Board of Directors
I grew up in northeastern Ohio and for the first twenty years of my life thought that “climbing” was synonymous with “mountain climbing.” It wasn’t until a “Try Climb” night at Miami University (Ohio) that I’d ever roped up. Since that night more than six years ago, I’ve been absolutely hooked. After graduating with a biology and environmental science degree and then driving erratically across the country, I briefly moved back to Youngstown to work at an engineering firm to do environmental site assessments. I still made it down to the RRG every weekend but when the people at Valvoline started recognizing me and telling me I drive too much, I realized it was time for a move. So in May 2005, I packed up and headed south to the promised land of Lexington, Kentucky. Thanks to friends in the area, the unemployed phase of my time here lasted for only the first three months. Despite myself, I’ve worked at the same firm doing GIS (geographic information systems) work since August 2005.
I’ve been fortunate with climbing. I survived the first several years of climbing truly despite myself: I learned to lead in the gym and thought it would translate seamlessly to the outdoors. The truth was much more terrifying when, on my road-trip in 2004, I found myself in a squeeze chimney, thirty feet above a sharp ledge where my last piece was placed, feet skating through the crux of Epinephrine. I survived but wiser for the wear. I then went on to climb briefly throughout the west, eventually returning to the east for family, friends, and work. Since moving back, I’ve stuck mostly to the RRG and southern bouldering, occasionally heading west to meet up with friends on their trips in Indian Creek and Squamish.
I spend most every weekend climbing. During the weeks, I try to balance playing soccer three nights a week, getting into my friends’ climbing gym when I can, working overtime, volunteering for the RRGCC, KAMP, GISCorps, and theAccess Fund, teaching myself programming languages, and reading whatever I bought this week.. Usually, I fail at that balancing act
Bentley Brackett resides in Knoxville TN and works on bringing the climbing community together one climber at a time as the advertising manager at Dead Point Magazine and handles inside sales for Joshua Tree Products. His wife Jessica is a physical therapist and there dog Bella can generally be found licking small children at the crag. Bentley can be found at the Red just about any weekend during the fall, winter and spring but spends summers at the lake “resting” from the climbing season.
Having been involved in the outdoor industry for many years, Bentley brings an essential marketing element to the RRGCC. In addition to his work with Rocktoberfest, he has put hours of work in maintaining anchors, bolts and draws at both the Red River Gorge and the Obed in TN.
Bentley looks forward to the final payment of the PMRP and the next property acquisition the RRGCC will make.
I am from Florence, KY and has been climbing for the past 11 years. After enjoying the fruits of other members work; I am now volunteering to do my part for the climbing community. I love the outdoors and as such I am an avid backpacker and like to road bike. Along with my sister, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009. When not working or climbing or hiking, I love to travel all around the world. My recent trips were to Iceland and Peru. Having fun requires that I work, and I work for Duke Energy as their Portfolio Risk Director. Of course to have such a fun job meant I had to earn my right to be where I am. I did so by getting an education in Economics, Finance and Accounting. I look forward to using these skills within the RRGCC as their new treasurer.
Josephine discovered climbing in March of 2006. In May of that same year, she took her first trip to Red River Gorge and, as luck would have it, the RRGCC was holding their Red River Reunion that very weekend. After a great day of climbing, and enjoying a fantastic party compliments of the RRGCC & Miguel’s, Josephine was hooked! Over the next year, she visited ten different states and one Canadian Provence to climb. While the traditional climbing in North Carolina was exciting, and the southern bouldering was also fun, nothing quite compared to the fun of single-pitch sport climbing. In her second year of climbing, Josephine put over 25,000 miles on her car driving down from Dayton, Ohio to the Red River Gorge each weekend. She decided that it was time to move – closer to Red River Gorge. While great climbing can be found in many places over the country, Red River Gorge offers a unique and closely-knit climbing community. It was her desire to become part of this community that led her to work as a staff member for the RRGCC. After serving as staff for three years, Josephine is excited to join the Board of Directors.
Rick Bost is from Knoxville, Tennessee and has been climbing at the Red River Gorge since 1999. Working in a manufacturing plant during the week, he makes time to travel to climb most weekends. He can be found at the Red most weekend during the spring and fall and farther south bouldering during the winter. He also climbs at home crags of the Obed Wild and Scenic River as much as possible.
He has been active in climbing preservation for several years. While working with the East Tennessee Climbers Coaliation, the ETCC has made significant improvements in the climber/landowner relationships. The ETCC has reduced climber impact by trail definition and replaced many anchors. In 2006, the ETCC purchased one of the trails to a climbing area. This purchase helps maintain access to one of the most frequented climbing areas at the Obed.
Rick is excited to work with the RRGCC, continuing the ongoing activities to preserve and improve the climbing areas in and around the Red River Gorge. He brings plenty of energy to the Board and, as he works with and coordinates with other climbing organizations, he’s helping to bring new outlooks and perspectives to the RRGCC.
Mike Driskell was born in Louisville on a farm, and started climbing in 1994 through the Boy Scouts of America. He started teaching climbing and high ropes courses in 1996, and worked for the BSA until 2001. Through the years, he took several trips out west to climb and go backpacking in the Rockies, before moving to the Red from 2002 to 2004.
He met his wife when he moved back to Louisville to be a “house window washer” for the Kentucky Center for the Arts. When he got laid off in 2007, he started Driskell Home Repair and has been self employed since.
As a way to embrace his suck, he became involved with the RRGCC about 4 years ago, to give back to the community and put his stamp on history. He has since become heavily involved in trail building and repair, organizing and leading at least a couple of trail days each year. Recently, he took on the position of Treasurer.
She’s the strong, silent-type so we don’t have much on her. We’ll get some details from her soon, though.
Dave is good at everything. More details soon.
Yasmeen started climbing in Cincinnati’s gyms in 2000, and decided on a college 50% because of its computer science program and 50% because of its climbing wall – figuring it would lead to ample opportunities to climb at the Red. After a trip to the Red in the fall of 2001, she knew this was where she wanted to spend most of her weekends.
After becoming more involved with the RRGCC through helping with the website and trail days, she finally made the leap to BOD member in 2012. She’s honored to be working with the dedicated and talented people who are part of the Red River Gorge climbing community.
Bill’s first rock climbing experience was at Carlton Peak on the shore of Lake Superior in the summer of 1971 when he attended the Voyager Outward Bound School based in Ely, Minnesota. With a background in AAU competitive gymnastics, he enjoyed the athletic challenge of climbing and quickly developed a passion for the sport. In the summer of 1974, Bill attended the National Outdoor Leadership School, earning a Mountain Guide Certificate and participating in the first ascent of the West Face of Mt. Koven (5.7, A1, Grade III) in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. Twenty years later, Bill returned to the Winds with his long time climbing partner Dave Christenson of Rocky Mountain Rescue and completed the first free ascent of the route.
From 1973 to 1981, Bill studied civil and environmental engineering at the University of Cincinnati where he was an active member of the UC Mountaineering Club. Also from 1975 to 1977 he had a coop job in Richmond, Virginia and regularly climbed at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia where he developed his lead climbing skills. During the 70s, Red River Gorge was a popular UCMC destination for camping and backpacking, but was not considered to be a significant climbing area. However, while on a camping trip to the Gorge, Bill found that a wall next to Indian Staircase was a good place to set up tope ropes. Discovering a crack adjacent to Staircase Wall, Bill brought his lead climbing rack one weekend in 1978 and established “Here Comes Batman” (5.11c) now acknowledged to be the first 5.11 in Red River Gorge.
As Executive Director of the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition, Bill Strachan brings almost two decades of non-profit experience to the organization. After graduating from college, Bill became involved with the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association and served as an At-Large Representative of the organization’s Board of Trustees from 1986 to 1988. From 1990 to 1993, he served progressively as the Treasurer, Vice- President, and then President of the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America. Also from 1991 to 1993 Bill served on the Board of Directors of the Engineers & Scientists of Cincinnati. After retiring from career related non-profit service, Bill was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Climbers Association in 1994 and served as the OCA President from 1997 to 2004.
In 2004, Bill was asked to join the RRGCC Board of Directors and was elected to the position of President. He had previously been involved with the RRGCC as a member of the RRGCC Climbing Advisory Council. In 2005, when Dr. Bob Matheny was elected as President of the RRGCC, Bill took the position of Executive Director. Bill has a strong commitment to maintaining rock climbing access on both public and private lands in the Red River Gorge Area. He became involved with Daniel Boone National Forest planning efforts when he was President of the OCA and is an active participant in the DBNF’s current Limits of Acceptable Change process for Red River Gorge. Bill is a champion of the RRGCC’s Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve acquisition and lends high skills in land use planning and environmental matters to the project.
Bill is married to Laura who is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School. Bill and Laura have two children, Suzy and Will, who have both been climbing since they were four years old.