American Canyoneers • Search and Rescue Team Fund Raiser
Coconino County, Arizona

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coconino county mapCoconino County, with an area of 18,661 square miles, occupies a huge swath of Northern Arizona and encompasses many areas that attract outdoor enthusiasts from around the World. Popular areas include parts of Grand Canyon, the West Clear Creek Wilderness, West Fork of Oak Creek, the southern part of Lake Powell, Tonto National Forest, Coconino National Forest, and Kaibab National Forest. Hidden within these popular areas are hundreds of slot canyons including some of the finest in the World with names like Illusions, Antelope, MARD, West, Panameta, and Obsession. Behind these names are significant dangers that are only clear after you’ve made the irreversible decision to do that first downclimb or rappel.

Technical canyoneering has been enjoying substantial growth in the last 10 years resulting in a dramatic increase in technical rescues. These rescues require enormous resources to save lives. Most of the Search And Rescue (SAR) teams are staffed by volunteers who risk their lives to save us. The Coconino County Sherriff’s SAR team is one example. They depend on ever scarcer Federal and State funds for equipment and training.


Recognizing our dependence on these precious SAR services, American Canyoneers has launched a fund raising campaign to help the team help us. These funds will be used for the purchase of critical equipment and training for team members.

How can you help? Easy! Come watch a few great films about canyoneering! Along the way you’ll see a presentation by the SAR team about the rescue in Insomnia Canyon, certainly one of the most difficult slot canyon rescues ever. You’ll be stunned at the effort the team had to put into saving one life. Join us in Flagstaff on September 17th at the Orpheum Theater or in Tempe on September 18th at the Pollack Tempe Cinemas.

Have fun, celebrate our favorite pastime, learn how you can avoid being the next victim, and support our SAR team

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Tuesday – September 17, 2013
Orpheum Theater
15 W Aspen Ave. – Flagstaff, AZ

Google Map

Purchase Tickets:

6:00 pm Doors open
6:30 pm Introduction
6:45 pm Film: Down The Line
7:15 pm Rescue in Insomnia Canyon: Coconino Co. SAR team
8:15 pm Purchase cool merchandise to support SAR
8:45 pm Film: Last of the Great Unknown
9:15 pm Closing


Wednesday – September 18, 2013
Pollack Tempe Cinemas
1825 E Elliot Rd. – Tempe, AZ

Google Map

Purchase Tickets:

6:40 pm Doors open
7:00 pm Introduction
7:15pm Film: Down The Line
7:45 pm Rescue in Insomnia Canyon: Coconino Co. SAR team
8:45 pm Purchase cool merchandise to support SAR
9:00 pm Film: Last of the Great Unknown
9:30 Closing


Program Details

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Down The Line

A handful of dedicated Vancouverites are bringing a new sport to their local mountains, a sport that has always been linked exclusively to Utah and the Alps: Canyoneering. Against all expectations, the surroundings of Vancouver are an amazing playground for canyoneers, and one thing sets the region apart from all others: none of these canyons have ever been explored. Nobody even knows where they are.

We are following Damien and Lucia in their quest for "first descent" canyons in the mountains of Squamish, in a cinematic journey down deep slots and magnificent waterfalls. Their love for exploration is dangerous and incredibly committing. Once in a canyon, the only way out is down.

Production/Direction: Francois-Xavier "Fix" De Ruydts

Trailer music: The Time To Run (finale) – Dexter Britain

Whistler International Ski and Snowboard festival
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival – Finalist
Fernie Mountain Film Festival – Best of The Fest award
5Point Film Festival – Finalist


Last of the Great Unkown

The Grand Canyon is an immense place, almost unfathomable in scale, and one of the last places in the American West to be explored. John Wesley Powell called it the "Great Unknown," having no idea what rapids, falls, or canyons awaited him on his first descent of the river in 1869. In the decades since, the Canyon has been a playground for dozens of explorers. River runners, backpackers, routefinders, lithic hunters, and peakbaggers have all laid claim to the Canyon's iconic landmarks, often seeking out the prestigious "firsts." While many significant points of interest were being explored, there was one feature that was left almost entirely ignored: the Canyon's innumerable technical slots.

Deep within this vast wilderness are secret and intimate tributaries rarely visited by man, hiding some of the Canyon's most remarkable features. The barrier to entry is steep. To explore them, one must have a knowledge of backpacking, packrafting, rappeling, anchor building, and off-trail navigation. The Last of the Great Unknown is the story of these slots, the canyoneers who systematically explored their drainages, and the secrets hidden deep within their walls.

Official Website:
Follow on Facebook:
Banff Mountain Film Festival, Telluride Mountain Film Festival
5Point Film Festival, Various film tours around the World

Directed by Dan Ransom:
Original Score by Amy Stolzenbach:


Rescue in Insomnia Canyon

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Photo: Todd Martin

Rich Rudow in Insomnia
Photo: Todd Martin

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Todd Martin on the 330′ Rappel
Photo: Rich Rudow

Discovered in 2005 by canyoneering pioneer Joe DeSalme, Insomnia Canyon quickly halted Joe’s initial probe with foreboding and difficult challenges. Realizing he needed more gear and a bigger team, he returned two more times with his wife Sara and Todd Martin to fix ropes and probe further. Finally, on the fourth attempt, with a 400’ rope in tow for a huge drop, they succeed in doing the first descent. Sleepless with worry over the whether the rope would reach, Joe named the canyon “Insomnia.”

With particularly dangerous technical obstacles, Insomnia was kept secret and was only done occasionally by a few very experienced Canyoneers. Eventually it leaked onto the web and traffic in the slot increased. On August 13, 2011 first responders were called to respond to an accident in the West Fork of Oak Creek. Unaware that slot canyons existed in the vicinity, a harrowing race against time began to find and save a canyoneer who fell during the 330’ rappel from Insomnia Canyon.