Memorial Day 2016 | Red River Gorge

With Memorial Day weekend upon us (and me trying to remember to keep my blog alive), I thought I’d share my Memorial Day 2016 trip to the Red River Gorge.  Unfortunately, this year Brad and I have a wedding to attend, so we won’t be at the Red this Memorial Weekend.  It’s probably for the best, though.  I just got cleared to climb after my partial rotator cuff tear and Brad is still dealing with some forearm issues.  Here is a look at my first trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky.


The start of the trip to Kentucky was rough for me. Trying to be a good girlfriend, I went to drop off Brad’s paperwork and security deposit for his new apartment; he was in the middle of relocating back to Milwaukee. As I was running my errands, I ended up getting into a fender bender, but it was my first car accident ever.  So I was a little emotionally distraught to start the trip….oops. I told all the boys NOT to bring it up on our drive…but that went out the window in 20 minutes.

So after my rocky start to the weekend, Brad, Ed, Spencer, Dave, and I headed down to Kentucky.  We made the drive after work, so we spent a good portion of it driving at night.  I did not make the best co-pilot because I kept falling asleep….I was “relieved” of my duties in an effort to keep Brad awake. But really, his Subaru pretty much drives itself- it beeps if you go over the line.  We got to Miguel’s around 3:00 AM, set up tents, and went to bed.
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The next morning was a quick breakfast and pay for camping before hurrying to the crag. We spent the first day at Muir Valley. The boys had been there before and knew there were some routes I could handle, since I am the most inexperienced sport climber.  We went to The Great Wall after debating heading to Bruise Brothers or Animal Crackers. It was a busy wall, but the routes were fun:

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Brad warming up for the day of climbing. He set the route for us.
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Ed warming up and then lounging around after.
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I did not want to lead the warm-up, so top rope it is!

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As the day got warmer, the shirts came off! Dave is easy to recognize because of his tattoo.

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Spencer with the double knee bar. He is usually the professional belayer of the trip.
The Great Wall was super busy, so even though there was some easier stuff for me to hop on, I only did Glory and Consequence because I had a lot of jitters to climb around people I don’t know.  The boys climbed several different routes at The Great Wall, but the highlight was when Brad and Ed BOTH sent their first outdoor 5.11a, Edge-a-Sketch.

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Brad on Edge-a-Sketch, setting the route.
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Brad finishing up and clipping the anchors on Edge-a-Sketch.
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Eddie sending Edge-a-Sketch.
Once the boys crushed their route, we went to The Land Before Time.  It was time for me to finally conquer my fear of sport climbing and actually lead a route.  The boys were nice enough to set top ropes for me, but I needed to prove to myself that I could set a route by myself and lead it.  Luckily, Land Before Time has the perfect beginner  route for people who are afraid of heights.  Oh yeah, did I mention I’m super afraid of heights?  Why do I rock climb?  I’ll never know…

Basilisk is not a super exciting or highly rated route, by any stretch of the imagination. But, it is short and good at boosting confidence for acrophobia ridden people.

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Putting in the clip. I climbed the route once after Ed set it, cleaned it, and wanted to do the whole thing on my own.

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Almost done!

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On the ground again after finishing my first complete lead route.
It wasn’t anything impressive, but I was excited to have finally done something.  I still have a lot of nerves with leading (especially with overhung routes, which makes literally no sense)  but I am working on it. Getting over my fear of heights is hard, but I keep working at it and trying to push myself to do things I thought weren’t possible for me.  Shortly after that, we packed up for the day and headed back to Miguel’s, after stopping for sending beers for Brad and Ed.

Those two had a bit of a late night (read: they drank a lot to celebrate their sends), which meant for a slow start on Sunday morning.  We decided to visit PMRP for the first time.  The boys had spent all of their previous trips in Muir Valley, so this was something new for all of us.  The Shire had a large variety of grades, so we’d all be happy there.   It was definitely a slow start with Ed and Brad fighting off the effects for celebrating the night before.

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Climbing hard or hardly climbing?
Spencer and Dave got on some routes, though.

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Now that I was an old pro at lead climbing, I tackled my next route. This one was WAY more fun, but higher, so scarier.  My ladylike language may have become a bit more foul, while I was climbing…..I said “fuck” a lot. There’s a video of that somewhere.

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Classic Shelby, always wanting to take before clipping which is not a thing.
Finally having beaten their hangovers, Brad and Ed were ready to climb.  With The Shire getting more and more busy, we went to North 40 for some different routes.  One group was finishing up Amarillo Sunset, but then our group got to hop on. We ended up meeting some really cool climbers: Lexi, Matt, Mary, and Christina.  They were from Ball State and all were part of a climbing club.  I didn’t climb Amarillo Sunset, but had a super fun time getting to know these new friends. Ed, Brad, Dave, and Matt worked on Amarillo Sunset.

I have approximately one million photos of Brad and Ed climbing this, so here is just one of each.

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Bradley on Amarillo Sunset.

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Big Eddie climbing while Dave belays.
After climbing until we were losing light, we finally left the crag.  We went to Rockhouse for dinner. The boys wanted beer, but you can’t serve alcohol in Slade, KY on Sundays.  It was just several rounds of Ale81 for dinner. We ended up running into our crag friends Lexi, Matt, Mary, and Christina at dinner.  We met back up with them at Miguel’s and talked forever.  It was silly and so fun to meet other people.

I’m not sure when I’ll head back to Kentucky, but I hope it is soon!

 

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