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The Dark Side is a steep, pocketed wall of dark gray sandstone, similar in character to the Motherlode. Boasting the second largest concentration of 5.13 sport routes at the Red, the Dark Side is a great place to find a good project. Additionally, the crag features a number of excellent 5.12s of every grade. The options are limited in the 5.11 & below range, but there are a handful of moderates if warming up on 12a is not your thing.
From KY 11, take Fixer Rd, then take the first left. Follow this windy, paved road for a while, and continue as the road turns to dirt, passing a few houses. These roads are passable when wet. After ~1 mile of dirt, turn right onto another dirt road opposite an oil tank. Stay left, then park at an obvious RRGCC kiosk. Behind the kiosk, locate a trail that crosses the creek. Follow the trail for ~10 minutes, passing signed turn-offs to the Gold Coast & Solar Collector. Switch-back up the steep hill to the cliff, and head right when you first reach the rock. The first route encountered is "Grippy Green", 12a, which begins up a 20-foot-tall, 6"-deep, left-leaning dihedral.
21 Total Routes
Browse More Classics in The Dark Side
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Dark Side:
Mama Benson 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a Sport, 50'
American Dream 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b Sport, 90'
Shanghai 5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b Sport, 90'
Tusken Raider 5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b Sport, 60 pitches
The Force 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ E6 6c Sport, 1 pitch, 75'
Featured Route For The Dark Side
Swing Line 5.13d 8b 31 X E8 7a KY : Red River Gorge : ... : The Dark Side
The ultimate "power endurance" route, that would make a perfect 4x4: V4, V3, V5, V7 (or something like that...) Currently the hardest route at the Darkside, this testpiece pushes a line up the tallest part of the cave with sustained bouldering that increases in difficulty up to a poor shake before the final crux boulder problem. An ascent demands a mix of bouldering power on the small pockets, technical finesse on the poor footholds and stamina to link it all together with few rests, all on p...[more] Browse More Classics in KY
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