|Difficulty:||Class IV to IV+|
|Flows:||No Gauge. Estimate at put-in: 400 cfs|
|Gradient:||201 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Pasture land 1 km below the powerhouse|
|Take-out:||Roadside upstream of Gomi|
|Shuttle:||2.4 kms (5 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||Spring and ?|
|Featured in A Wet State #131 and in A Wet State's contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
Our thanks to our trip leads at Two Blade Adventures.
Republic of Georgia 2017 Day 8 Morning:
Waking up at the hostel on the Black Sea, we drove the short 1-hour to the river where there is an annual race. Egor puts the race on and it occurs a few weeks earlier at the beginning of May. The race consists of the Long Course which is the bulk of the middle, a Sprint which is the main two rapids in the gorge, and then the Qualifying which is the fun boogie rapids after the Gorge. For those that qualify, there an Extreme Race Section on the Upper Bzhuzha, which we will get to shortly.
This run was really fun. We ended up running it three times it was so much fun. The first time down we scouted the Soup Bowl which is the first major rapid (we actually scouted prior to putting on as there is a 100 yard trail to the rapid from the parking you use to go 100 yards up to put-in), and then we scouted the ledge at the start of the gorge. Other than that, it was follow the leader read and run with a few tips as we went down.
The ledge is legit and deserves some safety. Safety can be set on either side. The danger is that it is quite a caldron, though I think at most flows you would float out once out of the boat. However, this poses another challenge as you are now in a walled out gorge and have one sorta sketchy rapid to exit. For us that exit had wood in it which made it that much worse, most of us on all the laps snuck around it in a small ledge channel.
After our first lap, we then headed up for a lap on the Upper section which holds the Extreme Race. For us, on this Middle section we had medium low flow, however on the Upper, we would have medium high flow, and had a mandatory rapid to look forward too, one that killed someone a few weeks prior, luckily they were able to be revived after CPR.
Previous: Republic of Georgia 2017 Day 7 Afternoon - Kintrishi (Lower)
Next: Republic of Georgia 2017 Day 8 Afternoon - Bzhuzha (Extreme Race Section)
- Start (III to IV). The rapids start immediately with continuous class III rapids starting directly below the put-in beach.
- Soup Bowl (IV to IV+). At high flows I have seen video of 4 or 5 guys all swimming this drop at the same time. You can scout on the right before putting on, or from the left once on the river. After a class III lead in, you will get to a horizon, you either want to boof left or right, left seems more straight forward. Apparently the right has opened up recently, making the hole less sticky generally.
Boof #1 (IV-). Directly downstream is a nice boof that we ran off the left shoulder.
- Boof #2 (IV). After a good section of class III/IV boogie you get to a ledge formed by a rock in the middle of the river. You can go right of it and plug it or you can get on it in the center and boof. Don’t go left of it as it is a tight spot over there.
- Rock Slide (IV). After a busy section, you will round a slight bend to the left and the river will have a slide down a large rock in the middle. Below, it is boogie.
- Pre-Bridge (IV). This rapid was sorta junky, a long boogie section leads you to a small channel far left of a large midstream boulder. Go through this two tiered rapid far left and brace for hip checks as you drop through the small double drop.
Bridge Rapid (IV-). Immediately below is a nice rapid, you can go far right and avoid any trickery or run it down the middle with left to right momentum to avoid a midstream piton. The exit was a slightly sticky hole that if you are straight is fine.
- Ledge (IV+). This long rapid is the crux of the run for sure. Scout left or right, but scout early as the boogie leads directly to the lip. The rapid has several lead in ledges that we ran right then center. You then want to work left so you can line up the left shoulder to boof over the powerful hole. Note, Egor did say he has seen people get worked here, but they always flush out once swimming. We had one person flip and get pulled behind the river right curtain but she came out still in her boat just fine. Below, is a walled in gorge, there was a small beach on the left a rope could be set from, though hitting anyone in the hole would be hard unless you set safety from above the drop.
Gorge Rapid (III to IV+). Immediately below is a small rapid that you can run left, which then leads to the exit of the gorge. The exit was normally run far right, boofing a large hole. However, it had a tree in it. There was a fine line off the left side of the center rock that could be run, but note that the hole over there is really bad and a bit of a pocket. On most laps, we all ran a sneak down the far left, in a micro channel against the shore.
- Boogie (III to IV). From here to take-out is essentially one long boogie rapid. Was actually a really fun section. Note, this year at high flow two catarafters died in these rapids after they flipped and got knocked out while strapped into their craft. You can take out where the road comes closest to the river or run one additional rapid and walk back up.
Put-in / Take-out: Use the GPS coordinates in the map and a mapping program on your phone. The street names will not be legible anyways…
Put-in: Upriver from the town of Gomi, there is an open , flat area on the right. There is a trail heading upriver river 100 yards from here.
Take-out: Immediately upstream of Gomi, park where the river is closest to the road. That is take-out.
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