The annual Rendezvous International Canyoning (RIC) in collaboration with Canyoning International Meeting Azores (CIMA) was held on Island of Flores, Azores, Portugal in the mid-Atlantic. Over 200 canyoners from 14 countries flew in for a week of exploration for the unique canyons on the Island.
The Island of Flores is characterised by dramatic landscapes, fishing villages, green pastures, rows of hydrangeas and was chosen as one of several areas to be included on UNESCO’s list of World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The canyons are quite different from other areas in Europe with some unique features that only exist on the island. With the canyons formed from Basalt and Trachyte, made each descent unique. From slippery walks to sticky rappels, it always kept on changing. The two most unique canyons are Barrosas and Alquevins which have their descent into the Atlantic Ocean./paragraph]The opening video which was shown during the technical briefing is beautifully shot and edited and set the quality and tone for the entire meeting. Filmed and edited by Carlos Mendes, it showed the Island of Flores in such magnificence.
This year the conference provided 27 different routes to explore. Everything from simple trips lasting only a few days to full descents of multi pitch rappels. Everything that you could possible want. Of course there are some classic canyons that everyone does such as Ferrerio, Barrosas, Alquevins, Ilhéus as well as new canyons like Mouco.
There were two Technical Workshops this year, “Emergency Support in Remote Locations” hosted by the EFC and “The Figure 8 Descender” by Joan Lluís Haro from FEDME. Both workshops focused on techniques and ideas that have been developed independently over time.
The Emergency Support in Remote Locations hosted by the EFC focused on techniques that can be used in the canyons while waiting for rescue to arrive and to make the injured patient more comfortable. Situational awareness as well as patient packaging, transport and comfort where some of the topics covered. The EFC also has a handy small emergency book that covers the steps in a simple process.
The Figure 8 Descender by Joan Lluís Haro from FEDME gave us a complete overview on what is possible with the classic Figure 8 descender. With so many new descender devices on the market such as the Kong Oka, Critter, ATK and many other variants, it is always good to come back to the classic descender which can be transformed in so many ways. With more and more people discovering canyoning, it is important that every can understand and know how to use this classic device which will be around for many years to come.
Although the Technical Workshops had a small attendance there is a need for technical information exchange in canyoning as every country or region is different and we can all learn a lot. We even had discussion with other canyoners, regarding some of the different techniques seen descending the canyons and it highlighted a need for new technical workshops in the future.
At the start of CIMA / RIC the annual IAAC meeting was held. The main topic for this meeting was a name change from the International Association of Amateur Canyoners to International Federation Of Canyoning – IFC (Federation Internacionale De Canyonisme – FIC). The new name change better reflects the members and their respective associations.
The total number of member countries is growing each year and with the following current member countries joined: France, America, Japan, Germany, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium and Netherlands.
To wrap up the conference we had the group meal with everyone attending along with the gift lucky dip. With quite a lot of gear, Azores specialities and other items given away, it was great evening of food, drink, friends and fun. The following night we had the final drinks before everyone departing over the next few days.
With every conference there is the Photo & Video competition which is run during the week. Everyone who posts with the tag #cimaricfotovideo on the Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/cima.azores/) was in for a chance of winning some really great prizes. There were quite a lot of entries for the photo and video sections with some really nice and different takes on canyoning in the Azores.
Thanks to CIMA, RIC and everyone else who made the event successful. It was another good year and a great time to catch up with everyone once again. Looking forward to the next RIC Reunion in 2017.