Red River Gorge Part II

I know these next pictures are all about climbing and not about beer, but I’m going to shamelessly put them up because I am ridiculously proud of myself!

But first I would like to thank Ryan for professionally building me a cheater rock so that I could reach the start holds on the climb!

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This was my first 5.11c climb, called On Beyond Zebra. I didn’t make the whole climb clean, but I faced my fear about falling and really pushed myself. I’ve never climbed anything so overhanging!

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Halfway up the climb, there was a big ledge, which was a great rest, but moving out from under the ledge and trusting that you would find handholds and make it to the next bolt was hard! If I had fallen, it would have been huge! But I really manned up and went for it!

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At this point I was just cruising for the anchors, but I was so happy they were in sight!

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Success!

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Hiking out there’s a cute arch! (Its Hobbit sized!)

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Of course we went to Miguel’s for pizza and celebration beers!

While waiting for my pizza I had a Dominion Baltic Porter by Old Dominion Brewing Company of Delaware at 6.8% abv.

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Of course Jack brought some of his favorite go-to beers, and of course I snuck one. Roasted malts, chocolate and licorice. Hints of vanilla and caramel.Smooth mouthfeel, creamy.

I also finally got to try Lubrication by Clown Shoes Brewery of Ipswich, MA at 6% abv. Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, molasses. Not much sweetness, bitter notes. Unfortunately thin mouthfeel and dry finish.

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A very successful end to a week of climbing!

Red River Gorge!

The Red is my favorite place to climb ever! Its located in Slade, Kentucky which is about a nine hour drive for us, so we are only able to make it once or twice a year, but when we do we usually go for a whole week!

We had a ton of friends from our local climbing gym go too, but for the first four days, Parrish was my main climbing partner! While everyone was climbing super hard, we found routed close by that were a little more suited to us. (5.9s to 11s)

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I am pretty proud that I led everything I got on! (As compared to top-roping. Although nothing wrong with top roping! I was really trying to push myself to climb the hardest I ever have.)

Here is a good picture of Jack leading. See how there are bolts in the wall? He clips the orange draws into the bolt, then clips the rope into the draw. Although the sometimes scary part is when you are well above the draw and you fall. Most times, nobody gets hurt, but pushing yourself to climb hard while knowing that you may take a fall is very hard for some climbers (like myself) to get over. (Sorry for the over-explanation, I figure family or non-climbers might be reading)

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And of course there were some half days and rest days! Nine days of climbing is exhausting!

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One of the two places that offer decent food in the area is called the Rockhouse. They opened last October when we last visited, and the place seems to be doing very well! They are located right over the line from a dry county! Good location!

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The place is run by some super cool, chill climbers/ photographers! Aaron, Tina, and August. And they have some good beers! 

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Pretty cool design, and beautiful art!

But I especially love the beer! I have to admit, we came here multiple times and I only got a picture of one beer, but I figure its ok cause I had the same one every time! I had the Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout by Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo, MI at 6% abv.

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I could have this beer for breakfast! Sweet dark malts, toasted caramelized sugars, hints of coffee, chocolate, and molasses. Moderate carbonation, and a lighter body and mouthfeel than I expected. I’m quite the fan.

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RRG round II will be out shortly with lots more pictures!

RRG Part II

By Wednesday, almost everyone had left! It was just me, Jack, Natalie, and Jason. Since there was a smaller group, I felt like we got tons of climbing in and so I have fewer pictures, sorry!

Wednesday we went to Bruise Brothers wall in Muir Valley. I started off the day by leading another 5.10a called Rat Stew, and then leading my very first 5.10c! Clean! With no takes! We left that day totally exhausted! A celebration beer was in order!

We had planned on going to Rockhouse (good food! and good beers!) for dinner, but for some reason they were closed and we headed a little further down the road to Miguel’s for pizza.

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Miguel’s is the dirtbag climber paradise! Just tents everywhere since camping is only $2 a night! The only downside….its in a DRY COUNTY!! No beer! So unfortunately, I did not get my celebration beer. But I did get a half a pizza with sweet potatoes, avocados, pulled pork, and ricotta cheese. Amazing! (Too bad it’s a dry county, Miguel’s could make a killing selling beer! Rockhouse, while only 5 minutes away is actually just over the county line, good location!)

Although, when we got back I was hell bent on my celebration beer and Jack and I dug out our special beer for the trip! Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu, considered a Herb/ Spiced beer, 10% abv.

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Really unique and interesting beer. The smell told me nothing at all, in fact, it smelled like it was going to be run-of-the-mill terrible! The taste though, was complex. From the first sip to the aftertaste you can taste something different. Honey, sweet and flowery, and toward the end the grape hits you. I would have this beer again at least to experience a blend of unusual flavors.

Thursday, we got somewhat hard to get passes and got into Torrent Falls! Wow, overhung pockets and crimps! Very classic RRG climbing! It started pouring while we were there, but luckily the wall was so overhanging that we all stayed dry and were able to continue climbing!

That night Jack and I made it to Rockhouse

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and I got a delicious cheeseburger and a Bell’s Porter! (I had to re-use a picture since I actually did not photograph this beer at Rockhouse! I was too hungry and tired to dig my camera out of my backpack in the trunk of my car)

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As always, relaxing and delicious! Roasted malts, hints of chocolate and coffee, sweet and smooth.

Friday, our last day of climbing we all decided to get in a little trad climbing. Trad climbing is a bit different. The climbs do not have bolts for you to clip into as you go, you need to place your own protection. Since you need to place your own pro, trad climbs are usually on a natural feature of the rock. So think cracks, chimneys, flakes, and corners. We chose Long Wall, and after a very steep approach we got to the two main climbs of the day, Autumn 5.9 and Rockwars 5.10a, both crack climbs. (But they were crack climbs that did not involve hand and finger jams (my favorite) they were all liebacks (not so much my favorite)

Haha! Nice socks, Jack!

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Since it was our last night camping, I realized I had some beers that needed drinking!

First up was Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, from Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery, United Kingdom. A Russian Imperial Stout 7% abv.

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I feel unlucky, I took a sip of this beer expecting greatness and got….a mouthful of vinegar! Again?! Seriously?! Jack confirmed it. The beer had gone bad. There are a few ways beer can go bad, sunlight, cycles of hot and cold, and just plain getting too hot. Yes, this beer survived a car trip in a cooler, but we never let the temperature drop and once we got to the campground we put it in the fridge. I’m guessing that it was lightstruck possibly in Total Wine. Fluorescents can skunk beer, but it takes longer. Who knows? What a shame.

But next up on the list was the tried and true Original Flag Porter from Darwin Brewery of England, 5% abv.

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This beer was one of the first porters I tried, and I loved it from the start. Its only slightly sweet, mostly roasted malts, maybe a hint of caramel, medium body and smooth.

And since I was trying to finish off the beers we brought with us (suck a hard task, heh) I also drank the oddball of the group. I brought this beer to try something new. I figured I’d either love it or hate it. Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer by 21 Amendment Brewery, California. 

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Yup, in a can! Pretty cool can art though! Much more exciting than your average silvery looking can. But of course its what’s on the inside that counts. I thought it was really strange. Did not taste like a wheat beer at all, but the artificial watermelon flavor hits you full force. Not much else to the beer. I kinda had a hard time finishing it. I tried to get Jack to help me but after a sip or two he refused. Damn! But at least now I don’t just have to guess that I don’t like it, now I know! There are a few other beers that I really need to try from 21st Amendment Brewery that I’ve heard good things about, so I’ll give them another try.

And that’s it! I now cannot wait to get back to the Red in the spring! I have a lot of projects I need to send! 

Red River Gorge!

Right now we are about half way through our climbing trip to the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. It’s been amazing! We had a really good group of people to climb with this week, they have been supportive and climbing super strong, and of course, good company!

Not too many beers have been drunk, but what has, has been pretty good.

The first day we split up the group and went to different areas in Muir Valley.The group I was with headed to Johnny’s wall and we put up almost every climb there!

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I actually started off the day by leading a 5.10a! And got another 5.10a later in the day! (I haven’t been climbing much recently because of the triathlons, so this is really pushing the grade for me!)

Later that night, I had a Evo Lucky 7, 5.8% American porter by Evolution Craft Brewing Co of Delaware.

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Tastes kinda strong and smoky, dry finish, bittersweet chocolate, medium mouthfeel, slightly higher carbonation. Decent porter, but I love my porters and I’m a pretty hard judge to please!

The next day we climbed at Left Flank, again the group ended up splitting up but it all worked out. I was really happy with a 5.8 I led. It had maybe a 20 foot run out section between bolts, but it was the most glorious hand crack! Up until the crack I was a little scared because it was a slab climb and the hands and feet were TINY! Once I sunk a hand in the crack though, I looked down at Rob who was belaying me and was like “oh yeah! I got this!” From there out, it was nice and easy!

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Austin and Sarah made it out on the trip, and they both had a really strong day! I really need to get in the gym and boulder with them more! Bouldering makes you super strong and you can (more) easily pull the power moves. The Red notoriously has hard start moves right off the ground, bouldering would help.

That night I had a YETI Imperial Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout 9.5% by Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, CO.

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Yeah, this beer tastes a bit alcoholic. You can definitely taste the alcohol, boozy, dark chocolate, smooth but not really creamy. Full body.

The third day climbing we went to Eastern Sky Bridge Ridge area. We got split up while hiking there. (it was supposed to be a 5 min approach! haha) but the other half of our group finally showed up at the crag an hour and a half or two hours later! For them, it was an epic hike in! In fact, fast forward to that evening, Rob showed us the damage that was done.

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Yup. He split his boxers in half, didn’t realize it, and climbed in them all day! Haha! Yeah, it was a tough hike in for them!

Eastern Sky Bridge was beautiful! I top roped a few climbs because they were all super hard! But every one in our group was sending hard!

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Here’s Jack sending Super Dario 5.11a.

Later Jack decided to get on a trad climb called The Underling 5.9. It was a crack climb, a traverse, and then you go through a hole, and come out on top!

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(Look at the top right corner and check out the hole to climb up through!)

When he was getting to the hole, a climber passing by told him to go through feet first! Jack somehow thought this was a good idea and attempted it!

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I was scared as hell belaying because is he falls out he would come out of the hole head first into the wall below. Right when I thought he had it, he fell out! He tucked his head and managed to take an easier fall.

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Ryan, who went up after him, managed to pull the feet first move!

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That night, I had a Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, Kiuchi Brewery of Japan.

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Supposed to be a Belgian Strong Pale Ale 7%. I really like their white ale, but this one, not so much. I hate to say, but just by smelling it, I knew it wasn’t my thing. Liz even smelled and tasted it before I did and said I was not going to be a fan. Very true. It tasted like a macro, like Bud, only with a different aftertaste. I cant even put my finger on the aftertaste, I suppose the red rice! But to me, not really worth drinking to experience something different. (ouch! sorry!)

Ok, I’m beat! Check back for more RRG updates!