My own private tour of the best crags in “The Red”

Off to a new crag again. Monique was definitely giving me the guided tour of the best crags in the gorge and we were at Drive-by crag for the day. In very capable hands I jump on the 5.10a crag classic Breakfast Burrito and get the on-sight as the warm up. Next is a relatively new line called Brave New World, to the right of the burrito. It goes 5.10b and as I investigate it appears to be a very “Old Skool” line and I am excited about this as its not really my style. I jump on and within the first ten moves am sitting on the rope thinking “what just happened and where do I go?”

The Author on the "Old Skool" Brave New World at Drive-by Crag.
The Author on the “Old Skool” Brave New World at Drive-by Crag.

After looking around a bit more I jump back on and send the route…….its a fine addition to the wall according to the locals and I tend to agree; really stylised climbing on great rock. Next is Whip Stocking 5.11a at Monique’s recommendation and I look up at this beautiful slightly overhanging 22 metre face and it looks bloody sensational….now I am excited and intimidated all at once, this is what I like. The climbing was steep, pumpy goodness on vertical plates and Hueco style pockets and buckets. I did not expect to on-sight this route and I was ecstatic, this was a great way to build my confidence and get my motivation back…….I think Monique knew I was excited on the trip home in the car. The last route of the day was Naked Lunch 5.12a (24), this was a glorious route and as I got to the crux my hands just opened up and there I was sliding off, what fresh would have been bomber…..not so today.

So we had planned to have two rest days to recover from the initial onslaught of crags and routes that we had hit in the first four days of our journey and this was indeed the super smart thing to do. Monique and I seemed pretty happy to go up to Lexington and hit up Whole Food Markets for some rations and have a look around a little bit……but not too much.

We seemed keen to get to the Rockhouse and just hangout, as there was work and emails to be taken care of. The people working there have realised we are going to be regulars by this stage and when we walk in they are so incredibly welcoming and really interested it seems in how our day was and whether or not we are enjoying our time. There is only so much coffee you can drink and so much food you can eat sitting in one place for hours, but the staff just seem happy that we are there and are great fun to talk to and interact with.

The Rockhouse Crew..........that is all!
The Rockhouse Crew……….that is all!

Lila is a fresh-faced natural beauty, blue-eyed blonde southern gal and with a drawl that just makes your heart soar, she is the first person I meet going through the door on our first night there and her first words are “Hello Darrrrlin!”. She is Kentucky born and raised, hails from Georgetown and she is in the gorge climbing and working. Initially living out of her truck with her dog Boomer like a good dirtbag climber does.

Lila living the awesome dirtbag life..........she now lives in a house.......Wow!
Lila living the awesome dirtbag life……….she now lives in a house…….Wow!

Monique and I are loving the food they serve and I begin devouring two burgers a night and a plate of fries; however my dislike of pickles on burgers is welcomed by Monique as she quickly absorbs them. The amount of climbing we are doing makes my appetite rage into the night.

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