Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Red River Gorge’s Fixed Gear Initiative
FRANKFORT, KY. – Kentucky’s Red River Gorge has been a popular climbing destination for decades and has attracted climbers from all over the world. Lately, the Red River Gorge has begun to show a few signs of aging.
The Red River Gorge earned its reputation as a destination for sport climbing, but there are several traditional climbing routes in the Red River Gorge also. Sport climbing, as opposed to traditional climbing, incorporates the use of bolts permanently placed into the rock face to create the climbing “routes.” Traditional routes incorporate the use of anchors. There are currently over 2,000 routes in the Red River Gorge and that number continues to grow.
The majority of the bolts and anchors used in the development of Red River Gorge routes were zinc plated. Many of these bolts are starting to reach the end of their expected life spans and are corroding. This issue affects all climbers, particularly those who are new and possibly more likely to trust bolts.
The Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Initiative has been established to address this very issue. This group has established a website and social media accounts where climbers and industry professionals can get informed and get involved. www.rrgfgi.com.
The Fixed Gear Initiative was created to form a partnership among developers, climbers, industry professionals and nonprofit groups to promote sustainable climbing solutions in the Red River Gorge. The director of the Fixed Gear Initiative, Ian Kirk, said that these efforts will take some time.
“This will be an ongoing project for decades to come,” Kirk said. “Education and sustainability will be important keystones as the Red River Gorge moves forward as a world class climbing destination.”
This issue is not limited to the Red River Gorge, but is being addressed at popular climbing locations all over the country. The Access Fund, a national organization dedicated to climbing access, has set up national grants for anchor replacement projects.
For more information on how to help with rebolting the Red River Gorge, visit the Fixed Gear Initiative’s website, or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RRGFixedGearInitiative.
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