Teen Climbing Skills Camp Red River Gorge, KY

Guide Bethany Kondiles climbing at Red River Gorge
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From: Wilmette, IL
Price:$ 2,395
Duration: 14 Days, 13 Nights
June 17 - 30, 2019

Or book a Custom Trip

14 Days, 13 Nights
Skill Rating:
Van Supported:
Wilmette, IL
$ 2,395
Minimum Age 13
Included: Guides, transportation, support vehicle, lodging, all meals, most climbing equipment, instruction and permits
Not Included: Transportation to The Northwest Passage Office in Wilmette, IL, personal clothing and accessories, full medical and trip cancellation insurance, and gratuities.

If your son or daughter wants some adventure in their summer, the TASK Rock Climbing Trip to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge is for them. A favorite amongst professional climbers, “The Red” a beautiful crag in the hills of Kentucky, offers some of the best sport climbing in the country. Come with little or no climbing knowledge, and leave an up-and-coming climbing expert!


This is it, the climbing camp to end all climbing camps! On all of our youth and teen rock climbing trips we always a have a couple participants that just never want to stop climbing. We designed this guided rock climbing camp for them.
The camp begins with a road trip down to The Red River Gorge (or simply, “The Red”) in Kentucky. The Red is a favorite amongst the country’s very best climbers, and the endless fun, challenging routes to explore is the reason why. After setting up camp and orienting to the area, participants jump right into learning the basics of rock climbing and camping. As the week progresses Northwest Passage guides challenge participants with advanced climbing techniques as well as protecting routes, the process of working with the rope and anchors that make climbing safe. The goal is not only for the participants to have fun while they improve their climbing, but also to educate them to the point where they could safely take a climbing trip on their own.
Our Northwest Passage rock climbing guides are upbeat, passionate, highly qualified and totally safety oriented. 

Day 1: The trip officially begins in the morning at The Northwest Passage office in Wilmette, IL.  There you will meet your guides for the next two weeks, and pack up gear.  There will be an orientation session, where we will begin to get to know one another, review the itinerary for the upcoming weeks, and answer any last-minute questions that you and your parents/guardians may have.  At this time we will also do an equipment check, and everyone will be assigned a climbing harness and helmet to keep for the duration of the trip.  We will climb into the vans, and drive the 8 or so hours down to the Red River Gorge, in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky.  We will set up camp, start a fire, eat dinner, and get ready for the next day’s climbing!

Day 2:  After breakfast, we will pack out gear and answer any questions regarding the day’s activities.  The morning will be spent learning introductory climbing skills and safety considerations, starting with basic equipment, rope skills, climbing commands, and belay technique.  We will then set up climbing routes, and use our new skills to tackle some of the famous Red River Gorge sandstone!  We will head back to camp before dark, to allow plenty of time for dinner.

Day 3 & 4:  Fresh off our introduction to “the Red,” we will continue to advance our rock climbing.  We will split into smaller groups, and you will have the opportunity to climb, belay, and hone your skills!

Day 5:  Today will be a rest day, as we will have climbed hard for several days!  There are many options for a free day in the Red River Gorge.  Alternate activities can include hiking in the Natural Bridge State Park, canoeing, kayaking, or just hanging around camp.

Day 6-8:  The concentration on these days will be learning and practicing sport leading and anchor building.  Daily itinerary will be similar to that outlined above, with a focus on smaller group lessons.

Day 9:  Rest day.

Day 10 & 11:  Mastery of leading technique and secure anchors will allow us to begin learning to place traditional climbing gear on these days. 

Day 12: Rest day.

Day 13 & 14: On these days, your guides will give you the opportunity to utilize your new skills to plan your own climbing.  Guides will be there to facilitate and help you choose your desired climbing destinations in the gorge and which climbs you will undertake, using only guide books and your new knowledge. 

Day 15: This morning we will break camp and begin the journey home.  We estimate to arrive back at The Northwest Passage office in late afternoon or early evening.

*This itinerary is subject to change.

Clothing & Equipment:

Rock Climbing Gear List

  • Day Pack
  • Harness (optional*)
  • Climbing Shoes (optional*)
  • Shorts/Pants that will accommodate comfortable climbing
  • Rain Gear
  • Warm Layer (no cotton, fleece or synthetic)
  • Tennis shoes (No sandals!)
  • Sun screen
  • Water Bottle (filled with water!)
  • Camera and Film
    *Having your own climbing gear is optional. Harnesses will be provided.

Clothing Checklist

  • 4-5 t-shirts (non-cotton preferable for quick drying)
  • 2 shirt, long sleeved, synthetic preferred. Cotton when wet stays wet and makes you colder
  • 1 towel
  • 3-4 pairs of shorts (loose fitting for comfort under the harness, non-cotton)
  • 1 pair loose fitting long pants - no blue jeans
  • Sun/rain hat
  • 1 pr. synthetic long underwear (medium weight); especially for early summer and fall trips
  • 2 pairs shoes/sandals - lightweight sneakers work fine.
  • Hiking boots are another option. Tevas or other sport sandals are handy for camp.
  • 2 pair socks
  • Bathing suit
  • Underwear
  • 1 light or mid-weight fleece jacket
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants)
  • Bandana (optional)
  • Clean change of clothing for the trip home (optional)


  • Toiletry kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, personal medication etc.)
  • Bug repellent Sleeping bag (compact, 3-season) and pad
  • Flashlight, batteries & extra bulb- headlamps are preferred
  • Large plastic cup with handle (commuter mug)
  • Pocket knife Water bottle Sunglasses Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
  • Energy bars/reserve food

Optional Equipment

  • Rock climbing shoes (recommended) and chalk bag
  • Camera, film, waterproof container
  • Book(s)
  • Entertainment (harmonica, cards, games)
  • Ziploc storage bags
  • Crazy Creek chair or small lawn chair

Recommended Reading:

Rock Climbing
If you are interested in climbing, you may enjoy these books!

  • Learning to Rock Climb by Michael Loughman
    (Sierra Club Books; San Francisco 1981)
  • Ropes, Knots and Slings for Climbers by Walt Wheelock
    (La Siesta Press; California 1988)
  • Basic Rockcraft by Royal Robbins
    (La Siesta Press; California 1985)
  • Advanced Rockcraft by Royal Robbins
    (La Siesta Press; California 1985)
  •  Wilderness Medicine by Wm. Forgey, M.D.
    (Indiana Camp Supply Books; Indiana 1987)
  • Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills by The Mountaineers
    (The Mountaineers, Seattle WA)
  • How to Rock Climb by John Long