From Ben Moon: I have been sport climbing for more than 35 years. In the early 80s when I first started to push myself on harder routes, we did them in the traditional style which was “ground up with yoyos”. We would start from the ground, climb until we fell off and then lower back down to the ground and try again leaving our ropes clipped into the last piece of protection. In the early days of “yoyo” style no working of the moves or “hang dogging” as the Americans called it was permitted.
As the routes became harder, we started working the moves at the sections where we fell and eventually with enough “yoyos” we would climb the route in one push. Since you didn’t pull your ropes at each attempt you were always top roping up to your high point.
Redpointing was invented in Germany by Kurt Albert in the early 1980s and rapidly adopted by other European countries. I first came across the concept of redpointing in 1984 whilst on a climbing trip to France with my friend Jerry Moffatt. It quickly became obvious to us that if you were climbing routes with insitu protection like bolts and pegs, that working and then redpointing a route was a much more logical, efficient and pure way of climbing hard routes.
In sport climbing the purest form is the “onsight,” climbing a route from the bottom to the top 1st try, without falling and with no prior knowledge of the route. It’s probably the aspect of sport climbing I love the most and when I travel abroad to a new area it’s what I am most happy doing.
After the “onsight” comes the “redpoint” and this is what follows if you fail to onsight a route. Redpointing means climbing a route in one go from the ground to the finish clipping all the quickdraws without weighting the rope. Any amount of prior practice is acceptable as long as the final ascent is clean.
There are different levels of redpoints ranging from easy redpoints through to hard redpoints, through to very hard redpoints through to what I call lifetime redpoints. A lifetime redpoint is your maximum level; you cannot climb any harder. At this level the route will take you days and days of effort spread over multiple seasons, and you might only climb one route at this level in your entire life or maybe none! You will need all the stars to align to achieve success.
Redpointing is not for everyone particularly when you get into the really hard and lifetime redpoint levels. The amount of work, dedication, motivation and luck required to climb at this level means it is not for everyone.
This short series of films about redpointing approach and strategy is aimed at climbers who want to push themselves on hard, really hard and lifetime redpoints. The strategy is the same for all redpoints and all abilities and applies equally to the weekend warrior as it does the seasoned professional. I hope you enjoy the films and find them useful.
In part two of my series of films on REDPOINTING: APPROACH AND TACTICS PART TWO we look at the following.
1) When to start redpointing.
2) How to avoid mental and physical burnout.
3) How and why to conserve energy.