Red River Gorge: Climbing 2015

We climbed in the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) and Muir Valley. We picked the south side since we only have experience with sport climbing and the difficulty of the routes were within our skill set. Both the PMRP and Muir Valley require waivers to climb on the properties.

Miles gifted “Red River Gorge North” and “Red River Gorge South” by Ray Ellington to Bryan for his birthday. These guidebooks are invaluable and must-haves for climbing in the RRG. An iPhone/Android app is also available for the Red River Gorge South where you can purchase a 2 month rental, digital guide, or digital guide plus print copy.

A Muir Valley Pocket Guidebook is also available. We didn’t buy this but you can purchase a copy at Miguel’s Gear Shop, Skybridge Station, Torrent Falls Via Ferrata, and J & H Sporting Goods.


DaVinci’s Left Ear (5.10b), The Gallery- We “warmed up” on this route as the PMRP was very busy with all of the Rocktoberfest climbers. I followed on top rope and didn’t feel there was any flow to the route.

27 Years of Climbing (5.8), The Gallery- I sport climbed this route which had solid hand holds and good feet at every clip. I would recommend this for a warm up or a beginner’s first lead.

Murano (5.10b), The Gallery- I followed on top rope and enjoyed the flakes. Next time I will try sport climbing!

Miles sending "27 Years of Climbing" and me on "Murano"

Miles sending “27 Years of Climbing” and me on “Murano”

Darwin Loves You (5.9+), Volunteer Wall- This was a spicy warm up sport climb for me. Only four bolts, this climb is short and pumpy.

Swap Meet (5.6), Volunteer Wall- Easy sport climb with jugs.

Nice to Know You (5.10b), Volunteer Wall- I followed this slabby route on top tope. The first clip is a little sketchy to me since it’s on a hill, but Bryan breezed through it.

Climbing "Nice to Know You"

Climbing “Nice to Know You”

Tong Shing (5.10d), Volunteer Wall- Super crimpy and pinchy. This was probably my favorite climb of the trip since I had to push myself harder than I ever have to send this on top rope.

The G-Man (5.10c), The Shire- I pumped out early on this as I climbed Tong Shing right before. Mostly pockets and slopers.

Muir Valley

Muir Valley does not charge admission or parking fees. However, they ask for a donation to help keep up the building and maintenance of trails and bridges, emergency rescue equipment, and utilities and supplies for the public restrooms. In addition, all of their climbs have medallions at the base of the route to identify the route and grade. The “Red River Gorge South” guidebook lists all of the Muir Valley climbs from right to left.

Slabalito (5.7), Practice Wall- This was a fun warm up as it’s only two bolts. Excellent feet and hands.

The day I decided to be a free solo-er!

The day I decided to be a free solo-er!

Shawty (5.8), Practice Wall- Again another short, aptly-named route with two bolts.

Mercenary of the Mandarin Chicken (5.9), Practice Wall- Fun arete climb with a bit of overhang near the anchors.

Beta Spewer (5.10b), Practice Wall- I followed on top rope and thought this short climb was fun. The start was the crux for me with the side pull, but the holds near the anchor were solid.

Built for Life (5.8+), Guide Wall- Really long, really weird climb. If you wanted to, you could climb a ladder and stairs to get through the first few bolts. I sport lead and didn’t hate this climb, but didn’t love it either.

Mona Lisa Crack (5.8), Guide Wall- There is only a crack to the first bolt which was disappointing. I thought this was similar to Built for Life in that it was long and nothing stuck out.

Dragon’s Mouth (5.6), Practice Wall- This was a fun and scary chimney. Getting through the chimney makes you feel like a spider. The ledge to the anchors was scary because there is a tree you will hit if you fall. I ended up throwing up a heel hook to top out and set the anchors.

Getting ready for some spider action on "Dragon's Mouth"

Getting ready for some spider action on “Dragon’s Mouth”

Casey (5.8), Animal Crackers- Super slabby and balancy. I had a good time until the second to last bolt.

Captain Blonde Sinks the Ship (5.11a), The Boneyard- The moves up to the third bolt are nice and juggy. The route moves left and becomes more overhung. Most of the ledges were just covered in chalk which made it difficult to find where the hand holds were. Lots of pockets.

Getting a sweet rest ledge on "Captain Blondie Sinks the Ship"

Getting a sweet rest ledge on “Captain Blondie Sinks the Ship”

Cinderella (5.9), The Boneyard- Really tough start, Hannah basically pulled me on top rope. This was one of the longest routes we climbed and I sure did get pumped out after about 40 feet.

One-Armed Bandit (5.9), The Boneyard- This was a great climb to end the trip on. Start on an arete, move right, and then back left. I found mostly crimps but everything felt solid.


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