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Difficulty IV
Length 6.1 Miles
Gauge BIG SANDY CREEK AT ROCKVILLE, WV
Flow Range 7.50 - 11.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 43 minutes ago 4.72 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/25/2006 10:36 am

River Description


Summary:

WARNING: The river left hillside below the putin was recently logged and the wood situation in the top of this creek is significantly more pronounced because of it. The creek needs to be cleaned out as of April, 2006 and it may take time for debris from the logging operation to fully blow through the upper reaches.

The price of admission to this gem of a rhodedendron flush is an impossibly narrow and fairly steep top section that is scrapy Class IV at lower levels and pushy Class IV when some water is poured into it. The mile-by-mile gradient, courtesy of TopoZone, says it all: 220, 155, 85, 150, 140, 100. This creek seems almost too small when you launch near the roadside tire dump off Brandonville Pike. ItÂs not. But it is steep, blind and you can expect to be dealing with wood. Running the first half mile can be a time consuming endeavor. As the gradient suggests, the creek does ease up. But it never gets very wide, has few comfortable eddies and the rapids rarely let up, even in the easier sections. Overhanging rhodedendron is both a blessing  you can grab it to stop - and a curse  it will take your head off if you donÂt duck fast enough.

This creek invites disagreement over difficulty rating. Running it is a serious undertaking, yet it has a softer side. . The IV rating on this page matches the recent edition of A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to West Virginia by Walbridge, et. al.

The Rapids:

The steep stretch at the top starts right below the putin and itÂs hard to break out the details here. There are usually a couple trees down, though, so be on the ready. When you portage around them, you might as well scout from river left to see whatÂs downstream. Though the drops are steep and wide, the creek is too small to have many lines. Watch for undercut rocks and a river right sieve halfway through this section. The climax up top is a tight, dynamic hard right to left turn in front of a big boulder.

When things ease up the creek speeds through a narrow course with the rhody hanging low. ItÂs still pretty blind and single file with plenty of space between boaters is the only way down. At some point, the gorge opens up and the creeks changes gears for a while. Midway through this section is an island with a low footbridge in the left channel. The landowner has put a nice warning sign on the creek as a courtesy (IÂm betting thereÂs a story behind that). The right channel is an alternative, but you may end up portaging anyway because of wood.

A III+ ledge series marks the beginning of another gorgy section, this time with ledgy characteristics. There is a large submerged tree in the right side midway through this set of drops that pinned a boater in 2003. It was still there in March, 2004. Below here is a little more boogie before a high ledge  6 to 10 feet  must be negotiated. Take a look because the best lines change with the water flow. After a couple slides, there is another larger ledge of about 6 feet which can also be run in different places, depending on the water. Below here are a number of slides and ledgy holes. One of the slides is fairly long and the gradient drop is impressive, so take a moment to look upstream. The creek settles to open boogie for the final stretch down to the Cheat River. Watch for a retentive playhole just above the takeout bridge.

Access:

YouÂll come to the takeout first when driving south to Albright, WV on Rt. 28. Park at the rafting outfitters (you might want to ask if they are busy). Take Coal Lick Road up the hill along the creek (right across from the outfitters). Bear right at the unmarked junction, then turn right onto Brandonville Pike (CR 3-12). Look for a couple pulloffs on the right just up the road a bit. YouÂll know you are in the right place if you see a roadside dump along the creek at one of the pullouts.

Rapid Descriptions

Typical width and scenery up high

Class - Mile - 0
See any eddies? How about some Rhody? There are long stretches like this.

Typical of the upper part

Class - IV Mile - 0.4
This picture was taken in the middle of a long series of steep drops. Trying to remember your moves here is a challenge

Ledge in lower section

Class - III Mile - 4.5
This is one of the smaller ledges in the lower section. Anyone have a picture of the big ones?

Comments

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Robert Farmer
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12 years ago

I did this by putting in at the confluence with Lick Run. It's not clear from the above description where others put in, but the section above this confluence would require a tremendous amount of water---above here is very tiny.
In 2004, a large tree blocked the entire creek--don't know if it's still there.
I wouldn't call it one of the 50 classics, by any means. The good section was very brief.

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Jeff Macklin
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1 year ago

2-17-2018 Helpful hints for running Roaring Creek near Albright, WV. Using Steve Blade's video from 2-17-18 ............ ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRksXXWs03o&feature=share )............ & recently posted photos ( https://jeffmacklin.smugmug.com/Whitewater/2018/2018-02-17-Roaring-Creek-Albright-WV/i-vmvNXFn ) , Jim Snyder & I were discussing this run. Jim Snyder noted some time-marks on this video & commented on photos with some rapid names and pointed out a few hazards Below are condensed excerpts from our discussion: New & updated info on 2-28-18, is marked with a “-+” 1:45 -+ important place to go way right if you ever run low flows. 3:36 -+ Pretty sure that is "Paradise Rhodes"- named for the rhododendron tunnel effect, but the rhodies don't grow over the creek the way they used to 3:45 -+ At lower water, there's a terrible unrunnable trap exactly where you guys ran towards the left there. It is totally unnoticeable at your level. But if you go left there at lower levels, you'll have that trap named after you! There is basically a 3 rock pin, in waiting – unrunnable at low levels! 4:11 - Narrow Bridge, almost to the end of the sub-micro-creeking “upper section” … confluence of Lick Run at 4:40 4:42 - big rock marks entrance to Cyclops. 4:46 - is the top of “Cyclops”. We've called it "Cyclops" for 20 years. 4:56 - The “Cyclops Sieve” is at the base of the big rock on river right. There's a lot of water going to the rock and a good chunk goes down into a sieve. The boat/camera almost runs over the sieve. It looks a lot worse at lower water. 4:57 -+ additional info from Jim: There's a tiny stick showing the spot. Eight out of ten runs, there's wood hooked up in there. At lower water, yesterday there was nothing at all there. I guess it's not as bad a sieve as I thought, but it's always better to scrounge left and stay safe from everything. -The 4' ledge that follows waaay down at the bottom is called "What the Hell" b/c there is a bad pinning rock hiding in the foam just right of center- where all the water goes. 5:27 -+ “What the Hell”, The piton/pinning rock (is under water) is right behind that tiny stick stuck in the top of the ledge, just 4' to the left of Steve's line. If anyone ever hooks up on that rock, expect a tough extraction. Steve's 'run out plan' after the ledge, is correct ... hedge right ... if the right shore is clear of dangerous wood. Lots of wood catches there. 5:35 -+ Is the drop we call "Left" for obvious reasons- but when I blue angel w/Attila he often uses the right line to try to pass me there. 5:45 -+ And, that next drop is “Right". 6:04 -+ to 6:12 – Ledge 1, right line. Nice big boof on the left line ... if there is no wood! 6:51 -+ Ledge 2 7:17 -+ “Slide” 7:40 - “Fun Key Hole”, (in video, Steve runs right boof) Jim says, “we run that center route at all levels- very narrow but clean”. Don't take the left slot, because there is a hidden piton and that slot tends to collect wood. If you have enough water, the right flat rock boof is good... clean landing. Hope this helps for clean & fun runs on Roaring.

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Jeff Macklin
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1 year ago

Take out = 39.505296, -79.641818 ........... Put in 1 = 39.526880, -79.576286 (short hike to avoid some wood as of 2-17-18) ............ Put in 2 = 39.526101, -79.570932 (use this, after the wood is cleared, more parking here;)

Summary of Gauge Readings


No online gauge, but the Big Sandy's Rockville gauge may be a rough guide. Look for a rising gauge that eclipses 7.5 ft. and get there fast. This is most likely to still be running if the rain is still falling. Also, if you are in the Albright, WV area and running out of options because of high water, this one might be there for you. The AFWS Rain Gage can give you an idea; closest would be Afton (3901). You'll probably need an inch of rain in a 24-hour period.

There is a painted gaige on the Rt. 28 bridge over the creek, which provides surgy readings. A reading of 6 inches or less *might* seem bumpy at the top and OK on down. A foot is plenty healthy, especially in the steeper top parts, and 1.5 feet is getting pushy.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
BIG SANDY CREEK AT ROCKVILLE, WV
AW Gauge Info
4.72 ft ℹ️ 00h43m n/a
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Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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No Accident Reports

Alerts

 

News

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Tow Tether Danger Highlighted by Recent Accident

2019-02-25 19:53:07-05
Charlie Walbridge

Nancy Kell, a very experienced Mid-States kayaker, died on February 24th after flipping in a Class II rapid on West Virginia's Red Creek. There were a number of strainers in the vicinity above and below the water. One of them snagged her tow tether, pulled her out of her boat, and held her under water. She was with a very experienced crew but they could not reach her quickly enough. Equipment snags are a real risk. In the light of this accident I strongly urge anyone using a cowtail, pigtail, or tow tether to recheck your setup, and to consider whether wearing a tow tether makes sense. Be certain that your tether releases cleanly at both ends. Do not attach the front carabiner to a non-releasable point, like a pocket or strap. Ms. Kell did this, and it may have been a contributing factor. Apparently many current rescue PFD designs to not feature a front release point! Do not attach a tether to the rear of your PFD with a non-locking carabiner, as that may inadvertently clip into a rope. The tether should fit very snugly, without sagging, but as the photo shows Ms. Kell did that, and it did not protect her! The harness release should be quick and foolproof. Practice harness releases under pressure before using it on the river. Finally, remember that any additional strap is a potential snag hazard. Ask yourself if the usefulness of a tow tether is worth the risk, especially on small, strainer infrested creeks. Carry it in a PFD pocket or dry bag if necessary. Click for a link to the report in the AW Accident Database. (Jeff Macklin Photo)

 

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Gauley Fest - September 13-16, 2018 - Summersville, WV

2018-09-04 07:58:00-04
Mark Singleton

Get your groove on baby! This year Gauley Fest is a 60’s themed event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. To memorialize that historic event we are flashing back to another era for a 60’s throwdown. Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world.

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2018 Letter To Gauley Boaters From The NPS (WV)

2018-08-21 10:07:00-04
Mark Singleton

American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.

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Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

2007-02-13 00:00:00-05
Charles Walbridge

After two years of intense negotiations an agreement reached to protect endangered species in the Cheat River Canyon. Allegheny Wood Products acquired roughly 5,000 acres in the Cheat Canyon below Albright, WV in 2003 for $9.75 million. When they began building roads and cutting trees the following year the government took no steps to enforce the Endangered Species Act. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 by Friends of Blackwater Canyon, the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreational Association. Although American Whitewater was not a party to the litigation we are gratified that an agreement was reached and commend both parties for their efforts.
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Matt Muir