As we settle into spring, we must also settle into our spring sends routine. Okay, so some of us are busy or whatever, but as I mentioned in my review of South Park, you can’t miss Red River Gorge (aka The Red). Today we’ll talk about the perfect crag at The Red to get you back on track.
At Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP), there is a nice little (well, it’s actually pretty large) nook away from the chaos that usually is a problem at other spots in PMRP. This nook is called Drive-By Crag. You have to drive all of the way down Motherlode Hill to get here…sorry little cars. If you’ve never been to PMRP, Motherlode Hill is a long, steep, gravel, uneven, pitted, scary hill. I’ve seen little Honda Civics at the bottom of it, but I can almost guarantee they did not make it down or back up unscathed. There is a lot at the top, but you’d have to walk about a mile to parking at the bottom. However, your standard SUV should be fine, and of course your classic Subarus and Jeeps don’t break a sweat.
The path to Drive-By can be confusing since there are few other paths that look the exact same, but if you look closely at the guidebook you can tell which path is which. Unlike many approaches at The Red, the hike to the wall isn’t too long, and you’ll know you’re at the crag when you get there.
Once you get there, you’ll feel like you’re finally home. Drive-By is essentially a long, tall wall with all kinds of neat features, and it has a very open feel; at any part of the wall, you can see the rest of the crag. Everyone is super nice and friendly (I think this is because the routes are so fun), and the climbers there lend endless advice, stick clips, and support. One of the really nice things about Drive-By is that both the warm-ups and harder climbs are well-known and unique.
Of course, since this is The Red, there are some kind of scary routes, but, honestly, these definitely feel significantly less scary than routes of the same grade at other crags at The Red. Perhaps the beauty and light hum of other climbers help lower the stress, but I imagine the solid pro, well-textured rock, height, and verticality also play a part in that.
Nevertheless, if you want a nice reminder of why you love climbing, Drive-By Crag is the way to go. It’s a happy place to be with happy climbers, happy rocks, and happy sends.