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Canyon Rendezvous Policies

The Ouray Canyon Festival provides opportunities for a diverse group of canyoneers to get together to:

  • practice skills learned in courses and elsewhere
  • meet new friends
  • have fun doing canyons

We believe that bringing people together is good for the sport. It brings people into the community; encourages sharing of ideas, information and techniques; and improves safety and ethics.

Ouray Canyon Festival events are NOT guided events. Trips are led by volunteer leaders, not professional guides. Therefore, Canyon Festival events may not be appropriate for anyone who has not acquired at least a basic skill set or is not willing to accept responsibility for his/her own safety. The festival will include some trips that are appropriate for TRAINED beginners. Others trips may only be appropriate for intermediate or advanced canyoneers.

Eligibility requirements and guest policies will be established by rendezvous organizers and specified in each canyon rendezvous announcement.

Organizers may set a limit on the number of people who may attend the Canyon Festival. Limits will be set based on restrictions established by the land management agency, the availability of permits, or the availability of volunteer trip leaders. Registration is accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

Advanced registration is recommended. We cannot guaranty our ability to accommodate on-site registration. We encourage everyone to register at least two weeks prior to the start of the rendezvous so we can plan for permits, leaders, accommodations, meals, T-shirts, etc.

All festival participants will be required to submit a Ouray Canyon Festival Participant Agreement that includes an acknowledgment and assumption of risk, waiver of liability, and representation of physical condition.

For some festival events the organizers may implement a check-in and wristband or similar system to ensure that all participants have registered and submitted their Participant Agreement. For events where this system is implemented, compliance is a condition of participation.

The Ouray Canyon Festival is organized on a break-even basis. All fees, it are included in tyhe registration fee.

If you cancel after paying a festival fee, the fee will be refundable only if the festival organizer receives your cancellation notice in writing at least two weeks prior to the start of the festival. The organizer may, at his/her sole discretion, deduct any costs incurred on your behalf from your refund.

Arrangements for accommodations and meals will vary with each rendezvous location. Ideally, we look for locations where all rendezvous participants can stay together. In some locations, that may involve a group campsite. In other locations, we may stay at a hotel or in cabins. Depending on circumstances, organizers may make arrangements for the accommodations and include costs in a rendezvous fee. If participants are required to make their own arrangements, it will be specified in the initial rendezvous announcement.

Festival participants are responsible for their own meals. However, the festival will include a potluck dinner, BBQ or catered dinner.

As volunteers step forward to lead, we will generate and distribute rosters for their trips, along with instructions for signing up. In all cases, the leader retains the right to refuse anyone. The best way to ensure you get a space on a trip is to volunteer to lead one.

The Ouray Canyon Festival organizers are willing to consider participants' "wish lists", but cannot guarantee any specific canyon trip will be offered during the rendezvous. The best way to ensure you get to do a canyon on your wish list is to volunteer to lead it.

Volunteer leaders should: (1) know how to get to, into, and out of the canyon, (2) prepare a brief description of the canyon, including difficulty rating, (3) make arrangements to secure a permit (if applicable), (4) determine group gear requirements (number and length of ropes, webbing, rap rings, etc.), (5) coordinate sources for group gear (either bring it or assign others to bring it), (6) determine an appropriate time for departure and enforce it, (7) manage the group. (You are not guiding, only providing organization. Encourage others to share in the problem solving and rope work.) and (8) have fun.

All participants must: (1) honestly assess your skills to ensure each canyon is within your ability, (2) assess your prospective canyon partners, (3) accept responsibility for your own safety and comfort, (4) do your share of the work, carry your share of group gear, (5) share your ideas for problem solving and rope work, (6) speak up if you're having a problem, (7) speak up if you question what's going on or something that is being done, no matter who's doing it, (8) bring, or make arrangements for all of the gear on the gear list, (9) wear a helmet, no exceptions and (10) have fun.

If you are unable or unwilling to accept these responsibilities, don't come.


  • Helmet (meets UIAA standards)
  • Harness
  • Rappelling Device
  • Extra Locking Carabiners
  • Safety Tether
  • Wetsuit appropriate to conditions
  • Footwear appropriate to conditions
  • Ascenders or Prusiks
  • Sewn Runners (24- and 48-inch)

You should also bring: a daypack, water (2-3 quarts per person), clothing appropriate to anticipated weather, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc., plus camping gear if applicable.

The Ouray Canyon Festival is organized entirely by volunteers. We don't expect participants to volunteer at every festival they attend. But we do expect you to do your share and volunteer once in a while. If you don't feel like volunteering as a trip leader, you can volunteer to help with a service project, organize activities or entertainment, present a slideshow, coordinate a potluck dinner, or bring the beer.

The Ouray Canyon Festival's mission is: To promote and facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among an international canyoneering community; To promote safety, responsibility and ethics among canyoneers; and To address canyoneering-related access issues by developing positive relationships with land management agencies. Rendezvous participants are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Ouray Canyon Festival's mission and standards.

Your participation is at the ongoing discretion of the festival organizers. Grounds for expulsion from the festival, and possible banning from future festivals, include, but are not limited to:

  • Engaging in reckless or unsafe behavior.
  • Engaging in any behavior that is inconsistent with local canyoneering ethics. This includes, but is not limited to: (a) placing inappropriate artificial anchors, (b) failure to follow Leave No Trace practices.
  • Encouraging others to engage in any behavior that is inconsistent with local canyoneering ethics.
  • Violating any regulation established by the local land management agency. This includes, but is not limited to: (a) doing a canyon without the required permit, (b) exceeding the number of people allowed in a canyon.
  • Encouraging others to violate any regulation established by the local land management agency.
  • Violating Ouray Canyon Festival Policies.
  • Encouraging others to violate Ouray Canyon Festival Policies.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
About Ouray and the Canyons August 4, 2011 7:32 AM former member
Raffles July 10, 2016 9:37 PM Greg F.
Canyon Rendezvous Policies December 21, 2011 4:36 PM Greg F.
Logistics July 10, 2016 9:36 PM Greg F.
About Ouray Canyon Festival March 12, 2018 5:02 PM Greg F.

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