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LA Canyoneering
Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest (ANF) of the U.S. National Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County, southern California. It was established on July 1, 1908, incorporating the first San Bernardino National Forest and parts of the former Santa Barbara and San Gabriel National Forests. It covers 655,387 acres and is located just north of the densely inhabited metropolitan area of Los Angeles.

A small part extends eastward into southwestern San Bernardino County, in the Mount San Antonio ("Mount Baldy") area. A tiny section also extends westward into northeastern Ventura County, in the Lake Piru area. Forest headquarters are in Arcadia, California.

The Angeles National Forest manages the habitats, flora and fauna ecosystems, and watersheds. Some of the rivers with watersheds within its boundaries provide valuable non-groundwater recharge water for Southern California. The existing protected and restored native vegetation absorb and slow surface runoff of rainwater to minimize severe floods and landslides in adjacent communities. The land within the Forest is diverse, both in appearance and terrain. Elevations range from 1,200 to 10,064 ft. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the forest.

Much of this National Forest is covered with dense chaparral shrub forests with oak woodlands, which changes to pine and fir-covered slopes in the higher elevations.

Tree species for which the forest is important include bigcone Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa), Coulter Pine (Pinus coulteri), and California Walnut (Juglans californica). The National Forest also contains some 29,000 acres of old growth, with: Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi) forests and mixed conifer forests (Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii), Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), and White Fir (Abies concolor)), and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) the most abundant types.

While mountaineering is concerned with reaching the top of a mountain, canyoneering is all about getting to the bottom. Known as “canyoning” in Europe, canyoneering involves descending a mountainous canyon just for the fun of it. Although canyoneering is a modern-day adventure sport, it got its origins from the necessity of transportation.

As American explorers and settlers navigated across the early American deserts, they were faced with a maze of canyons in the southwest. As a result, methods of ascending and descending these canyons were practiced. Ropes and anchors were commonplace to this first generation of canyoneers.

After the land was settled with roads and highways, canyon routes were abandoned. Modern-day canyoneering found it’s rebirth in the 1960’s when mountaineering and rock climbing equipment was invented. Using this gear, adventurous souls took to their own backyard seeking adventure. As the public’s perception this bunch shifted from “crazy thrill seekers” to “credible adventure seekers,” canyoneering began to take off.
Today, canoyeering is enjoyed all over the world and remains to be a unique method of testing one’s limits, exploring nature, and having a fun. It involves travelling in canyons using a variety of techniques:

• Walking
• Scrambling
• Climbing
• Jumping
• Swimming
• Rappelling

The best canyons for canyoneering have narrow gorges and smooth rock faces. The terrain often encompasses drop-offs, sculpted walls and continuous flows of water. Canyons can range from very easy to extremely difficult.

It should be stated that canyoneering is a commitment. It is often impossible to turn back once you commence the journey, as canyon walls can be very containing. For this reason, it should not be tried without the aid of an experienced guide who knows the route and the appropriate method of descending each section. Canyoneering is also very gear intensive. Helmets, life jackets, wet suits, and climbing gear are essential.

Aside from the obvious dangerous associated with this sport, it can be approached in a very safe and family friendly fashion. Canyoneering’s ability to accommodate people at different life stages and fitness levels has resulted in its increasing popularity over the past two decades