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Bret Johnston's First Week at the Red

Bret Johnston's First Week at the Red
Bret Johnston's First Week at the Red
November 10, 2010 -  Five Ten    

Every winter the same thing happens to us Seattle-ites. The rain comes and brings with it the hankering to travel to a destination like as the Red River Gorge. I came here back in the spring of ’09 and was really impressed. The pure density of climbing out here is ridiculous. If the Red isn’t near the top of everyone’s list for sport climbing destinations then I must be missing out on some crazy good crags. I am very excited to be back here and especially with such great climbing partners.


I am staying in a small house minutes away from climbing with five other people and a 16 month old baby, Elijah, who I can hopefully teach how to say “climb” by the end of the trip…that’s the goal any way.

I have been here for a week now and I feel like I haven’t missed a beat. I’m seeing a ton of familiar faces that are psyched to call The Red River Gorge home for most of the year. My main climbing partner is the always-moving Jonathan Siegrist. I don’t think there are many people who can climb as many days in a row as Jonathan and still red-point their hardest. Yesterday I had the privilege of watching him get the FA of a route formally know as “The Honey Comb Project”. It was a command performance and he has now dubbed the route “Pure Imagination” with a proposed grade of 5.14d. I think that one day I will be able to climb at this level. It will take lots of work and determination but I believe that if I stay committed and I continue to surround myself with super talent climbers like Jonathan, then it will only be a matter of time before this becomes a reality.

Recently I have been trying classics such as Transworld Depravity, a desperate pump-fest on the left side of the Madness cave and many other high quality sandstone gems the red has to offer. It is only the beginning of my trip and as I sink into the flow of the climbs I am confident a lot of these routes will go down.

I’ll tune in at the end of trip. Cheers.



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