Canyoning

WHAT IS A SYPHON

We have chosen to write about a syphon today because it is one of the most dangerous natural phenomena that you might find in a canyon, as it is really sneaky and can mislead a canyoner to a life threatening situation. The problem when looking at the water flow of a syphon is that one cannot clearly see if it gets to a dead-end or passing through a narrow passage. Turbulent water in and out the syphon creates a sinking force pulling objects in the passage like branches, stones, logs and the human body. The speed of water increases and it is impossible to fight against it. This is why swimming in a syphon is extremely hazardous, even if taking the safety position you need to be extremely careful, as your feet can get stuck in it and so can happen to your body. Various sizes and shapes of syphons exist in canyons and a practical way to sometimes – somehow identify them is if you see bubbles at the output.

The fact of a canyoner getting sucked into a syphon is a very bad incident with minimum to zero possibilities of rescue. In most cases the result would be two victims instead of one, should someone from your canyoning team tries to help by entering into the syphon. One suggested technique is to sink a rope towards the person wishing that they can grab it and pull themselves out.

At canyoning you need to put your safety always first. If you have doubts about anything during the plan of your descent communicate with your fellow canyoners and the leader of your group. Practice, read, watch videos, take good care of yourself and don’t rush into difficult decisions. Your life is of outmost importance!

The best information about syphons or siphons is to be found in the following link, where you can read and see very nicely designed examples on a canyon’s hydraulics: https://canyonmag.net/technical/safety/ … y/#Siphons

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