The action of gorge walking usually involves exploration, discovery, and adventure.
It’s an adventure over sweeping becks and challenging borders, the discovery of the splendid natural features, and the exploration through the natural and beautiful rock formations within a gorge.
Some confuse gorge walking with canyoning (canyoneering) but they are different.
To use the challenges and paths that a gorge has developed over many years, visitors and trainers can embark on the challenge together as a group and descend or ascend through the ravine.
Our latest gorge walking was in Greece, at the famous Neda Waterfalls. Gorges in Greece are green with really nice clean waters and pleasant to walk through. With Nemouta Waterfalls and Panta Vrehei they list in top 3 of walking gorges for Greece.
What is Gorge Walking?
Since a gorge is made up of chutes, natural rock formations, and a variety of challenges to conquer, we naturally want to overcome them.
But how can we do that?
The gorge walking activity is much more than the name typically suggests.
Walking is undoubtedly included into the action, and you should get prepared to enjoy yourself as you slide, climb, swim, stumble and scramble your way down or up the gorge.
Every gorge is unique, and therefore each one of them needs a combination of techniques to ascend or descend through it.
Although it’s a challenging and exciting experience, gorge walking is suitable for all kinds of people.
Whether you are an outdoor lover, a fitness fanatic, or a less active individual, you can comfortably do it since no experience is required.
You only need to be in the right place with the best instructors who have the relevant expertise to have a memorable experience.
What is a Gorge?
If you are new to the gorge walking world, a gorge refers to a deep cleft found between cliffs.
Gorges are usually formed due to erosion from a stream or flowing river over many years.
The rock gradually erodes which leads to a deep void having towering sides.
The steep sides typically structure a river, even though you won’t find it in all gorges, a stream or a flowing river denotes lots of adventure.
What is Gorge Scrambling?
Gorge scrambling is simply another word for gorge walking and that’s that.
The activity involves both scrambling and walking, and therefore these terms are typically used interchangeably.
Gorge Walking Gear
There are lots of different gear that are useful when gorge walking, depending on where the gorge is and how challenging the descent will get.
Besides the specifics, there are several essential bits of equipment that will be essential on almost all gorge walking adventures. Some of them include the following items.
Gorge walking sports is an incredibly fun sport.
However, without the right footwear, it can be relatively dangerous. Since you will be jumping in and out of water most of the times, you will need shoes that have proper drainage.
You will also need a pair of shoes that doesn’t become too heavy when wet, so hiking boots will not be suitable either.
A pair of wetsuit boots may sound like the ideal solution, but they are not. Wetsuit boots are incredibly flimsy, and they will not give you the protection you require.
The best shoes for gorge walking are amphibious shoes, because they are light, and they provide you with a good grip on your outer soles and have good drainage.
Gorge walking is a risky sport, and the chances of injury are relatively high, meaning a helmet is one of the most crucial parts of the gear you will need when going for a gorge walking adventure.
Make sure you select a design that can withstand getting wet and with a bright color to make it easy to spot you in the water.
Whether you are planning for a very technical descent or not, a climbing rope is essential when you’re gorge walking.
You can use the rope to assist the less confident group members to get down the steep sections of a gorge, and also for any rescue if the need arises.
Again, at the end of your trip, you can enjoy an old-fashioned rope swing.
Wetsuit and Buoyancy Aid
When you are gorge walking, you will get soaked, and this means you will need a wetsuit to protect you against the chills from going in and out water as well as keeping you warm enough to carry on with gorge walking.
If weather is too hot you can work around the wet-suit with a technical blouse that dries fast and a pair of swimming shorts.
Buoyancy aids are also essential to help you reduce the effort of the long swims and also keeping your head above the water in case of an accident.
Gorge walking is a wild and wet sport.
At times, you will have to walk for some hours before you get to the gorges. It’s better to wear your usual clothes during the initial walk and then change into a wetsuit when you are ready to jump into the gorge.
So what do you do with all these clothes, lunch and your first aid kit? You should chuck it all in a waterproof backpack.
Dry bags are designed to shield your items from submersion and rain, but they are not meant for long-term immersions.
If you are carrying any electrical equipment with you during your trip, then you should utilize a zip-lock freezer bag or double bag it.
Dry bags are typically designed with PVC welded seams or coated nylon. They come in different volumes ranging from a few liters to sixty or even more liters.
Many dry bags utilize a roll-top closing system with a ring on both sides to help you attach a shoulder strap.
When you are packing your dry bag, put the hard and heavy items in the middle and surround them with the soft items to protect the bag’s waterproof lining.
You can trap air in your dry bag you have an additional floating device.
A Belay tool
The other important piece of the abseiling kit is the belay device, especially if you expect lots of climbing, which means you need to know your route.
You will get a variety of belay devices which are significant for climbing although, with the significant impact and fairly clear-cut rope work that you will be doing during your gorge walking trip, you won’t require anything too complicated.
Avoid any mechanical gadgets and keep everything simple.
One belay gadget, like a figure 8 is an excellent idea since it is easy to use, hard wearing, and doesn’t contain any moving parts that can snarl-up on you.
A Gorge Walking Guide
Before you embark on any gorge walking adventure you need to know the routes to use and also have an idea the difficulties you are going to encounter.
The last thing you want is to head out only to realize there is an obstacle you cannot handle, or there is no way to climb out a gorge when you are half way down.
That makes a gorge walking handbook, or at least a comprehensive internet search, crucial.
Good guidebooks will provide you with pictures of the key obstacles, the height of all the drops you will encounter, route maps, as well as where to get in and out of a gorge.
Most of the guidebooks typically cover an entire region as opposed to a single gorge, so that they can be a great inspiration for any future gorge walking trips further an area too.
Safety When Gorge Walking
Most of the gorges you can visit are found on undeveloped and wild land. Although most of the waterfalls are wonderful and peaceful sites, exploring them might be dangerous.
There are people who have been hurt while hiking waterfalls.
Even if you believe nothing bad can happen, these environments are quite unpredictable, and the probability of something happening when you are exploring different waterfalls is great.
It is therefore important to exercise caution when climbing and hiking to ensure you will be well and safe enough to enjoy the waterfalls once you reach them.
Here are some simple tips to remember on your next gorge walking trip.
- Dress appropriately – Put on the right footwear for waterfall climbing and avoid loose clothing that can catch on branches.
- Carry a snack – To avoid running out energy once you get halfway through your trail, carry with you fruit snacks, an energy bar or any other edibles with high calories.
- Hydrate – Drink some water before you start hiking and afterward as well. Dehydration will typically reduce your stamina and lessen your overall experience.
- Know your trail – Ensure that you know where you are going. Once you have a log, guide or map, it will assist you to get to the area you want to go. Most of these places are surrounded by large portions of wilderness, and you can easily get lost. To avoid this, use a specific trail and remain on it.
- Avoid going on your own – If you are planning to go climbing or hiking, it is advisable that you bring a family member or a friend along. If you injure yourself, fall or get lost, having somebody with you will save your life and your sanity as well.
- Know the season – If it’s a rainy season, avoid creek-walking in a narrow valley. Deep narrow gorges and high rain cause flash flooding. Look out for mud during springtime and ice in the winter. Also be careful of the hunters especially during hunting seasons.
- Know the area – Before you head out, know where you can get medical attention in case of an emergency. Research for any dangerous wild animals in the areas, and also know whether hunting is permitted in the area.
- Cell phone – Although most of these areas have no mobile phone reception, make sure you carry your phone with you to be safe.
- First aid kit – If something happens, and a member of your group is injured, having a first aid kit in the car or with you will save the day.
- Don’t carry lots of luggage – If you are exploring or climbing a dangerous region, avoid holding your sunglasses, water bottle or camera to keep your hands free. That will help you in breaking a fall, balance or even hanging on for your life in case something happens.
Famous Gorge Walking Locations
Gorge walking around the globe will offer you a wide range of unique experiences. Whatever you are looking for, there is a gorge walking area somewhere waiting to get discovered.
So polish all your gorge walking skills and pack your hiking gear and check out this gorge walking guide for some of the best spots and start planning your memorable overseas gorge walking trip.
Wannaka, New Zealand
If you are planning to go to New Zealand, then Wannaka is the area to visit.
Located in the Southern Island of New Zealand, this place is surrounded by the remarkable Southern Alps, and here you will discover all the gorge walking adventures you could wish for such as fun slides to huge waterfall abseils, tight squeezes, and huge jumps as well.
Gorge walking around the world can never be complete without visiting the USA.
Here, you will find lots of hiking areas across the country, although any adventure in this place should start with a trip to Zion National Park located in Utah.
Water, wind and geological movements have typically structured the Utah landscape developing deep inspiring slot gorges unlike anything else you will discover in any other part of the earth.
Zion National Park provides you with a combination of challenging routes and exceptional natural beauty, making it the spot to begin any gorge walking adventure in the United States.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Although gorge walking next to a volcano may not seem like a good idea at first, once you see the huge, fun features you will play on, you will warm up to it.
Here you will find a variety of huge waterfalls and tons of abseiling to visit along with the decent amount of jumps which will need pretty advanced hiking techniques, all found in the beautiful green scenery of Costa Rica’s jungle.
This country may not be on your gorge walking radar, but if you are gorge walking around the globe, you can visit this gorgeous mountain playground.
The gorges located in central Nepal near Jalbire, are the spot to head for during your first gorge walking adventure.
This place has various fun chutes that make you feel like you are at a water park as you head down the spectacular natural gorges.
Besides, you will also find the typical jumps and drops you would ask for making Jalbire a concealed treasure among the best gorge walking spots in the world.
Kawasan Falls, Philippines
With the inviting lush jungle vegetation and turquoise waters, Kawasan falls located in the Philippines are a steamy gorge walking paradise.
If you are gorge walking around the globe, this is a spot you won’t require your normal gorge walking gear.
The hot climate and warm waters in the Philippines mean you will do your climbing and hiking without a wetsuit, and the low-height gorges typically make abseiling attire unnecessary.
There are no big, technical features in this place but it is a playful gorge walking spot with a great emphasis on fun.