Elevation: 899 ft
GPS: 37.579, -85.078 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 4,905,238 total · 27,432/month
Shared By: Andy Laakmann on Oct 4, 2006
Admins: saxfiend, DrRockso

Description

Sandstone...

From a climbing standpoint, you can define the Bluegrass state with that one word.

From Morehead, through the Red River Gorge and the Rockcastle River watershed on down into Tennessee via the Big South Fork (of the Cumberland River) out to the coalfields of Western Kentucky, the dominant exposed rock is sandstone.

By far, the best quality rock overall is in the Red River Gorge. That's not to say that the rest of the state is choss, just that the greatest concentration of quality developed climbing happens to be there.

If you're not climbing sandstone in Kentucky you need your head examined. There really isn't anything else to climb except some unconsolidated limestone. The geology of Kentucky could almost be called boring. But it really isn't.

The Eastern end of the state is all Cumberland Plaeteau. What most people, locals and visitors alike, call "mountains" are actually the topmost edge of a vast plateau. The exposed cliffs and valleys are a result of aeons of erosion down into that plateau. If you don't believe me look at the horizons. Flat. There are no peaks, no high chains of summits dividing the landscape. Oh, there's local relief, but the scale is small.

The scenery is distincly different from that of the Blue Ridge, the Smokies and other chains along the Appalachians. Different in relief, but similar in ecology and climate.

Western Kentucky is unique in it's own way. It's the same general type of rock, but different consistencies and arrangements.

Getting There

Most climbing in the state is easily accessible from major highways. I-75 funnels most visitors to the Mountain Parkway and then on to the Red River Gorge.

The Big South Fork is a little further off 75 and parallels it at a distance.

Western Kentucky access varies, but doesn't suffer as much from the crazy gravel backroads of the Eastern end of the state.

2,796 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Kentucky

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 388
Roadside Attraction
Trad 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 148
Supercrack (aka Crack Attack)
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 431
Rock Wars
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 643
Breakfast Burrito
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 460
Amarillo Sunset
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 448
Banshee
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 232
Witness the Citrus
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 144
The Return of Chris Snyder
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 88
The Gift
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 263
Twinkie
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 117
Swedish Fish
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 159
Mercy the Huff
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 141
Cell Block Six
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 86
Orange Juice
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 116
Jesus Wept
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Roadside Attraction Red River Gorge > Natural Bridge… > Graining Fork Nature…
 388
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Supercrack (aka Crack Attack) Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Indian Creek
 148
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Rock Wars Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Long Wall
 431
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Breakfast Burrito Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > Drive-By Crag
 643
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Amarillo Sunset Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > N 40
 460
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Banshee Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Solarium
 448
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Witness the Citrus Red River Gorge > Miller Fork Rec… > Fruit Wall
 232
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
The Return of Chris Snyder Red River Gorge > Natural Bridge… > Graining Fork Nature…
 144
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
The Gift Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Long Wall
 88
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Twinkie Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Phantasia
 263
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Swedish Fish Red River Gorge > Bald Rock Fork… > Chocolate Factory
 117
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Mercy the Huff Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Left Flank
 159
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Cell Block Six Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Midnight Surf
 141
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Orange Juice Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Funk Rock City
 86
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Jesus Wept Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Sanctuary
 116
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Kentucky »

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