No amount of beta could have sufﬁciently prepared me for my ﬁrst trip to the Red. I was getting conﬂicting reports from everyone I knew who had been there previously. To my astonishment, they were all speaking truth!
In Kentucky, fall is just beginning to emerge as cooler September weather sets in, trees start to molt their yellowing leaves, and the rain is actually welcomed because less humidity is lingering. I experienced it all in the short week I was there for trail running and rock climbing.
For the ﬁrst leg of my trip I participated in the second annual Rugged Red Half Marathon. This trail running race climbs in and out of the gorge several times. Rain was not expected that Saturday, but it came anyway, drenching me for 8 of the 13+ miles. I kept comfortable in my Stonewear Vibe shorts, and was not at all surprised to ﬁnd these favorite bottoms kept me chafe free in the bad weather. They survived my sweat drenched Southern California summer, and I knew they’d be there for me in the rain of Kentucky. I ﬁnished my race with an ofﬁcial time of 3:00:33, was the 31st woman across the line, 11th in my age group, and 182nd overall out of 549 runners.
The second end of my trip included rock climbing with my husband and belay partner. He took me to his favorite walls, and we were also introduced to a few new ones by happening upon two friends of ours that knew the secret areas. Over the course of 5 days I sport climbed and lead dozens of routes. I realized the best quality of the Red is the variety the walls it has to offer. All of my friends were right: the walls are slopey, juggy, crimpy, pockety, sharp, ledgy, smooth… and steep! Each crag has its own personality, and I only scratched the surface of the climbable areas in the Red River Gorge on this trip. Each climber can ﬁnd a wall to love, and I personally found a few.
My favorite new top this season is the Stonewear Dryﬂex Double Cross top. It kept me supported, comfortable, and covered while I sent all of my lines at the Red. Some days were warmer than others in the gorge. Both the Volt and Sprinter capris kept me dry and cool in the warmer weather and humidity of September. I’m eager to send more steep routes like Scar Tissue 12a, which went down this trip with a ﬂash. When I return next year in October the weather will be even cooler and I’ll be hitting more classic crags and climbs, like the infamously steep and tall Motherload Wall. To be continued… Stay Adventurous!
About the Author
Valarie Anderson is a climber, runner, and climbing gym owner from Silverado, California.