Well little did I know when I planned the trip to Kentucky's Red River Gorge that such diabolic facial hair creations could ever take place. Let me take the time to recount the story of the climbing excursion through my eye's, the trip leader.
Well it was 8:30am Friday morning and we were meeting at the student center to load the trailer and prep the last minute supplies before the participants were to arrive. We had planned to cook a climbers feast so the extra prep time was needed. It was during this period of time when the mayhem was first reveled to my eyes with the arrival of one of the other trip leaders.
Up walks Dustyn with one of the most awkward grins on his face. It is one of those grins that makes you wonder what someone has done or is about to do. As he get closer is see that he groomed is face to leave behind what resembles a "MUSTACHE". (from wikipedia: a A moustache (or mustache) is facial hair grown on the upper lip. Often the term implies that the wearer grows only upper-lip hair while shaving the hair on his chin and cheeks. Growth of all facial hair would constitute a beard) (from mustachemarh.com: A mustache is defined as an island of hair that is at least 1cm (root to root) from the nearest body of facial hair. A mustache is an island. Get it? No isthmuses or peninsulas allowed.)It is not the finest piece of work I have ever seen, but it is mustache none the less. I don't have a chance to respond when I am approached by another mustache, I mean trip leader. To my surprise here is Joel with another. I could tell by the facial hair around me that I was in for a good weekend.
Well by 10am all of the participants had arrived and one (Shane) had even taken the time to go into the Student Center to shave in a last minute stache. We were on the road shortly after, beginning our 4.5 hour commute to the Red River Gorgeous. It wasn't long into the ride that they were trying to talk me into shaving a stach, but I wasn't looking to be that extreme this weekend.
By noon we were all starting to get the urge to feed when we rolled up on the one and only "Hillbilly Hotdogs"(Well I guess there are three, but this was the original) I had mentioned that i would like to stop here if they were open, and they were. So I brought the horse and pony show to a stop across the road from the joints location. I turned to the load of passengers and staches and said that we could stop else where if no one was in mood what the stand had to offer. The stand is basically, shed with two school buses attached and a whole lot of other stuff around it. We all grab menus and took and seat in the attached bus to browse what they had to offer. They had more dogs then you could shake and stick at and even the vegetarian in the group was able to find something on the menu. I passed on the "Hillbilly Double Wide"(a 15lb burger with all the fixens including 24 matters and 2lbs of pickles) and the "Home wrecker"(a 1lb pure beef weenie with the sayin "not to be wreckin' with") and had the standard "Hillbilly Hotdog", "Taco Dog" and "Cheese Fries", all of which were delicious. Next time through I'm itch'n to try the home wrecker.
Back on the open road we began the second leg of the journey to the "Red". We Arrived to our camping spot, located deep on Forest Service rd #9 at about 4pm ish. We quickly set up camp and sorted out gear so that we could make it over to the classic "Bedtime for Bonzono" at the Fortress Crag. We arrive at the base of the climb to find that it was clean and empty, and aw aiting our ascent. We all suited up and with a quick safety talk began the pitch one of this two pitch 5.6 trad climb. Pitch one was a 50 foot ramp to a roof belay station the meet an adjoining ledge. We setup a top belay and got everyone one up to the large chasm ledge. In which the second pitch began. Pitch two started in a dihedral and worked and shallow ledge to leaning crack system. Once you reached the leaning crack system the route became very e xposed as it went out over the trees and the crag floor below. The climb topped out to an amazing view of the river valley and surrounding hills and cliff lines. We were greeted at the top by some local "hikers" carrying and portable boombox cooler. We enjoyed the sunset with them and rappelled to the ground in one continuous 90ft rappel to hike out in the dark, with high spirits and talk of routes to come.
That night was finish off with Joel and I grilling some fabulous steaks, stuffed mushroom and pesto pasta. Joel followed this up with an attempt at a grilled pepper that left both us and him crying, our tears were of pure laughter.
We started Saturday off at Dip Wall which was within walking distance off our campsite. We warmed up on two trad classics, "Green Eggs" and "Ham". These two cracks are side by side and shielded by a large roof. They were the perfect way to start off the day.n The guys even managed to have a mustache party half way up their routes. We from there proceeded over to "Griptosp uridum" where I was thwarted at the crux. I did made it to the top allowing Joel and Dan to top rope the beauty. I will return....
The next two hours was spent driving around to find a not so crowded climbing location. This weekend was the same as "Rocktoberfest", which was hosted by the RRGCC. This climbers festivals brought hundreds of extra climbers to the gorge for a massive fund raising event.
This congestion cause us to drive from area to area until we found ourselves at Roadside crag. Joel took the group up to the 5.9 wall where we roped up "Kampsight" and "All cows eat grass". A 5.9+ and 5.8 respectably, everyone in the group managed to send both routes. While they where climbing Dan and I rop
Sunday the final day was spent at Military wall. We arrived in time to beat the rush of the crowds and roped up four climbs. Sunshine, Stay Left, Percy miss Mercy, and Fuzzy undercling.
We finished the weekend with one last stop and Miguels for some the best pizza that exists.
Stay tunned for our next trip. We won't return to the Red until next spring, but many more adventures will be had in the mean time.
Links to help explain....