For a video of my March 6, 2011 trip down Moore Run, go to youtube. To read about an abortive effort, go here; for the successful 2011 run, click here.
This creek is one of the steepest and most hardcore runs in West Virginia. All the drops are runable but some are extremely steep. If you love running streams like Real Manns and Elsey, you should check this one out. It is one steep boulder drop after another. It is non-stop action and some drops are extremely steep.
As unbelievable as this stream sounds, it is not a dream but an actual run that I have done several times now. It is born in a high mountain marsh and eventually forms itself into a paddleable stream. From the trail head, you hike along a small stream eventually walk around the marsh. Once around the marsh, the trail swings back to the creek. The creek is very small at first but another trib comes in and doubles the flow. The trail leaves the creek at this point and things get down to business.
After the trib, the stream builds into some rocky Class 2-4 rapids at a fast pace. Soon, you will reach a horizon line. This is the first good rapid and is an easy left to right boof off a 4 footer followed immediately by another 4 footer. A short fast section brings you to the real action.
The first major rapid is a series of three 5-6 foot drops in close succession. The creek pinches into an ugly slot in the middle drop and the final drop has a horseshoe shape with an undercut sticking out on the left. From experience, the pinch slot after the first drop is very difficult to avoid.
The next section comes at you quickly and you need to be prepared to stop between drops. The first drop is a 2 foot boof into a cascading slot that slams into the wall on the left and carries you off a 6 foot ledge. Immediately after, the creek splits on a log choked island. The middle and left are ugly, and the right is a runable low volume 6 foot clapper. When the channels come together, there is a series of boulder drops and moves that will delight the heart of the seasoned creeker. When you see, a major horizon line, hop out because this is Duracel.
Recognized by the picturesque cliff on the right, Duracel is a huge rapid and is probably one of my favorite rapids that I have run. It is named after Energizer on Real Mann's and falls 40-50 total feet in a very short distance. To paraphrase the battery Duracell's slogan, "No other rapid in West Virginia lasts longer!" When not choked with wood, it starts out with an 8-10 foot clapper into a short pool. From here the creek tilts downhill steeply and ends with "The Dream", a beautiful launch pad off a 10-12 foot drop. The approach can be run in a zigzag right to left then back right at low flows or potentially straight ahead down the right with good water. Be aware that there is a very nasty looking crack/notch in the middle/left that you would not want to wind up in.
More boulder drops carry you to The Rooftop, a large rapid with a house sized boulder that the creek goes over. Low flows require one to go to the left of the boulder and cascade down into a 90 degree righthand turn but at higher flows, you can cut right and go right off the Rooftop, a 15-20 foot near vertical slope down the boulder.
At this point, the worst is over but there are still plenty of steep boulder drops left to the confluence. Be careful in this section because one of the drops swings to the right and falls into an unrunable sieve. This will need to be portaged on the right. Once to the confluence, you will be treated to several more miles of Class 5 action down a swollen Otter Creek making for a truly ultimate day. From experience, I know that getting an early start is pretty important if you want to have a chance to complete the run.
Lat/longitude coordinates are from online maps, not GPS.
Here are links to some trip reports - epics on this creek.
The gauge for this stream is tough. The best way to know this is running is if Otter Creek is high. If Otter has a lot of water, this creek should be going since it is one of Otter's biggest tributaries.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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)
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.
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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