Assorted notes from the Red River Gorge

  • Red River Gorgeous Cane Creek cabin kitchenThe Cabin – We stayed in the Red River Gorgeous Cane Creek Cabin. It worked out well. Three bedrooms, shower, toilet, comfortable seating. It had an appropriately rustic character: exposed-wood construction, in the woods, accessed by low traffic roads. We cooked dinner almost every night and burned fires in the wood-burning stove for heat (augmented by a gas heater). The only real downside was that it was a bit far from the climbing areas. Roughly 30 minute drive to most areas.
  • Belayer Using Étriers – If a climber falls on an overhanging route it is sometimes difficult to get back on the rock. Depending on how much the rope stretched and how far the climber was past his last quickdraw, he might be suspended in air and not able to reach the rock. When this happens the climber can use a technique called “boinking”: The climber grabs his rope and does a pull-up, creating a small amount of slack at his end of the rope. The climber then lets go and the belayer pulls in as much slack as possible before the climber falls. It’s a slow and tiring process. Often the belayer will jump off the ground and lock off, so that the belayer is suspended in air with his weight pulling down on the rope. At The Motherlode I saw something I’ve never seen before. A climber took a long fall, so his belayer attached étriers to his end of the rope and ascended maybe 10 feet. The climber was free to boink as needed and the belayer could relax.
  • Inadvertent Quickdraw Unclip – This was scary. A climber was pulling a hard move above his 2nd quickdraw. His foot dragged along the rock past the draw and somehow it unclipped from the hanger and slid down the rope to the lower draw. Not a situation you want to be in. It’s rare… but I guess that’s an argument against snagless gates.
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