|Difficulty in August:||3 (4)|
|From:||Chibit – Alt. 1130 m (3700 ft)|
|To:||Katun Confluence - Alt. 740 m (2430 ft)|
|Distance:||80 km (50 miles)|
|Average Gradient:||5 m/km (25 ft/mile)|
|Est. Max Gradient:||10-12 m/km (50-60 ft/mile)|
|Typical Flow in August:||60-80 cms (2100-2800 cfs)|
|The Majoy Gorge of Chuya|
|Difficulty in August:||5 (5+)|
|From:||Majoy Bridge – Alt. 1420 m (4660 ft)|
|To:||Chibit – Alt. 1130 m (3700 ft)|
|Distance:||15 km (9 miles)|
|Average Gradient:||20 m/km (100 ft/mile)|
|Est. Max Gradient:||25-30 m/km (125-150 ft/mile)|
|Typical Flow in August:||50-60 cms (1800-2100 cfs)|
The Chuya, a significant right tributary of the Katun and is probably most easily accessed rivers in the area. Apart from 15 km stretch, the whole river is followed on its right bank by the Chuya Road, one of the main routes connecting Siberia and Mongolia.
The river gathers its water from many smaller streams in Kosh-Agach basin, a woodless flat steppe adjacent to the Mongolian border. Below the settlement of Kosh-Agach it then meanders for nearly 100 km, occasionally with some easy class 2 sections. This stretch takes a lot of left tributaries coming from snowy Chuya Ranges nearby; and the river below becomes essentially glacier-fed, although morning-evening water fluctuations hardly exist.
Some 15 km upstream of Aktash, a large village on the Chuya Road, the river diverts left and around a huge hill, creating difficult and committing Majoy Gorge (named after a small left tributary at the beginning of it). The road and the river join again at Chibit, a village located couple of kilometers below Aktash.
From here down it is a straightforward class 3 river, with three distinct class 4 rapids in it, all the way down to Katun confluence.
Access & Logistics
Being followed by the road for its whole length, the river access is fairly trivial and put-in and take-out points can be selected pretty much arbitrary.
Most of the groups who are about Majoy Gorge take out at Chibit, as there’s not much for them to do afterwards; on the other hand, those planning lower Chuya usually start at Chibit, as they have equally nothing to do in the gorge. Many groups doing lower Chuya then continue their trip down the Katun River – indeed, it’s obvious choice, as the difficulty is comparable and the lower Katun valley is beautiful and relatively wild.
For the Majoy Gorge, there are two options for the put-in. A rough local road forks at Chibit and goes inside the gorge up to so-called Majoy Bridge in its upper part (then crosses the river and climbs up the Oroi pass, see Shavla description for details). Another way is to follow main Chuya Road, passing by Aktash, to the point where it meets the river again – watch for concrete remains of never-completed Chuya powerhouse; from here it’s about 5 km down to Majoy Bridge with some easy class 2-3 rapids to warm you up. First option gives you the chance to have a look at least at the Presidium rapid and locate the place to get out of the boat for scouting; but the second way is definitely faster – the road inside gorge is far from excellence.
Convenient put-in for the lower Chuya is near a wooden road bridge, 3-4 km downstream from Chibit.