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Return to the Red

May 20, 2010

Return to the Red River Gorge:

After months of planning we pulled it off, a successful party trip the Red River Gorge. During our trip to Mexico I realized how spectacular the climbing in the Red is. Our last visit left us drooling for more steep sport climbing. plans had to be hatched after defend its superiority to El Portrero. The planning started out earnest enough, rumors, vocalized desires, hype, spray, finding cabins, a facebook event page and a pie plate from the Dive. Before long the list was overflowing, a cabin with 10 spaces was full. Credit has to be handed to Russ and everyone involved in the planning of the trip. People would be coming from California, Canada, Ohio, and Philadelphia; juggling car rides and sleeping arrangements. By Saturday night May 8th the cabin was full of eager climbers.

Saturday May 8th, 2010
Blue had already been dropped off at the kennel on Friday May 7th. I had gone to the gym for a final burn before the trip, met up with friends at a new bar. I was out too late and had to pack in a rush. I popped up at 7:30 AM Saturday morning and began filling my car, before 9 Russ, Andrew, Carlos, and Dan were at my house. We packed things up and hit the road. We traveled through the wind caravan style arriving in KY almost over eleven hours later. We purchased a lot of food, two types of Ketchup and a bottomless stack of yellow cheese.
Finding the cabin was fairly easy. We pulled in, saw old friends and met new ones. We celebrated with a few beers before bed. Myself, Russ, Carlos, Dan, Andrew, Tommy LD, Colin, Erika, Edwin, Thomas, Derek and Tim were there for night one.

Sunday May 9th, 2010

One of the destinations we fell in love with on our last trip was Muir, not just for the spectacular climbing but the setting as well. Well groomed trails, soft approaches, and un crowded walls make Muir a fantastic venue. We broke the cars up and Andrew joined Russ me in the car. We headed in to the Sunbeam Buttress and warmed up on Sunbeam and Moonshine. A few people joined us and tackled the routes off the ledge. We moved on to Great Arch and attempted Lip Service and Night Moves. I fell on both climbs. The Solarium was our next stop of the day. Andrew hung draws on Manifest Destiny and we all finished it in good style.

Lip Service requires some bold overhanging moves and bolder face climbing to the top. There are actually 3 or 4 cruxy moves above the roof area where the climb becomes rolling blobs. Be prepared to highstep, stretch and mantel like you’ve never mantled before. The moves a the last bolt are laughable and desperate. 5 star climbing at it’s best. Hats off to Andrew for flashing this beast.

Manifest Destiny was fun, the roof wasn’t too difficult to pull. We milked the lay down rest for all it’s worth. The climbing to the chains is continuous and flawless on thin incut edges. Perhaps the most desperate part of the climb is clipping the chains when you’re pumped.
We headed back to the cabin for dinner, climbing talk and beer. A great start to the trip.

Monday May 10th, 2010
Military Wall
We got the whole crew together and headed in to Gray’s Branch. The weather was fine for sending. We warmed up on In The Light, Sunshine, and Moonbeam. I only went up Sunshine. I shifted my attention to Tissue Tiger. Andrew hung the draws and I gave it a run myself. Despite moving swiftly up it, I needed to hang and rest before completing it. It’s a massively pumpy route and the crux isn’t so bad. I’d love to get back on it in the fall. Tommy LD and Thomas Wisdom went up Jungle Beat; it looked like an adventure. A few people took a run on Fuzzy Undercling, but I saved my juice for Too Many Puppies. We headed over to the Left Banch and I tackled the climb head on. My beta bitch, Russ, backed off the route so I was left to hang my own draws. Too Many Puppies has a difficult start and some difficult moves down low. Above the third bolt is cruiser until the move above the last bolt. That move will just have to be desperate. I didn’t get back on it. I Lead To Defy The Laws of Tradition next to TMPs. Super fun climbing for the grade. I finished the day by top roping Maypop, a fairly difficult 5.11a.

I walked around and watched a few other people climb. Lisa met us and was able to get on one climb before we all headed back to the cabin.

Tuesday May 11th, 2010
The weather was a bit wet in the morning so we decided to head into the Zoo, which promises dry routes in the rain. We made the wet approach up the steep hill and got busy. I onsighted Monkey in The Middle, which provided a solid pump. From there we went over to the Hippocrite and Scar Tissue. I gave Hippoctrite a few burns and didn’t work Scar Tissue too hard. Russ redpointed Scar Tissue and Andrew made his way up. Carlos blew the second clip on Scar Tissue and took a ground fall. I belayed the best I could but there was only so much slack I was able to take back in before he fell.

It was a pretty short day, but considering the weather it was still great.

Wednesday May 12th, 2010
I don’t know how, but Tommy convinced me to go up Road Side attraction with 4 cams and a couple slings. The climb didn’t need much more than that I guess, but I tapped up and wore the helmet. The climb is a 4 star classic for sure. The weather was still drab so I headed over to the 5.8 wall with Lisa, Tommy and Russ. I lead Kampsight and Trouble Clef, and followed Ledger Line barefoot. I finished the day on Jump For Joy.

Thursday May 13th, 2010
Our wistles had been wet and the climbs were too. We headed back to the Zoo to go for a Redpoints of Hippocrite and Scar Tissue but humidity made the rock dripping wet. I abandoned the redpoint plan and Andrew and I did the exciting No Place Like Home at Emerald City. Neither of us got it clean. I lead Lollipop Kids clean and Andrew did as well. We left the crag with Colin and picked up some cold drinks. Collin got some photos of Russ on NPLH from the road. We headed in to Road Side and I lead Pulling Pockets. Andrew gave Up Yonder a go, but found that the rock was also sweating on that wall. We headed home and drank beer, a few people went to Miguel’s but Russ and I sat around to BBQ.

Friday May 14th, 2010
Pendergrass Murray Recreational Preserve
We spent the day at the Drive-By Crag. The area was great and the weather pretty good. I went up Make a Wish, Breakfast Burrito and Fire and Brimstone. All great climbs, the rests on BB and F&B are priceless, especially the saddle on F&B. We moved over and I took a huge whip on Check your Grip. Russ and Andrew sent the climb. I flashed Whip Stocking and fell on Yadda Yadda Yadda.

Friday night we finished almost all the booze, played horse shoes, and walked across fire. There were also fireworks. I’m not sure what precipitated the party but it was fun.

Saturday May 15th, 2010
Muir Valley
Last day to send. We headed over to Solarium, passing a dead dear along the way. We all sent Air Ride Equipped. Another group of climbers were eyeing up Sacrilege while Carlos worked Bathtub Mary. I got a belay from a stranger, Matt, if I’d set Sacrilege up for them. Sacrilege was kinda funky down low with some sketchy moves. The climbing above was great but I pumped out and took a long fall trying to clip the anchors. From there I went and lead Banshee after Andrew hung the draws and Colin of a fixed line. There should be some great photos/video coming from that. I hiked down to the Tectonic Wall with Carlos, Edwin, Tommy LD, and Erika. I lead Getting Lucky in Kentucky, 5th Bolt Faith, and Plate Tectonics. I did 2 laps on Plate Tectonics to round out the day and pump out. We got back to the cars just before the thunderstorm blew in.

We headed back to the cabin and picked up some pizza from Miguel’s. We didn’t have the steam to drink all night again, so it was pretty early to bed.

Sunday May 16th, 2010.
I got up early and got to work cleaning up, tying up trash bags, stripping beds, etc. Russ and I drove Colin and Tommy to the airport and began the grueling 11 hour drive back to Philadelphia. Russ and I learned a lot about Road Kill Clean up and the most dangerous job in America, Cell Phone Tower Worker. We made excellent time and I was back at my house around 10PM. We did not finish the cheese or the last 30pack of Coors Light.

Some things I learned on the trip:
-Heinz is preferred over Hunts (I already knew this)
-No Cheese is ignored at Miguel’s
– She’s on your team
-The neighbor’s hot tub is hotter
-Jim Beam and Fire don’t mix
– Close DOES count in horse shoes, not climbing
– Don’t blow the 2nd clip

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