Winter is the most challenging time of the year to go into canyons. Low temperatures, early nightfall and unexpected conditions (heavy water flow / ice cold water / snow / ice) can create a hazardous environment, that can lead to a very dangerous (and maybe deadly) situation: hypothermia.
However, there are some extreme canyoners, who provide the canyoning community with amazing photographs in social media, where they descend ice waterfalls like it is the most natural thing in the world! Personally, as being a woman with cold hands and feet in wintertime LOL, I had a couple experiences in the past, that made me avoid winter canyoning, especially when there where packs of snow on the mountains.
I can still remember the first time I tried winter canyoning (some 16 years ago) in Rodokallos Canyon, Oiti, Greece with a group of male canyoning friends. 5 mm neoprene socks, double gloves, 3 layers, double Buff and a wind stopper jacket felt in the end like I was in my bathing suit, shivering from cold… LOL!!! On the other hand, all men in the group where just fine and they had a blast, a true adventure, with water temperature at 2 degrees Celsius…
We were very good equipped I must say, with hot tea in our thermos, lots of nuts and chocolates, healthy bars and aluminium blankets but still that was not enough for me to keep warm. After that experience, carried away by some other canyoning friends, I took part in my second winter canyoning attempt, where while rappelling I was trying not to put my hands in the ice cold water – so funny!! So, cutting the long story short, I have decided after that… that winter canyoning was not my ideal kind of fun.
Well, what I am trying to say is that you don’t have to go canyoning in winter if you are cold, and this does not make you less of a canyoner. For women it can be extremely challenging (highly not recommended on the difficult days of the month). Jumping in the freezing water can lead to ear infection not to mention the possibility of frozen finger tips and nose (not funny at all). However, should you want to have that experience be proactive so you can enjoy every minute (hohoho).
Merry Season’s Holidays!!! Enjoy life (safety first), enjoy canyoning!!!