Forty Years as the (Un)Offical Eatery of the Rock Climbing Community

The Red River Gorge - A Rock Climber’s Mecca

In the rock climbing world, the Red River Gorge area is known not only for its abundance of routes (it boasts over 100 natural sandstone arches and countless sprawling clifflines) but also for the immense sense of community that has been cultivated by climbers visiting and living within the area over the years. Rock climbers from all over the world travel to the eastern side of Kentucky to visit the area lovingly nicknamed “The Red” and to enjoy the terrain with like-minded folks who share the hobby of climbing. 

The Campground - A Rock Climber’s Oasis

Within the Red River Gorge area, there is a grassy valley just off Natural Bridge Road that offers camping spaces, complete with bathrooms, showers, and even laundry facilities. At the heart of this camping area sits a restaurant almost as well known in the rock climbing world as the Red River Gorge area itself–Miguel’s Pizza.

As a passionate rock climber, Miguel knows firsthand that a long day of climbing can work up quite the appetite. So, over 40 years ago, he opened his pizza shop to feed the community of his fellow climbers. The restaurant quickly became a hot spot for those visiting the Gorge, and it helped to continue fostering the sense of community that is still felt in the area to this day. 

Celebrating Forty Years of Miguel’s Pizza with Gramicci and Climbing Magazine

This year, Miguel’s Pizza celebrated its 40th anniversary. As members of the rock climbing community, Gramicci offered to cosponsor the event with Climbing Magazine to show our support of the legendary eatery and all that it has done for our community. For those of us at Gramicci, we were also showing our appreciation to Miguel for being a loyal retailer of our merchandise at his rock climbing gear shop–we were the first rock climbing apparel brand that he chose to work with when he opened his doors all those decades ago. 

To celebrate the occasion, members of the rock climbing community descended on the campground for a day of live entertainment, free beer and whisky, and, of course, free pizza. Gramicci and Climbing sponsored the live entertainment, bringing in the band Widely Grown. As the night progressed, Widely Grown kept the party alive with their music and enthusiastic performance. At one point in the set, their lead guitarist, James Calleo, jumped into the crowd for some surfing, and the energy could be felt throughout the masses.

Gramicci also contributed to the festivities by designing a t-shirt that included Miguel’s logo of a rock-climbing man. The t-shirts were sold at the campground during the anniversary party, and the proceeds were then donated to the Access Fund and Red River Gorge Climbing Coalition Project. This organization directly benefits the rock climbing community through its efforts to “protect and conserve the amazing lands that give so much to climbers. That means showing up in Washington, D.C., buying threatened climbing areas, and rolling up our sleeves to build sustainable trails and climbing areas.”

If you would like to read more about the Access Fund and Red River Gorge Climbing Coalition Project, you can visit


Continuous Community of Rock Climbing Enthusiasts

Those of us at Gramicci would like to again thank Miguel for his impact on the rock-climbing community and for being a long-time loyal supporter of the Gramicci brand. We also would like to thank Climbing for cosponsoring this event with us and helping to make it the great success that it was. And, of course, we would like to thank every person who was present at the event and helped support this piece of paradise for our fellow rock climbers. 

Happy Anniversary Miguel’s Pizza! Here’s to another forty years of serving great pizza and cultivating a comfortable oasis for rock climbing enthusiasts.

October 18, 2023