redpoint v pinkpoint

Redpoint vs pinkpoint – Everything you need to know

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Redpoint vs pinkpoint – What is the difference? Ohh Yeah! I’ve redpointed a ____ (feel free to fill in the grade you want). I’ve heard that all the time. Climbers saying they had redpointed this or redpointed that. Redpointing is a term used by sport climbers. So what does it mean to redpoint?

Redpointing is something we are all very familiar with. Redpointing a route means free-climbing it by leading without falling or hanging on a piece of protection to rest. So what is pinkpoint and why don’t we know about it?

Pinkpoint – What is it

The older climbers or rather climbers who started climbing in the late 90s to mid-2000s would have heard the term pink pointing. If you look up older climbing guidebooks you will also see the term pinkpoint under climbing terms or jargon. So what is pinkpoint? Before explaining what it is, firstly we’ll need to know what redpoint used to mean. Redpointing is (or rather was) when a climber free-climbs a route by leading without pre-placed draws on the wall. So pinkpoint is just a term to differentiate climbers that lead climb up a route with quickdraws already in place.

In the past to redpoint a route you’ll need to carry up the quickdraws yourself and clip them to the hangers before clipping your rope. Hence the need for the term pinkpoint. So others will know who is the “stronger” climber. If you mainly climb in gyms with pre-place quickdraws you might not think much about it. How much harder can leading up a route without pre-placed quickdraws? Trust me it is hard, especially if you are climbing at your limit.

Is Pinkpoint necessary

The term Pinkpoint is no longer used by sport climbers as it is deemed unnecessary. I am not quite sure why it is so. If you are redpointing a hard 30-meter sport route that requires 20 quickdraws I believe it makes a big difference if you are bringing up the draws.

If I sent a sport route with quickdraws already up compared to someone who sent it by bringing up and clipping in the draws I will give the man much more respect. That is the reason why I believe the term pinkpoint was created in the first place. It is to allow climbers to know exactly how you sent the route. Call me old fashion but I would like the differentiation. There is a forum topic Redpoint vs Pinkpoint with climbers debating on the use of the term pinkpoint.

lead climbing clipping

Is it necessary to bring back Pinkpoint?

Climbers argue that sport climbing is about climbing and not about clipping draws. Also if climbers are projecting a hard route it does not make sense to remove the draws and then put it up again just to have a redpoint attempt. This is a valid argument and yes to push climbing grades to the next level it is not logical to climb with a harness loaded with quickdraws and waste valuable energy to clip draws to bolt hangers.

Most elite climbers are claiming a redpoint ascent on routes with quickdraws already pre-placed. One of the strongest climbers in the world Adam Ondra is on a road trip in the States to onsight 9a to 9b routes. If you notice all the routes have quickdraws already pre-placed. Most onsight attempts are done with pre-placed quickdraws. I wonder who put the draws up in the first place.

Is pinkpoint necessary? Should climbers use the term? Let me know what you think and leave a comment in the comment section below.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. JK

    Pinkpoint is a word that has became, over time, unnecessary and thus rendered obsolete gradually. Nowadays, the term redpoint is used regardless of whether or not draws are preplaced.

  2. SWL

    It seems like the term started becoming for “trad only” when the European (ie bottom up doesn’t matter) ethic in climbing became adopted worldwide and individuals who could climb 5.14 and 5.15 (but could only do it with the draws prehung) wanted to give themselves credit for a full redpoint send (and thought the term “pinkpoint” sounded effeminate).

  3. Steve

    French sport grades explicitly don’t take account of the clipping difficulty on a route; so it can’t be argued that to get the full tick you have to carry and place draws. Hence “pinkpoint” is redundant – it doesn’t fit the sport climbing model.

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