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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'
Tusken Raider 5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b Sport, 60 pitches
Shanghai 5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b Sport, 90'
The Force 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ E6 6c Sport, 1 pitch, 75'
Elephant Man 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ E7 6c Sport, 1 pitch, 75'
Featured Route For The Dark Side
Grippy Green 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a KY : Red River Gorge : ... : The Dark Side
This is the "slabby" route that everybody looks at on their way to the steep routes at the Dark Side. However, few people stop to sample the intricate moves, interesting holds, and easy but spicy finish.Follow a pretty, left arching flake past two bolts to a shake below the first crux. Small seams, and crimps gain a rail which leads right and up to a hueco with good holds in the back. Easy edges and amazing chicken heads peter-out to small iron rock protrusions just below a horizontal break. ...[more] Browse More Classics in KY
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