Archive for April, 2015

Red River Gorge 2015

Hey guys, here is my Red River Gorge Trip Report:

We’ve been wanting to go to Red River Gorge (RRG) for a long time now. We’ve heard great things regarding the variety of climbs and how big it is. With my girlfriend and I moving to Colorado this summer, we kind of viewed this as our last chance to road trip out to RRG, which was 12 hours from Nebraska.

5 of us were going on this trip and we planned on staying there for 5-6 days. Our destination was Miguel’s Pizza, which is the campground for climbers in the Gorge.


We drove all day, passing through Kansas City and St. Louis. All in all, the drive took about 13 hours. We met up with our 2 friends, who was already there. Miguel’s Pizza is an awesome campground for climbers. It’s $2 a day to camp (no camp fires unfortunately but whatever). The food is good, there’s free wifi, and the facilities are serviceable. The community is nice as well.

RRG is mainly comprised of hard sandstone, which is one of my favorite rocks to climb on. It’s the same texture/quality as Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, our regular outdoor place. The approaches are a bit long (maybe 20-50 minutes hiking in addition to 20-30 minutes from Miguel’s pizza).


We woke up a bit later than usual (8:30am) due being tired from the drive. Monday and Tuesday were the best days to climb by the projected weather forecast, so we wanted to the bulk of our climbing on these days. We went to Muir Valley first and didn’t get to the crags until pretty late (like 12 noon). We did several easy climbs to warm up (I think 5.9s >)-

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After leaving that area, we went to a much taller area (can’t quite remember the name, maybe slab city?). This area was really fun and some of the climbs were much taller than normal (90 feet +).
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We ran out of daylight and cooked food/went to bed early.


Feeling much more rested (though pretty damn cold, it was like 35 degrees at night), we traveled to Pendergrass-Murray Preserve and went to The Gallery:

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We warmed up on that easy climb (name escapes me) and then did a 5.10b, a ‘Brief History of Climb’. This route is comprised of a early crux off some bad crimps followed by two sit down rests on ledges and then a huge overhung jug ladder. REALLY fun route:

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We went to the neighboring area and climbed a 5.11a (or b, can’t recall the name) before rain shut us out. It was a weird pocket route with one really hard section and the rest being okay. Here are some photos of that one:

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We went back to Muir Valley and went to Coyote Cliff (or near that area). We expected rain throughout the day due to the forecast and We climbed a very unimpressive 5.11a that was fairly technical. There was a very hard middle crux with a series of foot switches/bad crimps, but otherwise, it was fine. Not a very fun climb, though. We wasted a lot of time in this area, unfortunately.

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Finally, we got to go to my favorite area: The Solarium. The Solarium is an area with a ton of overhanging roofs, with loads of 5.11s-5.12s. We did a 5.11a classic called “Air Ride Equipped”:

It was a huge jug fest up a big roof and all overhung. There was a bottom area where you could sit on a ledge and rest. This route wasn’t very tall, maybe 60-65 feet.

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My friend here (in the red) climbed to the top of the climb, right near the anchors and then took a big whipper and fractured his ankle. It was a very minor fracture (so we hear) and I think it only required a week or two off. Getting him back was pretty hard (he was hobbled) and it was about a 1-2 mile hike back.


The weather on Thursday was supposedly the worst day, with like a 75% chance of rain. Our friends decided to stay at camp due to his ankle (him + his girlfriend), so myself and 2 others went out to go climb. By Thursday, we were pretty tired, having climbed for 3 consecutive days previously. I hadn’t slept great either, given the overall storms and cold at night. That being said, you’re only in Kentucky once and I’m not sure how long it would take for me to get back there.

We went back to the Solarium and got on Banshee, a 5.11c classic. There were two giant Huecos (huge holes in the rocks) where you could sit. As you can see in the pictures, the weather conditions were not great and midway through the climb, I actually was in a Hueco deciding if I wanted to come down or not (due to rain). I decided to push onward due to the route being overhung and the rain not being too severe.

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I actually got stuck in the first Hueco and it was really hard getting out due to the lack of good hand holds around it. All in all, Banshee was a very fun climb. There were a few tough crimps throughout the route and there was a tough sequence before the second huge Hueco (where you could take a nap in if you wanted) where you had to pretty much hump a smaller heuco to get to a good hold. The last sequence was a jug ladder and very easy.

The second climb of the day was ‘Super Best Friends’, a 5.12b roof. This one had a massive roof and the overhanging section was far bigger than anything I’ve ever done.

There was a bouldery start followed by a early rest ledge. After that, it was pretty much on like donkey kong and everything was overhung (the holds were pretty good but less numerous than some of the other routes we did).

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After the boulder start:

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I got up to the roof section and couldn’t pull the crux overhang and fell/got lowered. Girlfriend did the same and got lowered, but she did a lot better than I did (and pulled past the crux).

Here are two videos of us falling:


Unfortunately, my friend’s ankle was too swollen for him to continue. Because we took a van to get there, we had to borrow swollen ankle friend’s Suburu to get to most of the climbs (as our van couldn’t make it on the dirt roads, much less so when they are muddy). This pretty much forced us to leave a day early and we went back to Nebraska. We hit up some nice ribs along the way (went to a place called ‘Paddy’s’ in St. Louis). I slept a ton the following days and my fingers were pretty raw.

All in all, I very much enjoyed RRG. I was EXTREMELY disappointed I did not have a chance to go to the Chocolate Factory area to see some of the climbs out there. Next time, I will be sure to take a car that can make it to some of those climbs. Furthermore, I would like to stay a bit longer than I did (hopefully with a few more rest days). Thanks for reading.

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