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What's the difference between an onsight, redpoint, and flash?

These are styles in which a climb was completed.

  • Onsight: To climb, from the ground-up, without prior beta or knowledge of the route.
  • Redpoint: To climb on lead to the top without hanging on the rope, having fallen previously.

These two terms not only indicate a style of climbing, but a method of practice. An onsight climber will climb new routes and enjoys the process of discovery. A redpoint climber will rehearse the movement on a project climb over and over until they're able to send and then move on to the next, enjoying physical stress and the process of self-improvement.

Redpoint climbing is coupled more closely with sport climbing and onsight climbing is somewhat more aligned with trad climbing.

  • Flash: Having received beta on the climb, the climber completes the ascent on the first try.

The terms onsight and flash can also be used in bouldering, although this is less common.

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