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Friday, September 28, 2007

The Red needs your help!

I have always admired the the Red River Gorge Climbing Coalition (RRGCC) The RRGCC is an association of volunteer climbers whic manages, climbing access, crag development, bolt replacement, trails, and a bunch of other things that go into developing and preserving a world class climbing area like the Red (as its fondly referred) What's quite noteworthy is the level of activism and passion in the climbers and members of the RRGCC. All these people have busy lives, usually drive atleast a couple of hours to drive to rural Kentucky (where the RRG climbing area is at), and then recruit, engage and spend a lot of their precious 'climbing' time in maintaining the Red (as its fondly called).

The Red is situated in poverty-stricken rural Kentucky. Honestly, the contrast between us, selfish middle-class climbers who holiday at the Red, and the locals living out of their tatty trailers and eking minimum (or no) wages is huge. The climbers and the RRGCC undoubtedly (though indirectly) play a role in bringing attention and tourism $$ to this forgotten part of Kentucky.

Northern California, my home since last November does not lack its share of world class climbing destinations (WCCDs)...Yosemite is probably the most well known rock climbing area in the world. There are volunteer climbing associations in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, despite the sheer density of climbers in CA, and the general wealth here, I haven't seen quite the same level of passion and effort in maintaining access, replacing bolts etc. Maybe that's an ignorant statement, and I'll probably learn more since I haven't been here too long.

However this post is not about California, its about the Red. The reason I'm getting amped is that I'm visiting the Red next weekend for about a week-long climbing trip. Besides perfect fall weather (cool and dry) the Petzl Roc Trip happens at the Red this year. Petzl decided to join forces with the RRGCC, combining the RRGCC's annual Rocktoberfest with its internationally celebrated RocTrip, and host it at the Red this year More info is found here This event will help mobilize attention and funds from the world climbing community for the cause of the Red.

The Red follows a unique and aggressive climbing access model. To prevent crags from being closed to climbers by oil companies (rural Kentucky's actually oil rich) and other myopic groups, they have gone ahead and actually bought entire crags. As they like to say "If we buy 'em, they can't close 'em'! In order to meet their yearly mortgage payment, they need our help! I'm asking anybody who is reading this post to please consider giving a few bucks towards preserving access for current and future generations. Also for the Roc Trip, Petzl is making a 1 on 1 match for donations up to $10,000. Contributions can be made from the Roc Trip main page

I'm energized to see the Red being promoted by some of the world's best climbers. The Roc Trip will an amazing event. I can't wait!