The Red River Gorge Climbing Trip Recap Part III

If you haven’t read part 1 or 2 click here or here to catch-up!


Sunday morning, we woke up to a brighter sky than the morning before. The storms had worked their way through The Red and it was forecasted to be sunny skies for Sunday, our last climbing day. We were unsure of where there might be some dry routes, rather than taking a gamble and going to a different crag, we loaded up the cars and went back to Muir Valley. Once again, we were all pretty giddy and singing songs lead by our buddy Danny as we hiked into the valley and to the climbing walls.

For some reason we decided to go to the furthest wall, Coyote Cliff, hoping to find some really nice, dry routes in the 5.7-5.10 range. After 25 minutes of hiking we finally got to Coyote Cliff. It was a beautiful looking wall with routes ranging from 35 feet to 70 feet. We started off on Manteleer (5.9) and once again, Danny was the guinea pig that wanted to set the route.

After a quick move from the start hold to a jug, we had to make a pretty burly move where we then had to mantle up on a ledge. It was a little bit easier and it progressively got better the higher up the route since the bottom was still pretty wet from the night before. It took a little bit to figure out the beta for the route, but we quickly realized why it’s called Manteleer, there’s a lot of places that require some mantling. Overall, I thought the route was pretty awesome, but I ended up taking a whipper from the 5th bolt and decided to get lowered because I was already spent and wasn’t going to get the send this trip.

Here’s a couple shots of Danny on Manteleer

Danny starting Manteleer at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River GorgeDanny looking up Manteleer at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River Gorge

Here’s a couple shots of me on Manteleer

Justin Fricke The Weekend Warrior working his way up Manteleer at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River GorgeJustin The Weekend Warrior mantling on Manteleer at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River GorgerJustin Fricke The Weekend Warrior stemming for a hold on Manteleer at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River Gorge

Once most everyone had gotten a chance to tackle Manteleer, a couple of us went over to Retirement Day (5.10b). This sucker was only a 40 foot climb with about 4 bolts with 2 anchors, but it was rough climb. I got to belay some people on it and everyone said it was boulder problem after boulder problem for about the first 3 bolts. Once you got past the 3rd bolt, people were saying it got a little easier with some nice ledges to catch a rest. By the time everyone got on Retirement Day, that wanted to give it a go, it was already already late in the afternoon.

Danny on Retirement Day

Danny setting Retirement Day at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River Gorge

Melinda on Retirement Day

Melinda top-roping Retirement Day at the Coyote Cliff in Muir Valley at the Red River Gorge

We wanted one last climb and made our way over to The Great Wall. Unlike Coyote Cliff, which we had all to ourselves all day, Great Wall was a pretty happening place. It was a little tough to get on some routes, but all 7 of us were able to get on one last route before the end of the day. I was able to set Legends of Limonite (5.8) which was a nice cool down and final climb for me for the trip. The rating was pot on, aside from the start. I had to top-out on a pretty sparse ledge that had me laying horizontally in a crack while I tried to figure out how I could traverse over to the first clip. Oh yea, this all being about 15 feet up with some nice little rocks to cushion my fall, if I fell. Luckily I figured out the beta and made it up the route. Alison was able to Glory and Consequence (5.7+) which shared the same sketchy start as Legends of Limonite. Fortunately we were able to stick-clip the first bolt for her and give us a little more peace of mind. Aside from that, she was saying it was a pretty juggy route the whole way up. Mostly everyone else took their turn at Bitter Ray of Sunshine (5.10c). This time Carly was the guinea pig that set the route and it looked like a lot of challenging fun. Melinda was the only boss in our group that sent that thing and the whole way back to the car, she was on cloud 9!

On our way back to camp, it was already starting to get dark and we wanted some hearty food that wasn’t pizza. A couple of people in our group had been to this restaurant in July, that we drove past every day and they said it was pretty legit. We stopped at the Red River Rockhouse and ended up having to park in a clearing just down the road because the parking lot was filled to the max! I’m not sure if it was because I was so hungry or it was so good, but I had one of the best beef burritos of my life. It was wrapped so well and had all different kinds of spices and fillings. Seriously, if you’re ever in the Red River Gorge area, you need to check this place out.

We got back to camp with full bellies, cleaned up, and finished off the rest of our beers we’d accumulated over the past couple days before hitting the sack. Morning came early and we were on our way home with lots of time to revel in our climbing accomplishments that happened over the weekend and even more time to dream about our newly acquired projects that are still waiting for us back at the Red River Gorge.


  1. Heather Balogh says

    I’m not a big climber (obviously) but those photos are pretty amazing! I think Katie Boue climbs at The Red too, so you are in good company! 🙂

    • Justin Fricke says

      It’s an awesome place even for non-climbers. I’ve read that there’s some great hiking and backpacking at The Red as well. Katie actually got there a couple weeks after I was there, so we didn’t get to climb together, but we’re shooting for some climb time in NC next month!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *