That seems to be a good way to describe how long it seems to take for any climbing trip to be over. It seems like 5 minutes ago that I was fighting insane traffic in Chicago wondering why I thought it was worth it to spend all this time driving to go climbing at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Put the DVR on super fast forward to today and I am looking back on another chapter of climbing memories that I will remember for a long time.
As with my previous trip this year my injury allowed me to relax from stressing over supposedly important “projects” and just climb for the fun of it. Unfortunately “fun” and “elbow tendonitis” don’t seem to agree with each other and my elbow has returned to some of the worst pain yet. I climbed on several really great sport routes at both The Gallery and Eastern Skybridge Ridge ranging from 5.8 to 5.11+. Two quick stories about two interesting route experiences:
I haven’t done much trad climbing so when I had the opportunity to follow my friend David up the trad route The Underling at Skybridge I jumped at the chance. The route follows a crack up the left side of the wall for about 15 feet until you reach a horizontal roof. Then you traverse underneath the roof for about 15 more feet until you reach this 3’ by 3’ hole in the roof and you crawl/chimney your way up through the hole and onto this ledge behind the main face of the wall. Once you got on the ledge, if you crawled along it to the opposite side from the side you climbed into you could see out the front of the wall. It is the craziest thing I have ever been on and it also felt like the hardest climbing I had ever tried. The grade you ask? 5.9….I suck at jamming of any kind. Really rad experience capped off by us simul-rapping using each other as counter-weights to get down. Hope to have pictures eventually.
2nd route of note was my warmup Commencement at Skybridge that was supposed to be 5.11-. The guidebook said it was crimpy moves down low to jugs at the top. Probably not something I should have tried given the condition of my elbow but like I have said, I can’t really help myself. I start my way up and find some interesting and somewhat challenging moves on crimps down low and I reach a system of chossy jug/ledges half way. I figure that I have it in bag and that the blank looking face above must have some hidden jugs. After baking in the sun for a few minutes I embark on the upper section only to get completely shut down on small holds at a bolt above the jugs. I couldn’t hang the draw so I tried to bail out left on jugs but that only made things worse. I don’t think there is a worse feeling for a sport climber than to be at a bolt, not having it clipped, and being 10 feet out to the left of it at the same time. Needless to say, the whipper I took was really fun. Turns out that the route used to end near the chossy jugs/ledge system which would make 5.11- seem reasonable. The new extended finish pushes the grade to 5.11+ which makes a lot more sense. Here are a few pictures of me at the bottom of the route, you can see the tree branches I fell through when I had to bail…