to Coon Bluff at at 1:40, just in time for our 2pm Beginners Rappelling class.What is a self belayed rappel?

We met up with a few other classmates who had just begun to arrive at the Coon Bluff Recreation Area parking lot, including our dear friend and fellow TLC Hiker Dan Myers and his daughter. After a quick group shot, we exited, gathered our packs and equipment, Buying Climbing Gear: What You Need to Know Before Buying Your Next ...and began the short trip down the trail to the river’s edge at the foot of the bluff and the 92-foot rock wall we would soon be descending. It appeared taller as we went closer and closer to it.IMG_1278 | High angle rescue | Josh Boies | Flickr While we waited for everyone to show up and the lesson to start, we enjoyed watching as students were still rappelling down from that day’s morning session class from the river’s edge. Wow, I said to myself, looking up in awe. If you were standing on the ground and looked straight up, you’d think it was 200 feet tall!Providence Canyon State Park in southwest Georgia (8) | Flickr

After everyone had arrived, our event’s organizer and teacher, professional mountaineer Michael Marin, came shortly after they had both rapelling  to the bottom themselves. Michael stated that we would learn about rappelling technique, choosing and constructing anchors, tying knots, equipment, terminology, what to do and what not to do, as well as how to escape a jam should you find yourself in one, in this introduction to rappelling lesson. Michael started off by emphasizing the significance of safety, safety, and even more safety when it comes to rappelling, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an expert canyoner or climber. According to him, the main contributor to accidents and fatalities is carelessness, which can be avoided by correctly acquiring the fundamental skills and exercising sound judgment at all times.

We were given an introduction to the gear and equipment we would use for our first rappelling trip after laying the groundwork for safety in everything you do when learning how to rappel.



A decent fitting harness costs , a locking carrabiner , and a rappelling device such a figure 8 . These are the essential items you need for rappelling that can be obtained at your nearby REI shop.  A 5ml prusik cord , and last but not least, your climbing rope, a rope bag you will also need . For technical canyoneering and for beginners, they recommend a non-stretch, dry treated rope, ideally about 9-10ml and 60 meters or 180 feet in length. Additionally, for securely storing your equipment and accessories, it’s imperative to have a dry pack to prevent water leakage, whether large or small, and the prices range roughly from $10 to $20. This is especially true when it comes to packing the gear and entering wet canyons for technical canyoneering. Backpacks start at about $129.

We were led to a tree behind us where Michael had ropes anchored securely and ready for us to start learning rappelling technique and practice, while still on the ground, how the equipment works and why, as well as give us all a chance and opportunity to get comfortable with how to use the rope through the rappel device. After we had our harnesses and equipment safely and securely on, Michael explained how the rappel device works and why it does it. He demonstrated that you don’t have to “white knuckle it,” just direct the rope behind you with your right hand, release pressure and resistance to go faster, or grasp tighter to apply more pressure and resistance to act as brakes to slow you down or bring you to a complete stop. Once you know how to use this approach, all you have to do is lie back into your harness and have faith in your gear to function as it should. We were given the get-ahead to begin practicing our first actual rappel once everyone had had a chance to practice and felt secure enough to go on.Corey Vanluchene repelling down Briton's corner. Great picture spot.

We followed Michael as he guided us up the trail to the bluff’s top, where we were rewarded with a stunning view of the entire Lower Salt River valley below. Wow, that’s really lovely! We walked over the cliff’s edge where Michael introduced us to the dual ropes we would be using and spoke to us about the importance of redundancy when doing any type of rappelling or mountaineering, especially for beginners, like us. After a few last-minute tips and pointers about setting up anchors, how to set them up safely, where, and what types are best to use, both natural and man-made, we were ready to begin.

We were now prepared to begin our first rappel. “Okay, who’s going to go first?” Michael questioned. I briefly peered over the edge of the cliff to take a picture of my friend Steve who was waiting there, but I hardly saw him. My palms started to perspire, and my heart started to beat quickly. That was a fairly long way and straight down too, I thought. I was really nervous and experienced a ton of butterflies the longer I was up there. So I hurriedly joined the line behind my friends Carolyn and Bob, and as I was beginning to tremble like a leaf, I stepped over to the edge where Michael had already fastened me to the rope. I was then told to yell “on belay?” and then, after hearing “belay on,” to call back again with “rappelling.” I kept asking Michael, “Am I doing it right?” and he kept responding, “Yes, you’re doing it right, you’re doing good, keep going!” With his assurance, I began to slowly walk myself back off the side of the cliff, leaning back into my harness and pulling the rope behind me with my right hand to keep my speed slow and my descent steady. I never once looked down, just concentrating intently on him. I hesitated before forcing myself to gaze downward so he could take a picture. At that very time, I became aware that I was doing it. Now that it was getting easy, I even felt secure enough to loosen the rope a little and pick up the pace, swinging a little off the wall as I got lower and lower to the ground. What an amazing and exciting experience! I was told to yell back to the top, “off rope,” to inform the next person that I had finished rappelling after I had reached the ground safely. My good friend Bob was waiting for me there to help me disconnect.Swift: May 2013

I finished my first rappel and then awaited the safe descent of the remainder of my buddies and classmates. My friend Dan arrived first, followed by Scuji and the rest of the class as I continued to snap as many pictures as I could to document their first rappelling experiences for them. The sun was beginning to set as the final participants left, and by six o’clock the last person had arrived, at which point the ropes were dropped signifying the end of class.Instructor demonstrates proper rappelling techniques during training ...

It was a really wonderful day, an amazing experience, and an excellent class led by our buddy and seasoned climber Michael Marin and sponsored by the Hiking Hikers Hiking Group (also known as Triple H). I’ll never forget this actual heart-pounding, palm-sweating adventure, which was also a great introduction to difficult canyoneering and rappelling. So I definitely recommend studying rappelling and starting your voyage into the thrilling world of technical canyoneering if you’re searching for more adventure and of an outdoor challenge and would like to be able to explore more of the magnificent and secluded back country rock canyons of Arizona.

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