Elevation: 899 ft
GPS: 37.5794, -85.0781
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Page Views: 6,972,229 total · 35,074/month
Shared By: Andy Laakmann on Oct 4, 2006
Admins: saxfiend, DrRockso RRG

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.

3,302 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
 440
Roadside Attraction
Trad 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 161
Supercrack (aka Crack Attack)
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 502
Rock Wars
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 538
Amarillo Sunset
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 582
Banshee
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 324
Witness the Citrus
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 167
The Return of Chris Snyder
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 99
The Gift
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 319
Twinkie
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 157
Swedish Fish
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 194
Mercy the Huff
Sport
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 83
Singularity
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 178
Cell Block Six
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 116
Orange Juice
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 148
Jesus Wept
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Roadside Attraction Red River Gorge > Natural Bridge… > Graining Fork Nature…
 440
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Supercrack (aka Crack Attack) Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Indian Creek
 161
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Rock Wars Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Long Wall
 502
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Amarillo Sunset Red River Gorge > Pendergrass-Mur… > N 40
 538
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Banshee Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Solarium
 582
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Witness the Citrus Red River Gorge > Miller Fork Rec… > Fruit Wall
 324
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
The Return of Chris Snyder Red River Gorge > Natural Bridge… > Graining Fork Nature…
 167
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
The Gift Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Long Wall
 99
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Twinkie Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Phantasia
 319
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Swedish Fish Red River Gorge > Bald Rock Recre… > Chocolate Factory
 157
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Mercy the Huff Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Left Flank
 194
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Singularity Red River Gorge > Miller Fork Rec… > Portal
 83
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Cell Block Six Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Midnight Surf
 178
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Orange Juice Red River Gorge > Northern Gorge > Funk Rock City
 116
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Jesus Wept Red River Gorge > Muir Valley > Sanctuary
 148
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
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