When the leaves start to change and the cool fall air fills the mountains in Utah, it only means one thing here at Ranks. Its Rocktoberfest time. Since 1999 the RRGCC has been producing one of rock climbing's premiere events. It is hands down one of our favorite events of the year. Rocktoberfest was born in the Red River Gorge for the need of raising money for land acquisitions in the region, on the premise of "they can't close it if we own it". Since its conception the climbing community has acquired some amazing land. In 2004 the RRGCC purchased the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve, a 750 acre tract of land containing over 400 established climbing routes. In 2012 the coalition secured another untapped tract of 309 acres now known as the Miller Fork Recreation Preserve. Since the purchase there are already over 300 established routes and new ones going up on the regular.
Starting in 2009 MtnRanks has been a proud sponsor of Rocktoberfest. We print a load of shirts every year and sell them to the climbing community of the Red to help raise money for the RRGCC. After becoming a staple of Rocktoberfest, we started helping the coalition produce the shirts and art work for the event. Starting in 2010, the official event shirts have been proudly produced by MtnRanks. Our brand was born in this region and we spent all of our time in the Red climbing until we moved west. It was our brands mission in the beginning to help maintain and support the land and organizations that preserve the areas where we recreate.
The climbing in the Red River Gorge is epic. If you have never been, start planning your trip now. The cliffs are stacked with classics and the natural features of the rock are incredible. The hand holds you will pull to will blow your mind. It's as if they are masterfully shaped by the worlds best climbing hold manufacturers just for you.
This year we were not so fortunate with the weather in the Gorge. It rained all 7 days that we were there, and with periods of heavy rain, the event became quite soggy and muddy. However, the best thing about the Red River Gorge is that no matter the weather, there is something you can climb. We were able to get on the rock every day. The plethora of overhanging rock makes for great sheltered rainy day crags.
Hardcore Red River climbers know this and didn't let a little wet weather discourage their fun. The event still had decent attendance, despite some soggy feet.
No trip to the red river gorge would be complete without a stop for some pizza and a cold Ale 8 from Miguel's. This place is a Gorge legend. Miguel plays host to a lot of the long term locals and strong climbers. and the pizza is far from traditional. The array of toppings you can add to your slice is very unorthodox. If you stop by and order a slice, be a little crazy, don't just go with your average pepperoni.
Ale 8 0ne is a Kentucky staple, and to this day it is still available in recycled bottles that you turn in for deposit, which are then washed out and reused.
We've always said its not a slice of Miguel's pizza unless you have at least 6 to 8 toppings on it. My go to is ham, bacon, artichokes, pasta, rice, black olives, and potato slices.
When you get tired of pizza, be sure to check out the Red River Rockhouse. The food is great and features only free range grass fed beef, and locally grown ingredients. Make sure to have them pour you a West Sixth IPA fresh from the tap.
After another great week rock climbing in the Red River Gorge, it was time to put the sun to our back and head West, back to Utah and the mountains.
Until next year Red River Gorge.