Climbing at the Red River Gorge
Having been to many of the best international sport climbing destinations, we heard lots of talk about climbing at the Red. You know a place is something special when people from France are talking about how awesome Kentucky is. Whether you like sport or trad there is something for everyone at the Red.
Normally when I hear sandstone I think crumbly slick rock not worth climbing. The sandstone at the Red is really hard, has incredible friction and amazing features. The crags are amazingly diverse ranging from slab, to crack, with the majority of classics being steep jug hauls.
If you aren’t strong on steep routes, you’ll learn fast at the Red. With many areas containing a high density of quality single pitch routes you can easily hit upwards of ten routes in a day. The popular moderate areas will obviously be busy, especially on the weekends.
One unfortunate thing about the geography of the area is that driving is required to get to many crags. Once you’re there you can usually get to 10 or more different walls within 30min from the parking area. Some access roads are dirt and can be impassable without a high clearance vehicle, especially the PMRP after rain.
If you end up there in the spring expect rain. Luckily, given the rocks steep nature, many areas are still climbable in the rain. Even areas with moderate routes! If you venture during the summer don’t forget the insect repellent and you’ll be chasing the shade. Fall is prime sending weather and therefore extremely busy.
Miguel’s, the climbers campground / pizza place seems to be busy year round, although closed in the winter. We’ll talk more about Miguel’s in a future article on budgeting at the Red. Until then, sell your house, quit your job, pack your car and get to the Red!