I have witnessed the explosion in popularity of rock climbing in the Red River Gorge over the past two decades and it is not slowing down. My first guidebook to the area was the 1993 edition of Red River Gorge Climbs by John Bronaugh. The guide was spiral bound with black and white photos and contained around 700 climbs with descriptions so witty that reading it was like reading a novel. Now here we are 21 years later and the guidebook spans two, soon to be three, separate print volumes with full color professional photos, paid advertisements from large retailers, and a durable cover to protect the book from the elements.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of grades, quality, number of routes, walls, and land purchases a print guidebook serves as a snapshot in time of a fast evolving system. Documenting this evolution becomes difficult when time between guidebook publications can span years. Although I do believe that print guides will always have a place in the backpack a climber’s visit to such a vast area is best supplemented with a more dynamic method of content delivery. The app from rakkup and Wolverine Publishing serves this purpose well since it offers the authors an easy to use interface for making quick updates to the content and preventing situations where you may think you’re warming up on a 5.10 but are actually hopping on the latest Adam Ondra project that went in last week. Yep, stuff like that really does happen around here. You wouldn’t believe it.
Check out Ray’s Red River Gorge South and Red River Gorge North guidebooks on rakkup or his Red River Climbing website.