Frequently Asked Questions

Q // What is the RRGCC working on right now?

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As usual, the RRGCC has multiple items on its agenda. If you are reading this anytime after June of a given year, Rocktoberfest is coming up, and we are gearing up for the best fundraiser/party of the year! If you’d like to help and volunteer registration is open, please sign up to join us!

In the fall of 2013, we expanded parking for Flat Hollow / Sore Heel. This took precedence over other parking area projects because it secured access to the largest number of climbs. The Sore Heel hill is no longer sustainable and will not be maintained going forward.

In the summer of 2014, we worked with local oil and construction companies to get the parking for the MFRP established. This was followed by an extremely well-attended Johnny and Alex Trail Day, during which we installed multiple bridges, trails, and signs in the MFRP.

The RRGCC is also attempting to establish access at currently closed crags, such as Oil Crack/Arena. This will take time and there are barriers to be overcome, but we will continue to work at it.

We’ve also got a lot in the works for the trails in the MFRP, while continuing to maintain the trails in the PMRP.

Q // What is the RRGCC’s stance on bolts?

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The RRGCC considers all fixed gear (including, but not limited to, bolts, bolt hangers, quickdraws and anchors) abandoned gear. Use it at your own risk.

Q // What do I do if I want to bolt a route on RRGCC land?

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You need to sign a waiver. Also, the Land Manager requests that the approach trails to new development create the least environmental impact and be as easily sustainable as possible. To do this, we request developers allow us to help find the best approach trail for use during development. We will not cut the trail as a project until requested by the developer.

Q // What do if I want to build a trail on RRGCC land?

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In order to build a trail, you first need to contact us with a plan for where the trail will go, how it will be built, and the expected costs and resources required to build it. To do this, please contact our Land Manager.

If you are also interested in leading the project, 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.

Of note, 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 based on the guidelines set out in Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook – USDA Forest Service.

Q // Where is the MFRP parking lot?

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The Miller Fork parking lot, completed in the summer of 2014 with help from local oil and construction companies, is just before a wide creek on Hell Creek Road. Its GPS coordinates are 37°38’31.9″N 83°40’44.0″W (37.642204, -83.678900).

Q // Is the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve Closed?

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No! Just like the PMRP, the MFRP will always be open! We’ve got a beautiful new parking lot as of the summer of 2014 that can handle dozens of responsibly parked cars. As with any RRGCC land, 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 for the day. Just as on the PMRP, climbers and developers must have a signed liability waiver to recreate on the MFRP.

Q // What about the mountain biking trails?

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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. You are free to park at the now complete Flat Hollow parking area.

Q // Why doesn’t the RRGCC log the PMRP and/or MFRP to make money?

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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

Q // How much do BOD members make?

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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.

Q // How were the RRGCC’s purchases of the PMRP and MFRP structured?

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The PMRP was purchased by the RRGCC in 2004 at a purchase price of $227,500 ($325 per acre) for 700 acres. In 2010, the RRGCC restructured the PMRP with the owners and with the Access Fund. The last payment was made in 2012, and the RRGCC now owns the PMRP!

The MFRP was purchased by the RRGCC in 2013 at a purchase price of $245,000 ($792 per acre) for 309 acres. The Access Fund awarded us a $10,000 grant to help toward the down payment, and financed the loan via their Land Conservation Campaign. We are on track to pay off the MFRP by the end of 2017!

Q // What are the RRGCC Officers? How are they chosen?

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The RRGCC has four officer positions, President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These officers must be members of the Board of Directors and are elected by the Board to serve one year terms. No one person may serve more than three consecutive years in one position without taking a one year leave from that position.

Q // How does someone become part of the RRGCC Board of Directors?

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To take a position on the Board of Directors you must be 21 years old and have been a member of the RRGCC for at least one year. Any member meeting these requirements may fill out the application to be elected to the Board. For the practical functioning of the organization, people with relevant skills and experience are sought for Board service. Past non-profit service and/or knowledge in the areas of accounting, law, fundraising, public relations, business, and environmental issues are examples the types of experience sought in prospective Board members.

Q // What is the RRGCC Board of Directors?

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The RRGCC Board of Directors (BOD) consists of volunteer RRGCC members who have made a commitment to dedicate a portion of their time to directing and managing the organization. Board members serve for a three year term and may only serve two consecutive terms before they must leave the Board for at least one year before becoming eligible again.

Q // How is the RRGCC organized?

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The RRGCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation organized according to the requirements of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Federal requirements specific to maintaining a tax exempt status. All donations are tax deductible.

Q // What is the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve? Why is it so important?

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The Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) is a 750 acre tract of land located in Lee County, Kentucky that was purchased by the RRGCC from Mattie Murray, a descendent of Daniel Boone Pendergrass, in 2004. Realizing the fragility of access to climbing on private land in the Red River Gorge Area, the Murray Property was identified by the RRGCC as containing a significant amount of existing climbing routes with a number of quality crags (e.g. Drive-by, Bob Marley, Solar Collector, Darkside, Gold Coast.) The purchase of the PMRP is important because it secures access to an area containing over 400 existing climbing routes and in short because, “If we own it, they can’t close it!”

Q // What is the status of the PMRP in regards to the American Natural Gas oil company?

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On the PMRP the mineral rights are severed from the surface rights. While the RRGCC has the surface right to the property, American Natural Gas has rights to extract oil lying beneath the surface of the PMRP.

Q // I’ve heard that Charmane Oil has towed climbers’ cars. Where can I park on the PMRP and not be towed?

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In February 2004 the RRGCC obtained a Temporary Restraining Order that prevents Charmane from towing climbers’ cars from the PMRP. Charmane Oil has since been purchased by American Natural Gas. In the interest of respecting ANG’s right to access their oil wells, the RRGCC has established designated parking areas on the PMRP. When visiting the PMRP you are asked to please follow posted signs, park in designated parking areas, and not block or interfere with ANG’s right to access their oil wells.

Q // Who is the RRGCC?

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The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to represent the interests of rock climbers in response to a bolting ban imposed by the US Forest Service in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. After successfully negotiating to have the ban lifted, the RRGCC has remained active in confronting various access issues both on public and private land in the Red River Gorge area.

Q // How do I update my RRGCC membership info?

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If you are an Access Fund / RRGCC Joint Member, please update your information here.

If you are signed up through for monthly donations, updating your PayPal info will automatically update your membership info.

Q // How do I support / become involved with the RRGCC?

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Thank you for asking – the answer is that there are many options!

  • Sign up for a recurring or one-time donation on our donation page. Recurring donations help us determine our yearly budget, and one-time donations count toward our Conservation Alliance Matching Grant Campaign.
  • Shop Amazon via Amazon Smile – no extra work for you, and Amazon donates .5% of your purchase amount to the RRGCC.
  • Sign up for Kroger Community Rewards – a quick one-time sign up results in donations from Kroger to the RRGCC every time you shop at Kroger. Detailed instructions here.
  • Become an RRGCC member and an Access Fund member in one fell swoop with the Joint Membership Program.
    • Please direct any questions about Joint Membership to
    • Please note that the Joint Membership charge on your bank statement may look like this: CHECK CARD PURCHASE BLK*ACCESS FUND 1234567890 CA
  • Like us on Facebook, where we’ll let you know about trail days (like Johnny and Alex Trail Day in the summer) and volunteer opportunities (like helping out at Rocktoberfest).

Q // How do I contact the RRGCC?

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You may contact the RRGCC by e-mail at: RRGCC [at] RRGCC [dot] org or you may contact us by snail mail at: RRGCC, PO Box 22156, Lexington, KY 40522-2156.

Q // How do I get answers to questions I have about the RRGCC?

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If you cannot find answers to your questions on this website please submit your question via our contact page at:

Q // What are the best times of year to go climbing in Red River Gorge?

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Spring and Fall are considered to be the premier seasons for climbing in Red River Gorge because of moderate temperatures. Summer weather tends to be very hot and muggy but can be endured, especially at crags that stay in the shade. In the Winter, climbing conditions at crags that stay in the sun can be tolerable to excellent. Winter climbing can be nice too because you don’t have to worry about bugs or snakes.

Q // Where is a good place in Red River Gorge to take beginners?

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Depending on whether you are planning to engage in traditional climbing or sport climbing, there are any number of areas that are good places to take beginners. As long as you have one or more competent lead climbers in your party, most crags have easier climbs that can be set up for beginners. Route developers throughout the RRG have consciously established easy to moderate climbs in the interest of making these areas accessible to beginning climbers.

Q // Where is a good place in Red River Gorge to top-rope?

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Very few places have access to the edge of the cliff in such a way to allow easy setup of a top-rope. If you have one or more competent lead climbers in your group, then there are plenty of climbs that can be set up for top-roping. When top-roping, please set up your own gear to run the rope through and do not top-rope directly through quick-links or any other portion of a permanent top-anchor.

Q // I am new to climbing, what is the best way to learn?

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Rock climbing is an inherently dangerous sport and should be undertaken only after obtaining professional instruction or under the supervision of a professional guide. There are several businesses offering professional guide services in the Red River Gorge area and professional instruction is available at a number of rock climbing gyms.

Q // What is the best guidebook and where can I get a guidebook?

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The best guidebook is the most current printed guidebook, and there are three: Miller Fork Climbing authored by Ray Ellington and published by Red River Climbing LLC, Red River Gorge North authored by Dustin Stephens and published by Wolverine Publishing, and Red River Gorge South authored by Blake Bowling and published by Wolverine Publishing. They may be purchased online (MFRP, North, South) and are also available for sale at various climbing related businesses and gyms. A percentage of the profits from sales of the guidebooks are being donated to the RRGCC.

Q // Where can I get route information for Red River Gorge?

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If you are not climbing with someone already familiar with the area, the best place to find route information is from a guidebook.