Caving and Canyoneering


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For nearly half a century, legends of a giant cave in the Andes—holding artifacts that could rewrite human history—have beckoned adventurers and tantalized fans of the occult. Now the daughter of a legendary explorer is on a new kind of quest: to tell the truth about the cave in order to save it.

John Ackerman has spent millions procuring a majority of the known caves in Minnesota, which add up to dozens of miles of underground passageways and likely make him the largest cave owner in the U.S. He collects and charts them in the name of preservation, but his controversial methods have created many opponents.

In 'First Descent,' legendary canyoneer Scott Swaney​​​​​​​ reflects on a career of self-taught outdoor skills and a few close calls

Filmmaker Eric Hanson describes a harrowing account of how serious flash floods can be

Two years after he was saved in a remote canyon, our host talks with one of his rescuers about coping with life-altering trauma

It took an epic effort to get him out. Two years later, the healing for him and his rescuers continues.

Reliable gear to help you navigate the unpredictable sport

‘Epic Trails’ is a series from Heliconia and backpacker Eric Hanson as they explore the world’s best trails.

Rescuers spent nine days searching for the 12 boys and their coach. They finally found them two miles deep in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system.

In 1869, John Wesley Powell led nine men and four boats on the first documented descent through the Grand Canyon. As is made clear in this excerpt from 'The Promise of the Grand Canyon,' it was a hell of a challenge.

Harvey Butchart was hiking the canyon long before others thought to follow

From filmmaker Dan Ransom, One Trick Pony features Steve Ramras who is as versed a canyoneer as they come. But the kicker is, that’s the only outdoor activity he does.

Our PlayNow series highlights an epic POV clip so you can get in on the action even when you're stuck behind a desk.

If you’re willing to work hard, conquer your fears, and maybe don some superhero spandex, anything is possible

Scott Swaney, a former oilman and current badass a couple years shy of 70, has more first descents in Death Valley National Park than anyone on earth. He spent the past decade looking for everything from tight canyons to massive drop-offs and is believed to have led or been involved with 203 of the 258 first descents in the park. Swaney has burned through partners who couldn’t stand the heat and hard labor of exploring his hellish playground, but he continues to recruit new ones, eager to keep exploring. This spring, photographer Ian Tuttle, who had never canyoneered, stuffed his camera—a film Mamiya 645 AFDii—into a backpack and followed along.

When a group of canyoneering beginners were swept away in a flash flood last September, it was the worst disaster in Zion's 97-year history. And it illustrates a growing question: How far should national parks go to keep their visitors safe?

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