Kentucky's Premier Rock Climbing Guide Service, based in the Red River Gorge.

Red River Gorge, KY Guided Rock Climbing

Bluegrass Climbing School is a locally owned and operated climbing guide service, based in the heart of Red River Gorge, Kentucky. We specialize in providing customized guided climbing experiences for climbers of all skill and ability levels; ranging from complete beginners to seasoned pros. We offer top notch programming, designed to take your climbing to the next level.

We are passionate about climbing, we do it because we love it. We would love to share our passion with you!

We pride ourselves on providing a high quality, safe, and hassle free experience for our guests. Our guides are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association and hold Wilderness Medical Certification for the terrain they work in. 


Our Guides

Bluegrass Climbing School takes pride in offering the highest quality instruction and experiences available by only employing AMGA certified instructors with proper Wilderness Medical Training, ensuring your outing is both safe and enjoyable.

Red River Gorge Guided Climbing and Private Course Rates

Erik Kloeker Owner and Founder Bluegrass Climbing School American Mountain Guide Association Certified Guide Rock Guide Single Pitch Instructor Guided Climbing in Red River Gorge

Erik Kloeker

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

NOLS Wilderness First Responder

Erik is the owner and founder of Bluegrass Climbing School. He has been professionally guiding in the United States and abroad for the last 8 years. Born in the great Bluegrass State of Kentucky, Erik started climbing by exploring the nearby cliffs and rock faces in the Red River Gorge. Over the last decade, he has traveled to pursue his passion at crags and Big Walls across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. He’s excited to share what he’s learned along the way, back in the place it all started, the Red River Gorge.
Erik’s main emphasis is on education. He finds it equally rewarding introducing newcomers to the sport or teaching new techniques to seasoned pros.

Erik gives back to his community by volunteering with the American Safe Climbing Association and Red River Gorge’s Fixed Gear Initiative, where he has partnered to replace over a 1000 worn and rusty bolts in Red River Gorge area and abroad. Erik is an active member of the  Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team and is a certified Technical Rope Rescue Technician.

Erik spends his winters down South, operating Climb Potrero Mountain Guides; offering multi-pitch climbing in Northern Mexico’s World Renowned El Potrero Chico climbing area.

Travis Sapp, Bluegrass Climbing School Owner, AMGA Certified Multi-Pitch Instructor, Trad Climbing Instructor, Sport Climbing Instructor

Travis Sapp

AMGA Multi-Pitch Instructor

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

NOLS Wilderness First Responder

Travis grew up in North Carolina, where he began climbing as a teenager. He first discovered his passion for instructing on a NOLS outdoor educator semester in Wyoming and Utah. Following this course he traveled the world climbing in Spain, Japan, Patagonia, Morocco and the western U.S. before finding his way to the Red River Gorge. 

Clients find Travis to be an easy going and knowledgeable instructor who strives to connect with clients and tailors each trip to their needs. 

Travis is an active member of the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team and is a certified Technical Rope Rescue Technician.


Henry Waddill Rock Climbing Guide Red River Gorge Bluegrass Climbing School Single Pithc Instructor Sport Climbing Trad Climbing Clinics

Henry Waddill

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

Henry was born in Colorado and grew up in Virginia, where he started embracing the outdoors from a young age. During his freshman year at Davidson College, he discovered a passion for climbing and guiding. By sophomore year he was certified as a top-rope guide and taking his peers on climbing trips to Linville Gorge and Pilot Mountain through Davidson’s outdoor program.

After graduating, Henry pursued climbing in a big way, from bouldering to multi-pitch in North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Washington, and California. Of all the places he’s climbed, the Red River Gorge is his favorite sport climbing destination for it’s steep sandstone and will always have a special place in his heart. 

Brian Stevenson Red River Gorge Climbing Guide

Brian Stevenson

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

NOLS Wilderness First Responder

Brian is originally from New Jersey and found his way to Morehead State University as a collegiate swimmer. While attending Morehead,  he discovered a new passion, climbing in the Red River Gorge. After graduating, Brian moved back to New Jersey to start a family and career. Luckily climbing didn’t end! Over the next 20+ years he spent most weekends climbing in the Shawangunks(Gunks) in New York State. Brian has travelled extensively and climbed all over the United States and Mexico .

In 2021 Brian and his wife moved back to the Red to live full time. Brian loves all aspects of climbing and sharing his outdoor experience with others. When Brian isn’t climbing you may see him running the trails and getting lost in the RRG. Brian is also an active member of Wolfe County Search and Rescue.

David Pierdinock

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

NOLS Wilderness First Responder

From a young age, David has been drawn to the outdoors.  David’s childhood interests in hiking, fishing, and camping were quickly overshadowed by a fascination with climbing after he went on a climbing trip to the Red River Gorge while studying Environmental Science at the University of Notre Dame.  After graduating, he moved from his hometown in Illinois to the Red River Gorge to pursue his passion for rock climbing full time.

David enjoys a multitude of climbing styles from single pitch sport climbs to long, traditional multi-pitch routes in the mountains.  He has ticked off over 600 routes in the Red River Gorge.

David and has a passion for sharing his love of climbing with others and puts an emphasis on being an educator first.

female rock climbing guide in red river gorge

Hannah Kearse

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

NOLS Wilderness First Aid Certified

Meet Hannah. Originally from Colorado, she spent most of her childhood playing in the mountains out west. When not climbing in the Red River Gorge, you may find her out skiing, surfing, mountaineering, or anything else but working a 9-5. Hannah fell in love with climbing in college and discovered a passion for instructing while studying a minor in outdoor leadership. Since graduating she has had the opportunity to climb all over the country and internationally in places like Alaska, California, Utah, Spain, Tanzania, and Mexico. However, the rock in the Red River Gorge is her favorite and where she chooses to spend most of her time.

Hannah has been described as personable and competent. You can expect a fun and productive day out climbing with her.

Jacob Holland

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

NOLS Wilderness First Responder

Hailing from Northern Alabama, Jacob fell in love with climbing on a NOLS course in Red Rock Canyon, NV, where he became enamored with the stunning landscapes and unique perspectives the sport provides us.

Jacob moved to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge to take advantage of the overhanging sandstone cliffs and unique geological formations the area is world-renowned for.

On his rest days you might find Jacob hanging out at Miguel’s Pizza or eluding get his photo taken for the website.

Rocktoberfest 2023 Schedule of Events

Bluegrass Climbing School is excited to host a booth and clinics at this years RRGCC Rocktoberfest.

Check out the schedule of events and info on clinics below and don’t forget to come say hello at the festival!

Rocktoberfest 2023 

When: October 5, 2023 @ 5:00PM — October 8, 2023 @ 3:00PM

Where: Land of the Arches Campground: 5150 KY-715 Campton, KY 41301

Thursday @ Redpoint BBQ

5 – 10 PM: Happy Hour at Redpoint Barbecue with Maker’s Mark
5 – 9 PM: Maker’s Mark Makers’ Market with Local Artists & Vendors
6 – 8 PM: Katie Brown “Unraveled” Book Signing
9 PM: Music with DJs Seppe March & Marcellus Holmes

Friday, October 6th

5 PM: Registration, Food, & Sponsor Booths Open!
5 – 9 PM: Russ Clune “The Lifer” Book Signing with Black Diamond
5 – 8 PM: Ocún Hand Jam Hang (Qualifying round)
6 – 8 PM: Dyno Comp Tryouts (Stop in for qualifications at any time)
8 – 8:15 PM: Tools of Ascension, presented by YETI
8:15 – 8:30 PM: RRGCC Legacy Awards
8:30 – 9 PM: Sleeping Lion film, presented by Tenaya
9 – 9:30 PM: Live Q&A with Chris Sharma
9:30 – 10 PM: The Illness (Festival Cut), presented by Wilkinson Visual

Saturday, October 7th 

8 AM: Cinnamon Rolls & Coffee at Miguel’s Gear Shop
8 – 9 AM: Yoga for Climbers in the Hangar ($5 Suggested Donation)
8 – 9 AM: Shoe & Harness Demos at Land of the Arches
9 AM – 3PM: Trango Trail Day… Lunch provided!(pre-register under Volunteer Registration)
9 AM – 3 PM: Clinics with the Pros! (pre-registration required)
9:30 AM: SCARPA Holler Dash (open to all)
— Best costumes, mullets, jorts, & other debauchery highly recommended
— Win brand new trail running shoes from SCARPA
— Earn points on your Clip N Go score
10 AM – 4 PM: Clip n’ Go Comp in MFRP
— CASH for 1st place
— 2nd & 3rd get sweet swag!
5:00 PM: Sponsor Booths & Food Vendors Open
5 – 8 PM: Raffle & Silent Auction — All proceeds to the RRGCC!
5 – 8 PM: Elemental Climbing Speed Comp
6:30 – 7 PM: Ocún Hand Jam Hang Finals
7 – 8 PM: DJs & Dynos (yeah, a dyno comp!) with Joshua Tree Skin Care
8:30 PM: RRGCC Raffle, Comp Winners & Special Announcements
9 PM: Dance Party with DJ Ty Latte & J_Kí!

Sunday, October 8th

8 – 10 AM: Free Pancake Breakfast courtesy of Solid Rock Climbers for Christ
8:30 – 9:30: AM Yoga for Climbers in the Hangar ($5 Suggested Donation)
9 AM – 3 PM: Clinics with the Pros! (pre-registration required)
10 AM – 3 PM: Red River Gorge Facelift with the Yosemite Climbing Association
(pre-register under Volunteer Registration)
Community Outreach — Lee County Clean Up
RRG Facelift — Cleaning up and removing trash in Indian Creek
Trail Day 2.0 — Stewardship Work on RRGCC Properties
10 AM – 5 PM: Breakdown, Clean Up, & Pack Out!

Clinics with the Pros

Athletes & Volunteers: 8:30 AM | Participants: 9 AM | Depart: 9:30 AM | Return: 3 PM

Arrive 10 minutes prior to start time in order to check in. Please bring your own climbing equipment such as: shoes, harness, belay device, rope, quickdraws, and/or trad gear (if applicable). All participants are required to wear helmets during the clinic. Helmets are provided if you do not have one.

Climbing, Chatting, & Crafting with Sam Elias
Who should take this clinic?
Any climber looking for a casual outing to climb, chat, hang out, and paint a little piece of art to take home. All materials will be provided. No art experience necessary!
Bring curiosity and questions for this enjoyable outing of exploration through your own climbing and creativity. Hang out and chat with professional climber, Sam Elias, while enjoying a day of climbing and painting at the crag.
LGBTQ+ Affinity Climbing Meetup with Cat Runner
Who should take this clinic?
Any LGBTQIA2S+ climbers who want to climb, chat, and hang with others in the queer climbing community. All experience levels welcome; proficiency in top rope belay skills recommended.
Come as you are to this meetup that celebrates a collective love for climbing, community, and self. Spend the day with other LGBTQIA2S+ climbers and explore the Red’s easy and moderate routes. This clinic is open to anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ or questioning and will be accompanied by two allies, serving as clinic marshals.
Intro to Sport with Craig DeMartino
Who should take this clinic?
Beginner climbers who want to transition from top-roping or gym climbing to taking the sharp end and leading routes outdoors.
Come and learn the basics of outdoor lead climbing with Arc’teryx Athlete Craig DeMartino. You will learn proper clipping, using a stick clip, and how to fall safely while enjoying the sharp end. Climbers should have experience climbing outside and the desire to expand their climbing skills.
Women Rock Intro Course with Bluegrass Climbing School
Who should take this clinic?
Those interested in transitioning from indoor to outdoor climbing through a group of adventurous & outgoing women, instead of those gym bros who only want a belay on their sickest new proj. Participants should be comfortable top rope belaying and climbing at a minimum.
This introductory women’s course bridges the gap between indoor and outdoor climbing. You will gain the skills, experience, communnity, and confidence to expand your rock climbing horizons and become a more self-sufficient climber.
Intro to Trad Climbing with Bluegrass Climbing School
Who should take this clinic?
Aspiring trad climbers, participants should have basic sport climbing knowledge, but do not need any trad climbing experience.
This clinic will explore many common pieces of trad gear with the goal of understanding the criteria for solid placements. You can expect to learn about and practice placing gear in a top-rope setup as well as in a “ground school” setting. Climbers should already understand basic lead climbing skills (i.e. clipping, lead belaying, etc.).
Multipitch Transitions & Efficiency with Bluegrass Climbing School
Who should take this clinic?
Those new to multi-pitch, as well as multi-pitch veterans, looking to polish their skills. This is an intermediate-level course, participants should have a good working knowledge of basic climbing systems.
Climb faster on long routes without sacrificing security! This clinic will explore the techniques and planning necessary to make things run smoothly on multi-pitch routes. Topics covered will include rope management, anchoring and belaying from above, as well as descent considerations. This clinic will be held close to the ground, climbing routes will not be the primary focus.
Crack Climbing Crash Course with Bluegrass Climbing School
Who should take this clinic?
Novice or intermediate trad climbers looking to expand their repertoire of crack climbing movements.
Hand jams, ring locks, stacking, and stemming. Learn the variety of techniques necessary to tackle finger cracks, offwidths, and everything in between.
Intro to Trad Climbing with Southeast Mountain Guides
Who should take this clinic?
New to trad or always interested but haven’t taken any steps yet? This introduction to trad climbing may be the clinic for you! No prior climbing experience is required but it is highly recommended to have been climbing for a minimum of 6 months.
Climbing outside for the first time can be a little intimidating. Take the skills you have learned in the gym and apply them to an outdoor setting. Also learn the additional skills you will need to be successful outside like cleaning anchors, stick clipping, reading a guidebook, picking routes, outdoor climbing ethics and considerations.
Intro to Climbing Outdoor Sport Routes with Southeast Mountain Guides
Who should take this clinic?
Have you been climbing indoors or just top-roping for awhile? This may be the clinic for you! Prior climbing experience is needed. We recommend a minimum of 6 months climbing experience. You should be comfortable with basic climbing movements and ideally be able to tie-in and belay.
Focus on the essentials to transitioning from indoor to outdoor climbing (or simply from top-roping to lead climbing outside) as you learn the ins and outs of quickdraws, clipping, climbing between bolts, and route/anchor cleaning.
Climbing is for Every Body with Drew Hulsey
Who should take this clinic?
Any new & first-time climbers who want to get out and climb some fun routes with other novice and experienced climbers alike. Along with anybody who just wants to check out new easy & moderate routes.
To encourage anybody who is interested in climbing, new to climbing, or has been doing it for years, to get out and have a fun session exploring the Red and its fun easy & moderate routes. No experience or requirements necessary!
Intro to Basic Wilderness First Aid with RedSTAR Wilderness EMS
Who should take this clinic?
Anyone interested in learning basic wilderness first aid/CPR skills, or those who need a refresher in the aforementioned topics.
Topics covered will included initial response to ill or injured individuals, bleeding control, splinting, patient lifts & carries, and CPR. Not intended to provide certifications in these skills.
Stick Clipping Masterclass with Ann Marie Maly & Anna Volk
Who should take this clinic?
Anybody looking to learn all the intricacies of stick clipping & those advanced redpointing tactics that don’t actually involve any rock climbing.
Always get to the top of your proj! Never leave gear again! Learn the dark art of stick clipping in this next level clinic taught by the best quickdraw wranglers this side of the Mississippi. But wait, there’s more…register now for half price, only $25!!


Why Choose Bluegrass Climbing School?

  1. Safety: Our guides have undergone extensive training and testing in technical and safety skills. They are trained to manage risk and make sound decisions to ensure your safety. In addition, all of our guides are trained in Wilderness Medicine and hold certifications as Wilderness First Responders.
  2. Training: We choose to only staff AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) certified climbing guides. AMGA certification is a rigorous process that requires extensive experience and technical knowledge. Certified guides and instructors have demonstrated proficiency in technical systems, climbing ability, and professionalism. This expertise allows them to provide our clients with most cutting edge knowledge so you have the very best experience.
  3. Expertise: We pride ourselves on our vast knowledge of the climbing areas we operate. In addition to our expertise on climbing routes  we find the flora, fauna, and history of the areas we guide in fascinating as well.  Many of our guides boast first ascents in the areas we climb!
  4. Professionalism: AMGA certification requires guides to adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards. This means that they are committed to providing a high level of service, respecting the environment, and treating clients with respect and integrity.
  5. Customized Experience: Our guides can tailor their services to meet your specific needs and goals. We enjoy helping clients meets their goals and ambitions, whether that’s choosing the best routes based on your experience level, or by providing technical instructional and guidance  to help you reach the next step in your climbing journey.
  6. Community: By hiring one of our guides, you are supporting our local community. We pride ourselves on being excellent stewards of the areas we operate in. Over the years, we’ve spent countless hours doing trail work, cleanups, and performing maintenance on hardware to keep the routes we climb on safe for everyone to enjoy.

What makes Red River Gorge Climbing so good!

Sport Climbing in Red River Gorge, Muir Valley, KY.

Climbing Guide Erik Kloeker on ‘A Portait of the Artist as a Young Man’ (5.11b), Bibliothek, Muir Valley, Red River Gorge, KY, USA.

If you’ve been around the sport of climbing for long you’ve probably heard about the Red River Gorge, a world-renowned rock climbing destination located in eastern Kentucky, USA. There are several factors that make Red River Gorge a great place for rock climbing:

  1. Abundant and Diverse Climbing Routes: Red River Gorge offers over 3000 routes, ranging from beginner to expert levels. The unique sandstone cliffs offer a variety of rock formations, ranging from steep overhangs and roofs with juggy pockets, to long slabs and crimpy iron rich edges. This diversity of routes and styles allows climbers of all levels to find a challenge that suits their abilities.
  2. Easy Access: Many of the climbing areas in Red River Gorge are easily accessible from the road or parking areas, which makes it convenient for climbers to quickly get to the routes they want to climb. Walls are commonly reached by a short 15-30 minute hike.
  3. High Quality Rock: The sandstone rock in Red River Gorge is known for its high quality, offering climbers excellent grip, and densely featured rock faces. The distinct makeup of the rock in Red River Gorge paired thousands of years of water erosion has left perfect holds for climbing on.
  4.  Bolts: Despite great trad climbing in the area, the Red River Gorge is most well know it’s plethora of well bolted sport climbs, allowing for lots of well protected terrain and fun climbing.
  5. Beautiful Scenery: The natural beauty of Red River Gorge adds to the overall climbing experience. The area is known for its lush forests, scenic hiking trails, rushing waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs and valleys.
  6. Community: Red River Gorge has a strong and welcoming climbing community, with local climbers and businesses providing support and resources for visiting climbers. The community also helps to maintain and preserve the climbing areas in the region, ensuring that the rock remains safe and accessible for future generations of climbers.

Red River Gorge Climbing: Trip Planning Guide

Planning a climbing trip to Red River Gorge, Kentucky can be exciting but also requires some preparation. Here are some steps to help you plan your trip:

  1. Choose your dates: Red River Gorge is a popular climbing destination, so it’s a good idea to plan your trip well in advance to secure accommodations and availability of guides or instructors. The best times to climb are typically in the spring and fall, when temperatures are mild, with the fall being the least amount of rain. Throughout summer and early winter can also offer fair climbing conditions with less crowds to contend with.
  2. Decide on your climbing goals: Red River Gorge offers a wide range of climbing routes for different skill levels and styles from steep jug hauls to techy face climbs. Decide on your goals, whether you want to push yourself to climb harder grades or just enjoy the scenery while climbing more moderate routes.
  3. Research climbing areas: There are many different climbing areas within Red River Gorge, each with its own unique character and style of climbing. Do some research to find the areas that best match your goals and preferences. You can find information on climbing routes, grades, and difficulty levels on websites such as Mountain Project and the print guidebook for the area..
  4. Book accommodations: Red River Gorge has several options for accommodations, including campgrounds, Airbnb’s, cabins, and hotels. If you plan to camp, be sure to check the availability of campsites and facilities, and make sure to make a reservation if necessary. For cabins or hotels, be sure to book well in advance, especially during peak climbing season. Check out Bluegrass Climbing School’s top picks for lodging here.
  5. Hire a guide or instructor: If you’re new to climbing or want to improve your skills, hiring a guide or instructor can be a great investment. There are several local guide services that offer guided climbing trips and instruction in Red River Gorge. You can book an AMGA certified guide for your trip from Bluegrass Climbing School here.
  6. Pack your gear: Make a list of all the climbing gear you’ll need for your trip, including ropes, harnesses, shoes, and protection equipment. If you don’t have your own gear, consider renting from a local gear shop or from your guide service.
  7. Plan for logistics: Red River Gorge is located in a rural area, so plan for logistics such as transportation to and from climbing areas, food and supplies, and emergency services. Be sure to also familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations, such as permit requirements for certain areas or Leave No Trace practices.

With these steps, you can plan a successful climbing trip to Red River Gorge and enjoy the beautiful scenery and challenging climbs that the Red River Gorge has to offer.

Where to stay in Red River Gorge: Camping and Cabin Guide

The Red is by far one of the easiest climbing areas to find camping and lodging accommodations,  several climber campgrounds and plethora of cabins rentals options exist to fit the needs of most. Here’s a list of our favorites!

Author: Erik Kloeker

Climber Campgrounds:

Miguel’s Pizza

The most popular climber campground, Miguel’s is a good option for those looking for an inexpensive communal camping area, at the center of the climbing community. During the busy season one can expect the campground to be crowded, and peace and quiet scarce. Miguel’s currently charges ~$3 per person a night, register at the Miguel’s gear shop.
Lago Linda’s

Lago Linda’s is a great option for those looking for car camping and a bit of privacy, Lago’s is best suited for those who plan to climb primarily in the Southern Region, since it is located 10 minutes from the PMRP and Bald Rock Fork Crags. Expect a longer drive for crags in the Northern Gorge. Currently $6 a person per night, with free showers.

Backcountry Camping

One can purchase a backcountry camping pass for a few dollars a night which allows overnight camping in the Daniel Boone National Forest and Clifty Wilderness Areas (The Northern Gorge.) Passes are available at the Shell Gas Station in Slade and the Glady Visitor Center, among other places.


There are too many cabin options to list, but a short internet search will reveal a plethora of cabin’s at all price points for those who prefer to live luxuriously.

RRGCC Properties

As of June 2018, there is no overnight parking allowed on any Coalition properties (PMRP, BRRP, MFRP). Primitive camping is apparently allowed, just as long as you do not park a car there (i.e. dropped off or hike in).

Other Options

Several non-climber oriented campgrounds exist for those seeking a more family oriented experience, or for those seeking RV hookups. These include Koomer Ridge Campground, run by the National Forest Service, Middle Fork RV Campground and Whittleton Campground which are run by the Natural Bridge State Park, Callie’s RV Campground in Stanton, among others.

Cabins, Hotels, and Hostels:


We recommend airbnb to find small businesses and individuals renting out their house or private cabin. These rentals tend to be a bit more quaint and secluded with a more personal touch than found with the larger rental companies. They can also come at a better bargain!

Red River Gorgeous/Tree House Cabins

Red River Gorgeous is a great choice if you’re looking for one of the few cabins actually located within the Daniel Boone National Forest. They also offer a number of amazing tree house cabins built by our friends Django Kroner and the Canopy Crew.

Red River Gorge Cabin Company

Scenic Cabin Rentals


Located conveniently on 2016 on your way to Muir Valley, and centrally located to the rest of Red River Gorge, Bedrock offers private rooms and a community bunk house with a large upscale communal living space and friendly hosts.

Chocolat Inn

Choclat Inn is a hip climber owned motel, in an old renovated strip motel. In addition to lodging, they specialize in boutique sweets and treats available in their cafe.

Best Restaurants in Red River Gorge

We thought we’d take a break from climbing and talk about our favorites places in Red River Gorge to eat, and have a beer, and hang out with friends! Hope you enjoy our picks!

Places to Eat in Red River Gorge, Miguel's Pizza

Miguel’s Pizza

Not a lot needs said about this one, Miguel’s Pizza is the center of the Red River Gorge Climbing Universe. Since as early as 1984, long before the Red River Gorge was known as the world class climbing destination, Miguel started serving up food to hungry climbers, it has been an oasis for climbers ever since. As the climbing community grew, so too did Miguel’s which now offers more than just pizza, including delicious sandwiches, bowls, salads and an excellent breakfast menu. As well as a great selection of ice cold beer and Margaritas.

The Rockhouse

Located on KY 11, 4 miles past Miguels, the Red River Rockhouse is an eclectic cafe serving up Burritos, Tacos, Burgers, and Salads made with fresh ingredients and staffed by climbers. The Rockhouse is a popular choice amongst local climbers, we recommend coming early for dinner or good luck getting a table on busy weekends. Nonetheless we find the food always comes out fast no matter how busy they are. Their Barbacoa, Carnitas, and Tempeh burritos are the best around.

read more…

The Best Climbing Guidebook for Red River Gorge

When I started climbing in the Red 11 years ago, there was only one choice for a climbing guidebook for the area. Since that time, an explosion of development in the Southern Region of Red River Gorge has prompted new books to be published. With over 3000 climbs now in the area, there was too much to fit into just one book.

There are now six high quality guidebooks available for the Red River Gorge, 3 of which  cover, comprehensively, separate regions of the Red River Gorge. Namely the Northern Region, the Southern Region, and the Miller Fork. Additionally, there are 2 “best of” guidebooks each of which attempt to condense the most classic and popular walls throughout the area into a single book, as well as a comprehensive Sport climbing guidebook. Let us help you sort through all the choices!

Our Top Pick For Traveling Climbers

red river gorge guided rock climbing brendan leader second edition the red climbing guidebook


The Red – 2nd Edition (2022). Brendan Leader. $35.00 ISBN:0958079099

The second edition of the popular “The Red” guidebook includes all of the Sport Climbing crags in the area along with the trad climbs within those sport climbing areas. This book currently leaves out most trad climbing only areas so if trad is your thing you might want to pick up the Red River Gorge “North” guidebook. “The Red – 2nd Edition” is currently the most up to date guidebook for Red River Gorge with the new edition adding about 250 new climbs since the last edition. Overall it’s a great bang for your buck for most Climbers traveling to the region. We really like the format and layout of the book, and how up to date the info is. 







Our Top Pick For Locals

These guidebooks are the most comprehensive for the area, bar none. They’re a great choice for locals and collectors who want to have it all. They are slightly more out of date when compared with “The Red” but offer more detailed descriptions and read more…

The Perfect Trad Climbing Rack For Red River Gorge

Red Rover Gorge Kentucky Climbing Guide Service, Traditional Climbing Clinics, Trad Climbing Clinics, Trad Routes in Red River Gorge, Cams, Nuts, Stoppers, Trad Rack

Photo courtesy Billy Simek

The “Standard Rack”

As climbing guide in Red River Gorge, I often get asked “What is the best trad rack for climbing the area.” You’ll frequently hear that a particular route requires a “standard rack”, but no one one ever defines what a standard rack is. Guidebooks and climbers are reluctant to define a standard rack is because, well.. it is subjective. It depends greatly on the comfort level of the climber on the terrain, and how much gear will use to safely protect the route. Add to that, the fact that each climb is unique and will take a variety of gear and sizes to protect it. 

Disclaimer: Purchasing a Trad Rack is only the first step, one has to then learn how to use it! Seek a qualified mentor or Climbing School to help you along the way. 


RRG Cracks Are Full of Variety

The Red River Gorge is rarely ever “splitter” a term used to describe parallel sided cracks. Splitters stay a consistent size for the duration of the climb. The cracks here in Red River Gorge are filled with variation both from top to bottom, as well as in depth. While a climb may take a #2 Black Diamond Camalot near the surface, further back in the crack may reveal a #1 read more…

Follow us on Social Media