Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

The Red Gold

By Ramon Marin
27, Apr, 2017

Rich in oil, single pumps dotted around sucking out the black gold. But there's other gold to be found

Red River Gorge is know for its richness in oil, single pumps dotted around sucking out the black gold. But there's other gold to be found in this deep Kentucky valleys, the Corbin Sandstone beautifully carved by millions of years of glacial erosion. God's own stone, as the locals describe it, this textured sandstone is made to be climbed. Different to the compact, bullet-hard sandstone of the Grampians and Mount Arapiles, and more sculpted than the Cederberg relative, the type of rock at the Red gives moulded shapes on a sandpaper-type texture; ike a crossover of Gritstone and Nesscliffe sandstone. Lovely to climb on.

This is my second trip to The Red. On my previous trip five years ago I decided to fly out despite sporting horrible case of bronchitis. That trip gave a good snapshot of the area and a good introduction to the easier crags. On this trip I wanted to taste the harder side of The Red, having some of the most attractive lines in the world at the grades that are accessible to me. Or so I thought. The beauty of this destination is that no matter what grade you climb at, most routes are stunning. You can easily find yourself lowering off a route saying over and over again that that's the best route you've done at that grade.

I thought I knew how to train myself for this trip, but it turn out I was woefully unprepared. Despite upping my volume on rock and focusing on endurance, it certainly wasn't enough. As soon as I started up the steep section of Bohica (8a) it became apparent that I just hadn't done enough for this monster pump-fests. After two days spend falling off big holds I decided to lower the bar and get on 5.13a's (7c+) instead. That proved enough of a challenge and spend most of my trip falling off the top of "Snooker" at the Motherlode. Luckily by the second week I've build enough pump resistance that I managed an "chicken-wing" ascent, but left me pretty much done in for the rest of the trip. So my ticklist is rather unimpressive, but at least now I think I know what I need to do for the next trip. Andre made some really good progress on "Thanatopsis" (8c) but bailed as it became impossible to hold the tiny crimps with the raise of temps and humidity. The rest of the trip I just had a blast doing easier climbs that blew my mind. One that really stood out was "Ballscratcher", a magnificent 5.12a arete that wouldn't be out of place in Nesscliffe, but bolted and on much, much better rock.

The climbing tends to be very pumpy and endurance-based, so don't waste your time on power and Beastmaker as it's unlikely to make much of a difference. So do your homework and get fit...

I'm surprised how unpopular the crag is amongst Brits and Euro's in general. Considering the decent amount of visiting climbers that sees Utah, Yosemite, Rocklands and Australia, and at similar price for a flight to The Red, it's surprising to not see a single Brit in both trips. But on this visit I found that mates back home were a lot more interested than last time around five years ago. Not that I wish the crag to be busier, but sometimes I wonder what makes crags go in and out of fashion. Like, does anyone go to Rodellar anymore? Some people still do, but seven years ago you'd struggle to find a pitch for your tent at Camping Mascun, and now it seems deserted. Like Siurana 10 years ago, there was same amount of routes back then, but literally empty of Brits except for Steve Dunning and a few others in the know.

For a full run down and a few pointers on visitng Red River Gorge head over to my website...

  • Google+

In pictures

  climbing ramon marin ropes sport climbing

No Comments

Share your thoughts about this article.

Related Deeds

Cragweek
Seven days of cragging
In Daring Deeds
Craic and Cracks: part two
Climbing in Squamish
In Daring Deeds
Craic and Cracks: part one
Two weeks in Squamish
In Daring Deeds
Cuillin Speed
Moving fast along the ridge
In Daring Deeds
Chasing Light - Part 2
Catching light on the west coast of Scotland
In Daring Deeds

News

Alpkit Ambleside Opening Event
new store opening event
In News
Sheffield Schools’ Bouldering 2017
school bouldering comp
In News
Mountain Podcast
a show about adventure in wild places
In News
WCS 2015
Womens climbing symposiuym 2015
In News
Eden - the trailer
new climbing film from Dom Bush
In News

Develop

UK-made climbing packs
Developing Ibex and Chamois
In Develop
Gravitas Lightweight Activity Waterproof
New activity shell coming soon
In Develop
Ekins on the Zhota
Alex Ekins reports back on using the Zhota tent
In Develop
Ben’s Boulder Bucket
Ben helps develop a new boulder bucket
In Develop
A call for help
Alpkit help Andy Kirkpatrick out
In Develop

Spotlight

Kinder’s Ramparts
Rediscovering why we climb
In Spotlight
Reality Checks and Countryside Cravings
Meet Hati, our new wordsmith
In Spotlight
A Boulder Construction
Tough UK made bouldering
In Spotlight
Weekend Warrior days are history
Introducing new Customer Support Hero, Rowan
In Spotlight
Symonds Yat Adventure
multi sport location in the Wye Valley
In Spotlight

Kudos

Explore Alpkit

adventure
adventure racing
adventure travel
alpine climbing
backpacking
ballooning
big shakeout
big wall climbing
bike packing
bike touring
bikepacking
biking
bivvying
bouldering
bushcraft
camping
canoeing
canyoning
caving
climbing
clothing
coasteering
cooking
cross country skiing
cycle touring
cycletouring
cycling
deep water soloing
dry tooling
duke of edinburgh
endurance
endurance racing
expedition
fat bikes
fat biking
film making
hiking
hill walking
ice climbing
kayaking
micro adventure
mountain biking
mountaineering
night running
open water
open water swimming
outdoor photography
outdoor swimming
paddling
parasports