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Wild waters, rugged ravines

Canyoning involves walking down a ravine from top to bottom – exploring scenic Ötztal from a completely new perspective. A splendid on-site inspection between adventure and adrenaline while canyoning at legendary AREA47 in Ötztal.

Tradition of canyoning

"Canyoning is not a trend sport," says Chris Schnöller. “It already existed in the 19th century. As the material in mountain sports steadily developed, canyoning was really booming.” This trend also went hand in hand with the development of alpinism. Alpinists climbed higher and higher and even deeper into rough gorges formed by torrents - and gorge hiking, also affectionately called "canyoneering", was born.

Canyoning AREA 47

Adventurers with a passion

Canyoning AREA 47

Today, anything is possible on the trail: hiking in the river bed, abseiling, climbing down, jumping, sliding, swimming and even diving. Chris Schnöller, managing director of AREA47 outdoor adventure park and passionate adventurer, traveled to 70 countries and got his adrenaline kicks around the globe. Canyoning, kayaking, freeriding, climbing, paragliding, diving - he loves it all. But his passion belongs to gorge hiking. Chris was one of the first trained canyoning guides in Ötztal. This is how he describes his passion: “You jump, you slide, you land in the water. Then you turn around and see the waterfall from a different perspective. Marveling at the polished, the washed-out, the unknown, which you would otherwise never see."

Canyoning at AREA47

Canyoning AREA 47

There are different canyoning tours at AREA47 - from canyoning college for beginners to professional tours. Eight permanent guides are on duty, plus several self-employed professionals. One of them is Stefan, who has been in action for 28 years and will be starting his twelfth season at AREA47 in 2023. His fascination stems from “the hidden landscape and the play of colors of water and sun.” Those who hike through Ötztal’s ravines with Stefan are in safe hands. After a detailed briefing and accurate equipment check including a short introduction, he is always at the side of the canyoning guests. “At the start, I explain exactly what is important and at every point where something happens, I repeat it. Everyone knows what is going to happen at any moment.” Listening well is essential, so his advice for canyoning beginners is short but effective: “Trust your guide!”

Canyoning AREA 47

Safety when "canyoneering”

The guides of the canyoning providers in Ötztal know the alpine ravines very well and maintain them, meticulously check the equipment and ensure the safety of the group along the way. You don't have to be an extreme athlete to take part in a tour, an average level of fitness is sufficient. However, you should have a good head for heights and be sure-footed. "You don't move fast, but the permanent adrenaline boosts can be exhausting," says Carl, a vacationer from northern Hesse who is trying canyoning for the first time in Ötztal. "Stefan explained everything really well, I felt safe and was able to let myself fall in the truest sense of the word: I went down a slide on my back!" Magdalena from Münster was also in the group. She was more reserved: "I was a little scared and observed a lot. If you don't know what's coming up, it makes you feel insecure. But the guide explained everything in detail and you see how the others do it, then all fear is gone. It's just the adrenaline kicking all the time!”

Canyoning through Auer Klamm

A magical place where nature has created the best conditions for canyoning is Auer Klamm ravine in Taxegg near Oetz. Up to 18 m long slides, 40 m high abseiling areas and a jump from a height of over 10 m make the gorge the most popular canyoning route in Austria. Chris Schnöller can often be found here. Although he has hiked through gorges all over the world, Auer Klamm ranks among his favorite places: "It offers everything you need. Even though the adrenaline rush is a loyal companion, one feeling is even stronger: happiness!” His advice for the ultimate experience? “Stop now and then and turn around, look back where you came from. You are wired to move forward, but in canyoning you have to take the time to look back and marvel at the wild landscape.”

Canyoning AREA 47

Canyoning for every level

Beginners: Between Ochsengarten and Kühtai, the ravine runs along Nederbach brook, ideal for canyoning novices.
Advanced: Canyoning through Alpenrosenklamm gorge with lots of waterfalls, natural pools and slides is a bit more challenging.
Professionals: Auer Klamm ravine offers a unique combination of slides, jumps and abseiling points. Adequate experience is required here.

5 tips for canyoning beginners



If you want to give canyoning a try for the first time, you should book a guided canyoning tour under the supervision of experienced canyoning guides.



You don't have to be a top athlete to go canyoning. Normal physical fitness, swimming skills and sure-footedness are required. It is absolutely not suitable for people suffering from heart or cardiovascular problems.


Everything is possible, nothing is obligatory

If you are afraid at one point, you don't have to jump, but you can be roped down perfectly secured – for example.



Taking photos is great, but having a camera in your hand is quite annoying. Many providers make it possible to rent a GoPro camera, which can be fixed to the helmet with an appropriate mount.



The number one rule when entering a ravine: always listen to your guide!

Jasmin Kreulitsch

Guest author Jasmin Kreulitsch

The freelance travel journalist lost her heart to Ötztal Valley years ago - and has been tracking down exciting stories in the valley every summer.


There are even more travel reports on www.kosmopoetin.com.

This article was first published in July 2023.