Press Releases

Access Fund to Refinance Pendergrass-Murray Loan

Access Fund to Refinance Pendergrass-Murray Loan, Saving Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition Thousands

The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps

U.S. climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, announced today that it will

provide Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition with short-term financing to pay off the current

seller-financed loan on the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve in Kentucky’s Red River


The Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve is a classic Red River Gorge destination, hosting

more than 500 climbs, ranging from 5.4 to 5.14c, and new climbs constantly being discovered

and developed. The steep, beautiful sandstone walls are overhanging and pocketed and offer

technical, dynamic, and endurance climbing. The property hosts several hundred climbers each

weekend, with the three parking lots often reaching capacity by noon.

A $65,000 loan will be supplied by the new Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, a

revolving loan program that provides local climbing organizations with the funds and expertise

needed to act quickly to save threatened climbing areas. The Red River Gorge Climbers’

Coalition purchased the property in January of 2004, making it the largest direct land acquisition

to date by rock climbers.

Through aggressive fundraising and two grants from the Access Fund, the Red River Gorge

Climbers’ Coalition has paid down a significant portion of the original loan. By refinancing the

remainder of the loan under the Access Fund’s new program, the Coalition will save

approximately $10,000 in interest and fees that can be invested in other projects that benefit the

Red River Gorge climbing community. The refinance will also eliminate the risk of losing the

property to a private third-party, since a missed annual payment under the previous seller-

financed loan would have returned the property to the seller and the funds raised by climbers

would have been lost.

The refinance deal will set aside approximately $15,000 for land management costs of the

Pendergrass-Murray property, as well as funds to allow RRGCC to pursue more climbing areas in

the region.

This is the fifth Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign project, with active loans totaling over

$200,000. Of these funds, $17,000 has been paid back, returning funds to the revolving loan

program to be invested into other climbing conservation efforts by local climbing organizations

and the Access Fund.

About the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition

The Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition works to ensure open, public access to quality outdoor

rock climbing opportunities in and around Red River Gorge, Kentucky. The Red River Gorge

Climbers’ Coalition works to encourage the conservation of the natural environment on publicly

managed and privately owned land by protecting, promoting, and ensuring responsible climbing.

For more information, visit

About the Access Fund

Founded in 1991, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing

areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents

over 2.3 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing,

mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local

levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and

mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and education. For more information, visit