Double Gorge Climbing Weekend, Part 1

We are always getting ready to live, but never living. GET LIVING

This September 22nd-25th, Brandon and I took a four day trip across the eastern part of the country to do some climbing. We left from Bloomington, IN, stopped in Slade, KY to camp at Miguel’s Pizza and do some climbing at the Red River Gorge on Friday, and then off to Fayetteville, WV to camp at Roger’s Rocky Top Retreat and do some climbing in the New River Gorge.

Needless to say, the trip was awesome! Here’s the route we took:

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Red River Gorge

I saw my best climbing when we were in the Red. We went to Muir Valley and decided to spend Friday morning at the Bruisebrothers wall, but got distracted by the Land Before Time wall on our way down to the valley floor. We spent some time exploring first since we had never been there and found all the bolted routes. The routes here aren’t in the guidebook, so we just had to rate the routes in our own head after climbing them. We only hit up a couple (star ratings out of five to match the region’s ratings):

  • Prehistoric Extermination – 5.8+
    Gave this one four stars because it was super fun; however, it’s no 5.8+. More like a 5.6
  • Ryanosaurus – 5.9
    This route was definitely not as much fun as Prehistoric Extermination, racking up personal rating of two stars. It’s also not as difficult as the online guidebook says, comming in at a whopping 5.7-.

Overall, the wall is really cool and quite fun. The approach is something that a group of scouts or new climbers would enjoy. There are a couple of caves that you pass by and a sweet little rock arch that you walk under.

Bruisebros. wall is typically one of the most crowded walls since it has mostly moderate climbs (5.7 – 5.11a sport) and it’s a “Rain OK” wall because of it’s large, overhanging roof. We figured that being the middle of the week, it would be in our best interest to take advantage of the fact that nobody was at the Red, so we spent the rest of the day hitting up some 5.10s at Bruisebros:

  • Two left of Sweet Jane – 5.9 (in chalk on the bottom of the climb)
    New route at Bruisebros. I ended up not enjoying it much, mostly because we climbed it at the end of the day and I was feeling tired. I had a hard time pulling the roof because of muscle fatigue. I’ll definitely climb it again and save my star rating until then.
  • One left of Sweet Jane – 5.8 (in chalk on the bottom of the climb)
    Another good one. Definitely fun, would give it 4 stars and it climbs like a 5.9 (although some online are saying it’s about a 5.7-5.8)
  • CH4/Rising – 5.7/5.11a
    Brandon lead up CH4 and went on to attempt Rising to little success. I only went up CH4 to clean the gear.
  • Send Me On My Way – 5.9-
    Super fun route. I definitely would climb it every time I’m at Bruisebros. (and haven’t disappointed yet)
  • Rat Stew – 5.10a
    This one is just plain cool. It starts slabby, turns steeper as you ascend until it gets to a point where it’s overhung. If you’re feeling tired at all, you won’t be able to redpoint if you take the wrong rest spot: one is vertical, one is overhung. I definitely picked the wrong rest and hung on my arms too long. I missed my redpoint, but still finished out the route. A lot of fun, I would give it four stars. Every bit a 5.10a, but definitely on the 5.10a- side just a touch.

Finished for the day at the Red, we went to The Red River Rockhouse for dinner. It must have been opening night because Brandon and I were the first ones there. A couple trips ago, we climbed next to Aaron and Tina, the owners, at Bruisebros. Needless to say, they remembered who we were. The food is delicious, there’s beer on tap, and it’s just down the road from Miguel’s. They will eventually be serving their own beer on tap making them my new favorite place to eat dinner when I’m at the Red.

Here is a post about the second part of our trip to the New River Gorge!

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