The organizational team of RIC 2020 Crete welcomes you to the most magnificent southern European canyoning destination. We would like to introduce you to the canyons of Crete in their best period.  In spring 2020, from the 3rd to the 12th of April, explore the island of Crete and its secret beauties, when the combination of water and weather conditions is the best. At the same time, safety is a high priority with all canyons having a high quality of boltings.

High-quality traditional food and 4-star hotel accommodation in the vicinity of the main canyons at a low price during the RIC 2020 Crete will make the stay even more pleasurable. Cretans are famous for their hospitality, the Cretan “filoxenia” (friend of strangers). The mild climate of Crete, the warmest climate in winter and spring in Europe, allows for an escape from the cold of the North! Enjoy the nature, the atmosphere and the magical scenery of colours and smells. Enjoy the sea – the base/hotel is located close to the seaside.

Apart from canyoning, the island offers the opportunity to explore the Minoan civilization, an ancient civilization dating back to 2700BC, with the possibility of visiting archaeological sites and museums.

A canyon (Spanish: cañón; archaic British English spelling: cañon) or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces, eventually wearing away rock layers as sediments are removed downstream. A river bed will gradually reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water into which the river drains. The processes of weathering and erosion will form canyons when the river’s headwaters and estuary are at significantly different elevations, particularly through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering.

Canyoning (canyoneering in the United States, kloofing in South Africa) is traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include other outdoor activities such as abseiling (rappelling), Speleology, walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, , and swimming.

Although non-technical descents such as hiking down a canyon (canyon hiking) are often referred to as canyoneering, the terms canyoning and canyoneering are more often associated with technical descents — those that require abseils (rappels) and ropework, technical climbing or down-climbing, technical jumps, and/or technical swims.

Canyoning is frequently done in remote and rugged settings and often requires navigational, route-finding, and other wilderness travel skills.

Canyons that are ideal for canyoning are often cut into the bedrock stone, forming narrow gorges with numerous drops, beautifully sculpted walls, and sometimes spectacular waterfalls. Most canyons are cut into limestone, sandstone, granite, or basalt, though other rock types are found. Canyons can be very easy or extremely difficult, though emphasis in the sport is usually on aesthetics and fun rather than pure difficulty. A wide variety of canyoning routes are found throughout the world, and canyoning is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.

Canyoning gear includes harness, helmet, technical gear and hardware, static or semi-static ropes, wetsuits, and specially designed shoes, special rope bags and dry boxes. While canyoners have used and adapted climbing, hiking, speleology and river running gear for years, more and more specialized gear is invented and manufactured as canyoning popularity increases.

The first explorers of the Cretan canyons, already from ancient times, were shepherds, fishermen, hunters and villagers. They were searching for more distant and less accessible places, trying to find prey, herbs and fresh water to use for drinking or agriculture. Throughout several ages, rebels would find shelter in the canyons, using them to hide and protect themselves or fight using the dangerous and steep paths of the canyons in their advantage.

In modern times, the first information we have for the first “ascent” of Ha canyon dates back to 1987 by three climbers, Stavros Lazaridis, Vlasis Hatzipanagiotu and Hronis Amartzidis. Afterwards, local mountaineers such as Manolis Kabourakis, Kostas Psarakis, Methodios Psomas and others were attracted by the dry canyons and explored them using basically climbing techniques. In 2002 and 2004 descents based on French and Italian techniques in canyons of Crete led by Hellenic Canyoning Club, Georgos Andreou and Methodios Psomas also new boltings and canyoning trainings. At the same time the first French teams arrived on the island in order to explore the new land. In 2004 Yiannis Bromirakis started exploring, making topos, taking pictures of new canyons of Crete, training friends and preparing small teams. In 2006 the first Rassemblement International Canyoning (RIC) was organized by Jacque Cohen and Koen Viaene with ACA, FFS and EFC support. In 2007 the Crete Canyoning Association (CCA) led by Yiannis Bromirakis was officially born. Its main purpose is to train young enthusiasts according to the international standards of this new sport, while at the same time to repair and preserve secure boltings. In the year 2007 CCA organizes the first rescue team in the Island. Exploration, bolting and mapping of new canyons in Crete is another big goal. The same year, “The first Greek Canyoning Topo Guide for the island of Crete”, by Yiannis Bromirakis was published in five languages (Greek, French, Spanish, German and English). In 170 pages the topo book contains information about 34 canyons along with 175 coloured pictures, detailed maps and topos, all in scale, GPS info and all the details someone might need in order to reach the canyons with safety.

RIC – Rassemblement International Canyoning – is the annual international canyoning meeting supported by the Federation of International Canyoning (FIC). RIC is the greatest recurrent canyoning event of the year. It takes place in the best canyoning places all around the world. Canyoners from all over the world join the RIC to share their passion, know-how, culture, make new friends and explore new canyoning worlds

Back to history the first RIC was held 2003 in Aragon, Spain (FFS-EFC-FAE) and then 2004 in Aragon, Spain (FFS-EFC), 2005 in Mexico (ACA-FFS-EFC), 2006 in Mirtros, Crete, Greece (ACA-FFS-EFC),  2007 Loutra Ypatis, Greece (ACA-HCC-FFS-EFC), 2008 in Utah, USA (ACA), 2008 in Vercors, France (FFS-EFC), 2009 in Santa Antao, Cabo Verde (FEEC), 2010 in Sardinia, Italy (AIC), 2011 in Nepal (NCA-FFS-EFC-HCT-XCANYON team, 2012 in Minas Gerais, Sierra da Canastra, Brazil (GBCAN), 2013 in Madeira, Portugal (FFS-EFC), 2014 in Baleares, Mallorca, Spain (Balearik-FFS-EFC), 2015 in Ouray, Colorado (OCC-CAC-IAAC), 2016 in Flores, Azores, Portugal (CIMA-Desnível-FIC), 2017 in Reunion Island (FFS-EFC-FIC) 2018 in Ticino,Swiss (FIC-Canyonland), 2019 in Colombia (FIC) and in 2020 the RIC will take place in Ierapetra, Crete, Greece coordinated by Crete Canyoning Association in a land with more than 85 canyons very well known for wild mountains and limestone deep canyons such as Ha, Arvi, and Portela, Kavousi, Panagia and many others.