Knowlegable. Experienced. Educators.

About Our Team


Bluegrass Climbing School takes pride in offering the highest quality instruction and experiences available in Red River Gorge, by only employing AMGA certified instructors with proper Wilderness Medical Training, and a penchant for education. We have over 20 years of experience climbing and developing routes here in the Red River Gorge area. Members of our team have a passion for climbing that is contagious to everyone around them and we love going the extra mile to ensure your climbing experience, course, or outing are safe and enjoyable.


*Please specify in the notes when you book if you’d like to request a particular guide, we will do our best to meet your request.

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.


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 ennamered 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-reknowned for.

On his rest days you might find Jacob hanging out at Miguel’s Pizza or whittling a new wood carving.

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.


Opportunities with BCS

Bluegrass climbing School is currently seeking qualified candidates available for our upcoming March 1st through November 30th climbing season. Join our  team of passionate and supportive instructors and guides today!

Join Our Team as a Climbing Guide!

At Bluegrass Climbing School, our mission is simple: Provide clients with unforgettable rock climbing experiences and top-notch instruction in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge and beyond. We’re committed to offering personalized tours catering to all levels of climbers, ensuring each individual feels supported and safe throughout their climbing journey.

What We Offer:

  • Proximity to Climbing: Spend your season climbing at the renowned Red River Gorge, known as one of the country’s best single-pitch climbing areas.
  • On-the-Job Training: We equip our new hires with comprehensive training to ensure familiarity with our area and policies.
  • Guidance and Mentorship: Benefit from mentoring by our Senior Staff to further develop as a climbing instructor and advance in your career path.
  • Discounts: Enjoy discounts on gear to support your climbing endeavors.

Compensation and Ideal Candidate:

Compensation is determined based on your AMGA Certification and Experience. Contact us for transparency in our compensation.

  • Are at least 21 years old with a minimum of 3 years of climbing experience.
  • Hold an AMGA SPI Certification.
  • Possess a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responser Certification.
  • Inspire confidence leading 5.10 rock climbs and demonstrate exceptional instructional experience.

Responsibilities and Application:

Your responsibilities as a guide will include pre-trip client communication, delivering top-quality instruction, risk management, and overseeing specific programs such as Beginner climbing Clinics, Gym to Crag clinics, and Trad Climbing Clinics.

How to Apply:

To apply, email us your AMGA SPI Certificate, work resume, and a list of your 20 most notable climbs. Include a short letter introducing yourself and detailing your relevant climbing and instructional experiences.

We’ll review your submission, conduct a phone interview, and arrange an in-person climbing session to get to know you better.

Join us in providing exceptional climbing experiences and becoming part of a dedicated team committed to making each climb unforgettable for our clients!

Email your application to