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Climbing at the "Red"

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Climbing at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky is great fun. All the climbers camp out at the Iconic restaurant and gear shop called Miguel’s. They serve good food with vegetables grown in their back yard, and the place offers an ideal setting to meet all kinds of different people and climbers of all levels from all over the world. Waking up in the back yard in a tent to a sunny morning where the fog is slowly starting to lift is a magical experience and one that would fill anyone with joy. Tents are spread out all over the large yards behind the restaurant and parking and the people are usually good at going to bed early and respecting other climbers' eagerness for a fresh and early start the next day. The only advice I will give to those planning on staying at Miguel’s is that when you choose a spot to pitch a tent, make sure it is far from the little pond in the middle.

The reason is that bullfrogs are present there and in seemingly super bowl numbers and at night they make this incredibly loud and annoying noise, a repetitive, throaty “Ugh, Ugh, Ugh, for 20 seconds at a time or so that all the other frogs immediately accompany. And the choir is soon amplified by all different intonations of bullfrog “voices” all singing in perfect unison, except for that one jackass who joined the party a second or two late and is screwing everything up.

And another important factor to consider is snoring men of whom two are in our own group of friends which I will not name here but who cost many a sleepless night. So those two and out friend Nanc, bless her heart, as they say down here in the south. Both these factors are hilarious at first but good luck getting some sleep, hiking uphil to the crag with all that gear, and leading a 5:11 route the terror of which surprisingly wakes one right up!

There is also a fabulous reservoir not too far from the camp not to be missed where one can (and judging by the foul smells of the camp full of dirt-bag climbers, more of em' definitely ought to) take a dip.

But if swimming in dark ponds isn't your cup of tee, the Red offer plenty of great hiking, biking, and even street luge... I had an opportunity (on a different occasion) to test out my home made prototype luge and it was a satisfactory run.

So I stayed for four days, two more than my own group so after they left I was gear-less and lonely. Their departure really did make me feel very lonely all of the sudden and the rain that came after didn’t help the feeling either. But the rain passed and the next morning I hiked to the walls anyways thinking I would meet someone there and sure enough I met a party of six coworkers from a gym in Indiana whom were nice enough to invite me to climb with them for two days. And we definitely had fun, both at the wall and at the camp. We even practiced traditional climbing where you place your own protection and anchors and after we went swimming. Moral of the story learned my first day out: "Seek and yee shall find!"

Thank you Nik, Nik, Eddie, Jessie, Jackie and Heather and see you in two months on my way back.

Moral of the story: Make extra time to exercise along your tour because for the most of it you will be seated and stationary!

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