While Kentucky is more popularly known as the land of bourbon, it is home to some of the most splendid climbing destinations in the country.
And one such gem, with its chalked-up caves and hollers holding the best sport routes, is the Red River Gorge. It is a sprawling climbing stretch in Eastern Kentucky, about an hour east of Lexington.
If it's your first visit to this climbing destination, it is best to consult an expert, such as Redriver Climbing. They provide insights about rock climbing at The Red and can also help you figure out the right equipment required to climb the chalk-marked cliffs. Here's what they consider essential gear to carry when planning to ascend the Red River Gorge.
Red River Gorge is home to over 3,500 world-class routes, with the climbing ranging from sport to trad and even bouldering. And to scale up these routes, varying in grades, you need a sturdy rope.
Experts suggest using a 70-meter rope, which will enable you to climb most of the routes in The Red. And if you are on a sport climbing trip, the climbing ropes you will typically need will be top-roping, lead climbing, and high-performance varieties. Again, look for durable and thick options to ensure your safety.
This climber's paradise is notorious for its steep walls, with rock heights ranging from 45 ft to more than 100 ft. Such monster-long routes make quickdraws crucial for your protection, keeping you connected to the wall.
Depending on the length of the route you wish to cover, specialists such as Redriver Climbing recommend deciding the number of quickdraws you will require. Also, as the bolting style is also a deciding factor, check the bolt count per climb along the line. Ideally, 12 quickdraws are adequate, but you may require as many as 18 for certain crags.
3. Rock Climbing Harnesses
The Motherlode holds the most trad and sport routes in The Red, with one of the region’s signature climbs, having 120 feet of 50-degree overhang. And sport climbing free soloing is not a good idea in such areas, making a rock-climbing harness an essential gear.
Top experts advice finding a harness that fits well, as you will spend a lot of your time falling and hanging on your harness when sport climbing. And lighter options, with adjustable leg loops and high-strength gear-loops for flexibility, are more suitable if you are a beginner.
4. Climbing Shoes
The best season to visit The Red is the Spring. But if you are a daredevil, you might venture out during winter, and if you don't mind the heat and humidity, you can pursue rock climbing in summer. But be it any weather condition, high-quality shoes can ensure you don't lose your performance expectations.
Leading consultants encourage carrying a pair of stiff shoes and softer shoes to cover Red River Gorge, which boasts diverse types of climbing in all seasons.
Consult an Expert
Party Time, Crack Attack, Foxfire, and Diamond in the Rough are some of the top classic climbs at the Red River Gorge.
If you wish to explore this climber's dreamland offerings, reach out to an experienced consultant such as Redriver climbing to help you prepare the list of essential equipment for the trip.