Elevation: 899 ft
GPS: 37.579, -85.078 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 2,126,511 total · 14,320/month
Shared By: Andy Laakmann on Oct 4, 2006
Admins: saxfiend

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.

1,975 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
 324
Roadside Attraction
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 115
Crack Attack
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 342
Rock Wars
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 457
Breakfast Burrito
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 330
Amarillo Sunset
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 126
No Place Like Home
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 282
Banshee
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 140
Witness the Citrus
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 118
The Return of Chris Snyder
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 189
Check Your Grip
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 198
Twinkie
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 84
Dogleg
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 106
Mercy the Huff
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 80
Abiyoyo
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 95
Cell Block Six
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Roadside Attraction Red River Gorge > Graining Fork Nature…
 324
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Crack Attack Red River Gorge > Indian Creek
 115
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Rock Wars Red River Gorge > Long Wall
 342
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Breakfast Burrito Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > Drive-By Crag
 457
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Amarillo Sunset Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > N 40
 330
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
No Place Like Home Red River Gorge > Emerald City
 126
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Banshee Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Solarium
 282
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Witness the Citrus Red River Gorge > Miller Fork Rec… > Fruit Wall
 140
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
The Return of Chris Snyder Red River Gorge > Graining Fork Nature…
 118
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Check Your Grip Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > Drive-By Crag
 189
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Twinkie Red River Gorge > Phantasia
 198
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Dogleg Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > Bob Marley
 84
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Mercy the Huff Red River Gorge > Left Flank
 106
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Abiyoyo Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Solarium
 80
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Cell Block Six Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Midnight Surf
 95
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Kentucky »

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Aaron1
Piqua, OH
Aaron1   Piqua, OH
Hey. Need a TRAD partner. Inexperienced and looking to learn more! Always a good time at the RRG. Let me know if interested, thanks.

-Aaron Jan 19, 2015
Rob Montgomery
Lexington, Ky
Rob Montgomery   Lexington, Ky
Hey Aaron, quite new (really new) to climbing but always up for new things. Shout my way sometime and we'll figure it out. Rob Montgomery~ Oct 10, 2016
My lady and I will be cruising through KY and W VA on an upcoming trip. We plan to stop and do some clippy clippy and Red River and New River but have heard stories of amazing limestone caves in the area, or within a few hours.
I'm an experienced big wall climber and guide from Ca with some caving exp. I would love to be shown or told about one of your gems whilst not thrashing or pissing off the locals. I can even bring my 100m static 9mil cord and technical gear if needed. I'm not too interested in stairs or sidewalks, I like to get dirty.

Thank yeh

JoshP Feb 13, 2017