Johnny and Alex Trail Day 2015 Wrap-Up!

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Another hot and steamy summer in the Red River Gorge means another Johnny and Alex Trail Day is in the books! On Saturday, July 25, nearly 150 volunteers gathered to help maintain the land they love- and own.

After signing in, grabbing their lunches provided by Miguel’s and a brief meeting at Lago Linda’s Hideaway, the volunteers split into groups to tackle the many jobs that needed to be worked on in the PMRP and MFRP. With over 1,000 acres of land between the two areas, there’s a lot of maintenance to be done and new trails to be cut. Luckily, we have the best climbing community in the world, and our volunteers are top-notch!

In the PMRP, the work that was begun on The Shire a few months ago continued as volunteers built terraces to create a more stable base and belay area. Around the corner, a bridge to Amarillo Sunset was put in place, as was the framework for a staircase down to the belay ledge for the popular route. The improvements to The Shire were made possible by Trango- many thanks to them for help making this popular crag more sustainable!

The Flat Holler mountain bike trail was also expanded. A small army of volunteers attacked the brush and carved out more trail, which will eventually be opened to mountain bikers and allow more people to enjoy our beautiful land via human-powered recreation.

Over in the MFRP, the bulk of the work took place on the main trail. A trail was completed on the east side of the trail to the Serenity Point turnoff, allowing climbers to stay out of the mud on the main road. On the west side of the main trail, a new bridge was installed over the main creek crossing, along with a wet soil crossing bridge. In addition, the trail to Chaos Wall was re-routed and cut.

After the hard work was done, it was time to head back to Lago Linda’s for dinner and a party. The tired volunteers gathered under the pavilion and were revitalized by food from the Red River Rockhouse. Then the Bobby Maynard & Breakdown band took over and the dancing began, interrupted only by a raffle, where a great deal of prizes were won, with the proceeds going to the RRGCC! The band played well into the night as friends, old and new, hung out and enjoyed the beauty of the Red River Gorge.

Johnny and Alex Trail Day is one of the RRGCC’s most popular events and it’s clear why- hard work on the land for climbers, owned by climbers, followed by a great party! None of it would be possible without our sponsors, and we want to give them all a huge shoutout. So thanks to- Lago Linda Hideaway, Elodie Saracco Photographic, Rockquest, Climb NuLu, Gordon Food Service, Outdoor Research, West Sixth Brewery, BlueWater Ropes, L’Escalade Fitness, J&H Outfitters, Black Diamond, Trango, Bluegrass Bouldering, Miguel’s Pizza, Red River Rockhouse, the Access Fund, Driskell Home Repair, Red River Outdoors, MtnRanks, Dirtbag Climbers, and Restop.

We’d also like to thank the owners of Roadside, who donated all their donations from climbers on Sunday to the RRGCC to help offset the costs of Johnny and Alex Trail Day.

If you couldn’t be part of the fun, we can always use your help with the financial aspect of keeping up over 1,000 acres- donate here! http://rrgcc.org/donate/

Forest Road 9B in Red River Gorge to be Closed Soon

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Indian Creek Road 9B will be gated closed to vehicles until sometime in the fall due to a stream restoration project. A temporary gate will be installed at the start of 9B (right after you cross bridge). This gate may be installed as early as this week. Road 9 and 9A will remain open this year. Visitors will not be allowed to drive down 9B but can walk the road using caution to avoid construction zones. Hopefully all work will be completed sometime this fall and the temporary gate removed. At that time, a new gate will be installed 0.9 miles down from the current end of 9B (at the location of former concrete dam).

Rocktoberfest 2014 Recap!

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Another Rocktoberfest has come and gone, and this year has proven once again that we have the best climbing community around! Despite the not-so-great forecast, the rain and the mud (so much mud), hundreds of you came from all over the continent to hang out with friends, check out the awesome vendors , climb and give money to support the RRGCC and the land you own!
We are extremely proud and excited to announce that all of your donations helped us raise over $20,000 towards our goal of the $35,000 required to match the Conservation Alliance 2014 Grant! This brings us so many steps closer to paying off the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, and we are so grateful that despite the unfavorable weather conditions, you all stepped up and made this happen.Dance Party (photo by Lisa Jolan)

On Friday, attendees ventured from tent to tent, entering raffles (with all proceeds supporting the RRGCC!), grabbing freebies and checking out the latest gear from the vendors. Later in the night, everyone gathered under the main tent and watched the Reel Rock 2014, Valley Uprising. As always, the film was a hit and became the talk of the night. Special thanks to William Keenan (“Uncle Dave”) for doing the sound. After the movie, DJ Carlos Atman kept the party going for a couple more hours for a crowd of energetic dancers.




On Saturday, after a morning yoga session with Danielle Bartos, the rain gods smiled on us and the weather cleared up enough for us to proceed with the Black Diamond sponsored Clip-n-Go comp, held for the first time at Miller Fork so the competitors could sample the routes their donations are helping to secure. Congrats to the winners listed below- give ‘em a high-five (and maybe ask for some training tips) if you see them!
Women’s Jalapeno:
1. Anna Fahey

Men’s Jalapeno:
1. Nathan Ross
2. Steven Lee
3. James Hanson

Women’s Habanero:
1. Lindsay Auble
2. Sarah Brengosz
3. Hayley Watts

Men’s Habanero:
1. Jon Shen
2. Dan Beck
3. Ben Circello

Teams [Beer]:
1. Dirty Nuts
2. Blue Poo

Teams [Bourbon]:
1. Guiding Light
2. Team Guido
3. Lost in Transgressions

While the competitors (and many others) were out enjoying the climbing day, Andrew and Hannah Tolliver spent their time improving the land, installing an awesome sign welcoming visitors to the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. They deserve a huge pat on the back for their efforts.

Venue (photo by Lisa Jolan)

The party continued Saturday night, and thanks to extra volunteers the always popular crate stacking was able to get underway despite the rain. The winners, stacking 24 crates each, were Brett Dougan and Synda Clements. Our event this year even gained the attention of the Pendergrass and Murray families – James Paul, Robin, David, and Karen (all cousins and all descendants of Daniel Boone Carter Pendergrass) stopped by Saturday evening to check out the festivities. (If those last names sound familiar, it’s because Mr. James Paul Murray is the gentleman who sold the PMRP to the RRGCC all those years ago!)


Then everyone moved back under the tent to dance to the music of the Mike Creech Band. The party continued late into the night, but since this community is so great, lots of volunteers still managed to emerge from their tents early in the morning. After re-fueling with breakfast provided by the Solid Rock Climbers for Christ, they helped clean up the venue. Our pro athletes (Regan Kennedy and Josh Muller, Karsten Delap, Margarita Martinez, Chuck Odette and Maggie Smith-Odette, Shingo Ohkawa, Brittany Griffith, and Nick Duttle and Dan Mirsky) taught the clinic registrants some new tricks while the weather granted them a rain-free day, closing the books on another successful Rocktoberfest!

Throughout it all, Rae Hartley oversaw the army of volunteers, arriving at the venue early and staying late; our emcee Kris “Odub” Hampton made sure every sponsor got shouted out and every event got announced; and our incredibly talented event photographer, Elodie Saracco, captured each moment (check out her albums, shared on our Facebook page).

We’d also like to give a special shout-out to our amazing sponsors- we couldn’t do this every year without them! So, a big round of applause for…

Our Rocktoberfest Sponsors

Outdoor Research
Access Fund BlueWater
Petzl La Sportiva
Black Diamond
Patagonia Marmot Goal Zero Scarpa
Belay Specs Five Ten Quest Outdoors Moosejaw
Mountain Gear Evolv Trango Sterling Rope
Metolius Rab Joshua Tree Skin Care Miguels Pizza
Mountain Ranks Ale-8-One J&H Lanmark Benchmark
Tenaya CamelBak Red River Outdoors The North Face
Fox Mountain Guides Driskell Home Repair Power Company Climbing Bluegrass Bouldering
Red River Rockhouse Rockquest American Alpine Club Rocksport
Warriors Way DryPointe Wolverine Publishing Solid Rock Climbers for Christ
Perfect Descent West Sixth Brewing Eno

The RRGCC Receives a Grant From the Conservation Alliance!

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition is proud to announce that we have been awarded a $35,000 grant from the Conservation Alliance! The grant will be used to repay part of the $200,000 Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign loan that the RRGCC used to purchase the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve in 2013.

The Conservation Alliance requires that grantees be nominated by member organizations. We are truly grateful to Petzl for nominating us to apply for this grant!

The MFRP is a 2 1/4 mile-long canyon currently being developed for rock climbing access. The land is open to climbing and the RRGCC is actively involved in developing trails and other infrastructure at the Preserve.

The RRGCC is honored the Conservation Alliance chose to support us in our mission to purchase the MFRP. This grant furthers their mission of “engag[ing] businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values.”

In return for receiving the grant the RRGCC has pledged to raise $35,000 in individual matching donations by March 2015. The goal of the RRGCC’s Miller Fork Recreational Preserve Acquisition Campaign is to use the matching donations to accelerate the payoff of the Access Fund loan. To make that happen, we need YOUR help!

When visiting the RRGCC’s website, you will notice a new feature on our home page – a thermometer showing how close we are to reaching our goal of raising $35,000 by March 2015. Help the thermometer tick up by adding your own donation! Remember- if we own it, they can’t close it!

RRGCC Meetings of Early 2014

Friday, January 17th, 2014

The RRGCC Board of Directors held its yearly Strategic Planning meeting at Torrent Falls on Saturday, January 11th, 2014. Among the topics discussed were:

  • Grant opportunities and applications for 2014
  • Potentially hiring an accountant starting 2015 to handle RRGCC funds and filing the 990 each year
  • The status of the RRGCC Memorandum of Understanding with the US Forest Service
  • Officer re-elections (positions reflected on the Meet the BOD page)
  • Discussion of the newly open BOD member position
  • Options for surveys of the RRGCC’s land
  • The need for storage space for the RRGCC’s tools and event paraphernalia
  • A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis

The BOD would love to hear your input on these topics and more. If you’d like to make your voice heard and/or get more involved, please join us at an open meeting at Pine Crest Camp Lodge at 9:00 am on Saturday, March 8th, 2014.

Flat Holler Parking Lot Complete

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

New LotMike Driskell and Travis Peek, our tireless Land Management staff, have completed work on the Flat Holler Parking Lot, made possible by the American Alpine Club’s Cornerstone Conservation Grant.

This should alleviate the burden on the Motherlode parking areas, and keep cars from lining up along Bald Rock Road.






Please begin using the Flat Holler Parking Lot if you are planning to climb at Sore Heel and aren’t sure that your car will make it up and down the 4WD hills to the Sore Heel Parking Lot. The map below illustrates the locations of these areas.

Lot and Trail

Rocktoberfest 2013 Summary

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The RRGCC is pleased to announce that Rocktoberfest 2013 was our most successful event yet, and it’s all thanks to you! The weekend of Oct 11-13 marked the RRGCC’s annual Courtesy of Elodie SaraccoRocktoberfest, and nearly 1,000 people from all over the map joined us to climb, arm-wrestle, crate-stack, win swag, hang out with vendors, and raise money for the RRGCC!

Based on the money raised during Rocktoberfest, we will be able to pay the first year’s mortgage payment for our latest acquisition, the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP). In addition, we will be able to continue to improve existing and new trail and parking infrastructure.

The RRGCC was also excited to announce that we are one of the recipients of the American Alpine Club’s 2013 Cornerstone Conservation Grant. The AAC will award the RRGCC $5,500 to improve the infrastructure of your land, including roads, parking areas and approach trails.

Of course, we had lots of fun raising all that money! There were raffles and competitions and lucky attendees walked away loaded with swag. The winners of Black Diamond’s 2013 Clip ‘n’ Go Comp were Adam Taylor with 559 points and Sarah Brengosz with 179 points. Team “Individual” won the team competition with 1012 points. Prizes were provided by Black Diamond and Sterling Rope. The winners of crate stacking, sponsored by Bluegrass Bouldering and J & H Lanmark, were Matt Owen with 22 crates and Jen Metalko with 21 crates.

Keeping the crowd entertained throughout the night were Kris Hampton, who emceed the event, the Mike Creech Band, who made Rocktoberfest a true Kentucky celebration by providing some home-grown bluegrass music, and Miguel’s Pizza, who gave attendees a second wind by providing pizzas as a late-night snack. We’d also like to thank Elodie Saracco of Elodie Saracco PhotoGraphic for documenting the event.

Courtesy of MtnRanksLast but certainly not least, the RRGCC would like to give a special shout-out to all the volunteers who made this event possible, and to our wonderful sponsors: Outdoor Research, Black Diamond, Petzl, Patagonia, Marmot, Keen, Sportiva, BlueWater, Scarpa, Belay Specs, 5.10, Quest Outdoors, Moose Jaw, Mountain Gear, Evolv, Trango, Metolius, Ale8One, Sterling Ropes, Benchmark Outfitters, J&H Lanmark, Bluegrass Bouldering, The North Face, SoIll, Tenaya, Miguel’s Pizza, Red River Outdoors, The Power Company, Fox Mountain Guides, Driskell Home Repair, Whole Foods, Warrior’s Way and MtnRanks.

Check out a photo essay of the event here!

Black Diamond Clip and Go Climbing Competition at Rocktoberfest

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

At this year’s Rocktoberfest, come out and climb at the Clip and Go Climbing Competition sponsored by Black Diamond!

Why, you say? Well…

1. You’re climbing on the property that you own (it’s why we do this Rocktoberfest thing!)
2. It’s cheap (only $15 dollars!)
3. Great prizes from Black Diamond (draws, cams, lights)
4. It’s at the Sore Heel climbing areas (tons of classic routes)
5. It’s fun for you and easy for us ($14.83 of your entry fee goes to pay for the property)
6. It’s all about endurance (check out the rules below)
7. It’s an all day climbing thing… (starts at 10:00 and finishes at 5:00)
8. … and you still won’t miss any of the events Saturday night
9. If you are a guy, girls dig competitors
10. If you are a girl, guys dig competitors
11. Sore Heel is the place to climb on Saturday. Since competitors get priority when it comes to the parking lot, there will be significantly fewer people there.
12. There are plenty of divisions, so there are more ways to win.
Individuals: Habanero and Jalapeno
Teams: Bourbon and Beer

Score sheets may be purchased at the Rocktoberfest registration area or at Sore Heel
Points are gathered by clipping bolts on redpoint. Competitors get 1 point for each bolt clipped until you weight the rope (finish the route, fall, or take)
All routes have a multiplier
More difficult routes have a higher multiplier
Score is points times the multiplier
Traditional routes have a fixed number of points
Belayers sign the card
Start time is 10 am in the Sore Heel parking lot
Finish time is 5 pm <<> in the Sore Heel parking lot
Competitors total their own score cards <>
There are no errors with the score sheet. If the score sheet is wrong, the score sheet is right.

Winners will get their moment of glory at the event Saturday night.

Example of the scoring:
Citizen’s Arete: 1st attempt: 6 bolts x 2 = 12 pts; 2nd attempt: 8 bolts x 2 = 16 pts (score = 16 points; you can try as many times as you want, but only the high point counts)
Sport climbing? It doesn’t matter if the gear is hanging. Gear climbing? Place ’em yourself.

Note that access to the parking area will be limited to competitors on the day of the comp. However, the climbing areas will still be open to all. If you choose to climb at the Sore Heel climbing areas and not compete, please park in another area (i.e. Bald Rock Road, the Motherlode parking area, the Drive By parking area) and walk in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

isolated faq button


RRGCC’s Frequently Asked Questions-

  • What is the RRGCC working on right now?
 As usual, the RRGCC has multiple items on its agenda. Rocktoberfest is coming up, and we are gearing up for the best fundraiser/party of the year! If you’d like to help, volunteer registration is open- feel free to sign up to join us!
We are also working at expanding parking for Flat Hollow. This takes precedence over other parking area projects because it will secure access to the largest number of climbs. The Sore Heel hill is no longer sustainable and will not be maintained going forward. As mentioned above, we are also working actively working with the oil companies to get the parking for MFRP established.  The RRGCC is also attempting to establish access at currently closed crags, such as Roadside and Oil Crack/Arena. This will take time and there are barriers to be overcome, but we will continue to work at it.
  •  What is the RRGCC’s stance on bolts?
 The RRGCC considers all apparently fixed gear (including, but not limited to, bolts, bolt hangers, quickdraws and anchors) abandoned gear. Use it at your own risk.
  • What do I do if I want to bolt a route on RRGCC land?
 You need to sign a waiver, located here .
  • What do if I want to build a trail on RRGCC land?
 First, it’s important to attend a Train the Trainer day, which will be held throughout the year. We use these days to teach those interested in trail development how to properly build a sustainable trail. We are working on  getting all trails, in both the PMRP and the MFRP, to the point that they make the least environmental impact as possible AND require as little maintenance as possible.
 Second, you need to contact us with a plan for where your trail will go and how it will be built (to do this, please drop a line, in the form of a haiku, to our Land Manger, Mike Driskell via the Report Bad Trails form . Once we approve it, you’re good to go!
  • Where is MF parking lot going to be?
On the road in to the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve area, there is a wide creek. The parking area will be just before this creek.
  • When will it be done?
As soon as possible. However, as with much of the land in eastern Kentucky, the mineral rights to our land were severed long ago. They are owned by a few oil companies- oil companies we do not have an established relationship with. We need their cooperation to construct a new parking lot, and coordinating that will take time. We’re working on it, and we hope to have it done by spring.
  • Is the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve Closed? 
 NO! Just like the PMRP, the MFRP will always be open! However, parking is limited at the moment so we ask that you be flexible with your climbing plans. If you see there are no remaining parking spots that would not          block the road and/or oil equipment, please consider moving on to another area. Just as on the PMRP, climbers and developers must have a signed liability waiver   to recreate on the MFRP.
  • What about the mountain biking trails?
The PMRP is dedicated to human-powered recreation. This is not limited to climbing. So, a few years ago the RRGCC started work on mountain biking trails. These trails are open, though at the moment there is only a one-mile loop that is completed. All other trails would be out-and-back rides. To find the trails, follow the directions to Throwback Crag ( found here). You are free to park at the Flat Hollow parking area, but please be aware that this parking area is not completed and there may be stumps or other obstructions that could harm your vehicle.
  • Why doesn’t the RRGCC log the PMRP and/or MFRP to make money?
The idea of selectively logging specific parts of the PMRP was discussed several years ago. Logging the PMRP was not pursued for several reasons. Most of the PMRP had been logged at some point prior to the purchase by the RRGCC. Thus, the amount of mature wood is limited. If we were to log the PMRP, selectively or not, the amount of money that would generate is surprisingly low relative to the impact it would have on the land. There are some talented logging companies in the area that do a great job of minimizing their presence, etc. But at the end of the day, their impact on the land far surpasses what most of us would consider acceptable for our beloved PMRP.

Concerning the MFRP, the timber rights to the property were a point of negotiation for the purchase. There is more mature wood on the MFRP, and far less presence of oil infrastructure.
 Because of the aesthetics of the property, the disruption of roads and trails, and complete closure of the MFRP during logging, we felt that is was in the best interest of the climbing community that the RRGCC maintain the timber rights to the property. For those reasons, we have no intention of logging selectively or otherwise in the MFRP
  • How much do BOD members make?
  Well, occasionally someone buys them a beer…Seriously though, the RRGCC is in all-volunteer organization. The BOD members donate their time to help secure the climbing areas they (and you!) love.

Coal Bank Road Repair Update

Friday, June 7th, 2013

What we did:

Coal Bank RoadOver the past two days we finished the first stage of repairs to Coal Bank Road (leading to the Solar Collector, Darkside, Far Side, and Crossroads Crags). Mike Driskell has worked patiently with the oil company and as a result, the RRGCC and ANGi have come to an agreement: ANGi will supply the machinery and labor for road maintenance and the RRGCC will supply the gravel and materials.

The dozer operator began by removing all the large stones throughout the road. He graded the road from the turn off to the parking lot and cut a shoulder into the road to keep brush back. He added drainage along the side of the road and installed a 15-inch by 30-foot culvert midway up the hill to minimize water damage to the road. He cleared brush in the parking lot, filled in the mud hole, and created drainage so it would not fill with water again. He also created drainage off the hill so that water would no longer flow from the top of Far Side down the oil road, and cut a trench in the parking area. We then called a local gravel company to deliver 4 loads of gravel and graveled the road from the turn off up to (but not including) the parking lot.

By working patiently with ANGi, Mike Driskell arranged for them to provide the dozer and operator at no cost to the RRGCC and resulted in saving thousands of dollars.  The RRGCC supplied the materials at a cost of $2300.

Next Steps:

Coal Bank RoadAfter the gravel settles and compacts, we will order 2 more loads of dense grade gravel for the hill. This gravel is the fine gravel they have used on the Bald Rock Hill (Motherlode Hill) and is what has helped keep that road in such good shape. This should take one day and we hope to have it completed at the end of June or beginning of July.  The anticipated cost is between $1000 and $1400.

We are also considering options for graveling the parking lot. Ideally, we would like to have the budget to complete both the new parking lot at Flat Holler and gravel this parking lot as well. We will be assessing budget issues over the next two months to determine what is feasible on the current donations.  The anticipated cost is TBD.

What you can do to help:

First and foremost, the biggest help will be for you to drive slowly and steadily on the entire length of road. Frequent changes in speed and sudden breaking cause ruts in the road, which are difficult to fix. If you have a 4WD vehicle, consider not driving in the same tire tracks as everyone else to help prevent ruts.

If you have a 2WD vehicle and you find that when you drive on gravel hills your tires frequently spin, consider parking on the side of the road at the top of the very first hill until we are able to add the additional gravel at the end of the month. There is a section that was widened for this purpose. Please make sure your vehicle is completely off the road and that trucks can make the turn from the side road to go down to Fixer Road. You may also consider putting your car into first gear and driving very slowly and steadily to prevent your wheels from spinning.

The second thing you can do to help is set up a recurring donation of $10, $15, or $20 (or more!) each month. To do so, please visit our donation page. Recurring donations help us with maintenance costs since we know the exact amount of money to expect at any given time. This allows for planning of projects such as road repair and parking lot construction. We value all donations and also welcome one-time donations.  A fun way to donate this week is to visit West Sixth Brewing on Saturday, June 8 for their fundraiser for the RRGCC!

The third thing you can do to help is to keep being a good neighbor for ANGi oil since they are helping the RRGCC save thousands of dollars on maintenance costs.  Next time you see a climber praking in front of oil wells, say “Thank you ANGi” by asking the climbers to find another parking spot.

Thank you for supporting the RRGCC.