Saturday we flew into Cincinnati and, with the strong recommendation by Andy for some local culinary delights, we headed straight for Skyline Chili. James and I went with the restaurant famous "ways"--spaghetti covered with Skyline's famous, secret-recipe chili. Plus cheese. Loads and loads of cheese.
The basic three-way is spaghetti with chili and cheese. I went with the five-way--a three-way plus beans and onions.
Mmmm, mmmmm, good
We then drove the two hours to the Red River Gorge area and our cabin, the Shooting Star cabin, at Red River Gorge Cabins. Livin' large.
Aaron would fly in later Sunday so until then, we climbed! Our first area was the Boneyard at Muir Valley.
We hoped that the 20 minute approach would mean fewer people even though it was the weekend of Rocktoberfest. We were sorely disappointed.
After getting warmed up on a 5.9 sport route and a fun 5.10a gear route, we climbed this route, "Gym Jones Approved", 5.11b. Huge roof move down low, sit down rest halfway up and then steep, cruxy moves up high.
We all moved over to the Bibliotek. Rick, James and Tina had put up the draws on "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", 5.11b, (PAYM) so we took advantage. Super fun, steep pocket pulling.
James cranked it up a notch for "Everything That Rises Must Converge", 5.11d
Me with a weird looking left arm on PAYM
Some other climbers on "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", 5.11c. Interesting foot camming for a rest.
Portrait of the Fritzy as a Young Climber
At the crux of PAYM
Tina stoked to at the RRG
Many routes in Muir Valley had little dog tags on the rock at the base. This one had two!
Rick on said route, "Fifth Bolt Faith"
The fall colors were going off
Nice hiking out of the Muir Valley
Maxing relaxing on the deck at the cabin after a great first day
The next day found us at the Military Wall. Me on the very fun "Fuzzy Undercling", 5.11b
Sitdown rest on "Fuzzy Undercling"
Rick cranking way hard on "Gung Ho", 5.12b
And not quite making it the first time
James focused on "Tissue Tiger", 5.12b
Aaron takes a shot at "Gung Ho"
Tina taking full advantage of the sitdown rest on "Fuzzy Undercling"
Monstrous and cool holds
Fritzy making a go on "Tissue Tiger"
And coming off!
CU belay glasses look kinda creepy from this angle
Beautiful boulder at the base of the wall
Rick in a very scenic situation on "Another Doug Reed Route", 5.11b
The green colored rock in the background was awesome
Aaron in mid Superman swing on "Mule" 5.12c
The differing colors in the rock was astonishing
Fun in Nada Tunnel
Dry counties abound in the area. Thankfully, The Beer Trailer was only three miles from our cabin. Welcome Rock Climbers!
Not so serious chess playing going down
James heading up into "Spank, a.k.a. Tika Monster", 5.13a, Drive-By Crag
Nik Berry on the amazingly cool arete route of "Kaleidoscope", 5.13c
Aaron up on "Spank, a.k.a. Tika Monster"
It was tough obeying the speed limits at times
Rest day. After climbing Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, we took Wednesday off from climbing and went for a hike to Natural Bridge
The skylift would take people up to the natural bridge should one not be up for the nice 20 minute hike up. We hiked.
That's it! It's a very cool sandstone bridge and the colors were amazing.
We picked a good morning to go up...really nice light for photos. Some "blue hairs" jumped the fence and walked out on the bridge! OK, that's not true, there's no fence.
The motley crew
Look closely and you'll see that Aaron is on just one hand. Tricky. Also, looking at this scene you might expect there was a ghetto-blaster just out of frame blaring old school hip-hop like Newcleus. But no.
Lunch time at Miguels. Miguels is THE climber hangout/campground/pizza/gear store establishment in the area
Well fed, we headed to the Lee County Rec Center for an afternoon of fun
James lines it up
Aaron and Fritzy battle it out in a game of table tennis
Bowling! This rec center was awesome and completely dead during the mid-week afternoon. We had the whole place to ourselves. The pool and table tennis were free. Bowling was cheap and well worth it.
Look at that form
The following morning it had rained a bit so we thought we'd check out THE place to climb, The Motherlode. We were not the only ones to surmise it would be driest there. The place was crazy crowded.
Gratuitous canine photo
Pro photographer Simon Carter dropped in. Literally.
Sweet rig. I was trying to figure it out.
Whitney Boland was working something very hard. In blue jeans.
The Warm-Up Wall in reflection
Tina, Allison, Rick and I bailed on the scene at the lode and went to an obscure crag with three routes, The Unlode. Shaded, three fun routes and no one else there. We were stoked. Rick makes a comfy clip on "Unworthy", 5.11a
Fritz heading up "Unbridled", 5.10c
Tina on "Unbridled"
Rick on "Unbridled"
We still had time for more climbing and headed to Bob Marley Crag. Rick on the super fun route "Toker", 5.11a
The start of "Toker" involves getting from the top of a large boulder to a huge jug on the tower. For me it was a static reach but for Allison and Tina, it was a dyno. Thankfully we could clip the first two bolts in case the jump came up short...
And she nails it!
A little bolt corrosion keeps things interesting
As I hung out at the top of "Toker", Alex Q. stepped up for a send of his project, "No Redemption", 5.13b. He sent it and it was rad to watch and shoot it.
Alex Q. stepped up for a send of his project, "No Redemption", 5.13b. He sent it and it was rad to watch and shoot it.
Tina heading up "Toker"
The next day we hit up Roadside Attraction Wall with an early start to beat the crowds. This is the cool finger crack of "Synchronicity", 5.11a
On to the classic 5.12a of the area, "Ro Shampo". James busts through the crux, onsight.
Me and Rick make a solid team
Fritzy on "Ro Shampo"
Giving the stink eye to the holds through the crux of "Ro Shampo"
That left heel hook is super sharp and positive
Just down the way was my favorite route of the trip. "The Return of Chris Snyder", 5.11d. Way cool flake climbing down low, a roof, steep pocket pulling, a lay down rest in the horizontal way up there and then juggy 5.10 climbing to the top. 90 feet of pure fun.
Rick heading up "...Chris Snyder"
Above the roof
It may, at first, appear that Rick isn't paying attention but with the CU belay glasses, this is how it's done
Aaron moving through the roof on "...Chris Snyder"
There's that lay down rest I mentioned...
Tina on one of our last routes of the trip, "Brother Stair", 5.9. A fun arete route at Left Flank
Trying to figure out the crux moves on "Wild, Yet Tasty", 5.12a, Left Flank
THE LAST route of the trip and Aaron really made it count. An inspirational send of "Mercy, the Huff", 5.12b.
The End. But we'll be back.