With winter just around the corner, climbing season is wrapping up in Wisconsin. That makes this a great time of year to head south to some warmer weather. Just like last fall, I went with a big group to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for some world-class sport climbing. The Red is full of overhanging routes with big holds, just the kind of climbing I enjoy for pushing myself physically. And the fact that many of the walls are sport-bolted means that I don't have to worry as much about the consequences of taking a big fall.
Like last spring, our group camped at Lago Linda's, which has a more relaxed atmosphere than the famous and crowded Miguel's. After driving all night, it was a little disheartening to arrive at the gorge to a persistent drizzle. I talked to some other climbers and learned that the previous week had been very cold. Then, over the last few days, the temperature of the air had risen quicker than that of the rocks This caused the rocks to sap moisture from the air, similar to what happens to your glasses when you walk into a warm building on a cold winter day. Because of the sweaty rocks, almost nobody had been climbing for the past few days, and once again, everyone at Lago Linda's appeared content to take a rest day on Thursday.
With only a short window for climbing, our group decided to go out anyway. We headed to a crag called The Chocolate Factory and were pleasantly surprised to discover that most of the routes were dry. On top of that, the rain held off all afternoon, so we got in a few fun climbs.
Despite a thunderstorm on Thursday night, by Friday morning the majority of the routes in the gorge were dry. The next three days were warm and sunny, allowing us climb plenty of amazing routes in Muir Valley. By the time we left the gorge on Sunday afternoon, everyone was sore. But we all had smiles on our faces.