Bzhuzha (Extreme Race)
|Stretch:||Below the Powerhouse|
|Flows:||No Gauge. Estimate at put-in: 350 cfs|
|Gradient:||275 pm average (322 fpm through 0.4 miles)|
|Put-in:||Immediately below the powerhouse|
|Take-out:||Pasture land 1 km below the powerhouse|
|Shuttle:||1 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 Afternoon:
After running the Middle, we headed up to the top. However, a few in the group decided that they did not feel up to more time on the water so only 4 of us headed to the put-in. Just getting to the water on this one is a bit of an obstacle course. First, you throw your boat over a fence into a holding pool below. Then climb down the ladder and walk along the narrow wall of the pool, falling off into the river would be very bad as there is a sieved out class V+ immediately at the base of the wall. I chose to slide on my butt. Then, get your boat to the far side, and lower it down a small cliff to the shore below, make sure it does not take off on you as the rapids start immediately! Getting yourself down to shore requires delicate downclimbing on a slippery surface, but soon you will reap the rewards of this effort. The canyon below is tight, steep, technical, and unforgiving. However, it is beautiful with rock walls lining the river, and the dense Georgian forest overhanging the walls and blocking out the sun. The rapids despite being consequential are fun, however there is a mandatory rapid 3 rapids in that recently killed someone who was recirculated. That boater was revived, but this drop is known for recirculating people. And the kicker on it is that the first person has to run it with no safety as it is impossible to set safety on it until you are below. If you can muster the courage for the must run, then this run is a must when in Georgia!
From put-in, there is one small rapid that you then want to scout below, before entering the next obviously larger rapid. In that small rapid, one in our group flipped and hit a rock on their shoulder which then caused a swim. Thank God that they were able to exit the river just at the lip of the first big rapid, as swimming into it would have been absolutely horrible. So now, we were down to three… Egor, Diane and I. We scouted the first two rapids and the line to the lip of the mandatory. We then ran the first one and Egor set safety below. We all ran the second one together, and then Egor ran the mandatory and was kind enough to set safety below for us. Setting safety is no easy task and requires a precise ferry in order to exit the river on the left shore after running the ledge on the right. Once below, you get to another big rapid that should be scouted from an island in the middle. This rapid is steep and has rock pile in the middle of the river, one way or another you want to get to the left of it and keep cascading on that side. Some cut across high, some cut across lower. At low flow the cut is mandatory, at our flow staying right could be worked out though there would be some rock interaction. The final major rapid has a very large sieve and the line changes from year to year. We snuck down the far right, though the sneak was still quit on. Then, one smaller, but sticky, double drop leads you to a junky final rapid that changes and is always a piece of shit apparently. Then bam. You are done.
After our lap, the three of us, along with the fourth person who located there boat in an eddy just below the sieve rapid paddled down through the Middle. That afternoon, we headed to the nearby town and picked up Irina, a Ukranian, who is also a member of the British Rafting Team and was in country for the Euro Rafting Championships, and now that her rafting obligations were completed, was joining us for the rest of the trip. We ate a great late lunch, and then headed back to the Bzhuzha where we camped the night before, at the put-in for the Middle. That night, Egor and Alona BBQ’d us some great meat before we all crashed.
Previous: Republic of Georgia 2017 Day 8 Morning - Bzhuzha (Middle)
Next: Republic of Georgia 2017 Day 9 - Tekhuri (Middle)
- Boogie (III). Directly below put-in is some class 3 boogie. Catch the eddy on the right before the first major rapid which starts off as boogie. Just do yourself a favor and catch the first eddy on the right. One in our group flipped, hit their shoulder, and swam… clawing their way to shore just before being swept into the first rapid. Super close call.
First Rapid (V). Scout right before running. We entered right and then eddied out far left below the entrance but before the main part of the rapid. The main part of the rapid is a pinch down the left shore. You then want to stay left, but lots get pushed right. Boof the next ledge which lands you on a ramp which slides down into a hole that is easy to get your nose up on assuming you are straight and in control. Set safety on the right.
Second Rapid (V-). This rapid is a bit junky, you wanted to enter left via a small boof, then hit the middle left again to avoid the exploding water bouncing off of rocks in the middle. This lands you on a ramp which then punches through a small pocket hole against the wall.
Boogie (III). One small rapid led to an eddy on the right that should be taken to inspect the lead in to the mandatory.
- Mandatory (V). This rapid has a long lead in that should be run down the right. 20 feet above the crux is a small ledge, make sure to hit that straight. The crux is a ramp to a corner which has a shoulder to boof the subsequent 8-10 foot ledge. The ledge is horribly backed up on the left meaning if you end up left you will likely swim. You want to boof sorta with the angle of the current, but on the right side of the channel, using the shoulder to get your nose up. Note, people have blacked out here while being recirculated. Whoever goes first is on there own as there is no way to get a rope on them from above. Once one is below, they can get out if they have a quick ferry, on river left.
In Between (IV). Two small rapids exist here. The first is a small double drop which is no problem down the middle. The second is a constriction with a curler coming off the left wall. If it is your first time, make sure you catch an eddy on the left immediately below, the next rapid is large. This eddy was harder to catch than you would think.
- Fourth Rapid (V). This rapid has a lot of rocks in a lot of wrong places. You want to enter far left and boof down into a small slot. This then clears you of all the danger, and allows you to then run the exit cascade easily down the center. There is another line as water comes up hugging the far right shore. There was also another line that looked sketchy which was starting right and cutting left before the exit. It looked sketchy because of a rockpile in the middle which looked pinny/sievy.
Sneak (IV+ to V-). This rapid changes regularly and has a bad sieve in it. People used to run far left boofing and landing sideways next to the sieve before exiting left. Now, the sieve opened up and is sucking water from that line. So we banged down the far right in a rocky channel. This then recombines the main flow with a ramp which leads down between pour overs from either side. Diane got a little left on the ramp and backendered and got a little worked in the pour over on that side.
Double Drop (IV+). Immediately below, basically the exit, is a double drop which you want to enter center moving right on the first, and right on the second. The bottom is a fairly sticky hole for sure.
- Junk (IV+). The last rapid is a pile of crap. Lines appear or disappear regularly. Scout. We ran center with a hard left to right move. A short section of mellow boogie leads to the put-in for the Middle.
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: The powerhouse which is located 1.5 km upstream of Gomi. You have to throw and go your boats to a small holding pool, and then climb around the wall to then downclimb to the shore.
Take-out: downriver 1 km, there is an open, flat area on the left. There is a trail heading upriver river 100 yards from here.
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