Registration opens for Red River Gorge Johnny & Alex cleanup days


RED RIVER GORGE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Hosted by the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition, registration is open for the annual Johnny & Alex Trail Day 2021 to help clean up and repair some of the many trails in the Red River Gorge area.

This year, to meet COVID health and safety parameters, the event has been divided into different weekends — June 5-6, June 12, and June 19.

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The schedule for the assigned trail day:

Additional information found HERE


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, JATD will be split into several smaller trail day events. It is encouraged that you sign up with a pod of close friends/family, especially for any rock work projects where volunteers will be working in close quarters.

Saturday, June 5th

Bridge Construction — Rebuild and improve bridge out of Sore Heel parking lot

Trail Cutting — New trail system at Unlode & South Park

Green Team — Weed whip and trim vegetation

Sunday, June 6th

New Crag Infrastructure — Build stairs and stone belay terraces

Saturday, June 12th

Belay Base Construction — Build wooden terraces at Chocolate Factory slabs

Trail Cutting — Improve and stabilize trails to Malice and other climbs

Go Ruck — Haul lumber to Chocolate slabs and Unlode

Green Team — Weed whip and trim vegetation

Saturday, June 19th

Stone Work — Stabilize hillside at Solar Collector

Drainage Control — Re-route and improve drainage on Infirmary trail

Bridge Armoring — Stabilize bank on both sides of new Bouncy Bridge

Green Team — Weed whip and trim vegetation

According to the Coalition, John Bronaugh was one of the first volunteers of the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition, recognizing the need for an organization that would help ensure access to climbing in the Red River Gorge. He was also the driving force behind the PMRP purchase. He climbed and bolted extensively, spending countless hours developing walls and trails. Officially, he got the first ascent of 99 routes; there were dozens more that were never recorded. He also wrote 2 editions of the Red River Gorge Climbs guidebooks.

According to the RRGCC, one of John’s climbing partners was his son, Alex. Alex started climbing when he was two years old. In 1993, Johnny and Alex, along with Miguel and Dario Ventura, got the first ascent of the route “Father and Son.”

Johnny & Alex
John and Alex/Courtesy of RRGCC

Tragically, John died of a heart attack in August of 2004, and just months later Alex was killed in a car accident. They were an integral part of the Red River Gorge and the climbing community, and while the area and the people who frequent it are better off for them having been here, they are also poorer for their absence. That is why every summer we get together to work on the land they loved, the land we are now tasked with caring for. At Johnny and Alex Trail Day, we come together to honor two people who died too young and left behind an incredible impact on the community. It is a way for people to give back to the area they loved just like Johnny and Alex had done for years, doing so behind the scenes… never asking for recognition, according to RRGCC description of the event.