The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition is once again pleased to announce the Red River Reunion Climbing Competition! Come together to test out your climbing prowess while raising money that helps take care of the land YOU own! The competition will take place on March 19. This year, the owners of the Graining Fork Nature Preserve, aka Roadside, are graciously opening their land to the competitors, who will be pit against each other to see who can best climb some of the most classic routes in the Red River Gorge. Winners of their respective groups will be awarded with fantastic prizes, and all proceeds raised will go to the RRGCC! Sign up on the day of the event at Miguel’s Pizza or in the Roadside parking lot. We look forward to seeing you there and wish all the competitors the best of luck!
On August 31, 2015, RRGCC Executive Director, Bill Strachan, attended a ceremony at the Gladie Visitor Center where the proposed delisting of the white-haired goldenrod as an endangered species was announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This unique flowering plant is found only in rock shelters and under overhanging ledges in Red River Gorge. When listed in 1988, impacts from recreational activities such as rock climbing, hiking, camping, and rappelling; the looting of archaeological sites; and the proposed construction of a flood control dam downstream of the Gorge were seen as threats to the survival of the white-haired goldenrod. To protect the species the Forest Service fenced off rock shelters where the plant was found. The RRGCC, under the direction of its founder and first Executive Director, Shannon Stuart-Smith, helped to place signage at the fenced off areas and at kiosks installed at Miguel’s Pizza and at the Martins Fork trailhead to educate climbers and others about what the plant looks like and the importance of staying out of the fenced areas. Maintenance of kiosk signage and the inclusion of educational information about plant in the Red River Gorge climbing guidebooks continued to be promoted by the RRGCCunder Strachan’s direction.
The efforts of the U.S. Forest Service, the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, and the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources along with the RRGCC involvement in helping to protect the white-haired goldenrod and allow for the successful recovery of the species were recognized during the ceremony. At the event the RRGCC Executive Director had the opportunity to meet and speak with the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region, Regional Forester, Tony Tooke; the new Daniel Boone National Forest, Forest Supervisor, Bill Lorenz; and the new Cumberland District Ranger, Jonathon Kazmierski. Following the ceremony Strachan and others in attendance hiked to view a rock shelter where fencing had been placed to protect both biological and cultural resources. The white-haired goldenrod will be the first Kentucky species and the 31st nationwide to be removed from the endangered species list since the passage of the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973.
In 2005, Matt and Amy Tackett organized the first Climbers That Care event to help provide food and clothing to needy families in the Red River Gorge area. The focus of this year’s Climbers That Care event was a food drive benefitting the Lee County, Kentucky Helping Hands Food Bank. The food bank feeds an average of 1,000 people on a monthly basis. With the help of Climb NuLu in Louisville, Kentucky – Climb Time in Cincinnati, Ohio – RockQuest in Cincinnati, Ohio – and Daniel Boone Trading Post in Slade, Kentucky, enough non-perishable food items were collected to fill the cargo area of Subaru Outback. A total of $400 was also collected for the purchase of holiday hams and turkeys. Big thanks go to Rob Moore, Matt Seto, Patty Law, Valerie McDonough, Nancy Hamann, Nick Summe, and Ana Noll for their help in making this a successful event!
The MFRP has a lot of great climbing, and a brand new book to help you find it! But it is still a very new area, and is still receiving a lot of development. Part of this process is putting in the trail system to access it. Originally, the roads were the way to get from point A to point B. They still work well, and visitors are welcome to use them, but they have some severe rutting and drainage issues in certain areas. To that end, new access trails are going in to avoid the mud and ATVs that frequent the roads.
Last JATD, 2 new trails were put in from the parking lot: a main artery access trail on the East and West sides. The West side had some issues with drainage and some steep areas that were slippery when wet.
This past month, the NCCC, or National Civilian Community Corps, were in the area and graciously volunteered their free time to help complete some stonework sections to help alleviate these issues.
In the past month, they have cut a new start to the West trail, put in several drainage ditches, and put in several small sets of stairs. The hope is that these improvements will alleviate the slip and slide issues, keep the trail dryer, and make the trail more enjoyable getting to and from the crags.
These kinds of trail projects are a common and very important part of maintaining trails as they wear in. Weather, compaction, and early wear patterns help show where trails can be improved so they last longer and require less long term maintenance.
The plan is to extend these express trails away from the roads for a more natural and less muddy hike. Trail days are planned for multiple weekends this winter, please visit the RRGCC webpage to sign up and join us! We plan on improving the current express trails, continuing the express trails further into the property, then improving the individual crag access trails and bases to the climbs, and finally to add some additional trails to link everything together.
As trails go in, the kiosk in the parking lot and additional maps on the trails will get updated. Take a picture with your smartphone and try out the new trails! More signs will be going in as well. With your help, this land we bought can continue to grow into our ideal playground.
We are pleased to announce that the West main artery trail is complete up to the bridge before Bowman creek. The creek has stepping stones for easy navigation until the final bridge can be put in. It will be easy to navigate until spring. This trail can be used to reach all of Bowman fork, or to avoid half of the roads heading towards Hell creek or the West side of Miller fork.
The East main trail can also be used to access all of Miller and Hell creek.
An Event Benefitting the Needy in Lee County, Kentucky
Until December 18, 2015 donations will be accepted at the following locations to benefit the Beattyville Helping Hands Food Bank:
Slade, KY – Daniel Boone Trading Post
Louisville, KY – Climb Nulu
Cincinnati, OH – Climb Time of Blue Ash & RockQuest Climbing Center
Everyday canned food items including tuna, chicken, vegetables, beans, fruit, and soups along with boxed pastas are needed.
The Helping Hands Food Bank is preparing Christmas food boxes for 160 families and has already collected the corn, green beans, gravy and cranberry sauce for the boxes. However, meat (turkeys and hams), stuffing, pie, and bread still need to be purchased. They are currently $600 short of the funds needed. To contribute for these fresh food items please send a check for your tax deductible donation on or before December 15th (with “Climbers That Care” in the memo line) to the RRGCC, PO Box 22156, Lexington, KY 40522-2156.
The weather is cool, the leaves are turning, and another successful Rocktoberfest is in the books! The weekend of Rocktoberfest was a pristine one in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, and climbers from all over the world turned out in droves to celebrate climbing in the Red – and to support the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition!
The fun kicked off on Friday night, when the vendors opened up their booths and the attendees started mingling, taking in the sights and trying their hands at some fun competitions, like the pull up competition and the always-popular crate stacking. Later in the evening, everyone gathered under the big tent for this year’s choice of movies – an independent film by Mike Wilkinson, Ascending India, that touched on climbing in the Red, followed by the new Reel Rock.
Saturday morning things started early, with a yoga session under the big tent led by Danielle Bartos and a shoe demo with Five Ten, TENAYA, La Sportiva, SCARPA and Evolv happening at Miguel’s, after which everyone headed out to climb. Some of those climbers made their way to the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve to participate in the annual Clip ‘n’ Go competition, clipping as many bolts as they could before the day ended in the hopes of winning some awesome prizes while raising money for the RRGCC!
Back at the event on Saturday night, the crowd was even bigger than the night before. Everyone listened to RRGCC President Josephine Sterr’s plans for the future, including the announcement that anyone who signs up to donate at least $10/month is automatically entered to win a brand new rope or other prizes at the Red River Reunion in the spring! We also got to introduce and publicly thank Mr. Bernard Benningfield of ATS Construction, who has been helping us keep our roads in shape despite a year full of rain! Then, the winners from the Clip ‘n’ Go competition were announced*. For the first time ever, the top three winners of each category had medals draped around their necks, courtesy of the KY Board of Adventure Tourism. This year, the RRGCC teamed up with board and made the climbing competition a part of the KY Outdoor Adventure Games.
Following the presentation, the crowd danced to the music of the Flea Market Hustlers until the wee hours of the morning and were rewarded with complimentary pizza by Miguel’s at 11 pm.
Sunday morning, the Solid Rock Climbers for Christ were up bright and early to start cooking a pancake breakfast for the hungry festival-goers. Then, those participating in our various clinics gathered to meet their instructors and headed out to expand their climbing knowledge! Meanwhile, our awesome clean-up volunteers helped pack up and make sure we packed everything out.
And with that, another successful Rocktoberfest came to a close. We couldn’t have done it without YOU- the people who make owning over 1,000 acres of land possible and who create the best climbing community in the world! We also want to give a big shout-out to our sponsors, who make putting on a party of this size possible-
Outdoor Research, Access Fun, BlueWater Ropes, Petzl, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, Powell County Tourism, Climbing Magazine, Sterling Ropes, Patagonia, Marmot, Goal Zero, Scarpa, Belay Specs, Five Ten, Quest Outdoors, Moosejaw, Mountain Gear, Misty Mountain, Evolv, Keen, Trango, Metolius, Rab, Joshua Tree Skin Care, Miguel’s Pizza, Red River Rockhouse, Ale8One, J&H Outdoors, Tenaya, Red Bull, Eno, So ILL, Krieg Climbing, Ahnu, Hoka One One, Trader Joe’s, L’Escalade Fitness, Daniel Boone Trading Post, E9 Climbing, Armaid, Red River Outdoors, The North Face, Fox Mountain Guides, Driskell Home Repair, The Power Company, Bluegrass Bouldering, The Warrior’s Way, MtnRanks
- Colombian People
- Sea and Stone
- Emmalee Orlett
- Susie Semler
- Robin Snader
- Ben Murphy
- James Campbell
- Jillian Weller
- Sarah Brengosz
- Lena Moinova
- John Chipouras
- Ben Circello
3. Henry Robinson
Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Black Diamond Rocktoberfest Clip ‘n’ Go Climbing Comp!
1. Colombian People
3. Sea and Stone
2. Emmalee Orlett
3. Susie Semler
1. Robin Snader
2. Ben Murphy
3. James Campbell
1. Jillian Weller
2. Sarah Brengosz
3. Lena Moinova
1. John Chipouras
2. Ben Circello
3. Henry Robinson
Here are the clinics we’re offering at Rocktoberfest 2015! Pre-register at rrgcc.org/register to snag your spot!
- Adv – Harder, Better, Faster – Dan Brayack
This clinic will be an informative discussion about training using the methods developed by the Anderson brothers in their book, The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. The target audience for this is any intermediate to advanced climber who has been climbing for 2+ years (or considers themselves a very serious climber.) 1. Why train for climbing? 2. What training program is right for me? 3. What intensity is appropriate for my level of fitness? 4. What is Phased Training and How do I perform the following training exercises: a. Endurance (ARC Training) b. Hangboarding (Strength) c. Campusing (Power) d. 4x4s / LBC (Power Endurance) — Dan Brayack has been climbing and training for climbing for 16 years. Using the Rock Climber’s Training Manual, he has went from very seriously not climbing 5.12- to very seriously not climbing mid range 5.13. Dan has a blog that has been chronicling his training and his accomplishments at: http://brayackmedia.blogspot.com/ and http://blog.trango.com/.
- Beg – Footwork and Technique – Nick Duttle
Learn what it takes to achieve fluid movement to climb gracefully. Study the art of working with your feet effectively. Develop proper foot technique for slab climbing, edging, and crack climbing. — Nick has been climbing for 15 years, professionally for 11. He’s climbed to the top of the grade in sport and bouldering on all of America’s types of stone. He loves the Red River Gorge sandstone and its awesome climbing!
- Beg – Learn to Lead – Andrew Gearing and Jen Sauer
Tired of the rope snagging on your partner’s draws as you unclip while following him/her up a line? Take your climbing skills to the next level and learn how to lead sport routes! Time will also be dedicated to cleaning anchors. Andrew and Jen have sent some of the Red’s hardest lines – both trad and sport – and they’re psyched to help you get going on your mission to take the sharp end!
- Beg/Int – Intro to Trad – Shingo Ohkawa
Want to avoid the crowds at the Red on gorgeous Fall days? There are almost as many trad/mixed routes as sport routes here – learn to lead them! This course gives you the skills to start working through safely leading a traditional climb. — Shingo is a lifer, a prodigal dirt-bag … he is, however, completely obsessed with exploring the high places of the world; opening new routes in ranges near and far, from the Wasatch to the Karakoram. No place is too far, for the world’s still a big place and he’s got no time to lose!
- Beg/Int – Multipitch Efficiency – Karsten Delap
This is your chance to learn muti-pitch systems with a focus on equipment, route-finding, belaying, safety, and speed. Multi-pitch systems can be incredibly complex, and the best way to refine your skills is to examine each part of the system by itself. In this course, we will do just this: look at every element of your system and help you to make it better. On this course, we do not climb a multi-pitch route, but use a ground school to practice the specific systems required to climb a multi-pitch route effectively. Once you have completed this course, you will be able to take the skills learned in this setting and apply them to long multi-pitch climbs. — Karsten Delap has climbed many 17,000-foot peaks and has climbed all over the world for work and play. He spends the spring working in the High Sierra and the rest of the year traveling the world working for Fox Mountain Guides, heading up their alpine programs. He successfully completed the Rock Guide Program in 2009, becoming the Southeast’s second AMGA Certified Rock Guide. In 2013, he gained the AMGA Alpine Guide Certification and was the first guide in the Southeast to achieve this certification. He has gotten himself and his clients out of countless jams and mastered the art of multi-pitch, and is the perfect instructor to teach you how to embark on your upcoming multi-pitch adventures!
- Int – Sport and Redpointing – TBD
Climbing 5.9 and wanting to improve? This clinic will teach you how to move beyond the plateau. This course will explain the art of choosing a project, how to train for the project, how to safely catch a fall, and more!
- Int – Warrior’s Way – Arno Ilgner and Madaleine Sorkin
Madaleine Sorkin will be running this clinic on behalf of Outdoor Research and La Sportiva this year. Being effective in climbing requires us to understand the consequences of our decisions and actions. In climbing the main consequence is falling. By understanding how to fall we diminish the chance of injury and allow us to focus attention effectively on climbing. Target student: This clinic is not for beginners. You must have at least 6 months of continuous climbing experience and know the basics knots, belaying, and be able to climb 5.9 without falling/hanging. We’ll do some discussion but the clinic will consist mostly of falling exercises. Equipment Needed: Harness, shoes, belay device, helmet. Plus draws and a rope (if you have them). — Arno Ilgner distinguished himself as a pioneering rock climber in the 1970s and ‘80s, when the top climbs were bold and dangerous first ascents. These personal exploits are the foundation for Ilgner’s unique physical and mental training program–The Warrior’s Way®
Rocktoberfest, the biggest yearly fundraiser for the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition, is back! As you may have seen on our home page, we’re working hard to raise the $36,000 we need for this year’s Miller Fork mortgage payment. After this year, we’ll be more than halfway done paying off the 5-year mortgage, which means more than halfway to owning over 1,000 acres of land for everyone to climb on. Pre-register for Rocktoberfest and let’s raise the rest of that $36,000 on Rocktoberfest weekend!
The event will take place October 9-11 at the Natural Bridge Campground (the same venue as the past few years) in Slade, KY and will feature a climbing competition at certain crags on the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, a Friday night showing of the 2015 Reel Rock Tour, a Saturday night performance by the Flea Market Hustlers, crate stacking, booths of vendors showing off their wares, climbing skills clinics, and – as always – more!
Attendees are highly encouraged to pre-register. A number of options are available, allowing climbers to customize the event – and its price – to their needs.
Volunteers are also needed – they are what make the event a success year after year. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and it’s a lot of fun! Volunteers get to to hang out with others in the community, making friends and new climbing connections while supporting the RRGCC (not to mention, they get in free the day they volunteer!)! Volunteers can register here. Make sure to sign-up early – prime slots fill up quickly!
A rough schedule of the main events is below – please keep an ear out throughout the event for announcements from our awesome MC: Kris Hampton of Power Company Climbing, and forgive us if things don’t run exactly on time:
6pm: Vendor booths open
7pm: Crate stackers start stacking (thank you, BlueWater and LaSportiva!)
8pm: Reel Rock 10
9am: Yoga with Danielle Bartos ($5 donation to the RRGCC appreciated)
9am: Climbing Shoe Demo at Miguel’s (which brings us to…)
10am: MFRP Climbing Comp starts, and finishes at 5pm (thank you, Black Diamond!)
6pm: Food trucks start trucking
8pm: Announcers start announcing: comp winners, raffle winners
9pm: Flea Market Husters start rocking the stage
8am: Solid Rock Climbers for Christ Breakfast
10am: Clinics head out for the day
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/