From Por­tu­gal with Love,

Climbing - - CONTENTS - By Whit­ney Boland Photos by François Le­beau

The in­ter­twined his­tory of Miguel’s Pizza and the Red River Gorge, and how Miguel’s made the Red what it is to­day.

"He won’t talk to you on the phone,” Dario Ven­tura said of his fa­ther, Miguel Ven­tura, owner of his name­sake restau­rant in East­ern Ken­tucky’s Red River Gorge. The restau­rant was closed for two more weeks dur­ing Miguel’s an­nual win­ter break. Over the course of its many it­er­a­tions, Miguel’s Pizza has been an ice-cream shop, then pizze­ria, then pizze­ria-turned- climber- doss- turned- mega- camp­ground- turnedClim­ber- Ground-Zero, all linked with the his­tory of climb­ing at the Red. “Can you just come down?” Dario asked. I con­sid­ered this from snowy New York. Per­haps Dario, the go-be­tween, thought Miguel would be too ret­i­cent on the phone. So I bought a 100 round-trip ticket, bor­rowed a car, and hit the Bert T. Combs Moun­tain Park­way east out of Lex­ing­ton with few words from Dario other than, " Be here at 10 a.m." In typ­i­cal Ven­tura fash­ion, there was no plan. Dario, un­be­knownst to me, had culled to­gether Hugh Lo­ef­fler, Chris Sny­der, and Porter Jar­rard—three still-ac­tive Red climb­ing leg­ends who helped launch the sport rev­o­lu­tion here—in a makeshift, crag-side in­ter­view (“Some

dude named Whit is go­ing to in­ter­view you guys …” Dario had told them), fol­lowed by an im­promptu nine-per­son din­ner up at Miguel and his wife, Su­san’s, house on the bluff above the restau­rant.

We scoured through sig­na­tures, relics re­ally, within old guest­books from the shop. Miguel had mis­placed some of the ear­li­est ones, like the one in which on Jar­rard’s first visit he left Miguel his phone num­ber and a note: “I’m in­ter­ested in bolt­ing routes.” (Jar­rard is still wait­ing for Miguel’s re­sponse.) Books from the late 1990s and early 2000s con­tained other note­wor­thy sig­na­tures: Dave Hume, the quiet strong­man who es­tab­lished stiff, no-non­sense routes like True Love (5.13d) at Gold Coast and Thanatop­sis (5.14b) at the Mother­lode, and Kenny Barker, who dis­cov­ered and opened routes at Pur­ga­tory.

Be­ing back in my home state re­minded me why I miss the Red. It’s an amal­gam of am­phithe­aters and walls and mini-tow­ers of per­fect orange and brown Corbin sand­stone, home to thou­sands of routes amidst rolling, thickly forested Ap­palachian hills. Sasha DiGi­u­lian climbs Dario Ven­tura’s route When I be­gan climb­ing here Wit­ness the Cit­rus in 2001, I was drawn in by (5.11c) at Fruit Wall. the cliffs’ mélange of colors and im­pos­si­bly per­fect routes that un­furl mag­nif­i­cent hold af­ter mag­nif­i­cent hold. But soon I blended into the com­mu­nity when Miguel em­ployed me in his kitchen, where I worked for two sea­sons prep­ping veg­gies and mak­ing piz­zas. When I left to head West, Miguel gifted me a tiny hand-carved spoon, say­ing only, “I carved this for you.” As I’ve learned, it’s a gift he gives all of his for­mer em­ploy­ees.

Miguel him­self is not chatty; he’s re­served even—a mys­tery be­hind his olive skin and dark, moody eyes hooded by thick, paint­brush-stroked brows. Flour from pizza-mak­ing or paint from his art marks his hands, chafed from a life­time of use. But he’s al­ways quick with a smile. Miguel’s laid-back na­ture ap­pealed to me, and, surely, the gobs of other tran­sient climbers Miguel has helped mold un­der his watch­ful tute­lage of em­ploy­ment. Al­ways in­spir­ing you to work harder, dream big­ger, and per­fectly slice the pota­toes, one of 48 pizza top­pings—in­clud­ing pasta spi­rals and mango salsa—you can or­der here.

The shop was Miguel’s biga: a starter dough. By let­ting climbers auger in long-term, Miguel al­lowed a lo­cal com­mu­nity to form, which has al­lowed Amer­ica’s best crag­ging venue to fer­ment and rise. Miguel’s now, with its wel­ter of out­build­ings and ad­di­tions, in­clud- ing a pavil­ion, bath­rooms, shower shed, and even rental rooms in a home out back, would not be rec­og­niz­able to a vis­i­tor in 1986, when the shop ini­tially trans­formed from a rarely vis­ited ice-cream shop to a pizze­ria. In fact, the only thing they might find fa­mil­iar is the iconic “rain­bow door,” hand-carved from poplar by Miguel, or the grin­ning face on the epony­mous sign above the shop that now adorns the im­me­di­ately rec­og­niz­able T-shirts. (“Oh, you’ve been to the Red?” you might ask a Ger­man climber wear­ing one in Ka­lym­nos.) And they’d likely feel over­whelmed by the hun­dreds of vis­i­tors who overnight at Miguel’s on peak week­ends dur­ing high sea­son, in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber. But the fact would re­main: With­out Miguel’s, and the berth and grub that it’s pro­vided to climbers for the past 30 years, there re­ally would be no Red—at least, the Red would not be what it is to­day.


Miguel is an only child from Maçores, a small vil­lage in north­west Por­tu­gal. He was raised by par­ents Dario and Maria, who worked in the fam­ily mill. The semi-arid cli­mate is rem­i­nis­cent of Sacramento, but the patch­work fields of al­monds and olives and grapes stitched to­gether into a quilt of earthy colors are uniquely Euro­pean.

Miguel re­mem­bers watch­ing his grand­mother knead dough and his grand­fa­ther mill wheat in the fam­ily’s tra­di­tional, wa­ter-pow­ered, hand-built grist­mill—fel­low vil­lagers would come col­lect the flour on horse­back. The vil­lage ethos was com­mu­nal: Peo­ple bartered goods and baked bread in a vil­lage-owned oven pow­ered by wild sage­brush. “It was a so­cial place,” says Miguel.

In 1959, Miguel, then seven, and his par­ents em­i­grated to Connecticut. A trans­plant in the industrial city of Water­bury (“a ghetto,” says Miguel), he didn’t speak much English, and took to com­mu­ni­cat­ing in images when his sixth-grade teacher sat him in the back of the class with crayons. “Art gave me an es­cape,” says Miguel. “It gave me a di­rec­tion.” Early on, he grav­i­tated to­ward me­dia like metal etch­ings; mu­rals, which he painted in the hall­ways of the town’s small Catholic Church; and sign-mak­ing—he worked in a mas­ter sign-maker’s stu­dio clean­ing brushes. He was a vis­ual learner, all ki­net­ics, and in 1971 Miguel was ac­cepted into the Rhode Is­land School of De­sign, though he de­clined for fi­nan­cial rea­sons. In­stead, with buddy Neville Pohl, he drove a 30-foot rental truck stuffed with art­work to Cal­i­for­nia on a com­mis­sioned trip for a for­mer art teacher.

Miguel stayed; he bought a print­mak­ing press and opened up stu­dio. The work I’ve seen from this time—mostly sketches hang­ing in Dario’s house or at his sis­ter, Sarah Suther­land’s, house—has sim­ple lines, re­duc­tion­ist in na­ture, with eerie colors fo­cus­ing on faces, over­sized hands, and mo­ments. It is emo­tive and raw. “His art has an ab­stract feel,” says Suther­land, an artist

her­self. “He doesn’t get stuck on the de­tails. His art tries to con­vey a feel­ing … an ac­tual mo­ment that he felt.” Af­ter five or six years in Cal­i­for­nia, some­thing changed. In an in­ter­view on Kris Hamp­ton’s Power Com­pany Climb­ing pod­cast, Miguel said, “Art be­comes part of your ego … that got to me.” As Miguel re­counted, the epiphany came when he drew a car­toon char­ac­ter lift­ing up the cos­tume of an artist and get­ting in­side. “You don’t need a cos­tume to be a per­son; you just need to be your­self,” said Miguel. “I threw that out­fit out and be­came who I am to­day: a pizza man.” Miguel re­turned back east to the cow town of Mid­dle­bury, Connecticut, where he worked as a main­te­nance man. In 1978, he met Su­san, who in 1980 be­came his wife. As a team, they rep­re­sent the per­fect bal­ance of left- (her) and right-brained (him) think­ing, and in sep­a­rate in­ter­views, each de­scribed the other as “hard-work­ing.” In 1983, Su­san, close to fin­ish­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in nu­tri­tion, be­came preg­nant with Dario. Then, they got a call: “Hey, Miguel!” It was Pohl, now liv­ing in Lex­ing­ton and part of a holis­tic heal­ing cen­ter. He had a propo­si­tion: He owned land in Slade, Ken­tucky, a col­lec­tion of dwellings tucked in the side canyons off the Moun­tain Park­way, with a few other guys from the cen­ter. Did Miguel want in? Woods, a gar­den, a fresh start? Sure, what the hell. He and Su­san bought into the land with $4,000 sav­ings. It even had a name: An­dorra.

It was an artist’s drafty gar­ret ex­is­tence, a farm­house with no elec­tric­ity nes­tled in the green-blue hills of Ap­palachia. “I was cul­tureshocked, home­sick, and preg­nant,” says Su­san. “It was a ma­jor change.”

Brain­storm­ing en­sued. Miguel and Su­san ren­o­vated an aban­doned build­ing on the part­ners’ prop­erty skirt­ing High­way 11 to cre­ate an ice-cream par­lor. The last touch, and the start of a mythol­ogy, was the door, which Miguel had hand-carved on com­mis­sion for a Connecticut health-food store that in the end wanted some­thing more tra­di­tional. The red-haired face at cen­ter, Miguel ex­plains, is Su­san. “I was look­ing out the tent’s screen at the moon when we were camp­ing. And the moon cre­ated all th­ese rays of light around her,” he re­calls. The door still hangs to this day, its paint as bright as ever with just a sin­gle re­touch.

“The gorge at that time was where peo­ple came to party and where the hip­pies went,” says Keith Phelps, an early 1980s climb­ing reg­u­lar from Cincin­nati, “[and] the door re­ally fit in with the old hip­piehang­out ti­tle.” Not only did the Red at­tract the out­doorsy type, but also those crav­ing es­cape and seclu­sion, es­pe­cially with the area’s rep­u­ta­tion as a pot-grow­ing par­adise ob­scured by thick­ets of poi­son ivy and dense fog.

But whether Miguel and Su­san’s new way of life was, as Lo­ef­fler, now an in­ternist in Lex­ing­ton, puts it, “a utopia ex­per­i­ment” or a nod to Miguel’s sim­ple, re­source­ful Por­tuguese past, didn’t mat­ter. In mid­dle-of-nowhere, eco­nom­i­cally busted Ap­palachia there weren’t that many peo­ple. And with­out peo­ple, there’s no one to buy ice cream, no in­come, and no utopia.


The moun­tains east of Lex­ing­ton had not al­ways been so poverty stricken. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the boom­ing coal and tim­ber in­dus­tries brought jobs and money. But the area’s rugged, se­cluded ge­og­ra­phy ul­ti­mately worked against it. Ac­cord­ing to a 2014

New York Times ar­ti­cle, “Those rolling hills might be pic­turesque. But those coun­try roads make it hard to ship goods in and out, in turn mak­ing it more ex­pen­sive to build a ware­house or a fac­tory.” And as Michael Har­ring­ton’s sem­i­nal 1962 work on poverty, The

Other Amer­ica, states: “The irony is deep, for ev­ery­thing that turns the land­scape into an idyll for the ur­ban trav­eler con­spires to hold the peo­ple down. They suf­fer ter­ri­bly at the hands of beauty.”

At the same time, the hard­scrab­ble land­scape en­ticed a dif­fer­ent type of vis­i­tor: the outdoor en­thu­si­ast in­ter­ested in the area’s plethora of caves and rivers and lakes and trails. Though climbers had been vis­it­ing since the 1950s (when the ru­mored first climb,

Caver’s Route, was es­tab­lished), the 1970s marked the big­gest ini­tial surge. Frank Becker (the area’s first guide­book author; 1975), Larry Day (who es­tab­lished one of the Red’s first 5.11s, In­san­ity Ceil­ing, in 1979), Ellen and Tom Siebert, and Ed Pearsall sought cracks that cut the cliff from bot­tom to top. Then, two brawny, self-ef­fac­ing Cincin­nati boys, Tom Soud­ers and Jeff Koenig (the “Beene Brothers”), showed up. Lo­ef­fler re­mem­bers Soud­ers train­ing in­side down­town Cincin­nati’s drained Eden Park Reser­voir, travers­ing its re­tain­ing walls on tip edges while wear­ing a 40-pound pack.

“Any­thing hard pre-Porter was Soud­ers,” says Lo­ef­fler.

The Beene Brothers es­tab­lished routes like In­hibitor at Sky­bridge Ridge (a burly 5.11a fol­low­ing thin hands to grov­elly of­fwidth; 1983) and Pink Feat at Mil­i­tary Wall (a ground­break­ing, R-rated 5.11+; 1983), fol­lowed shortly by a pro­lific out­put from Martin Hack­worth, who pub­lished an­other guide, Stones of Years, in 1984. Bob Comp­ton, Tom Fyffe, Matt Flach—th­ese scruffy guys hit the shores in the early 1980s. The climbers were be­gin­ning to come.

Still, Miguel and Su­san lived a lean ex­is­tence—more op­ti­mism than opportunity. Af­ter Dario was born, in 1984, Miguel kept the grow­ing fam­ily run­ning on the store’s mea­ger in­come and co-op farm­ing. He raised goats, us­ing them for milk, meat, and home­made cheese—think ren­net made in­side a slaugh­tered baby goat’s stom­ach, ex­tracted and tied up like a bal­loon, dry­ing by a fire.

“That’s how we made it,” says Miguel. “Back out in the woods, if you’re strug­gling. That’s how you make it.”

With the store’s op­ti­mal high­way-side lo­ca­tion, it didn’t take long for the two worlds to col­lide. Climbers be­gan stop­ping in for ice cream, and Miguel wel­comed them—he liked their Bo­hemian vibe. In 1985, Hack­worth opened a gear shop, Search for Ad­ven­ture, in a dusty cor­ner of the shop, and the Ven­tura-climber fu­sion be­gan.

“That was right when Miguel started mak­ing bread for us,” says Phelps. The bread—sim­i­lar to the tri­an­gu­lar sand­wich loaves he still makes—emerged not from a se­cret fam­ily recipe but in­stead from Miguel’s own tin­ker­ing. Ci­a­batta-like but less oily, the bread has an al­most crusty ex­te­rior, with an in­te­rior full of fla­vor, rich­ness, and com­plex­ity. You can still buy the loaves, on which Miguel serves his sand­wiches, start­ing at six bucks.

For Miguel, bread­mak­ing was his way to pro­vide heartier fare for the climbers who were rav­en­ous af­ter long days bush­whack­ing through dense rhodo­den­dron thick­ets to de­velop routes. Miguel was the cre­ator, and Su­san the busi­ness­woman dur­ing the store’s piv­otal trans­for­ma­tion, in 1986, into a pizze­ria. Their pies used a por­tion of in­gre­di­ents from their farm. The rest came from a lo­cal co-op set up through the pizze­ria.

Af­ter the pizze­ria opened, Miguel and his fam­ily played hopscotch with var­i­ous houses on the prop­erty un­til, fi­nally, they landed in their cus­tom-built house up the hill. They spent can­dlelit nights heat­ing wa­ter on the stove for a bath, or ly­ing on the floor, heated by a hand­built Korean-style wood stove un­der the home. The gar­den fed the fam­ily, and Dario and Sarah would help each morn­ing by weed­ing, pick­ing out bugs, and spread­ing goat ma­nure. Then was home­school, taught by Su­san; or art class, taught by Miguel.

“We’d paint or chip wood to­gether,” says Sarah, who with her fa­ther would scour beaver dams be­hind the house for sticks that were gnawed off and pointy. “We’d gather that wood and carve totem poles,” she says.

The kids spent most of their free time out­side, play­ing games or chas­ing goats. On Satur­day nights, af­ter a day of fast­ing that was the fam­ily’s own form of Sab­bath, the kids would charge down to the shop to de­vour pizza. Here, they’d hang out with the climbers, soak­ing up mid-1980s dirt­bag lingo and cul­ture: “heinous jams” and “epic whips,” all set to the tunes of the Red Hot Chili Pep­pers play­ing around a camp­fire. The climbers, taped up and cov­ered in blood, would over­take the pic­nic ta­bles out front to sort their racks. Still, even with the climbers com­ing in, as Phelps re­calls, if Miguel sold a dozen piz­zas, it was a busy Satur­day night. “It was al­ways a small group, maybe one or two dozen peo­ple, and we would sit in­side

and talk ev­ery­thing from pol­i­tics to lit­er­a­ture to astro­physics,” says Phelps. “When I look back on it, the climb­ing was awe­some… but the nights at Miguel's are what I re­mem­ber more than any­thing.” Miguel both fos­tered and tol­er­ated his " dirt­bag sa­lon": "No one paid up front. " he says. "And then peo­ple would start drink­ing beer and we'd have peo­ple pay for­ever af­ter they ate. Months." His busi­ness was a patch­work en­deavor—no blue­prints, no mas­ter plan—but he was, whether de­lib­er­ately or not, grow­ing the climb­ing com­mu­nity. Some­one had to: The lo­cal coal-cen­tric com­mu­nity re­mained leery of the Ly­cra-wear­ing hip­pies. Soon, it all be­came a rou­tine and a rit­ual. “We served the peo­ple in the morn­ing—cof­fee, we didn’t do break­fast yet. And then no one would come in dur­ing the day and … I’d sit in front of the store peel­ing gar­lic into a bucket for the evening meal, and that was my job,” says Miguel. Later, the climbers would roll in and it was time to make the pizza. “That was the life­style. That was the rou­tine, and we had Mon­days and Tues­days off,” he re­calls. For Miguel, this was sim­ply what he did.


Through­out the late 1980s, the Red re­mained a climb­ing back­wa­ter, es­pe­cially com­pared to other East Coast ar­eas like the New River Gorge. It was Hack­worth who put up the area’s first sport climb, in 1984: Close to the Edge, at Hens Nest. “We were all look­ing for ver­ti­cal, New-es­que routes,” says Lo­ef­fler. “Mark Wil­liams and I and a cou­ple of other guys put up some routes out at Pur­ple Val­ley—ter­ri­ble, they sucked—then we put up the stuff at Road­side.”

de­meanor, and monk-like tol­er­ance for just about any­thing all con­spired to make him a lit­tle mys­te­ri­ous.

“The lore of Miguel is across the names of my climb­ing routes,” says Jar­rard. “He was like this lu­mi­nary fig­ure. Kind of enig­matic … Liv­ing up in the hills.”

Camped out in the Love Shack but with no reg­u­lar week­day part­ners, Jar­rard took to solo bolt­ing missions, with many of his route names in­spired by the Ven­tura fam­ily. At Mil­i­tary Wall, there were Sun­shine and Moon­beam, which he named af­ter Dario and Sarah (whose names he couldn’t re­mem­ber). And at Left Flank, there was Mercy the Huff, named for Miguel’s ex­cla­ma­tion upon en­ter­ing a room­ful of guys hav­ing a toke.


Ac­tiv­ity slowed with a bolt­ing ban im­posed by the Na­tional For­est Ser­vice in 1993, based off the mis­per­cep­tion that climbers were trash­ing for­merly pris­tine ar­eas, as well as swirlings of ten­sion be­tween sport and trad climbers that had even re­sulted in bolt chop­ping. While the to­tal ban was lifted in 1996, re­stric­tions about bolt­ing on the NFS land have re­mained in place. One up­shot of this was that it spurred de­vel­op­ment in the South­ern Re­gion, where Sny­der had found the Mother­lode. That same year, Miguel and Su­san’s third child, Mark, was born and the fam­ily was com­plete.

The Mother­lode was a jack­pot of steep sport climb­ing, and ush­ered in a flurry of de­volve­ment in the early 2000s, such as at the Pen­der­grass-Mur­ray Recre­ational Pre­serve—a crown jewel and mile­stone in climber-owned crags—which in­cludes Dark Side, Gold Coast, Drive-By, and Pur­ga­tory. Ramsey, Hume, and Ben Cas­sel es­tab­lished a num­ber of 5.14s on th­ese walls. As more routes were bolted, peo­ple started to re­al­ize that the Red’s sport climbs were bet­ter than any­thing they had seen in Amer­ica. Then, in 2007, the Petzl Roc Trip hap­pened, and the Red ex­ploded. Miguel con­tin­ued ac­com­mo­dat­ing climbers by slowly ex­pand­ing his en­ter­prise, one kitchen or camp­ground ad­di­tion at a time. It was a care­ful, or­ganic growth, much in our sport’s anti-ma­te­ri­al­is­tic vein, an ar­ti­fact of its coun­ter­cul­tural roots.

“There wasn’t some cap­i­tal­ist nar­ra­tive go­ing on. I re­mem­ber the ac­cre­tion on the out­side of the build­ing and how it sprouted out like a lit­tle mush­room into other parts of the kitchen,” re­calls Jar­rard. “It’s a com­plete coun­try, ver­nac­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture-style … he would ex­pand only when he had to.”

The im­age of dirt and of growth was fit­ting. Some­thing that sur­vived and grew in the scruffi­est of cir­cum­stances. Some­thing that on its own ac­cord found its place to sur­vive and pros­per. In this sin­gle im­age was a com­pressed story: not only of Miguel, and not only of the store, but of all the climbers who have come through. The mis­cre­ants, the way­ward, all wel­comed as in­ter­est­ing, dif­fer­ent, and col­or­ful—out of this back­wa­ter climb­ing area, they grew and flour­ished, mak­ing the Red what it is to­day.

“Miguel cre­ated this or­ganic place for com­mu­nity to oc­cur and let the com­mu­nity de­fine it­self,” says Lo­ef­fler. “It’s al­ways been this pure, au­then­tic thing.” It’s cer­tain that Miguel is a sort of ge­nius, but whether his ge­nius is one of for­ward think­ing or more one of sur­ren­der to the nat­u­ral course of events—of not fol­low­ing a pre­de­ter­mined plan, but of in­stead lay­ing down a blank can­vas and then hop­ing for the best—it’s hard to tell. “Now we’re open seven days a week for nine months,” says Miguel. Sup­ported by 22 em­ploy­ees plus Dario, the store is con­stantly grow­ing. The park­ing lot has ex­panded sev­eral times, pavil­ions have been added, and camp­ing has over­taken the goat field and the Love Shack, which was lev­eled with a cer­e­mo­ni­ous bon­fire. Miguel bought out all ex­ist­ing part­ners in the orig­i­nal co-op, and bought all the houses up on the hill and down the street. One house serves as the gear store and pizza-dough and in­gre­di­ent-prep­ping space, while an­other is re­served for rental rooms. Th­ese days, on a busy night, hun­dreds of climbers might stay in the com­pound, and Dario es­ti­mates that they’ll make and sell out 200 pizza crusts. “I think Miguel could teach a course at the Har­vard Busi­ness School on sus­tain­able growth,” says Lo­ef­fler. “He is the archetype of how to grow a busi­ness sus­tain­ably… he grew it very slowly and never grew it un­til he was al­ready bust­ing at the seams and al­ready jus­ti­fied the cost of what he was about to do.” To­day, the Red River Gorge has about 7,500 climbers vis­it­ing an­nu­ally ac­cord­ing to a re­cent East­ern Ken­tucky Univer­sity study, and climbers bring in an es­ti­mated $3.6 mil­lion to the six coun­ties around the Red. The RRG, thanks to the rich soil Miguel pro­vided for the area’s climb­ing to take root, has be­come one of the most well-known cliffs on earth, draw­ing pro climbers and an in­ter­na­tional fol­low­ing. And though Miguel’s seems to reach max ca­pac­ity ev­ery year as the spring-breakers, with their tiki torches and djembe drums, reach new, deaf­en­ing den­si­ties, Miguel’s is still ground zero. No visit is com­plete with­out a pizza. “It’s al­ways been the case that world-class climb­ing des­ti­na­tions have th­ese very spe­cial places as­so­ci­ated with them that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily the place where you’re climb­ing,” says Ramsey. “They’re not the cliffs them­selves, but they’re where you come home af­ter.”

Miguel’s, with its world-fa­mous sign, an icon of the Red. Florence Pinet shakes out in the Mad­ness Cave.

Sha­bana Ali climbs Scar Tis­sue (5.12a) at the Zoo.

Just an­other night of ac­cor­dion jam­ming at Miguel’s.

Angie Scarth-John­son climbs on God’s Own Stone, a 5.14a at the Gold Coast. A chicken walks through a climber tent city in the meadow at Miguel’s.

Miguel Ven­tura stands out­side the kitchen.

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