Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red River Gorge Autumn 2012

Hold up, hold up, hold up! Outdoor Pursuits went to the Red River Gorge for three days? 

That’s right, Son.  Check the flyers, we traveling.

How was the climbing?

I’m getting there, I’m getting there.  Don’t rush me (takes a deep breath).  

Here we go:  Day One - What’s a trip to the Red without fueling up on some classic cuisine.  Hillbilly Hot Dogs was our first stop, hot dogs any way you can dream.  Go with the taco dog; you won’t regret it.  

From there we continued straight to the Red.  Pouring rain during the drive had our spirits low but we trudged on hoping for better weather.  We pulled into camp and the weather seemed to break slightly, but there was a weird ruckus going on down the creek, so we went to inspect.  A crow had been snagged by a fishing line and was dangling above the river trying to get free.  

Horrible, right?  

Don’t worry, the crew went to action: a pocket knife here, clipping pole there, wet boots, creek crossed, a t-shirt to hold the crow, and he was free.  

You’re thinking, Wow, that had to be a good omen for the trip, right?  Everything would get better for our good deed, right?  Wrong.  That crow should’ve died.  It rained on us the rest of the night.

Later, sitting under the cooking canopies we decided it was time for action, so we headed to Miguel’s Pizza, the climbing hub of the Red, for a little grub and nourishment.  After some delicious pizza and several Ale 8’s -- Kentucky’s famous soda -- we went back to camp, had a fire and hoped for better conditions the next day.

Saturday morning arrives:  Still soaked… sigh.  We dally around camp fueling up and weighing options for areas that might be dry enough to climb.  Around 9:30 a.m. we head out in search of greatness -- as it happens, so did every other climber in the Red!  Muir, Lady Slipper, and Long wall were all mobbed, and I mean MOBBED.  So we headed to Pebble Beach with fingers crossed, nobody was there (holla!); we owned the crag.  Oh, it was wet but that didn’t stop us.  Five fun was the order of the day and quickly we put up route after route, trying to make up for our lost afternoon. New climbers got to touch outside rock for the first time; old climbers got to revisit old friends; and REALLY old climbers were there… Not sure why they were there, being so old and all (shrug).  We crushed and thrushed till the late afternoon and returned to camp for some well earned R & R.  We settled in that night, gathered around the fire with new stories to tell, and had a well earned sleep that night.

Sunday, final day:  We woke up early and packed camp.  Lady Slipper-Global Village was the choice of the day.  This is a beautiful crag with 80-foot plus climbs and great views to reward you with a send.  As with the day before, routes quickly went up and the fun began.  Vision, an 80-foot crack quickly became a favorite with the climbers for its hand jams, sunshine, and view of the gorge from the top that’s hard to beat.  We climbed till the early afternoon and packed it up, but we couldn’t leave without one more trip to Miguel’s.  A few more Ale 8’s and a sweet potato, artichoke, and ricotta cheese pizza (sounds good, right), and it was time to head home.  (By the way, it WAS good.)

The Red River Gorge has been a wonderful trip:  Beautiful views, world-class climbing and making new friends have been the payoff.  If you missed out on this trip, don’t worry; just keep your eyes on the watch for future excursions.  It’s a trip you’ll never forget!

                                                                      written by: Ryan Scott