Red Rocks

The Red

It was 10:30 on a Thursday night, we had been driving for 4 hours, and we had 250 miles to go ... Such is the trip from Chicago to the Red River Gorge, where overhanging pocketed sandstone (for most of our group), and some nice moderate cracks (for me) await the eager climber. We got a day early start on a trip with the staff at Hidden Peak in Chicago, had driven through some really bad traffic and some really bad rain, and things were starting to look up. It had cleared up, and we were happily flipping through the guidebook trying to figure out we would go to. By the time we reached Lexington, however, the rain came down hard again, dimming the proscpects for Friday.

We spent the first day at Pistol Ridge, which has some decent sport and trad routes. They would be very good if they were twice as long. It was a fortunate choice for us, since some of the lines stayed dry in the rain, which came down quite heavily at times. For that kind of day, we got a surprising amount of climbing in. Towards the end of the day, I led Bitchmobile (5.8) **, a real nice crack line that was definitely calling my name. Didn't look like I would be coming back to this crag, so that gave me a compelling reason to jump on it. As usual for me when pushing the lead level, it was a total sketch fest. The climb had plenty of pro, and according to the guidebook, plenty of rests. According to me, not very many rests, and thus a couple of  poorly placed pieces. I got pretty pumped towards the end, but kept it together all the way to the anchors. Seems like I still need to be in a certain comfort zone to climb as safely as I can ...

After one very cold day of pure sport climbing at the Left Flank,  the sun came out on Sunday, which found us at Roadside Crag. The super classic Roadside Attraction (5.7) ***  would be a great climb at any area. For full value, do it in one 140 ft pitch, but bring lots of gear in the 2 inch range. It can probably be done as one continuous layback !!!. It's not as steep as seen here. It was a real nice lead for me, as this time I could make sure all my gear was solid (place cams deeper if possible,  in the soft sandstone).