March Break ’14: Red River Gorge, KY

March break, me and other Boulderz staff members went to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky from March 10th to the 16th. This was my second time going to the RRG, and this time I had a goal set in mind to send a 5.13b by the end of the trip. Ever since last year I’ve been eyeing some possible 13s to work on; there was one climb called Golden Boy 5.13b that I was eager to try. Prior to the trip I had five nights of minimal sleep and awesome climbing dreams- I was pretty psyched to go back. The cabin we stayed at was through the company Natural Bridge Cabin Rentals, and was called the Bear Run Chalet. Its a great cabin, fully equipped with a pool table, dish washer, and electric stove.

The first day of climbing was on March 10th. Going into this trip we planned to go to a different area every day for more variety. The first area we went to was Military Wall. I’d never gone to Military Wall before. This was probably one of the better days I had during the trip. I started off warming up on In The Light 5.10c (wasn’t that good) and Another Doug Reed Route 5.11b (better). I then moved on to flash The Mule 5.12c, a cool pumpy route with some weird pebble-y slopers at the top. After that I on-sighted Tissue Tiger 5.12b, then Nicorette 5.12a, and Gung Ho 5.12b. I was pretty happy at this point. I felt that there was a definite improvement from last year’s trip- it was time to move on to something more difficult. So I hopped on a route called The Legend 5.13b, which started off with a difficult reachy boulder problem. I really wasn’t enjoying it, and after a couple tries at the first bolt I came down. Slightly discouraging, since my goal was to climb a 13b, but whatever, it didn’t bother me after that day. It was an amazing day.

March 11th, the second day, I started off at the Gallery, warmed up on DaVinci’s Left Ear 5.10b. Tried Zen and the Art of Masturbation 5.12d and stopped at the third bolt because of the heinous skin shredding crimps (I wanted skin for the rest of the trip); then went to try the Tribute 5.13, and got stuck on the “one move wonder” at the third bolt. So I moved on from the Gallery to Bronaugh wall. There, I sent my project from last year, Belly of the Beast 5.12c, first try of the day. I also sent a random slab route on the far left side of the wall. It isn’t in the guide or anything, but it had new bolts and no red tape marking it closed. I estimated it is around 5.10b/c.

March 12th we had pretty bad conditions. We all went to the Zoo, but I didn’t climb much. I decided to have a rest.

March 13th was supposed to be the coldest day of the week, but a friend of mine said that the Chocolate Factory would be okay. For the most part it was. I warmed up on Toxicondendron 5.11b. Then spent the day working on the route Cat’s Demise 5.13b. I was getting close to sending the route, but by the 5th draw my hands were freezing cold to the point of giving out. Despite that, it is a great route, sustained slopers to a crimpy crux before the anchors. Next year.

The last full day was March 14th. I woke up in the middle of the night with pain in my right eye. I must have gotten a small rock or something in my eye on one of the previous days, which scratched the white of my eye. A lot of the night was spent trying to figure out what was wrong and it was hard to get any sleep. None the less, I was about to go to the area I had been looking at since last year, Gold Coast. Home to some famous routes such as God’s Own Stone 5.14a, Black Gold 5.13c, and Golden Boy 5.13b; which I was determined to send this trip. The day started off warming up at a nearby area called Solar Collector, where I did a few 11s and Blue Eyed Honky Jesus 5.12b. Then I went straight to Golden Boy 5.13b. My first try was with a take and a fall. I was confident that I could send it that day. My next try I got it down to one fall, and that fall kept moving closer and closer to the anchors. Then after a long break I came back to it, it was the end of the day. My next few tries were substantially worse than before. I was tired, and knew that I was done for the day. Meltdown.

Getting upset was good in a way. I was questioning what aspect of climbing I am most passionate about. Is it the training? The competition? Getting upset, in a way has gotten me psyched. I now look at that meltdown as a sign that, for me, the enjoyment of climbing comes from overcoming the challenges. I was upset I couldn’t send it on this trip, and sad that I would have to wait months to try it again. The meltdown for me was another step to discovering why I love climbing.

We left on the 15th. But before we left, we made a trip to Beer Trailer Crag to get a couple last minute routes in. I tried Falls City 5.13b, but decided after the first try that maybe now wasn’t the time to project anything. So I came down and did a couple of 12as.

If your interested in to what I was doing here’s a link to my Sendage account: http://sendage.com/user/lucas-Uchida

Here is the link to the online guide: http://www.redriverclimbing.com/RRCGuide/

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