Redpoint (climbing)

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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 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.[citation needed]

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]

Notable ascents[edit]

Adam Ondra competing at the World Cup in Imst, 2009

9c (5.15d) (unconfirmed):

  • Silence (formerly known as Project Hard)[4] - Flatanger (NOR) - September 3, 2017 - First ascent by Adam Ondra, who described it as "much harder than anything else" he had previously done, and cautiously suggested the 9c rating. The route is about 45 m long. The first 20 m are about 8b (5.13d), followed by three distinct boulder problems: an extremely hard 8C, a "burly 4-move" 8B and a 7C+ with slippery feet. The first one was described by Ondra as the hardest 8C (V15) he ever climbed. It consists of 10 incredibly hard and unusual moves, including single-finger locks, climbing upside down and a variation of a figure four move.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

9b+ (5.15c):

9b (5.15b):

  • Akira - Vilhonneur cave (Périgord, FRA) - June 06, 1995 - First ascent by Fred Rouhling. He proposed a grade of 9b (5.15b), but the route is still unrepeated and its grade is not confirmed.[15]
  • Chilam Balam - Villanueva del Rosario (ESP) - July 4, 2003 - Unconfirmed[16] first ascent claimed by Bernabè Fernandez. He proposed a rating of 5.15c (9b+)[17] but the route was later repeated by Adam Ondra, who graded it as a "low end" 5.15b (9b).[18]
  • Jumbo Love - Clark Mountain (Mojave National Preserve, USA) - September 11, 2008 - First ascent by Chris Sharma. Widely considered the world's first 9b. This route is 250 ft long (76 m). Sharma has called it his hardest ascent to date. In climbing it, he skipped up to three clips in a row due to the difficult sequences, which resulted in falls of 70 ft (21 m) or more.[19][20][21] Repeated by Ethan Pringle, May 2015.[22][23]
  • La Planta de Shiva - Villanueva del Rosario (ESP) - April 22, 2011 - First ascent by Adam Ondra. Repeated and confirmed 9b by Jakob Schubert on January 9, 2016 and by Angela Eiter on October 22, 2017. Eiter became the first woman in history to successfully climb a route graded 9b (5.15b). As of October 8, 2018 La Planta de Shiva remains the hardest route ever ascended by a female climber.[24][25]
Chris Sharma climbing in Yangshuo (CHI)

9a+ (5.15a):

  • Open Air - Schleier Waterfall (AUT) - 1996 - First ascent by Alexander Huber, who initially proposed a 9a rating. Heralded as the world's hardest route upon completion, the route was first repeated twelve years later by Adam Ondra, who upgraded it to 9a+, trying to fit the grade to the "new school" rating conventions.[26] According to Alexander Huber,[27] the route is at least as difficult as La Rambla, first climbed by him in 1994. Those who doubt that the original version of La Rambla is 9a+ (including Huber), might consider Open Air to be the first 9a+ in history.
  • Realization - Montagne de Céüse (FRA) - July 2001 - First ascent by Chris Sharma. Heralded as world's first 9a+ upon completion, because at that time Huber's Open Air was still considered to be a 9a route (see above).[28]
  • La Rambla Extension - Siurana (ESP) - 41 metres (135 ft) long extended version of Alexander Huber's route La Rambla, obtained by Dani Andrada by linking Huber's route to another route nearby, via a traverse.
March 8, 2003 - First ascent by Ramón Julián Puigblanque, after more than forty failed attempts. Puigblanque proposed a 9a+ rating,[29] later confirmed by many other repeaters.
February 26, 2017 - First 9a+ female ascent in history by Margo Hayes.[30][31]

9a/9a+ :

  • Bimbaluna - Saint Loup (SUI) - 1 May, 2005 - World's first female ascent of a 9a/9a+ route, by Josune Bereziartu.[35]
  • Ciudad de Dios pa la Enmienda - Santa Linya (ESP) - December, 2017 - World's first 9a/9a+ route established by a woman, Anak Verhoeven.[36]

9a (5.14d):

  • Action Directe - Frankenjura (DEU) - 1991 - First 9a in history, by Wolfgang Güllich. Still described as one of the hardest routes worldwide. Originally graded 8c+, it is now widely considered to be a challenging 9a.[37]
  • La Rambla - Siurana (ESP) - 1994 - First ascent by Alexander Huber, who graded it 8c+ (5.14c). Based on its similarity with La Rambla Extension, a 6 metres (20 ft) longer version of the same route, La Rambla might be considered to be the world's first 9a+, but Huber would probably disagree. In his opinion, both routes are "not harder than" Wolfgang Güllich's Action Directe, the word's first 9a, which in 1994 was still rated 8c+.[27] In 2003, Ramón Julián Puigblanque climbed both routes and graded them 9a+. Since the additional 6 meters of La Rambla Extension were much easier than La Rambla's crux,[29] Puigblanque believed that they did not increase the difficulty of the ascent enough to justify a higher rating.
  • Bain de Sang Saint-Loup (Pompaples, CHE) - 2012 - First 9a female ascent in history by Josune Bereziartu.[38] First ascent by Fred Nicole, 1993. Third 9a route in the world.
  • Sang neuf - Pierrot Beach (FR) - September, 2017 - World's first 9a route freed by a woman, Anak Verhoeven, bolted by Quentin Chastagnier.[39]

8c+/9a :

  • La Gasparata 8c+/9a Collepardo (ITA) - January 2017 - World's first 8c+/9a route established by a woman, Laura Rogora.[40]

8c+ (5.14c):

  • Hubble - Raven Tor (GBR) - June 14, 1990 - First 8c+ in history, by Ben Moon.[41] Due to failed attempts from some of the world's best climbers, upgrading to 9a was suggested.[42] However, Alex Megos, after repeating it in 2016, stated that this was neither one of his hardest, nor one of his easiest 8c+ routes.[43]
  • Honky Tonk Mix - Onate (ESP) - 2000 - World's first female ascent of an 8c+ route, by Josune Bereziartu.[44]

8c (5.14b):

8b+ (5.14a):

8b (5.13d):

Alex Megos climbing Action Directe, 2014

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 978-0-89997-442-2.
  3. ^ "". Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  4. ^ Adam Ondra. "Silence 9c, Flatanger, Norway". Instagram.
  5. ^, ed. (September 4, 2017). "Interview: Adam Ondra climbs world's first 9c at Flatanger in Norway". Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Adam Ondra climbs world's first 9c - Project Hard". UKClimbing. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  7. ^, ed. (June 26, 2017). "Interview: Adam Ondra climbing toward the world's first 9C". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Youtube, ed. (September 14, 2016). "Adam Ondra: incredible moves in possible 9c". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  9. ^ Youtube, ed. (September 14, 2016). "Adam Ondra trying the first crux of Project Hard". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Youtube, ed. (September 14, 2016). "Adam Ondra on the second crux of Project Hard". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  11. ^, ed. (June 7, 2016). "Adam Ondra: the future of climbing". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  12. ^ "Perfecto Mundo Climbed! Megos Makes First Ascent of Old, Futuristic Sharma Project". Rock and Ice. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  13. ^ Dougald MacDonald (4 October 2012). "Adam Ondra Climbs 5.15c in Norway". Climbing. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Ondra Puts Down La Dura Dura (5.15c)". Climbing. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Akira, Vilhonneur cave".
  16. ^ "Adam Ondra makes quick work of Chilam Balam". ClimbingNarc.
  17. ^ "Andalusia Dreamin'". Climbing Magazine. Archived from the original on 2011-03-10.
  18. ^ "Interview with Adam Ondra after climbing Chilam Balam". Planet Mountain.
  19. ^ "Chris Sharma's 'Jumbo Love' (5.15b)". ClimbingNarc.
  20. ^ "Jumbo Love". Big Up Productions.
  21. ^ "Sharma Redpoints Clark Mountain Project". Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  22. ^ "Ethan Pringle Repeats Jumbo Love". Climbing Magazine.
  23. ^ "Andrada Calls New Link-Up 5.15b".
  24. ^ "La Planta de Shiva". Hard Climbs. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Angela Eiter climbs historic first female 9b with La planta de shiva in Spain". Planet Mountain. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Adam Ondra Open Air and Hotel Supramonte". Planet Mountain.
  27. ^ a b "Alexander Huber interview". Planet Mountain.
  28. ^ "Chris Sharma climbs Realization (Biographie extension)!". Camp4. 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  29. ^ a b "Statement of Youth (interview with Puigblanque)". Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  30. ^ "Margo Hayes, first female 9a+!!".
  31. ^ "Margo Hayes on La Rambla, first female 9a+ (video)".
  32. ^ The Outdoor Journal (ed.). "Anak Verhoeven Becomes First Woman to Establish a 9a+". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  33. ^ Rock and Ice (ed.). "Anak Verhoeven On Making the First Female 5.15a First Ascent". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  34. ^ (ed.). "Cédric Lachat repeats Sweet Neuf, Anak Verhoeven's 9a+ and confirms grade". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  35. ^ (ed.). "Josune Bereziartu and Bimbaluna 9a/9a+". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  36. ^ (ed.). "Laura Rogora and Anak Verhoeven score Sperlonga and Santa Linya first ascents". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  37. ^ "Action directe" (in German). Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  38. ^ "Josune Bereziartu climbs first female 9a".
  39. ^ Anak Verhoeven (ed.). "Sang neuf 9a – First Ascent". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  40. ^ Rock and Ice (ed.). "Hardest Female First Ascent Ever for 15-Year Old Laura Rogora?". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  41. ^, ed. (June 25, 2001). "Entrevista a Ben Moon". Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  42. ^ "Adam Ondra, the routes I cannot climb!". 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  43. ^ "Alexander Megos climbs Hubble. The Raven Tor interview". June 3, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  44. ^ (ed.). "Noia 8c+ for Josune Bereziartu". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  45. ^ "Wallstreet" (in German). Retrieved June 11, 2013.