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Rock Climb Foxfire at the Red River Gorge

Wellington, Kentucky


Added by Katie Johnstone

Climb one of the highest multi-pitch routes and one of the best old school trad routes at the Red!

Directions to Eagle Point Buttress from the Shell gas Station.
Head west on KY-15 for 1.6 miles then turn left onto KY 77. Stay on KY-77 for 5.1 miles. While you are on this road you will go through a oneway tunnel so be careful of cars coming out from the other side. Once you cross a bridge over the river you will go about half a mile until the road forks. Stay straight onto KY 715. You will be on this road for 7.1 miles until you reach a one-lane concrete bridge. Park on the left, just before this bridge. If the parking lot is full, you can park along the street.

Hiking to FoxFire
The hike to Foxfire is about 30 minutes. It is a beautiful hike in!

From the parking lot hike down to the river and follow the trail. You will pass a couple of limestone caves and eventually traverse across a large piece of limestone. Continue on the trail until you cross a muddy tributary and come to a large, flat campsite (note: you will have passed through one campsite before reaching this one). Here, veer left and away from the main trail to follow an old logging road that heads uphill toward the cliff. When the trail splits, take the left and start hiking through all the rhododendrons. You will then come to a crack located in front of a tree. This is the beginning of the first pitch.

The Climb
Foxfire offers some really great old school trad climbing! It is 4 pitches and is rated as a 5.7 R (run out). Most pitches only take 1-2 pieces of gear. 

Pitch #1
This first pitch is mostly scooting your butt up a tree until you can start climbing the crack. Once you are off the tree the climbing is easy, and a little sandy. The first pitch ends at a large ledge and there you can build an anchor system to belay your partner(s). Once all your climbers are up head to the far right to start the second pitch.

Pitch #2
This is a super fun pitch to climb, lots of jugs! Start at the far right edge of the ledge to start your climb. Once you are about 20ft you can find an area to the left to place gear. Almost positive we placed a Metolius #2 here. From there try to stay to the left as that is the only way to get up to the next ledge. Once you are on the ledge you can set up your anchor system to bring up your climber(s). Then comes the intimidating part.. the traverse to the third pitch.

Pitch #3
To get to this pitch you will need to traverse to the right (when you are sitting on the ledge looking at the trees the traverse would be to your right). You have to crawl on your hands and knees until you round the corner of the traverse and then there is a lot of room to move around. The person leading the climb will want to make the traverse and then set up an anchor system on the tree.

The third pitch is a very fun climb. It has a little bit of a difficult start and a bulge at the top. We placed a few pieces of gear (mostly small cams and one passive pro). Once you are at the top of this pitch you will want to set up an anchor system. The rock takes gear pretty well to do so. The view from here is stunning!

Pitch #4
The last pitch is very short and dirty.  If you are looking out toward the trees you will want start edging your way to the right. Climb up the dirty crack and take in the beautiful view once you top out!

Few notes:

  • Wear a helmet. There are typically tourists where you top out and you don't want to take a kicked rock to the head.
  • This route gets a lot of sun so it is smart to take water with you.
  • Once you have reached the top you will want to take the trail to the right, which will lead you back to any gear you left at the start. It is smart to bring a pair of comfortable shoes with you on this climb for the hike back. On the way down you will pass a beautiful waterfall! 
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