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Río Pixcayá, Upper, Middle, & Canyon, Guatemala (area: High Motagua; click here for the Guatemala table of rivers)

river photo

Class: IV; Ave. Gradient: 23 m/km; Portages: a few in the Canyon; Length: up to 35 km; Time: up to 11 hours

Season: June to October; rafts? no; Highlights: real mountain creeking; Crux move: the cracks in the Canyon

Water Quality: poor; Water Temperature: cool

PI: Chicopín bridge (1575 m), La Empresa bridge (1408 m), or Estancia de La Virgen (1162 m); TO: Pixcayá bridge (754 m) or above

Description: (click here for general notes about my descriptions)

The Río Pixcayá is a small creek in the lovely forested ravines north of Chimaltenango. The upper elevations exhibit pine forest which become subtropical further down. The extended technical whitewater action is continuous and committing (and you need to put up with a bit of trash along the banks).

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook.

Descent History: The Río Pixcayá has been a purely solo effort to date. I ran the Canyon in August 2005 (400 cfs), then the Middle in July 2006 (100 cfs at the PI), and the Upper in July 2010 (100 cfs at the PI when Hurricane Alex was nearby).

Flow Notes: You need higher than average flows for these sections. The Middle is not really good at borderline flows, too scrapy. The water channels better in the Canyon. I have not correlated the flows to the downstream Río Motagua gauges.

cfs graph cfs graph

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Mixco Viejo Mayan ruins near the Pixcayá bridge, and the colonial town of Antigua Guatemala.

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