Closure Threat Becomes Reality at Torrent Falls, KY

Date: 12/15/2006

By Bill Strachan, Executive Director Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

In response to continued disrespectful behavior by some climbers, the owners of Torrent Falls, a popular Red River Gorge crag, have decided to close the area to unrestricted climbing.

Guests renting a cabin at Torrent Falls resort may still climb on the property. This closure was announced and made effective on Friday, November 24, 2006.

When the closure was first threatened earlier this spring, the RRGCC convinced the owners to write a set of rules and give climbers a chance to show that they could follow them. Unfortunately not all climbers were following the rules.

Recent flagrant incidents cited by the owners in explaining their reasons for moving forward with the closure included someone who leashed their dog to a No Dogs Allowed sign. Another disturbing incident occurred when the owners were showing close friends around their property and came across a woman urinating out in the open despite the fact that the owners have provided a port-o-let for use by climbers.

In addition to the Torrent rules having been posted in the parking area as well as the RRGCC kiosk at Miguels, the rules and the tenuous situation at Torrent was made widely known to the climbing community on various websites, in the Access Fund e-news, and in the RRGCC newsletter.

All indications are that 2006 was the busiest season yet for the Red River Gorge. While the RRGCC will look at ways to improve climber education about access issues during its planning for 2007, we are somewhat at a loss as to how to deal with climbers who blatantly disregarded very simple and common sense behavioral guidelines that could have kept Torrent open.

We ask that climbers please respect the tough decision made by Mark and Kathy Meyer to discontinue open climbing access at Torrent. Also please remember that disrespectful behavior and failure to follow rules at any climbing area in Red River Gorge, whether on private or public land, has the potential to negatively affect access.

Know whose property you are climbing on and what is expected of you as a guest on that property. Detailed information on the various areas and guidelines are readily available in Ray Ellingtons Red River Gorge guidebook.