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Bridging, wedging, starring and sliding, to name a few. My favorite was smearing, which is basically rubbing any part of your body available against the wall to help keep your weight distributed in a manner to make it easier to move safely in the right direction.
Friction is the real means of getting down the slot canyon; and destroying clothing.
If you go canyoneeringUtah has many commercial canyoneering guides. If you go in a private group, make sure you have the proper permits from land-management agencies and check the weather. Never enter a slot canyon when heavy rain is expected.
Rick Green, of Excursions of Escalante, who is also a search-and-rescue volunteer, suggests slot canyon adventurers have the proper equipment and, most importantly, know how to use it. You should also have a good map, something to signal would-be rescuers in the air with, something to start a fire with and lots of water.
Also, be sure to leave details on where you plan to visit and when you plan to return and stick to those plans.
The Utah Bucket List
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Many of the smaller drops can be safely navigated with a little help from your friends. During our daylong excursion I served not only as a human step for the others, but also an anchor when no safe natural anchor existed. This extremely important person is also known as "meat," which seems to be a nickname I shall never live down.
During a lunch break I asked John Lamping of Los Altos, Calif., what he thought about canyoneering.
"The walls are closing in. I didn’t realize how deep it was going to be," said Lamping, who insisted he was not claustrophobic, at least not to that point.
Judging by the number of pictures he was taking, Lamping was impressed by his time in the desert chasm.
It is something Green sees frequently and something he cherishes deeply.
"I’m one of the luckiest people I know. I get to watch them in the morning when they are nervous because they see the ropes and at the end of the day they are just like rock stars," he said. "I get to be with them all the way."
This is the seventh in a series on The Utah Bucket List, a collaboration by The Salt Lake Tribune and KUED listing must-do and must-see experiences.
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