Community News

State of the Roads and Bridges Address

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Spring’s rain hasn’t been kind to our roads and bridges! Please see the points below for a summary of what’s going on:

  • Bald Rock Road is passable in most all locations by passenger vehicles
  • Access to Flat Holler parking lot is not available at this time – please park elsewhere.
  • Flat Holler parking lot should be accessible by this next weekend provided weather cooperates. Next week at the latest if it does not.
  • Hell Creek Road is in disrepair, and traveling beyond the intersection of Shumaker Ridge Road and Hell Creek by vehicle is NOT advised until further notice – road repairs are contingent on weather.
  • We ask that you DO NOT travel back to Sore Heel in anything less than a 4×4 vehicle and DO NOT park along Sore Heel road during this time.
  • Parking in front of oil wells, next to oil well access roads, in the road, or anywhere where you might close the travel corridor more than 12’ is strictly prohibited. The oil company MUST have access to repair roads and maintain their equipment. Violators WILL BE TOWED.
  • Please use good judgment when parking during this time – do not impede local or company traffic in any way.
  • If you cannot find a place to park responsibly, please consider a different crag until we can repair this Spring’s damage.
  • All climbing is OPEN and always will be!

We do the best we can to balance mortgage payments and land maintenance with a limited budget, and all of these repairs are going to cost far more money than we had allocated to land maintenance in 2015. Please help us get our roads and bridges back to the condition they were in prior to the floods, and until we do, be ready for some creek crossings when visiting Miller Fork!

MFRP Bridge

MFRP Bridge, 4/4/2015, photo by Marty Vogel

Miguel’s Climb Shop – Online Edition!

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Congratulations to Miguel’s Pizza on their unveiling of the online version of Miguel’s Climb Shop:!

As if instant access to the Miguel’s Climb Shop inventory isn’t exciting enough, the Venturas have extended an extremely generous offer to the RRGCC – in effect as long as it is the year 2014: 5% of every online purchase you make from the Miguel’s Climb Shop will be donated to the RRGCC!

Now, even when it’s too cold/rainy/snowy/condensed/hot/humid/buggy to drive to the Red and drop by Miguel’s Climb Shop to do this:

IRL Shopping (photo: Elodie Saracco PhotoGraphic)

IRL Shopping (photo: Elodie Saracco PhotoGraphic)

, you can still buy all the guidebooks (RRG North, RRG South), gear, and clothing you want from Miguel’s Climb Shop online, like this:

Online Shopping

Online Shopping


We can’t thank the Ventura family enough for their decades of constant support of the Red River Gorge climbing community. You guys are amazing. :)

Photo credit: Elodie Saracco PhotoGraphic [SmugMug] [Facebook]

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Huge Progress Made at the MFRP

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

CONTACT: Bill Strachan, Executive Director
Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition

Rock Climbers and Lee County, Ky Cut Ribbon on Miller Fork Recreational Preserve

ZOE, Kentucky (September 30, 2014) – In a ribbon cutting ceremony, the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) and the Beattyville/Lee County Tourism Commission celebrated the completion of preparations to provide access to the 309-acre Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. The RRGCC purchased this 2 1/4 mile-long canyon in June 2013 and immediately opened it for rock climbing development. Over the last year, the RRGCC has worked with the local Lee County community and the Access Fund, a national climbing advocacy organization, to build a parking lot and trail system improvements at the Preserve.  The RRGCC worked with local companies including American Natural Gas who donated the labor to build a gravel parking area.  Lee County supplied a trailhead kiosk and enlisted AT&T to provide telephone poles used by climbers to build bridges over Miller Fork. The Access Fund mobilized their Conservation Team to provide assistance to install the first bridge and build a primary trail along the valley floor. Volunteers from the climbing community and Eastern Kentucky University outdoor recreation programs then built extensions off of the primary access trail that lead up to the Miller Fork cliffs.

The completion of these preparations and the purchase of this forested canyon by the RRGCC are the result of a successful collaboration between climbers, the local Lee County community, and the outdoor industry.  The Miller Fork Recreational Preserve purchase was made possible through a low interest loan provided to the RRGCC by the Access Fund.  The Beattyville/Lee County Tourism Commission and the Beattyville-Lee County Chamber of Commerce have worked to support climbing on the RRGCC’s existing Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) and the new Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP) by building informational kiosks and facilitating cooperation between the RRGCC and local businesses. The kiosks, in addition to providing climbers with information about the RRGCC and MFRP, will highlight information about local businesses and activities. The kiosks will also give local emergency responders a map and instructions on how to get to popular climbing areas. An engraved lock has been placed on a sandstone boulder facing the kiosk, symbolizing the relationship between Lee County and the RRGCC. The outdoor industry is providing financial support to the MFRP purchase through a $35,000 Conservation Alliance grant to the RRGCC.  The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations.

Between the MFRP and the PMRP climbers are preserving over 1,000 acres of land dedicated to human-powered outdoor recreation.  Beyond providing climbing access, these two climber owned properties along with the 2,500 acre Ashland Wildlife Management Area provide a corridor of wildlands connecting the Red River Gorge Geologic Area with the Daniel Boone National Forest lands to the south.

The RRGCC is currently striving to raise $35,000 in funds to match the Conservation Alliance grant. So far over $7,000 dollars have been raised toward that goal.  On October 10, 11, and 12, 2014, the RRGCC’s Rocktoberfest event will be held in Slade, Ky to raise the additional matching money. Outdoor companies involved in Rocktoberfest include Outdoor Research, Petzl, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, BlueWater Ropes and over 35 other outdoor related companies who will be displaying their products.

Paul Vidal – 2013 Sharp End Award Recipient

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

2013 was a great year for the RRGCC. The highlight certainly being the RRGCC making a huge step in its ongoing effort to secure and protect open, public access to rock climbing in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky and promoting conservation of the environment of the lands on which we climb.

That huge step was made possible by our very own Paul Vidal, who has been recognized on a national level by an Access Fund Sharp End Award for his achievements and contributions to the best climbing area and community on the globe, the Red River Gorge.

Thanks for having the vision to make the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve a reality, Paul!

–Bentley Brackett
Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition


Sharp End Award – Paul Vidal
Access Fund is thrilled to award Paul Vidal, past President of Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC), with a Sharp End Award for his leadership in protecting Red River Gorge climbing. Paul is a longtime volunteer and board member with RRGCC, diligently working to preserve climbing on public and private lands in the Red. He’s spent countless hours helping to organize trail days, put on RRGCC’s annual Rocktoberfest, meet with land managers, and build positive relationships with the local residents and businesses. In 2012, the same year that RRGCC successfully paid off their more than 750-acre Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve, Paul spearheaded the Miller Fork acquisition, working with local landowners and Access Fund to negotiate RRGCC’s successful purchase of the new Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. The Preserve encompasses 309 acres and protects climbing access to miles of sandstone cliff line. Thank you, Paul!

Avoid Sore Heel Parking Lot Today

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Please do not drive up to the Sore Heel parking lot today. American Natural Gas will be doing some road work near the tanks and the work will make the road impassable.

To help let them do their jobs and avoid climbers having trouble, we’re asking that people park at either Drive By or near the Motherload parking lot.

This work should be done by the weekend but we will keep you posted if that time frame changes. As always, please respect the workers there and try to do whatever they might ask of you regarding avoiding areas or parking. And say thanks for the help they’ve provided recently, especially for the Coal Bank road.

Thanks all! And please share to help us get the word out.

Introducing… Miller Fork Recreational Preserve!

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) and Access Fund are thrilled to announce the acquisition of 309 acres in Beattyville, Kentucky. Named the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, the land includes several miles of cliff line, some of which has been developed but with the vast majority of it awaiting discovery and development. There is potential for more than a dozen individual crags and hundreds of high-quality routes.

The Miller Fork Recreational Preserve is located just seven miles from the popular Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) climbing destination in Lee County, Kentucky. The Miller Fork acquisition creates a brand new destination for climbers in the region, helping to relieve the access pressures and climber impacts on other crags in the Red River Gorge.

Previous owner and Lee County resident, Libby Roach saw the RRGCC’s involvement in community meetings, as well as climbing’s positive economic impacts on the local community. In early 2013, she approached the RRGCC with this land in the hopes of helping both the local community and the climbing community. “I care very much for Beattyville and Lee County. It is my hope that our decision to sell this beautiful land will only bring positive things to all.”

After being presented with the opportunity, RRGCC contacted the Access Fund for help. The two organizations worked together to finalize the purchase, with the Access Fund providing both a $10,000 grant and a $200,000 loan from the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, the revolving loan program that provides local climbing organizations with the funds and expertise needed to quickly save threatened climbing areas. The RRGCC pulled from its own funds to make up the difference and purchase the property for $245,000. The RRGCC is now calling on the community to show its support for this ambitious purchase by donating here.

“The Access Fund is proud to support RRGCC’s protection of Miller Fork’s expansive climbing,” says Access Fund Southeast Regional Director Zachary Lesch-Huie. “Their partnership with the local community and ongoing commitment to expanding public climbing access has created yet another major Red River Gorge climbing area.”

The RRGCC made history in 2012 when it paid off the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP), completing the largest land purchase ever by a local climbing organization. The RRGCC refinanced the PMRP loan through the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign in 2010, saving the local community over $10,000 in interest in fees under the previous loan. Now, the more than 750 acres, 450 plus routes, and several dozen crags that call the PMRP home are secure and will always remain open to climbing.

Miller Fork Recreational Preserve

“Like the PMRP, Miller Fork is going to change the game in the Red,” says Paul Vidal, President of the RRGCC. “Acquiring this property illustrates the strength of the climbing community in this region and its importance to the area. Without the community of climbers and businesses supporting us and pushing us to look to the future, we wouldn’t have been able to secure this climbing.” The purchase of the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve will be another step in securing access for climbers, while furthering the RRGCC’s mission of ensuring open, public access to ample, quality rock climbing opportunities. Like the PMRP, the RRGCC will own and manage the property in perpetuity.

More information, including information regarding trail and route development, will be forthcoming as the RRGCC develops and implements its infrastructure plan.

About the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition

The Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition works to ensure open, public access to quality outdoor rock climbing opportunities in and around Red River Gorge, Kentucky. The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition works to encourage the conservation of the natural environment on publicly managed and privately owned land by protecting, promoting, and ensuring responsible climbing.

About the Access Fund
Having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 2.3 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit

Audrey Sniezek Makes a Difference in Lee County

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Audrey with coworkers and MiguelSome people have a knack for finding creative ways to bring about positive change. Audrey Sniezek is working with Microsoft to bring technology education to Lee County High School. As part of the TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) program, students will have the opportunity to learn about computer programming from online courses taught by Microsoft employees. At the same time, their teachers will be learning how to teach the courses, so that in the future, they can take over and continue the classes with next year’s students.

students attending an online computer class

Upon graduation, students will have opportunities to intern with Microsoft, and to potentially begin careers in the tech industry that will allow them to work remotely – or perhaps to return to their school as teachers in technology education, and make the same difference in the next generation’s lives that Audrey is helping to facilitate in theirs. :)

The RRGCC applauds the initiative Audrey has taken to give back to the community in which she loves spending her time. Please visit Audrey’s blog and check out the KY School Boards Association’s article on the topic for more details.

Into the night, JATD 2012

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

“When the wind blows, it blows your name. Today you were a hurricane. You blew from day into the night. Your memories filled the dim twilight.”

Johnny and Alex Trail Day 2012, Travis Peek Photo

Johnny and Alex Trail Day 2012, Travis Peek Photo

This hook ran through my mind all day as I went from place to place checking on the crews hard at work all over the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve. Not only were the words running through my head but I had a true sense that Johnny and Alex were watching down over us and that they were enjoying what they saw.

The normal JATD weather is hot enough to fry an egg on a Mccleod head, snakes numbering more than they had on that damn plane, bugs swarming thick enough to have floated the Titanic, jungles of poison ivy to thrash through; with all these heinous conditions making climbing not even an option even for the most committed gumby…. I guess the bushwhack gods got a visit and a stern talking to from Johnny this year and he told them we had enough and  had proven ourselves , so he thought we needed a break… The weather was as good as August in Kentucky can get, which had me worried everyone would back out and we would have to go to the crags to guilt them into moving some dirt (trust me, I’d guilt my granny into throwing a shovel if I had to).  I was absolutely amazed that the opposite happened. Once registration opened up at Lago Linda’s it was like the dirtbag flood gates were opened and the hippies were released like a spring trout stocking. The official number was around 180 folks, but even with me only being able to count to 19, I’m betting we hit over 200 smelly volunteers as others joined the work force throughout the day.

The amount of work that got done this year was off the hook and truly blew this hillbilly away. As an organization we have learned by failures, trail classes, trail god osmosis and of course through success on how to start repairing old screw ups and to develop new areas without creating future problems. It seems everyone is taking this to heart and allowing us to focus on opening new areas, instead of solely focusing on fixing the same problems year in and year out.

This year’s trail day completed some of the best and probably the most work done on a trail day. We were able to open up two new crags, Velo and Throwback crags. We were able to open up an old crag and its new routes, Getaway. We were able to complete the first mile loop of a five mile multi use trail system in flat holler. This trail has already been getting plenty of mountain bike and climber traffic and is pushing the limit of legal fun, well, and speaking from plenty of illegal fun experiences , its pushing those limits too….We will have updated crag and trail information posted soon for the new areas. We were also able to do some huge fixes to the Gallery, stairs and new trails at the Volunteer Wall, much needed reroute at Left Field, big improvements to the Drive By/Marley short cut and many other small projects all over the property.

As the work day drew to a close we all headed back for some much needed refreshments, rest and telling climbing lies to old and new friends alike. Everyone had came prepared with their rain gear , flippers and snorkels since every year when the 23 string band enters the pavilion it rains hard enough to sink the Ark. Not this year, the hippies and hillbillies danced well into the night with nary a drop of rain in sight.

As the last drink was finished, the last string plucked and the final embers of the fire burned out I looked around. Content, pride and utter bliss was on everyones face I saw. As my eyes drew to the clear skies I saw a couple stars blink and knew that was Johnny and Alex filling the dim twilight……

We would like to thank the sponsors that help keep us rolling year in and year out and make days like this possible

Access Fund Bluegrass Bouldering Red River Outdoors
Miguel’s Pizza Rockquest Climbing Gym Benchmark Outdoors Outfitters
J&H Outfitters Gordon Food Service REI
Clif Bar West Sixth Brewing Lago Linda’s Hideaway
Mtn Ranks Red River Rockhouse Gore-Tex
Elodie Saracco Photos Wes and Tania Allen Photography

And that’s not to mention the many, many behind the scene sponsors and folks.

Take care and enjoy the world around ya

Matt Tackett

Reel Rock Tour 2012

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Reel Rock Tour 2012

February 24 @ 6:30pm

Some folks are simply pretty amazing.. and those at the Benchmark Outfitters , RockQuest, and University of Cincinnati: Campus Recreation Center are no different. Together, they’re putting on a Reel Rock Tour event for the benefit of the RRGCC. Check out what they’re putting on next month! We’ll see you there!

Help support the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition and have a great time watching some great climbing films at the University of Cincinnati: Campus Recreation Center, 472 Main Street, Cincinnati, OH.  All proceeds benefit the Red River Gorge Climber’s Coalition Sponsored locally by: Benchmark Outfitters , RockQuest, and University of Cincinnati: Campus Recreation Center .   Door prizes provided by Benchmark and Rockquest.  Find it on Facebook. Show will start at 6:30 pm.   Check back for more details about the post event party.

About / History

The REEL ROCK Film Tour brings the best in climbing and adventure films to local audiences across the globe. REEL ROCK shows are exciting events where climbers and outdoors lovers come together to celebrate and the ultimate in adventure filmmaking. Prize giveaways, appearances by top climbers, and fundraising for non-profit organizations always add to the fun and community of REEL ROCK events. For the sixth annual film tour, co-founders Sender Films and Big UP Productions are taking audiences to the edge of what’s possible. From climbing the world’s most difficult frozen falls, to the hardest big wall free climb and crazed highline antics, these heart pounding tales of superhuman skills will leave audiences wanting more.


REEL ROCK founders Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer have been producing and directing climbing and adventure films for over a decade, with devoted audiences around the world. Their work has been featured on NBC, NPR, and The New York Times, and has won a Sports Emmy Award, plus dozens of awards at international film festivals. After organizing small tours for their individual film releases, Lowell and Mortimer realized the huge demand for exciting live events in the outdoors community and combined forces to create The REEL ROCK Film Tour in 2006. In 2010, REEL ROCK screened in over 200 locations world-wide, drew over 55,000 audience members, raised over $15,000 for non-profits, partnered with more than 150 retailers, university outing clubs and climbing gyms, and won copious media coverage and critical praise.

Great News for Mountain Bikers

Friday, March 4th, 2011

As mountain bikers in Kentucky when we really crave to escape into the wilderness and to truly be able to pedal epic mileage we pretty much are stuck with having to travel out of state to get our fix. As much as we all enjoy road tripping we are really quite tired of having to pack up the rig and having to travel every time we need a visit to Dr. Feelgood….luckily we are not the only ones chasing the fat tired dragon. The great Commonwealth of Kentucky is too. They have been extremely helpful in developing the means for small communities and non-profits to develop trails by administering the Recreational Trails Program grant system. By doing so they are not only addressing the needs of local bikers but are pumping air into economies that are on the verge of collapsing.

We are extremely pleased and beyond amped to announce that the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition was awarded the 2010 RTP grant and has just recently been given the official OK to proceed in full scale building of the PMRP Adventure Trails System.

Paul Vidal and Matt Tackett were invited to Frankfort by the First Lady and her committee to accept a check on behalf of the RRGCC on August 26, 2010. Beyond this amazing news we would also like to point out that this is the first time Matt has worn anything other than Carharts and Paul has been without his hat in 10 years. Remember where you were when you heard this ground breaking news….

Paul and Matt

This year’s grant will allow the RRGCC to build a minimum of 5 new miles of single track IMBA standard trails and repair up to 2 miles of trails that were destroyed in 2006 and others around the region that need repair. The RRGCC is very dedicated to the development of human powered recreation on the property and look forward to the increase in members and volunteers as the trails get developed. As a group we are also proud to be part of something that is extremely beneficial to the health and economic growth of the local regions residents and business.

The PMRP is world renowned for its rock climbing scattered over the 700acres owned by its members and open to the general public. But in all reality the amount of land that we use is very little compared to what is actually owned .The prospect of having 30, 50 or more miles of trails across the PMRP is not out of the question and is welcomed news by climbers, bikers, hikers and trail runners alike. Variety is the spice of life and the land is prime for all types of trails and abilities. Responsible, planned development is the most important factor and all new trails will follow these set rules ensuring sustainable trails are done right the first time.

Imagine rolling out on your fat tire for a 20 miler and being able to stop and get pitches in along the way. You don’t have to imagine much longer, all you have to do is help.

Grants like the RTP and others that are in process are generally 50/50 matching grants. Meaning we have to donate time, material or money in order to receive the money from the grant as a organization and be able to apply for more in the future.

The RRGCC will be hosting regular trail days on every third Saturday of the month and special trail days throughout the year. Please stay tuned to,, the RRGCC fan page on Facebook and to learn more and to see pictures of the trails as they develop. We will also be hosting trail building clinics for groups such as school groups, gym and individuals. Tools and materials are available as needed.

We’d also like to give special thanks to KYMBA for all of their support and for promoting adventure in Kentucky.

If you are interested in helping or have any questions please feel free to contact Matt Tackett of Red River Outdoors.