What Is Redpoint Climbing?

If you’re a fan of outdoor adventure or rock climbing, you may have come across the term “redpoint climbing.” In recent years, this style of climbing has gained popularity among enthusiasts seeking new challenges and pushing their limits. But what exactly is redpoint climbing? Let’s dive into its definition and explore what makes it unique.

The Basics: Defining Redpoint Climbing

Redpoint climbing refers to a specific type of rock climbing where climbers attempt to ascend a route without falling or resting on the rope. Unlike other styles such as onsight or flash climbing, redpointing allows climbers multiple attempts to perfect their skills and complete a difficult route successfully.

A Historical Perspective

The concept of redpointing originated in Germany during the 1970s when accomplished climber Kurt Albert began using red spray paint to mark his progress on challenging climbs. This visual representation allowed him to track his improvement over time as he worked toward completing routes without falls or rests.

Albert’s innovative approach soon caught on with fellow climbers who were inspired by both the physical and mental challenges posed by redpointing. Over time, it became an accepted method for measuring individual progression within the sport.

The Process: How Does Redpoint Climbing Work?

To engage in redpoint climbs, climbers typically follow these steps:

  1. Selecting a Project: A climber identifies a particular route they wish to conquer through their own personal challenge or attraction towards its difficulty level.
  2. Beta Gathering: The climber collects information about the chosen route from fellow climbers who have already attempted it. This includes studying its features, holds, sequences, and potential cruxes – all valuable knowledge before embarking on the climb.
  3. Practice and Training: Before attempting a redpoint, climbers often spend time practicing individual moves or sections of the route. This includes strengthening specific muscle groups, refining technique, and building endurance to maximize their chances of success.
  4. The Redpoint Attempt: Once prepared physically and mentally, climbers set out for their redpoint attempt. They carefully navigate each section of the chosen route, placing quickdraws along the way to protect themselves from potential falls. The ultimate goal is to reach the anchor at the top without falling or resting on the rope.
  5. Celebrating Success: Upon reaching their goal and successfully completing a redpoint ascent – whether it takes days or months – climbers often celebrate this achievement with joy and satisfaction as they reflect on their hard work paying off.

The Appeal: Why Choose Redpoint Climbing?

Redpoint climbing offers several unique advantages that attract climbers across all skill levels:

  1. A Challenge Without Time Constraints: Unlike onsight climbing where participants have only one chance to complete a route without prior knowledge, redpointing allows individuals ample time for planning, training, strategizing, and perfecting each move before achieving success.
  2. Mental Engagement: Redpoint climbing demands not just physical strength but also mental agility. It requires problem-solving skills as climbers analyze routes meticulously while finding optimal sequences to overcome obstacles effectively.
  3. Sense of Progression: As Albert initially envisioned when introducing redpoints marking his progress with spray paint; today’s climbers embrace this method as a means of tracking personal growth in terms of strength, technique refinement, stamina development,
    and conquering increasingly difficult routes over time.


In conclusion, redpoint climbing is a captivating style of rock climbing that allows individuals to push their limits and conquer challenging routes through perseverance and dedication. With its origins in Germany and the ability to measure personal progression, this method continues to captivate climbers worldwide. Whether you’re an experienced climber seeking new challenges or a beginner looking for ways to improve your skills, redpointing offers an exciting path for growth within the world of rock climbing.