Scarpa North America Blog

RRGCC Rocktoberfest 2013 in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge

Oct. 17th 2013

SCARPA athlete Alli Rainey has been climbing since 1992 and has been lucky enough to turn her passion for crags into a career. Alli is primarily a sport climber and started an online climbing coaching clinic in 2008. Most recently, Alli has been hosting clinics at different events and training other eager climbers.

Kevin Wilkinson climbing a route in the Miller Fork Recreation Preserve.

They did it again – and it was awesome!

This past weekend, the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) held one of the country’s biggest annual fundraising events to benefit the climbing community. This year’s event brought in a record-setting number of attendees that will help sustain and grow this amazing resource that climbers from around the globe flock to and treasure.

The timing couldn’t be better, as the coalition just recently paid off the mortgage for the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP), home to many of the area’s most popular crags. Instead of resting on their laurels, the coalition board just purchased another climbing resource – the Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP). This area will expand the climbing area tremendously, but will also require substantial yearly mortgage payments. The money brought in during each Rocktoberfest event makes up a sizeable amount, meaning that climbers who participate can rest easy, knowing that their contribution is well spent.

We arrived at the venue Saturday night to find the SCARPA tent packed, thanks to the ongoing rock-stacking contest. Participants donated a dollar to try to build a tower of stones; he or she with the most rocks piled up before they topple won. Onlookers held their breath and tried not to crowd the table too much, since one little jostle could upset the effort. Around the venue various other competitions were taking place, including the always popular crate-stacking contest and water-balloon contest.

Kevin Wilkinson teaching eager climbers at the Fest.

Sunday morning brought bleary-eyed climbers together for climbing clinics, and the 9:30 AM meeting time is always much appreciated! Getting an early start after the previous night’s festivities would be improbable at best. After everyone grabbed some free Clif Bars and SCARPA stickers, we headed out with a full clinic of 10 participants, plus two awesome volunteers. Kevin Wilkinson and I ran an intermediate sport climbing clinic. We had an amazing group of people who were stoked to learn, asking lots of terrific questions and an overall open-minded willingness to try new techniques and tactics. At the end of the clinic, we handed out swag bags packed with great stuff from SCARPA, Joshua Tree Skin Care, Flashed, Native Eyewear, prAna, Rocky Mountain Sunscreen and Petzl.

After this, our AMGA clinic guide, Blake Bowling, who also happens to be a prolific local route developer, took us out for a quick look at one of the crags in the just-opened MFRP. The crag we visited was inspiring; a continuously steep chunk of sandstone riddled with those typically impressive features that characterize the Red. It seemed quite fitting to finish the event by climbing on one of the cliffs that was made accessible in part by the RRGCC’s annual Rocktoberfest.

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