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Located within the Daniel Boone National Forest lies Red River Gorge, a veritable climbing heaven with over 3,000 routes spread across nearly 100 sandstone cliffs. With grades ranging from 5.4 to 5.14, all climbing appetites and skill levels will be satisfied, making this one of the best climbing areas in the USA. Although it is primarily known for its single-pitch sport areas, “The Red” also boasts a bunch of trad crags as well. During these climbing clinics, both rookies and more experienced climbers will learn how to be safer and more efficient on the rocks and enjoy the views in this sprawling climbing area. With your high-caliber guide by your side, you’ll feel safe and progress at an optimal pace. Find out more about why Red River Gorge is the sport climbing mecca of the East from Aaron Gerry, avid climber, adventurer, and traveler.

  • Sport and trad crags are thick on the ground here

  • Climb in a breathtaking setting and marvel at the views around you

  • The routes on offer are varied, so everyone can find something just right for them

Available itineraries

Sport Climbing Clinic in Red River Gorge

Treat yourself to a 2- or 3-day sport climbing clinic in Red River Gorge and fast-track your skills in what is widely considered the best single-pitch sport climbing area in the US. Let an expert guide show you the necessary techniques to be more efficient on the crags and become an all around better sport climber. Whether you’re transitioning from indoor to outdoor climbing or you’ve never tried rock climbing before, you’ll walk away a more confident climber.

  • Day 1: Skill assessment
    Let an experienced guide assess your current abilities to find the most suitable routes for you and start working on your techniques to successfully climb some of the best sport routes in the US. Get back to your accommodations and prepare for the next day of climbing.

    A female climber in Red River Gorge

    Day 2: More climbing
    Put all the new techniques that you learned yesterday to use and complete some more sport routes that are plentiful in this area. Cement your knowledge by listening to your guide’s tips and tricks and applying them on the rocks.

    A woman climbing in Red River Gorge

    NOTE: This is a sample 2-day itinerary. You can book one, two, or three days.

Trad Climbing Clinic in Red River Gorge

Learn how to become a better and safer traditional climber with this trad climbing clinic in Red River Gorge. Let a professional guide teach you everything from learning how to jam cracks to multi-pitch changeovers. Dig deeper into the intricacies of trad climbing and learn all you need to know about gear placement, anchor building, and the techniques necessary to achieve your climbing goals.

  • Day 1: Establishing a baseline
    This clinic starts off with your guide establishing a baseline for individual goals. Learn the optimal ways of placing gear and listen to your guide as they explain anchor building to safely climb various trad routes on offer. Prepare for the next day of climbing, because there is plenty to come!

    A woman climbing at the Motherlode in Red River Gorge

    Day 2: Reviewing and cementing skills
    Today you’ll review all the skills your guide covered yesterday and apply them on the rocks. Even though “the Red” is famous for its sport routes, there are plenty of trad crags as well, so you’ll be able to put your newfound knowledge to use.

    A climber climbing “King Me” in Red River Gorge

    NOTE: This is a sample 2-day itinerary. You can book one, two, or three days.

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Meet your guides

Matthew Kiroff
Matthew Kiroff
Founder of Red River Climbing Guides and a Red River Gorge local, Matt has been exploring and helping others explore the hills and hollers of the Daniel Boone National Forest for over 20 years. He has been professionally practicing as a climbing instructor, photographer, & route developer in the Red since 2014. Whether you are working on a gold medal or just trying to have a good time, Matt is the climbing instructor that will help you get there!
Ian Oddo
Ian Oddo
Ian got into climbing shortly after finishing his degree in education. Successfully completing rigorous Single Pitch Instructor training has allowed him to combine his professional expertise as a teacher with his knowledge of and passion for climbing. He loves seeing climbers of all levels of experience learn something new and exciting each time he guides.
Red River Climbing Guides
Red River Climbing Guides
Red River Climbing Guides
Red River Climbing Guides offers guided rock climbing and rappelling in Kentucky’s world-famous Red River Gorge! They are a locally owned and operated guiding service for all ages and skill levels. With over 17 years of rock climbing and guiding experience, they are well-versed and certified in the safety procedures and climbing techniques necessary to get you climbing and having a great time. Whether you are looking to learn the skills needed to climb on your own or just want to get out and climb for the day, they will have you covered and would love to show you the ropes!
5.00 (5 reviews)
Great for beginners!
Carmel N.

Ian was great! Total professional, but funny too. I was a total newbie and he showed me all the things. Helped me learn a lot and see where I need to get stronger. I had a blast and can’t wait to come back.

Allie Daniel

Ian was a great guide, especially for my first climbing experience. Patient, emphasized safety, encouraging. And he was able to tailor the climbing for my more experienced sister. Definitely worth it!

Charlie Wood

I worked with Red River Climbing Guides a few times over the fall. We had Matt and he was a great guide, both in terms of showing me around the Red, but also helping me advance my climbing. We also hired RRCG for a family outing and Matt was excellent with our six and eight year old. I highly recommend using the Red River Climbing Guides the next time you go to the Red!

Ben Decker

Matt was an excellent guide and great with our kiddos! We learned a lot, felt safe and confident with every move we made and most of all, we had a blast! Highly recommended.

Michael VanDalen

This was a great guide service to work with. They were super communicative from the start and had no problem working with me to help me get exactly what I wanted from the experience. I spent a full day learning gear placement and trad anchors from a guide named Ian. Not only was Ian extremely knowledgeable and an awesome instructor, he was also a great guy to hang out with.

I’ll be back in the area next year and will definitely be scheduling another full day of climbing with Ian.

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Red River Gorge, KY, please refer to the Kentucky Public Health website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local rock climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • 1-, 2-, or 3-day rock climbing clinic depending on your chosen itinerary
    • Climbing and safety equipment

    What’s not included:

    • Transportation
    • Accommodations
    • Meals
  • If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus but far from necessary. Rock climbing is all about using good movement techniques rather than muscling up a cliff using brute strength. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.

  • Red River Gorge has plenty of options for beginner climbers. Whether you’ve never climbed before or are transitioning from the gym to outdoor climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the rocks, and most importantly, have fun!

    For intermediate to advanced climbers, Red River Gorge has loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.

  • All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

    • Helmet
    • Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
    • Ropes
    • Rock shoes (included in the price, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
    • Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)

    Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

    • Light backpack large enough to carry all the items listed
    • Water bottle
    • Hiking boots
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Group sizes and prices:

    • The max. guest-to-guide ratio for these rock climbing clinics is 6:1.
    • The maximum number of participants is 12.
    • Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private tours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
    • The length of the course is most often 2 days for both clinics; however depending on the goals of the climber, the course can take between 1 to 3 days.
    • The prices for the two and three day courses follow the same pricing scheme as for one day, meaning that e.g. for 2 or 3 full days of instruction, you’ll be charged for 2 or 3 full days of guided climbing at the same rate as for one day, but doubled or tripled.

    Rock climbing clinics in Red River Gorge can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

    Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Red River Gorge, most people fly into Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) 2.5 hours from Red River Gorge. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to Lexington and drive to Red River Gorge.

    Alternatively, you can fly into Blue Grass Airport (LEX) 1.5 hours away from Red River Gorge. From there, you can drive to Red River Gorge.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will meet your guide at Sky Bridge Station. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • Day Trips Cancellations
    Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
    Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
    Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,
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