Jake McCrary

A hot Red River Gorge climbing trip

Christine, Alina, Sandy, and I spent Memorial Day weekend rock climbing in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. The weather was consistently over 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity varied. We managed to climb at shady crags and mostly avoided the crowds.

We drove down Friday night and made it to the cabin we rented about 4 am Eastern time.

We had a late start on Saturday and went to the Solar Collector crag. Despite the crag’s name, it was mostly shady and we had a nice breeze. We started as the only people there and eventually I heard another group. Here we climbed:

This was a great mix of overhanging climbing, The Decline of Western Civilization and Super Pinch, and slab climbing, Brambly Downslide and Buttsweat and Tears. I led everything but didn’t get them all cleanly. I’d come here again and do the same routes and get on some more of the harder ones. My endurance on overhanging routes is terrible right now.

On Sunday, we climbed in Miller Fork at The Record Shop. This crag is deep in Miller Fork and took about 30 minutes to reach. We were rewarded with a quiet crag with only a couple other climbers there. Here we climbed:

These were all good routes. Call Me Maybe is a spicy one and definitely took some work to figure out the moves while hanging on the rock. Cowboys From Hell was hard. It took a while to hang the draws on it and work out the moves between various bolts. I’m happy it was short.

The Record Shop has a pretty massive overhang section in it.

We planned on starting the drive home on Monday in the mid-afternoon. We wouldn’t have much time to climb and wanted to minimize the time taken on the approach. Given those constraints, we opted to climb at Drive-By Crag. Here we knocked out a few routes and then went and stared at Bob Marley Crag a bit.

The day was humid and sweaty. The crag was busy but there wasn’t much competition for the routes we climbed. We ended up checking out the area past the big cave. There are quite a few interesting sounding routes over there. We only climbed Pottsville Escarpment, a fun and easy 80 foot slab climb. You’ll definitely want a long stick clip for its first bolt.

The cabin we rented was off a road that shares the exit of the Rockhouse restaurant. There were some very nice looking cabins back there. It was nice having a full kitchen and hot tub.