Muir Valley News and Updates



Posted May 1, 2014


As a result of damage to trees and complaints from climbers, effective immediately, hammocks are no longer permitted in Muir Valley.


Posted April 16, 2014


See the Muir Valley or Friends of Muir Valley Facebook page for exciting news regarding generous donations being made to the Friends of Muir Valley:




Posted December 3, 2013


Wilderness First Responder Course

Dates: June 14 – 22, 2014

Location: Muir Valley, Wolfe Co., Kentucky

Price: $625.    Special price of $575 to members of the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team and the Muir Valley Rescue Group

Course Sponsor: Muir Valley

Course Description:

This intensive 80-hour class focuses on basic life support techniques and tools for the outdoor professional working in the wilderness.  It covers trauma, environmental and medical issues that arise in a wilderness setting. The class is tons of fun and hands-on skills with the use of scenarios and labs.  This class is a must for any outdoor professionals looking to take their first aid skills to the next level, and to be prepared for anything in the wilderness!  Join us!

Registration Info: Go to and register under “Wilderness First Aid Courses” or call 800.208.2723



Posted September 1, 2013


A HUGE thank you to all 230 of you who worked your fannies off during Muir's Tenth Annual Trail Day! Bridges, stairs, and trails were built; landscaping and grounds maintenance was done; route hardware was inspected and maintained; and dozens of projects were completed. Unlike other trail-day/play-day events, Muir's volunteers labored hard the entire day. So, the number of man-hours worked was... well, incalculable. But, the number had to far surpass any other Access Fund trail day in North America for 2013. A really fine crew of rock climbers performed an outstanding job of helping make Muir Valley a World Class climbing venue. We can't thank you all enough!  -  Rick and Liz Weber


Photos of this event will be posted soon on this website.


Posted September 10, 2013


Muir Valley will be CLOSED TO CLIMBING all day on Saturday, September 28, 2013 for our Annual Trail Day activities. Want to help out? Go to: to get more details and to preregister.


Well, the


Posted September 1, 2013


Well, the fall climbing season has started in earnest. 80 cars on Friday; 102 on Saturday; and 115 Sunday. And we still have Monday (Labor Day) to go! Everyone is learning to spread out to the 30 different walls in Muir, so overcrowding is becoming less of a problem. The three new restrooms in the Valley floor are seeing a lot of business as are the two at the main parking lot. Just that much less impact on the fragile ecosystem down here.


We recorded the number of visitors per vehicle on Saturday and Sunday, and the average was 3.29 persons per vehicle.  That came to 240 visitors on Friday, and 714 visitors for Sat and Sun. This average stays surprisingly constant throughout most of the year. But in March and the first half of April, it jumps to over 4.0 per car. We think this is due to Spring Break kids packing more people into vehicles than our average visitors.


And so the good news is this: With close to a thousand visitors during the first three days of the extended four-day Labor Day weekend, there were no emergency responses.


Based on last year's stats, it looks like we will end 2013 with close to 42,000 visitors to Muir Valley.


This year we have made four stick clips available for loan at the Shelter house on a first-come, first-served basis, and they are usually gone by 10 am. We will be making up a few more to fill the demand. Sure beats having to cart climbers with broken ankles out of the Valley. We also have helmets available for loan to anyone who has forgotten theirs.


Jake the Snake—Muir Valley's resident bridge troll— is back again this year hanging out at the stone steps to the Tantroft bridge. He now has a girl friend who shares the steps. Unfortunately, he is not the best judge of character, as she is a rather large copperhead. Please watch your step while crossing the bridge and please don't harm these critters.


The route information guides that we started giving out to visitors to fill in the huge gaps left in the Muir Valley section of the current RRG guidebook have been overwhelmingly popular. And, as a consequence, they are hard to keep in print. Our third printing—the largest to date—just arrived and will be given at no charge to those who request them.



Posted June 6, 2013


We've finally finished installing climbing route I.D. Discs at the bases of every rock climbing route in Muir Valley - over 365 of 'em! This tedious project was undertaken to solve two annoying problems found in all climbing areas: 1) "I can't find the @#$% route; this guidebook description sucks!" and 2) "I wonder what this route is rated?"


  The nickle-sized aluminum discs (shown here) are installed in tiny recesses in the rock faces at eye level at the starts of every climb in the Valley. Each disc displays the name of the route, whether it is a sport or trad line, and the difficulty rating.


Posted May 30, 2013


* Wow! A new attendance record: 165 vehicles on Saturday, May 25. 107 on Sunday, and 118 on Monday. As the ratio of passengers per car here has been running at 3.8, that comes to 1482 climbers for this holiday weekend! If this keeps up, Muir will see well over 40,000 visitors in 2013.


The good news! As usual, the popular walls saw the most traffic. I was at Bruise Brothers Wall all day on Saturday, and surprisingly, although there were lots of climbers there, routes were open and the waiting time to get on specific routes was not very long at all. Lots of activity and camaraderie.


And best of all... no accidents of any kind.


As new climbs continue to be developed, the crowds are dispersing more and more throughout the Valley.


Posted May 15, 2013


* Many climbing visitors to Muir Valley have brought it to our attention that the latest edition (Fourth) of the Red River Gorge South guidebook includes significant errors and omissions in the Muir Valley section. This seems to have caused a lot of confusion and frustration on the part of visitors coming here for the first time—especially those wanting to climb Muir's more moderate routes. As it will probably be two or three years before a new (and hopefully corrected) edition, we have attempted to alleviate the problem in two ways: 1) by printing a temporary MicroGuide that we are now handing out to visitors needing updated info, and 2) by providing a link on this website that you can click to download a pdf file  you can print that includes photos and info for all the new climbing routes at the Front Porch, Land Before Time, and Guide Wall.


Click here for more info.


Posted May 10, 2013


* Work continues on the three new public restrooms being built along the main trail running the length of the floor of Muir Valley. Roger VanDamme, Anne Altor, Paul Shellabarger, Tom Truesdale and other volunteers have dedicated hours of hard labor to bring these buildings to fruition. The restrooms will be a welcome relief to climbers. Their presence is especially important to the preservation of the ecology of the preserve in view of the ever increasing number of visitors—now projected to exceed 40,000 during 2013.


Posted April 22, 2013


* On Saturday, May 11, 2013, from 9 AM to 12 noon, a training exercise will be conducted at Muir Valley on how to respond to a climbing accident. Although these exercises are routinely conducted for members of the Muir Valley Rescue Group, we have decided to open this training for those outside the Muir Group — especially to those who regularly climb in areas where the official emergency response services are iffy. We will be meeting at the Shelter House at the Muir Valley main parking lot at 9 AM SHARP! If you wish to attend, please try to show up a few minutes early, as we will be leaving shortly after meeting to conduct the training scenario at the Bone Yard Wall. This will be a realistic scenario with a fallen climber — very realistic, in fact, as this May session will be a complete reenactment of the accident that occurred at the Bone Yard last Saturday. This incident included just about every challenge that one might encounter in this kind of event, so it should serve as realistic example.


Bring a helmet if you have one. If not, one will be furnished to you.


No charge, of course, for this training.


Rick Weber will be heading up this exercise. Rick is a certified technical rope rescue instructor with both Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and Rescue 3 International. He is also certified as a Single Pitch Instructor with the American Mountain Guide Association and a Wilderness First Responder.


Please send an email to if you would like to attend. Spaces in this training are limited.


Posted April 22, 2013


* Great News! Update on the climbing accident. We've been told by the family and friends of the  climber who was injured last Saturday that despite broken bones, a head laceration, and a concussion, he will be making a full recovery.


Posted April 21, 2013


*A huge thank on today's rescue of a fallen climber in Muir Valley to all these folks: Muir Valley Rescue group, Wolfe County SAR members John May, Daniel Wilkes, and Isaac McShane; Mike Trabel, an ER nurse who assessed and treated the patient; paramedic Larry Little who took over as medic on the carry-out; and all the climbers who volunteered to help out with the challenging transport of the patient down from the cliffs, and we don't want to forget those heros in the helicopter. We're crossing our fingers for a good outcome for this patient. You're all the best of the best!


Posted April 20, 2013


* A super group of Lafayette High School (Lexington, KY) students and their leaders did a huge amount of trail work at Muir Valley today under the guidance and instruction of Eddie and Claire, who head up the Access Fund's Conservation Team. We all learned a lot and were able to lay gravel and geotextile along a large section of the main trail.


Students Jacob, Chris, Will, Jody, Ben, Coleman, Steven, Elaine, Haley, Taylor, Ashley, Abby, Grace, Sarah. And leaders Sarah, Lindsay, and Todd.


Posted April 3, 2013


* Last weekend, the main road into Muir Valley was partially repaired. The remainder of this work will be done tomorrow with three loads of dense grade stone being spread over it and graded. Construction of the three new restrooms in the Valley will start tomorrow. Major repairs were done to the Emergency Road right-of-way today. Hopefully, by next week, Muir's 2.5 miles of roads will be in excellent condition, and the restrooms will be well under construction.


Compared to this time last year, the number of visitors to Muir is running significantly higher. If this trend continues, Muir  will probably see over 40,000 visitors in 2013 - up about 4000 from 2012. Last year Muir Valley was the most visited climbing venue in North America. The busiest climbing venue - including privately owned and trust owned - in the U.S. last year was the Shawgunks with close to 50,000 visitors.


Posted March 18, 2013


* Eleven Warren Wilson College volunteers are in the Valley and working hard on trail projects, such as the main trail down from the parking lot. Every spring, this trail has been a muddy mess. The WW folks are putting down geotextile fabric with gravel atop. What has been installed looks great. And, it has improved footing immensely. Heavy rains today have produced this season's first gully washer. A fixed line has been put across the creek crossing at the base of the main trail to help hikers keep their footing as they wade across.


Posted March 9, 2013


* For new volunteers wanting to participate in the Muir Rescue initiative, there will be two 4-hour courses this year — one on Saturday, May 11 and a second one on Saturday, July 20. The courses are open to anyone interested in learning basic first responder skills in the event of climber accidents. Training is specifically directed to the volunteer rescue activities at Muir Valley, but can be useful at any climbing venue.


The course will start about 8:30 am and will be comprised primarily of a realistic mock rescue, responding to a typical climbing accident.


With two instructors, the class size will be limited to 15 persons on a first-come, first-served basis. Email Rick Weber ( ) to sign up. No charge, of course.


Posted March 7, 2013:


*  We finished 2012 with ten emergency responses conducted by Muir Valley Rescue. Today, Muir experienced its first injury in 2013. The injured climber was a young man from Pennsylvania who took a long lead fall while trying to clip the top anchors on the "Offering" and injured both feet. A member of his party called on the emergency radio at the Bruise Brothers station and both Webers responded. We assessed, treated, packaged, and transported the patient to the parking lot, where he was transferred to a car and sent off to Clark Regional in Winchester for x-rays and medical treatment. Once again, the system worked well.


* Mark your calendars!  The Tenth Annual Muir Valley Trail Day is scheduled for the fourth Saturday in September – that's September 28, 2013!


* March—believe it or not— is one of Muir's three busiest months. March is spring break for many colleges, and the students come rolling in. The second weekend in March last year saw 94 vehicles on Saturday.  On Thursday March 7 this year there were over 120 climbers in Muir on a 32-degree day with ice and water running off the cliffs and muddy trails.


* Over the winter, the Friends of Muir Valley group—and especially Anne Altor and Roger VanDamme—has been working very hard on the plans to install three vault toilets in the Valley. Construction will start as soon as weather permits. These will be very similar to the ones located in National Parks and on Forest Service land. One will be located at the Great Wall Trailhead. Another will be placed in the meadow at the mouth of the Tantroft Valley (approximate center of the Valley. And the third one will be situated in the meadow between the Joe Ponder Hollow (Practice Wall and Washboard Wall) and the Rebel Camp Hollow (Bruise Brothers wall.)




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