Climbing in Kentucky: Rocktoberfest 2015
Every Fall, the MtnRanks truck is packed to the brim with t shirts, climbing gear, and whiskey, and the annual pilgrimage to the infamous Rocktoberfest begins.
After lots of long hours designing and printing shirts, it feels great to get out of dodge and hit the open road. While a lot of folks think we are nuts to be leaving our home of Park City, Utah right when the Autumn mountain biking is at its peak, they've never been to the Red River Gorge. Widely considered to be one of the top sport climbing destinations in the world, the Gorge is a climbing mecca for newbies and seasoned vets alike and is chock-full of high quality routes. Grippy, pocketed sandstone is what the Gorge is famous for, and and with jug holds galore, can make even experienced climbers feel pumped if they're not on their A game.
While the rock climbing in the Red is amazing, it's only part of what makes this place special. As with many things in life, it's the things you don't see on the travel brochure that make the Red River Gorge truly special. Here's a little look into the annual week that is Rocktoberfest for the MtnRanks crew.
The calm before the storm. Sunrise in the Harrison, Ohio grocery store parking lot as we load up with supplies.
Upon arrival to the Red River Gorge and in preparation for long days of climbing, you need to eat like you're in Kentucky. Enter our friend and teammate Giray Dadali. Armed with man sized eating utensils, some Tincup Whiskey, and a bottle of liquid gold also known as Maple Syrup, "Gary" prepares to devour a stack of flapjacks the size of small child. You've got to chow down the carbs if you want to dyno up every route. We purposely eat well the rest of the year so that we can gorge while in the Gorge.
After a proper breakfast, it's time to break out the guide books and decide where to climb for the day. With so many options available in the Red, it's tough to know where to start. One of our favorite places to get back in the groove and warm up for the week is The Shire in the PMRP. A mix of fun, fairly short sport routes, the Shire offers climbs that are 5.7 through 5.12c.
Sam Bartz and Giray Dadali leading side by side routes in The Shire.
Walking out after a good day touching some rock.
After a day of climbing, one of the best ways to refuel in classic Gorge fashion is to stop by Miguel's Pizza. Miguel's has been serving up delicious pizza and cheap camping since 1984 and is a must visit if you're ever in the area. If you're getting any less than 8 toppings at Miguel's, then you're doing it wrong. One of my favorite combos is bacon, kielbasa, pasta, avocado, green pepper, spinach, potato, and garlic. Whatever you go with, make it something different that you can't order at any old pizza shop. Trust us, you won't regret it.
We love climbing in the gorge, and as a result we love having the ability to give back to the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition to help them preserve an ever expanding amount recreational areas in the region. In addition to producing all of the Rocktoberfest event t-shirts, we also bring a ton of our own shirts to sell at a discounted price with a portion of the proceeds being donated directly to the RRGCC. It's our way of saying thank you to the people that help make the Gorge such an amazing place.
The people, the climbing, the food, and the friends that we only get to see once a year in Kentucky all combine to make this an event that we love attending year after year. If you love climbing and you haven't been, we highly suggest you add Rocktoberfest to your calendar for next year. Until then, add us on Snapchat @mtnranks to keep up with our adventures all year long, and check out some more pics below of this years fun.
Late nights selling product, talking climbing, and making new friends under the MtnRanks Tent
Ross Downard and Freddy Bartz shredding meat for pulled pork tacos. The tacos were part of a free "thank you" lunch for the Rocktoberfest volunteers.
MtnRanks Rocktoberfest MVP Vinny Casilio getting inverted on the sharp end.
Ross doing his best Blue Steel.
Aerial view of Rocktoberfest courtesy of AlpenHelo Media
A special thank you Nancy and Scenic Cabin Rentals for our lodging for the week.