Rienz (Lower Gorge)
|Difficulty:||Class III to IV then II|
|Flows:||700-2,000 cfs? No gauge that I know of.|
|Gradient:||51 fpm average (70 fpm for the first 2.5 miles)|
|Put-in:||Near the Albergo Putzerhof Restaurant and Hotel|
|Take-out:||Across from the Powerhouse|
|Shuttle:||9.3 km (~15-20 minutes one way)|
|Season:||Not sure actually…|
Austria & More 2016: Day 11 Afternoon
Waking up at the Reinbach, my back was making it clear that I was not going to be able to boat anything difficult. Still, with an eager and hopeful mind we packed up and headed over to the Gader. My back had started to loosen up, but without being able to see into the difficult sections of the canyon, I just couldn’t risk it. As they paddled off, I began a morning of shuttle duty. That run was reported to be similar to the Boite with maybe one or two harder rapids, and less continuous, but a lot of wood, some of which was in play.
After their run on the Gader, we packed up and headed over for one last run in Italy before heading back to Austria. The Rienz was reported to have water, and supposedly fun. After some struggling to find take-out, and then struggling to find the put-in trail, we found ourselves at the river ready to put-on at around 5:30 for a long run. It turns out just upstream from our put in is the short class V section… Jim was tempted to scout it for a run, but with daylight and my unknown back status, we all decided to put on and make downstream progress.
Pushing off, I was relieved that my back could handle the force of the strokes, though hitting an occasional rock certainly sent sparks of pain shooting through my back. The run itself began with a really fun class III to IV nature, in a deep canyon that gave you a sense of being remote, one of the only times on this paddling trip that we got that sense. The rapids then mellowed out to class II in nature for the remainder of the run.
Although not overly hard, we found the run to be quite enjoyable, and a real classic for its difficulty. And luckily, I found my back actually loosened up and did great for the run.
That evening we decided to eat at the restaurant at put-in before beginning our drive. The drive to Austria took approximately two hours, so we arrived around 10:30, found Harry at the take-out for the Middle Otz, and quickly passed out, eager to see what the following day would bring!
Thanks to Harald and Reiner Glanz and Jim Janney for sharing photos and for making the trip possible!
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- Put-in (III). Just below put-in is one of the steeper single rapids of the run. We ran down the far right. There was a small hole. The river then made an ominous blind turn to the left but was fine. Jim scouted from river left.
- Boulder Gardens (III-). The next long section was a boulder garden with various lines. I can imagine at higher flows some holes lurk in here. For us it was just trying to pick out a deep channel.
- Gorge Entrance (III). As you enter an obviously more walled out section you will also spot a bridge overhead. This is the start of the crux section which will last a little over a mile. This first rapid we ran down the middle.
Boogie (III). A few fun boogie rapids… One had a sticky ledge that you would want to properly boof!
Wall (III to IV). Probably the hardest rapid of the run, this one had a little ledge that you want to run to the left wall and then ferry away from said wall. At higher flow I think it would become very squirrely.
- Boogie (II). As the river bends right and you can get a clear view of the church in the town ahead you know things are starting to wind down.
- A footbridge crosses overhead… You then shortly there after pass a water inlet pipe.
Landslide (III-). Somewhere not to far downstream (not in google earth at the time of this writing) there was a landslide. It is super obvious. We ran down the steep drop down the middle. It ended up being A-OK.
- Take-out Rapids (II+ to III-). None of these rapids are big but there are a few last class II+ rapids as you make the final bend to the right and begin entering the town.
Take-out: We came from the direction of Bruneck and ran into all sorts of issues finding take-out. But I think that was a GPS error… What you should do is head East on SS49 and then a ~29 km outside of town take SS12 south. Continue for about 8 km to where the SS12 turns into Via Brennero. Follow this shortly down along the river. The river then bends right and changes names to Via Peter Mayr and then quickl bends left and changes names to Via Dante. Continue straight for about one km before turning right on Viale Mozart. Take this across the river and then take the first left onto Via Plose. This then goes back up the river, park at the end of the road.
Put-in: From take-out, cross the bridge at the first opportunity, then turn left and go up the inside of the other channel at the confluence onto Via Cesare Battisti. Continue going up to the T, which is about 2 km and then turn left to cross the river and then turn right onto Via Brennero. After 1.1 km take the right onto Via Vecchia della Pusteria. Continue up this road, eventually merging onto SS49 heading towards Pusteria. 6.3 km since you took the turn on Pusteria, there is a restaurant on the left. This is the parking for put-in. To find the trail, cross the road and walk down to the train tracks… there is a trail on the left that crosses under the tracks.
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