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Top twelve tips for climbing at Red River Gorge (RRG) Kentucky (Read 856 times)

shark

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Ive been arranging to go back to RRG in October and just remembered that I jotted down a (hopefully) useful list last time I was there for those who are first timers or weighing up going. 

1.   Believe the hype Ė it is deservedly a top international venue

2.   Grade range is excellent for anyone climbing between 6a and 8c+. Not many 9a's though.  :boohoo:

3.   Whilst there are slabs and vertical walls available, most of the climbing, even on mid grade routes, is very physical and pumpy up overhanging walls on generally good holds. Train for your trip accordingly

4.   Routes are typically no more than 25m so a 60m rope and 10 draws will usually suffice

5.   The optimal season is short Ė 6 weeks from start of October to mid-November. Donít even think about a Summer visit - it is unbearably hot and humid

6.   Take a clip stick. First bolt is usually at 12 feet presumably to prevent swinging into trees when stripping routes. However, plenty of branches around to fashion homemade clip sticks if you canít fit one in your luggage.

7.   There is a lot of rock developed and even more undeveloped or even looked at. It will take several visits to get round all the crags and begin to start running out of options.   

8.   Despite the abundance of climbing during high season the crags can get crowded especially at weekends Ė plan your rest days accordingly

9.   Weather can vary dramatically day to day. However, the long term forecast is very accurate so again, plan your rest days accordingly

10.   Grades are stiffer than Spain with soft touches greatly outnumbered by sandbags. The Mountainproject.com database can help guide you to the former and avoid the latter.

11.   Like a view? Forget it at RRG. You canít see the wood for the trees. However, the leaves are real purty in the Fall

12.   Hire a 4WD or at least a vehicle with decent ground clearance as some of the approaches are rutted and steep

abarro81

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4.   Routes are typically no more than 25m so a 60m rope and 10 draws will usually suffice

5.   The optimal season is short Ė 6 weeks from start of October to mid-November. Donít even think about a Summer visit - it is unbearably hot and humid

10.   Grades are stiffer than Spain with soft touches greatly outnumbered by sandbags. The Mountainproject.com database can help guide you to the former and avoid the latter.

Would agree with most of that post, but...
4. Don't follow Simon's advice if you climb >=8a, as you'll want to climb in the Madness Cave

5. I reckon early Oct is maybe too early - if I were going back I wouldn't go until late Oct

10. I don't think this is true

tim palmer

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I thought the grades were pretty soft too

Paul B

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10.   Grades are stiffer than Spain with soft touches greatly outnumbered by sandbags. The Mountainproject.com database can help guide you to the former and avoid the latter.

Don't agree with this at all and I don't think it's the widely held perception of the place either?  :worms:

12.   Hire a 4WD or at least a vehicle with decent ground clearance as some of the approaches are rutted and steep

Or be prepared to walk further. People do get away with hiring Honda Fits and I kept seeing a mini from New York in some fairly bold spots! It's worth noting that you may get charged by your hire company for cleaning if say, you return your vehicle with a significant amount of mud on its roof  :tumble:

4.   Routes are typically no more than 25m so a 60m rope and 10 draws will usually suffice

I've loaned my guides to a few friends who are visiting early season so I can't check but I'd also think that the longer stuff in Miller Fork would require more than that.

jwi

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When I went there in mid November 2008 there were a lot of in-situ draws on routes, even on 7s, and they were invariably in shockingly bad state. I mostly just clipped my own draws under the fixed draws. And the grades were whack on the low sevens. And it was really cold. Below freezing during night. I imagine it is warmer there nowadays in November.

habrich

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5.   The optimal season is short Ė 6 weeks from start of October to mid-November. Donít even think about a Summer visit - it is unbearably hot and humid

Running my eye down the sendage.com stats for a few RRG classics (high 12/ low 13 type stuff) I note quite a few people are getting stuff done in April/ early May.

ferret

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13) Car break-ins are common in some areas.
14) Miguel's can turn into a spring break like noisy hell hole full of the most irritating people to ever climb rocks

abarro81

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14) Miguel's can turn into a spring break like noisy hell hole full of the most irritating people to ever climb rocks

Yeah, screw staying at Miguel's!

When I went there in mid November 2008 there were a lot of in-situ draws on routes, even on 7s, and they were invariably in shockingly bad state.

They're mostly now steel perma-draws to avoid/minimise this issue

Stabbsy

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4.   Routes are typically no more than 25m so a 60m rope and 10 draws will usually suffice

5.   The optimal season is short Ė 6 weeks from start of October to mid-November. Donít even think about a Summer visit - it is unbearably hot and humid

10.   Grades are stiffer than Spain with soft touches greatly outnumbered by sandbags. The Mountainproject.com database can help guide you to the former and avoid the latter.

Would agree with most of that post, but...
4. Don't follow Simon's advice if you climb >=8a, as you'll want to climb in the Madness Cave

5. I reckon early Oct is maybe too early - if I were going back I wouldn't go until late Oct

10. I don't think this is true

What Barrows said apart from the October bit - both my trips were early October and conditions were fine. We did stuff up to 7c+ so the holds rarely got that small though.

Wood FT

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1.   Believe the hype Ė it is deservedly a top international venue

What's the draw to climb here over European crags? What's its USP as it were?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 05:33:32 pm by Wood FT »

Paul B

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There's absolutely tonnes of stuff to go at. The climbers just keep buying more land (Miller Fork for instance).

IMO the climbing isn't overly complex so you can move fast (the bolt spacing suddenly starts to make sense) and the movement is just really fun, often dynamic. You won't get a scale for things like Witness the Citrus (5.11 something?) until you stand underneath it. Also, there are F7a ish things that you'll stand underneath thinking there's no way it goes at that grade as it's far too steep / long but it actually does.

There are really strong lines throughout the grades. Does anyone remember the Bendecrete dyno start jugs? Well, I can point you at a F6b which has sandstone versions all the way.

The sandstone often gets less featured just at the last bolt so the routes tend to have heartbreaker finishes. This might break you  :chair:

Elsewhere on here I compiled a ticklist (with help from others such as Snr Barros). I've meant to update it since my last visit but haven't managed as of yet (see above comments about guides).

teestub

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1.   Believe the hype Ė it is deservedly a top international venue

What's the draw to climb here over European crags? What's its USP as it were?

Even as a boulderer Iím super keen to visit at some point, mainly because:
- it looks flipping amazing
- itís made of sandstone, and overhanging sandstone at that
- itís in Kentucky, so could easily be linked up with southern sandstone bouldering
- bourbon

You could probably get a container ship to Virginia then cycle there.

Wood FT

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1.   Believe the hype Ė it is deservedly a top international venue

What's the draw to climb here over European crags? What's its USP as it were?

You could probably get a container ship to Virginia then cycle there.

 ;D

 

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