Six Weeks in the RRG

Is it actually possible that this rock is real, that these holds are natural, that we are climbing on these angles??? Wow. We’ve spent the past six weeks enjoying our first trip to the Red River Gorge (aka “The Red” or the RRG) in eastern Kentucky. The RRG is a sport climbing mecca – this is the only destination in the USA so far where we’ve met more international travellers than we have Americans, and even the Americans we’ve encountered have travelled far across their country to climb in this incredible place. 

Graham climbing one of the routes at “The Zoo”

Scalloped iron bands in the sandstone

Overhanging horseshoe after overhanging horseshoe of solid sandstone walls make up the climbing in the Red, and autumn is definitely the season to be here. From early October through mid-November we watched the leaves on the trees shift from green to brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows before eventually falling to the ground (and making it harder and harder to find suitable pee spots!). It feels almost tropical here, with the rolling hills of dense deciduous forests, ever-high humidity, huge prehistoric-looking leaves, and so many interesting creatures. 
Stick bug!
Leaf bug! Katydid?
We spent the first three weeks of our stay with Dan and Nicole and Shep which was AWESOME! They’d been here for a while before we arrived, so they had a bit of a routine going already and toured us through some spectacular crags. They invited us to stay with them at Lago Linda’s, which is a lovely campground with a pretty chilled out feel that caters almost exclusively to climbers. 
Shep chillin’
Rest day activities…
Throughout our stay so far we’ve participated in a few events that have added some depth to our experience beyond simply climbing. We visited and volunteered at the Rocktober Fest, an annual event that the Red River GorgeClimber’s Coalition puts on to raise money for land acquisition and maintenance. We’ve discovered that access issues are a lot more finicky out here in the East compared to the West, so it felt great to contribute to helping access in this region. We also attended the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Beattyville, the small town that is nearest to Lago Linda’s. It was pretty interesting to see where the woolly worms are raced to predict the outcome of winter and take in some live bluegrass music. 
With our Albertan friends, Victor and Kyle, heading to the Woolly Worm Festival
The championship race is a pretty big deal
Coaxing a woolly worm into a practice lap
We wrapped up our time at the festival with some maple bacon donuts… mmmm

It took us a little while to become accustomed to the steep angles and long enduro-style routes in the Red, but once we got into the groove we were able to enjoy climbing a ton of different lines and come away with a few great successes. We’ve been pushing hard and climbing tons of great routes… here’s a sampling of some of the things we‘ve been on:

Graham warming up at Purgatory
Graham flashes “Table of Colours” (5.13a) as the sun sets
Dan in a hole
Graham on his send of “Ultra Perm” (5.13d) – Photo credit: Bonar McCallum
Nicole hiding in a hole and making a biiiiiiiiig reach on her send of “Check Your Grip” (5.12a)
Kim on her send of “Easy Rider” (5.13a) – Photo credit: Marcin Szymelfenig
Kim on her send of “Massive Attack” (5.12a) – Photo credit: Kyle Melnyck
Lea cranking moves on “Bettavul Pipeline” (5.12a)
Bonar on his send of “Kaleidoscope” (5.13c)

After so much good climbing and finishing up most of our projects, we were all set to pack up and head further south today. Cool temps have arrived, crowds are dispersing, and change is in the air – BUT we’ve made a spontaneous decision not to leave! The plan is to stay up to two more weeks unless the season ends earlier, and we’ve set some mighty ambitious goals…. time to get our focus on.

One thought on “Six Weeks in the RRG

  1. Pingback: Seventeen Months | Kim and Graham

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