My preferred outdoor activities tend to involve rocks or water—something to climb over or pass through. My favorite outdoor activities involve both. And that is why I enjoy canyoneering so much, especially technical canyoneering. For those unfamiliar with the term, canyoneering (canyoning outside the U.S.) is essentially hiking through a canyon. Frequently, these canyons are the homes of rivers and waterfalls. This may call for wading, swimming, scrambling, climbing, and/or rappelling. Technical canyoneering tends to require specialty equipment for rappelling and climbing. Canyoneering is what Aaron Ralston was doing in 127 Hours before his mishap.
Although I have hiked several non-technical canyons (such as the Zion Narrows and Surprise Canyon) without a guide, I had not descended any technical canyons without trained leadership (such as my first time in 2008). I spent a lot of time last year acquiring proper rock climbing training and honing climbing skills. There is a lot of overlap between climbing and canyoneering skill sets. Thus, I decided this year would be a good time to attempt technical canyoneering without guidance.
My friend Karl (of Extreme Things) and I decided Rubio Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains would be a good test run. We ran the canyon twice: once in late February when water flows were big and cold, and again in late May when flows were more moderate. Above is a video compilation of those two trips.