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Río Pixcayá, the Xayá Run, Guatemala (area: High Motagua; click here for the Guatemala table of rivers)

river photo

Class: IV; Ave. Gradient: 13 m/km; Portages: none; Length: 8 km; Time: 2 hours

Season: June to October; rafts? no; Highlights: creeky gorges; Crux move: escaping the dam

Water Quality: poor; Water Temperature: cool

PI: Comalapa road bridge (1860 m); TO: Xayá-Pixcayá Aqueduct dam (1755 m)

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

The Río Pixcayá throws out a few surprises in a high elevation stretch I call the “Xayá Run.” For one, there is often a boatable fl ow. Why? Because water is piped over from the Río Xayá. And why would they do that? So that it can be siphoned off , at the TO to this run, and transported by aqueduct about 50 km to the capital. This pipeline and sluiceway supplies around 30% of Guatemala City’s water (siphon action keeps it moving up and down valleys).

A full description is in the Mayan Whitewater Guatemala guidebook.

Descent History: My first descent was in September 2014.

Flow Notes: Recent rains are needed for this run to go. No online gauge correlates well.

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Iximché Mayan ruins near Tecpán, and the colonial town of Antigua Guatemala.

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