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Muscle Beach

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Muscle Beach Rock Climbing 


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Location: 37.87418, -83.65362 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,799
Administrators: DisturbingThePeace, Jason Halladay, saxfiend, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Chaney on Oct 4, 2006
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49° | 33°
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46° | 26°
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From the very top of Close Encounters with a Wench...

Description 

This wall has long been noted for having the "best" concentration of offwidths in the Red River Gorge. For some people using the words "best" and "offwidth" in the same sentence inspires chuckles or even desperate laughter. But for others the warm fuzzy feeling begin and they shrug on ragged clothing and head for the crag.

Characterized by colorful, abrasive rock Muscle Beach is a tall imposing band of sandstone. There are just enough non-offwidths to interest the masses, but don't expect to hike up to this wall and find a partner. The crowds usually stay away.

Getting There 

Take 9b until you see semi-developed camping on the right. Then you'll see pit toilets on the left. Park across the road from the pit toilets.

Hike to the creek and cross on some placed boulders. Cross the creek then hike downstream bearing left toward the treeline near the end of the open area. Before reaching a small stream coming in from the left look for a faint trail on the left (duck under a fallen tree) and follow this trail through thick undergrowth.

The trail eventually meets up with an old overgrown logging road which goes up, then left, and then levels out. Pass the first road fork on the right and at the second intersection (in an open area) take the hard right up the hill. When it briefly levels out leave the road and bear right toward the main corner of the cliff where Close Encounters With a Wench is located, or switchback left to reach Minas Ithil and the bouldering area.

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.5 miles from here

19 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',4],['5.7',3],['5.8',4],['5.9',3],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',2],['V2-3',3],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Muscle Beach

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Muscle Beach:
Grand Illusion   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 60'   Main Wall
Carnivorous   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 30'   Main Wall
Muscle Shoals   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Main Wall
Rocket Man   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 110'   Main Wall
When Gravity Fails   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 70'   Main Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Muscle Beach

Featured Route For Muscle Beach
Rock Climbing Photo: James Otey in the corner on When Gravity Fails...

When Gravity Fails 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c  KY : Red River Gorge : ... : Main Wall
This is a nice splitter handcrack between Surfin' With Grizz and Mama Told Me...There is a bulge up high, and a heady finish. The crack is a little rough, but the jams are great.All in all a very fun route....[more]   Browse More Classics in KY

Photos of Muscle Beach Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Fall 2016 approach
BETA PHOTO: Fall 2016 approach
Rock Climbing Photo: Welcome to Muscle Beach!
Welcome to Muscle Beach!

Comments on Muscle Beach Add Comment
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By Dave Goodell
Dec 9, 2011
The culverts (large water tubes) under the dam are blocked by sediment and debris. This means that water flows over the dam instead of through/under it. I imagine that on a hot summer day this stream crossing is refreshing, but at the beginning of December it was absolutely frigid and painful. On December 4th the water was about 3 inches deep and flowing at a moderate rate.

Besides the cold water itself, the concrete conducts a significant amount of heat away from your feet. On top of all of this, the concrete is slimy and slick, which means you must move slowly and carefully to avoid taking a spill.

I recommend bringing along stream crossing shoes/sandals/crocs/whatever if you intend to to head to Muscle Beach.

We also saw a sign over by the trash cans that mentioned several bridges and dams on FS 9b were going to be removed some time in 2012. This seemed to imply that this clogged dam would be one of those demolished, although it was not 100% clear.
By cyd
Nov 29, 2015
Just went to Muscle Beach yesterday. There is a ton of New Development the renders the old directions completely useless. The dam is no longer there, neither is the parking area or the campsite on the inside left bend for Minas wall.
Now, for people who have never been there, you park 1.5 miles down the gravel road (it's closed for the season of 2015). Walk the gravel road until you get to a board/sign and some bear protected garbage containers. It should be rather obvious, as it's now a large piece of excavated land. Currently there's a wood sided porti poti on the right as well.

Essentially when you come up to the sign (which explains the creek restoration project) you can see the top of Muscle Beach straight ahead. Poking out with a bit of orange rock feature through the top of the trees. This is particularly evident if it's winter/fall.

Cross the creek, there are several rock hopping ways. We crossed almost directly behind the sign. Walk Straight across the field, almost bearing left a little, until you hit the tree line. Go straight uphill and pick the path of least resistance. You should after maybe 200 ft of uphill find what could be considered an "old road". It's clear it might have been a road, and not natural to the forest, but it's very very overgrown. Lot's of small trees and bushes and overgrowth. Don't expect an old tire track dirt road. But when you hit it, I think, it's obvious. Take the road left (otherwise North west ish). It will gradually wind up the hill, crossing many mounds. Eventually you'll be able to pick up a very very faint trail. Keep following the road/trail.
You'll make it to a spot where boulders start appearing. There will be four downed trees across the road (although there are many down trees on the road, these four are somewhat together, separated by no more than 25 ft in between them). You should be able to see the cliffline at this point. After the first downed tree, veer left up the bank and follow a very very faint trail up hill towards the cliff line. Keep mostly right and you should come up to the 5.9 crack.
By Chris Chaney
From: Stanton, Kentucky
Dec 18, 2015
Other than the creek crossing the directions should still work. I'll check it out soon and revise if necessary.