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Red River Gorge - Rain

Original Post
B L · · Montréal, Québec · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 290

We are planning a trip to RRG during the week of October 20th. Unfortunately the forecast calls for rain on around five days.

1- Is it possible to climb shortly after rainfall? Some sandstone areas discourage climbing the day or two after rainfall as the rock is softer and more fragile. I guess not all sandstone is the same so I wish to inquire on local practices.

2- Are there any climbing areas that remain sheltered from the rain or that dry very quickly?

All input is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 212

1.  Yes, very much so.  It is common to climb in the rain in sheltered areas (there are many; more if you climb 5.12+), and the rock typically dries quickly in full sun.  That rock gets a ton of water regularly and is very used to it.
2.  What grade?  Bruise Brothers and Chica Bonita have a few (short) moderate climbs that stay dry, but in general most overhanging walls in the 11+ range will stay dry for the most part.  10s and under...probably not worth your time, as the few areas that do stay dry will be packed.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,071
This far out, I only see rain on 3 days (Sunday Monday Tuesday), not 5. This is fairly typical RRG weather, I don’t think you can expect any better, on average. (You could get lucky, but...)

Rock dries out fast, you can climb in sheltered areas in the rain. Depends on what you are climbing. 

If you are looking for single-digit trad climbs, that mostly means cracks, and cracks stay wet much longer after the rain. If you are looking for sport climbing in the 10s, I wouldn’t cancel the trip. You can climb at Bruise Brothers, Roadside, Infirmary, on those rainy days. Sure, it would be crowded... but if you get realistic expectations, and don’t plan to climb a ton in those days, you could still have a nice day. and you can take one of the rainy days for a rest day.  
Q C · · Indianapolis, IN · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

This past Friday night/Saturday morning, we had consistent rain overnight. By Saturday ~11:00 we were on dry rock. Of course, a few spots stay more wet than others, but it dries out awfully quickly. If you are looking to climb more sport, buy the Red River Gorge South guidebook at Miguel's. If you want to climb more trad, get the North guidebook. Otherwise, may just swing in the shop and ask for beta while you're waiting on Miguel's breakfast (highly recommend). Feel free to PM me for beta as well. 

Matt Strader · · Richmond, KY · Joined Mar 2019 · Points: 11

The crossroads stays dry most of the time even after a bit of rain. There's some fun 8s and 10s there you could hope on. I climbed boilerplate last year while it was pouring and barely got wet. Bob Marley and roadside crag also have some stuff that stays pretty dry.

Bruce Stephen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Military wall also has some spots that stay dry.

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 10

I was there Oct 4-10th  and we had 2 solid days of rain. We climbed at the Zoo during a full on downpour, and then trad climbed at the fortress about 2 hours after it stopped raining, and was still spitting on us intermittently. The cracks were still wet, but we just dialed the difficulty down a little bit. The stone is amazingly grippy.

It was still fun.

Eugenel Espiritu · · PA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 1,096
B L · · Montréal, Québec · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 290

Thanks everyone for your replies. There seems to be many options available to climb in the event of rain. I'm guessing this is about peak climbing time of the year in RRG and I am a little concerned that the areas and moderate routes (5.8 trad 5.10a sport) that stay dry will be overcrowded. But I believe the trip will be worthwhile nonetheless. Thanks again for your help.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,071

Yes, the areas with climbs in the 5.8-5.10 range would be definitely crowded. But if you climb in that range, and want to visit the Red when the conditions are the best, you have to accept that a lot of other people like you are making the same choices, and you can’t be mad at them for making the same decision that you made. Make friends, and have fun. 

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 10
B L wrote: Thanks everyone for your replies. There seems to be many options available to climb in the event of rain. I'm guessing this is about peak climbing time of the year in RRG and I am a little concerned that the areas and moderate routes (5.8 trad 5.10a sport) that stay dry will be overcrowded. But I believe the trip will be worthwhile nonetheless. Thanks again for your help.

We hiked to the crag in the dark by headlamp, had a plan of attack and climbed fast. We each had four climbs done by the time the first people showed up.  We only got 7-8 more climbs in the rest of the day. 

Do this and you will get a lot of climbing in.
Bruce Stephen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Climb during the work week, it helps. Or visit again in november. We visited for the last 11days of september and there were no crowds. We ran into only 4 groups of 2. 

Mrock87 · · Nashville TN · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

I was there this week, it rained lightly for a few hours early on Wednesday. We took a slow morning leaving Miguel's getting in the car around 11. We headed to Global Village and while the approach was slick the rock was dry, and we had the whole wall to ourselves.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern States
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