I was fortunate enough to be able to get out to Kentucky this past week for a quick visit to The Red River Gorge. It was just a quick trip to surprise Audrey on her birthday, say hi to old friends and to sample some of the newer routes that are going up. Normally when I get to the red it is rainy and cold but the forecast this time looked good and I was excited to get out and climb.
The popularity of The Red has increased immensely over the last few years, due in no small part to the highly successful Petzl Roc Trip held there in 2007. The number of quality routes is staggering and the number of new routes going up is astounding.
I was only going to be in Kentucky for 9 days and only hoped to climb 5 days while working the rest of the time. In this short time I didn’t expect to be able to do much but had my mind set on trying Joe Kinder’s route “Southern Smoke”, which I had been on just a few times over the last two years. The first two days were painful. It was warm and I had forgotten how to climb at The Red, too much pocket pulling with bad feet will do that to a person. I did manage to get on and figure out a sequence for “Southern Smoke” but I wasn’t really able to link many of the moves.
After the first two days I worked the Mon-Wed but managed to get to Ray and Michelle Ellington’s garage for a workout Tuesday night. That must’ve done the trick because with one go on Thursday I ticked off a few new 5.13b routes and got pretty good linkage on “Southern Smoke”. Saturday was cold in the morning and once again we warmed up at Drive-By where Audrey was working “Kaleidoscope” (5.13c). To her dismay a key foothold had crumbled making the finishing moves harder, not what you need at the top of an already difficult climb. While Audrey was working “Kaleidoscope” I hiked over to the Bob Marley crag with Rob Jenson. Bob Marley not only holds “Southern Smoke” but also my former nemesis “Dogleg”, a notoriously reachy 5.12a. Since Rob is quite tall I figured he’d get a kick out of cruising up a route that took me 4 days of effort to do. Of course before I got on “Dogleg” again I wanted a crack at the easier “Southern Smoke”. It was pretty cold so after running around a bit to warm up I jumped on. I managed to get through the bottom few bolts and was soon at a move that had thwarted me on a previous trip. It’s a pretty big move with bad feet up to a hidden pocket. I locked into the pocket and was at the rest before “Ultra-Perm”. Fortunately I got enough back and had worked the beta out on “Ultra-Perm” and felt strong through the upper moves. I was able to get another quick shake before the lip, grabbed the last two crimps and pulled myself up to the final easier terrain. I love surprise redpoints! I had expected to fall quite a bit on the “Ultra-Perm” part, a section of climbing that takes a lot of body tension. Phew…
The following day was a perfect last day. Audrey redpointed “Kaleidoscope” and that gave us more time to run around and tick off classics. I onsighted a new 5.13a called “Taste The Rainbow”, an amazing line that wanders to the top of the Shady Grove then we headed to Purgatory to do “Paradise Lost” and “Dracula ’04″ before running over to the Motherlode for a lap on “Flour Power”, “The Madness”, “Skin Boat” and “Convicted”. I love this place!!!
I think there was a low humidity/low gravity period for a few days. The previous day (Friday) Ethan Pringle redpointed “Golden Ticket” (14c/d) and then on Saturday Jonathan Siegrist did the first ascent of “Pure Imagination” (14d). That’s a whole lot of crushing going on… Nice job boys!
Posted on November 11th, 2010 by Mike Doyle
Filed under: Rave