Jake McCrary

Climbing in the Red River Gorge

My buddy Joel and I drove down to Kentucky to climb for three days in the Red River Gorge. We didn’t climb anything too challenging.

We drove down Wednesday afternoon and stopped in Lexington overnight.

On Thursday, we climbed at Drive-By Crag. Here we climbed:

Except for Layback and Groove, I had previously climbed all of these routes before. I did not climb Whip-Stocking this trip.

On Friday, we started at The Shire and then moved to The Gallery. The Shire was pretty soaked from the rain overnight so we only climbed one route there.

Our original plan for Friday was to knock out all the easy routes at The Shire and then go hit up Amarillo Sunset. The wetness caused us to scrap this plan and instead we headed over to The Gallery.

The Gallery was much drier. Once again, I did not climb Johnny B. Good. My head was in a weird place after Thursday and I was opting to just continue taking it easy this trip. Both Joel and I both moved left at the slab section on Murano which most likely downgrades this route by a letter.

Saturday was going to be 80+ degrees Fahrenheit and we planned on leaving early for the drive back to Chicago. We opted to go to Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley. It is shady all day and this was crucial to keeping our temperatures down. Here we climbed three routes.

On this day I felt better about climbing. Manteleer’s name tells you the technique you need to use to finish this route.

Thunderclinger was my favorite route of the trip. It was pretty beta intensive and had some really fun movement on it. The comments on redriverclimbing.com really highlight some of my favorite parts. One comment calls it 5.12 movement with 5.10 holds.

While at Coyote Cliff we only saw two other climbing duos. This was pretty amazing considering the heat and how full the parking lot was when we left. Coyote Cliff is far from the parking lot and many climbers are probably discouraged by the length of the hike (25 - 30 minutes).

Overall it was a pretty enjoyable trip even without climbing anything too challenging. This trip exposed that I have some mental issues to work through when climbing in Kentucky. I didn’t have the same anxieties last fall in Red Wing, Minnesota so hopefully more exposure to Kentucky helps.