Canyoneering is a recreational sport that includes technical descents while hiking in canyons. With the unpredictability of nature it is always a possibility that one could get caught in a storm or flood. An example of such misfortune is known as the “Keyhole Seven”. They were a group of avid hikers from California that decided to take rock climbing lessons and tackle Keyhole Canyon in Utah’s Zion National Park. Evidence shows that they were aware of the dangers and even planned the expedition on a day with hardly any predicted showers. Two of the seven friends were even experience canyoneers. Unfortunately all seven bodies were found a few days after their attempted adventure. A storm rolled in over Colorado City and must have caught the group by surprise once a flash flood came sweeping them away.
Flash flooding is a huge risk when canyoneering, especially in Zion. Zion has been referred to as part of the “Search and Rescue Triangle” along with Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon. These areas of the southwest are popular for hiking and water recreation, but also prone to flash flooding. While there are ways to plan canyoneering trips around storms, nature is still unpredictable and the risk is always there.