Red River Gorge Update

posted by dpm on 04/09/2012


I’ve been snooping around Miguel’s campground at the Red River Gorge gathering Intel in the mornings before heading out to climb in perfect conditions. Despite my unconditional love for the New River Gorge, the sticky rock and blue skies have me questioning my faith. Is the Red really as good as the New? The answer to that question will have to wait a few more months for the annual basketball tournament for the title of ‘Best Crag in America.’ Last year’s matchup between the New River Sock Monkeys and the Red Rockets finished with the Sock Monkey’s winning in the final moments by a single point. I’ve been watching the Red Rockets practice for the big game and they are looking good, especially Dario Ventura with his trademark layup. It’s going to be a close game this year. Will the Red take the title?

Occasionally practicing with the Red Rockets in the gravel half-court behind Miguel’s pizza is visiting French climber Enzo Oddo. Enzo’s got game and he sentThe Golden Ticket (5.14d) which is pretty cool also. During his stay here, Enzo ticked off both Red River 5.14d’s (the other being Pure Imagination) to become the only other person beside local Adam Taylor to have climbed both hard routes on the steep wall of the Chocolate Factory. In a few more days the French contingent will be heading north to Rumney.

Cameron Hörst after the big send. Photo: Eric Hörst

By the time a climber is 17 like Enzo or Dylan Barks (who sent Transworld Depravity (5.14a) just days before his second place win at SCS Nationals) it’s not surprising to see big number sends. If you’re looking for further proof that the youth are taking over the crags check out the Hörst family ticklist. Dad Eric, who writes an excellent training column for DPM’s print issue, is visiting the gorge with his wife Lisa Ann and their two sons. Eleven-year-old Cameron just sent his first 5.13d with Ultraperm at the Bob Marley crag. Younger brother Jon finished up his first 5.13a with Skin Boat at the Motherlode. This comes just a week after Brooke Raboutou’s remarkable send of the 5.14a God’s Own Stone at the age of 10.

Jon Hörst on Skin Boat (5.13a). Photo: Eric Hörst

The old people are just struggling to keep up. Eric Hörst managed to eek out an ascent of Skin Boat after his 9-year-old sent it. Jimmy Webb’s been hustling on the weekends to put down Supercharger (5.13d) and God’s Own Stone (5.14a). I almost wet my pants on a 5.12c called Super Slab, Tyler Wilcutt popped a finger pulley, and visiting Colorado climber Alicia Levy onsighted her first 5.11a. Yeah, us old folks may be weak but we’re doing our best. Maybe we should start a geriatric news column for the 20 and over crowd?    

29-year-old Alicia Levy 'trains' by acting like a kid in the hope that she'll eventually climb like one.