Canyoning in Interlaken, Switzerland

Jul 17, 2014

Our pre-Europe research told us that Interlaken was the adventure capital of Europe.
It failed to mention that Interlaken was jam-packed with college kids and Americans.
We didn't mind. 
That meant English speaking people and that beer was nearby.
We were told, multiple times, by friends who had traveled to Switzerland that the main thing we must do is go canyoning.
What is canyoning?
Jumping, rappelling, sliding, and ziplining (and falling, in my case) down a canyon in the mountains.
Supposedly, Interlaken is one of the only places in the world that canyoning is legal.
Sounds like a blast right?
After that fun fact plus some extensive YouTube research I was like hayyyellllll no.
. . . but I couldn't go to Interlaken and not do the "thing to do" right?
Here's a recap video of one of the greatest experiences of our lives.

We woke up early to catch the bus for about an hour drive into the mountains.
Some people slept the entire ride (coughjoshcough) but the views were incredible.
All the quaint little mountain towns and waterfalls along the way will definitely stay engrained in my memory for a while.
We made it to our destination and donned our wetsuits, harnesses, and helmets.
Safety first, duh.
Oh, the helmets.
About that.
You are randomly assigned helmets and given a "nickname" to save the guides the trouble of having to remember your name.
I guess John Deere was somewhat an appropriate nickname for a north Louisiana mildly redneck gal.
This view though.
Josh was able to attach his GoPro to his helmet (so I apologize in advance for the excessive photos of yours truly)
To start off the "adventure" we attached ourselves to some seemingly stable guardrails and rappelled down a 150ft cliff.
The guides were pretty particular about where to jump and how to jump for each portion of the canyon.
It kindaaaaa stressed me out. 
Like "jump to the left, avoid that rock right there, then do a toe touch and the YMCA at the same time"
So many rules.
Stan, our guide, was giving us the option of climbing higher to do a 30-40 feet jump or staying where we were to do a 15-20 feet jump.
Honestly, I don't remember the heights, they were speaking in metric system talk and I didn't have a converter on me.
Basically, Josh did the terrifying super high jump and I wussed out and did the baby jump.
All the other girls did too, I couldn't embarrass them leave them hanging.
Somehow I managed to land wrong, again, and I paid for it.
Well, my butt paid for it. 
This was the hardest jump.
It felt like we were jumping into a narrow 5 foot wide gully, but Stan told us to jump then turn a 45 degree angle and kick your feet back upstream, meanwhile avoiding this large sharp rocking jutting out in the middle that could potentially murder you.
The butt slides were my fav.
Sometimes, after being submerged, the water was so cold it literally gave me brain freeze and made my scalp tingle.
Glacier runoff water is the devil.
The final jump of the canyon was a zipline (which required your numb, frozen by glacier runoff water hands to cling to).
Stan would tie a fancy knot, send you on your way, then yell LET GOOOOO and you would release yourself into the ice cube infested water below. 
It was so fun (yet so darn scary trusting your numb hands to support yourself).
We finished off the day with a few more slides (and a few more falls on my part).
I definitely won the award for doing every single thing with the most awkward form.

We returned to the site, changed into dry clothes, and then our life peak peaked even higher.
The guides sliced fresh bread and gruyere cheese for THE MOST MAGNIFICENT SANDWICHES OF ALL TIME plus beer.
They gave us beer (and let us drink the leftover beer on the bus on the ride back)
Happiest campers of all time.

We booked our trip through the company Outdoor Interlaken.
We highly recommend using them for all of your Interlaken activities.
They offered so many great packages and the guides were top-notch.
. . . but the beer! 


Leah said...

You guys are so brave!!! Such a beautiful place!!! :)

Unknown said...

I went once and it scared the hell out of me. Then, I got talked into to going AGAIN. What was I thinking?? Anyway, it's certainly an amazing experience that I'd recommend to people not scared of cliff edges, like myself. My favorite activity in Interlaken was hang gliding!

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