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Red River Gorge 2012! - Michaela Kiersch

Red River Gorge 2012! - Michaela Kiersch
Red River Gorge 2012! - Michaela Kiersch
March 20, 2012 -  Michaela Kiersch    

I recently went on a weekend trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky! I was really psyched to head down, it was my first trip of the season.  I also wanted to know where I was at, as far as training.  The sport season has just begun for me, considering ABS Nationals ended just a few weeks ago.  Training for rope has been intense so far, I don't have much time before Adult SCS Nationals in early April.


The drive down to the Red is a solid seven hours from Chicago, but well worth it to climb at a world class area.  We got to Miguel's Pizza really late on Friday night, so Leah Scott and I decided to skip pitching tents and camp out in the car.  We woke up late in the night/super early in the morning to rain! First thoughts were that the rock was going to be wet, but exhaustion pulled me back to sleep.  The next time I woke up was to a bright morning and no more rain! We quickly ate breakfast and hurried to the rock.  We went to an area I hadn't been to before- the Sanctuary.

After warming up on two 5.10ds, Eric Seidel and I headed toward the main wall where all of the harder climbs were.  I sequenced Jesus Wept, a 5.12d, and didn't know what to expect from myself climbing wise.  I tried to stay positive and got on the climb for an onsight attempt.  After a bouldery beginning and a quick rest, I pulled onto the less steep head wall and pulled through some tricky pocket sequences.  The real crux was toward the top with two bad pockets and a dead point for a small slopey ledge. I was relieved to stick the move and continue to the anchors.  I was so psyched to onsight this!

Next we got on Prometheus Unbound, a classic 5.13a.  On my first attempt I fell at the redpoint crux, but quickly figured out the moves and got to the top.  Eric sent on his second go of the day! I got on right after him for my second attempt, and felt really good climbing though the powerful start moves.  This time I easily moved through the crux to a rest, and then through the second crux to the top.  I was very excited to get this climb second go, and even more so that it felt easier to me.  Although I think it is soft for the grade, I was SO happy to get this send.  Next I got on another 5.12d, Peace Frog (which I continuously called Peach Fuzz for some reason...).  The first move is a huge reach to a crimp to get on the main wall.  After a sketchy reach, I was on the wall and climbing though a steep, pockety wall.  This route didn't have a clear crux to me, it was more of a sustained endurance route.  Very good for training! Onsighting this route just kept the psych and enthusiasm going through the day.

Even though I was super tired already, I decided to try the third 5.12d, Triple Sec.  I've been told that this is the hardest of the three, but the only one where you have to hang draws.  I loaded up my harness with draws for another 90+ foot climb.  A few tricky pocket moves proved to be draining and I fell on the first crux- a dead point to a slopey edge.  I just lowered to the ground and went for a second attempt- I didn't want to waste energy.  This time, I stuck the move and cruised up to a nice jug rest before a couple more cruxes.  The slightly over hung section had a hard move to a rounded pocket, and then some tick-tack moves to a rest.  The last part was another crux- a two finger pocket for the right hand, and a mono for the left.  I had to lunge for a good edge and then I could climb to the anchors.  I took a deep breath, told myself to suck it up, and used the mono to get the second go send!

After a long day of climbing, I decided to get on one more route- a 5.12a called Immaculate Deception.  This line was super fun, a boulder problem to start and then easy climbing on slab to good jugs at the top.  The view is great up there! I was psyched to get the onsight.

I finished my first day feeling tremendously proud with two 5.12d onsights, a 5.13a and 5.12d second go, and a 5.12a as well.

Equally psyched for day two, we headed to Shady Grove and Purgatory.  I warmed up on Far From God, an awesome 5.12b (psyched to get the onsight!), and then headed to Purgatory for some harder climbing.  I hopped on a 5.11c and then Gluttony, 5.12a.  I was feeling tired from the long day before, but I wanted to try Dracula 5.13b.  After a few goes on the first sequence, I managed to do all of the moves until the last throw at the anchors.  Feeling really tired, a decided to do a couple warm downs and we headed out at 3ish to hopefully get home by midnight.

On the way home, we stopped and decided to do one more climb: THE COW 5.16d. (If only)


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