Redpoint (climbing)

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For other uses, see Red Point (disambiguation).

In sport climbing, redpointing is free-climbing a route, while lead climbing, after having practiced the route beforehand (either by hangdogging or top roping).[1] Many climbers will frequently try to redpoint a route after having failed to on-sight or flash it, although occasionally a climber will forgo an onsight attempt if they suspect that the route is so difficult that an attempt would be pointless.[1] Redpointing differs from headpoint, in that it is exclusive to sport routes with protection equipment fixed into the rock at regular intervals.

The English term "redpoint" is a loan translation of the German Rotpunkt (point of red) coined by Kurt Albert in the mid-1970s at Frankenjura. He would paint a red X on a fixed pin so that he could avoid using it for a foot- or handhold. Once he was able to free-climb the entire route, he would put a red dot at the base of the route. In many ways, this was the origin of the free climbing movement that led to the development of sport climbing ten years later.

Modern sport climbing ethics do not consider it a redpoint if one successfully climbs a route on toprope without using or weighting the gear or rope, though leading with preplaced quickdraws is typically allowed, even in international climbing competitions. Free-climbing while leading with preplaced quickdraws is sometimes referred to as a pinkpoint.[2]

Traditional climbers sometimes use a variant of the term, greenpoint, to describe leading a sport climb using only natural protection, i.e. without using preplaced bolts or pins.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Berry, Adrian (2006). Sport Climbing + (1 ed.). Rockfax Ltd. ISBN 1-873341-86-5. 
  2. ^ Pesterfield, Heidi (2007). Traditional Lead Climbing: A Rock Climber's Guide to Taking the Sharp End of the Rope (2 ed.). Wilderness Press. ISBN 0-89997-442-2. 
  3. ^ "". Retrieved October 16, 2012.