The Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Red River
The Red River Gorge is one of the best climbing spots in the United States! I discovered climbing two months ago and I’ve already had the opportunity to visit this amazing place.

Enroute, I was secretly excited to travel through two new states: Ohio and Kentucky. We quickly passed through Indianapolis and Louisville, I’ve added these two cities to my travel hit list.

The climbing experience made me nervous as I was thinking « the Red » is only for elite climbers (which I am not). However, my friend Bridgette reassured me to join. The nights dipped below freezing, making for a cold camping experience but the mornings were amazing as the sun melted away the frost and burned off the fog. We were spoiled by clear blue skies by day and pitch black night skies dotted with millions of stars: gorgeous. We were also treated to stunning fall colors as we hiked to each climbing crag.

We stayed at Miguel’s Pizza a famous « climber only » campground. The open lawn was littered with hundreds of tents reminding me of a huge music festival. Simple amenities allowed us to cook, eat and shower (nothing quite like a hot shower after a cold night).

Bridgette’s brother had been to the Red before and picked out great climbing spots ranging from 5.5 (easy) to 5.10 (more difficult) on three different styles of rock. I had fun climbing on top rope to experience outdoor sport climbing. It’s very different than climbing indoors, the hand and foot holds are highly variable and the sandstone was ‘sticky’ almost everywhere. I learned to trust my feet more and look forward to using what I learned from more experienced climbers in the gym.

I’m certainly not a pro but I can easily admit that climbing is a great experience. Spending time with friends while taking in incredible natural beauty is hard to beat. I’ve never studied the rock so meticulously. What a pleasure! Looking forward to do it again next year!

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Over to you, have you ever climbing?

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Cécile lives in Chicago though is originally from southern France. She’s an avid traveler and is always excited by new adventures. After living in Ireland, Australia and Canada, Cécile is an advocate of having a routine but not staying comfortable for too long.

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