Day 1, Wednesday
Paradise Lost 5.13a – flash
After a 9-hour drive from Delaware to Kentucky and a nice sleep at one of the Lago Linda’s cabins, I was ready to jump-start my 4-day climbing trip (yet I was still somehow the last one to pack my bag). Drive, park, walk up to some warm-ups, 5.12a warm-up, all check. And here I go making the first mistake of the climbing trip: I got TOO psyched… After barely enough warm up to get the blood flowing, I jumped on Southern Smoke (5.14c) and got a flash pump that seemed to last for the rest of the trip. But I thought, oh well, and after a few tries on Southern Smoke, proceeded to attempt Lucifer (another 5.14c)… I don’t think I’ve sworn so much and with such passion before in my life, while instantaneously freaking out everyone around me and making them laugh.
Day 2, Thursday
The Castle has Fallen 5.13b – onsight
Dracula ‘04 5.13b – flash
Calm like a Bomb 5.13a – flash
The day started out with me feeling simply exhausted after 5 full-session tries on 5.14c’s, but everything seemed to change with Neil Mushaweh’s first ever 5.13a onsight and the temps climbing into the 60s. He certainly got me psyched on Calm like a Bomb as he crushed it with style early in the morning. The pressure was on, but with Neil’s perfect beta, I was able to flash it. Later on in the day, I got some beta from Neil and sent Dracula ‘04, one of the best 13b’s I’ve ever been on! Happy Turkey-day!
Day 3, Friday
Hellraiser 5.12b/c – onsight
The temps dropped from a high of 70 yesterday to a high of 37 today… wtf? I figured I’d save this day for trying Lucifer, but disappointed myself with another poor performance and feeling exhausted after just a couple of days of climbing. This day was more about Neil’s epic tries on Dracula ‘04. As Neil got to the rest before the final boulder problem to the anchors, he looked down at me, gave out a scream, and said with no emotion “I just got the biggest flapper on my pinky… I bit the skin off… and spit it out”. There was a long pause and I didn’t know what to say, but I finally managed to say “Just put some chalk on it”. Needless to say, he did just that and ended up peeling off the last move as he slipped on his own blood… The route lives up to its name.
Meanwhile, Matt McCormick was having a mental issue of whether to clip a draw or skip it and go straight to the top on Paradise Lost. This seemingly simple call turned into a total mind game with an unfortunate “no send” for Matty.
Matt McCormick on Paradise Lost. Photos by Vasya Vorotnikov.
Day 4, Saturday
Transworld Depravity 5.14a – 2nd try
The last day of my Thanksgiving trip was fruitful with an unexpected 2nd go send of Transworld Depravity, one of the best climbs I’ve tried and done here at Red River Gorge. With the temps still down below 40F and this being my 4th day on of pulling hard, I don’t know what got me up there. While we could have stayed here an extra day, I didn’t have anything left in me. Always wishing I had more time…