Onsight Vs. Flash Vs. Redpoint Vs. Pinkpoint: What Does It Mean In Climbing?

What is the difference between onsight vs. flash vs. redpoint vs. pinkpoint? Climbing is about more than just going up to reach the top. That’s why we have different activities to choose from.

So what is your next goal? Join us today to compare those types of climbing. Then, gear up and get ready for the challenge!

Onsight Vs. Flash Vs. Redpoint Vs. Pinkpoint: Introduction

Onsight, flash, redpoint, and pinkpoint are four popular climbing activities. Before discovering the differences between them, let’s see what they mean.


Onsight climbing requires you to try a route without having any prior knowledge of it. Instead, you will merely examine the path and make the necessary adjustments using your skills.

During an onsight climb, you must quickly and correctly analyze the terrain, prepare your tactics, and execute them accurately while controlling your mental and physical fatigue.

Because you don’t have any prior knowledge or expertise, you must be able to react to unexpected problems and decide how to proceed quickly.

Onsight climbing is the purest form of climbing. During the climb, you can only rely on yourself. Hence, it’s also the most challenging climbing type. You only get one shot to complete the climb, while the chance of failure is high.

On the other hand, accomplishing a tough climb without any prior knowledge will bring a special sense of satisfaction and success.


Flash climbing is similar to onsight climbing as they don’t require any experience in climbing the route. However, you can use your prior knowledge.

For example, you can learn about the route from other climbers, such as the best strategies or potential challenges.

Flash climbers may prepare for their challenges based on the information they have got. Hence, their adventures will be easier than onsight climbs.

However, you can only rely on yourself even when you know something about the obstacles. Moreover, unexpected problems may arise.


Redpoint climbing is climbing without falling after practicing and preparing the steps and sequences in advance.

It means that you have tried this challenge many times before. Then, you can sharpen your skills and practice enough for the challenge.

For example, to practice the climb, you can:

  • Climb with a trainer
  • Negotiate some sections of the artificial mountain
  • Train your endurance and strength

Redpoint climbers like complex routes that demand a lot of practice and preparation. In some cases, redpoint climbs are flash or onsight climbs that climbers have failed before.

Redpoint climbing is an excellent way to perfect your climbing skills. You can easily track your performance and attempt to see how long you have progressed.


Pinkpoint climbing is similar to redpoint climbing. Yet, you can use pre-placed quickdraws during your trip. Another team or climber has set the gear for you to protect you and help with demanding sections.

You may wonder, “What is quickdraw?”. This term refers to a type of climbing gear that attaches a climbing rope to bolts or other gear.

This video will share information about the quickdraws and how to use them:

Pinkpoint climbing is popular in sport climbing. Thanks to the quickdraws, your climb will be less dangerous.

Even with the gear, you still need a high level of experience and skill because you will climb high. Moreover, you can’t tell which gear you will have.

Onsight Vs. Flash Vs. Redpoint Vs. Pinkpoint: Comparison

You need different sets of skills and knowledge for each activity. Hence, the difficulty level varies. This comparison table will help you picture how they differ from each other.

Onsight Flash Redpoint Pinkpoint 
Skills & Knowledge Requires most skills and knowledge Requires a lot of skills but allows prior knowledge Requires more climbing skills Requires more climbing skills
Preparation  No Yes (about the route) Yes (about the route and skills) Yes (about the gear)
Difficulty Level ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pros – Most difficult

– Test of raw skills

– Less pressure

– Preparation for the route

– Climbing kill practice

– A lot of preparation

– Less dangerous

– Climbing skill practice

Cons  – Most risks – Less rewarding – Repeated routes – No pure climbing experience

Skills And Knowledge 

Onsight climbing requires the most skills and knowledge because you have to climb up a new artificial mountain without any information.

During an onsight climb, you have to do everything on your own. For example, you will assess the terrain just by looking. Then, you need to make quick decisions about unexpected things during your challenge.

Flash climbing also calls for a lot of skill and knowledge. However, you have the advantage of learning about the rocks. So, even if the challenge you plan to take is new to you, you know something to prepare for it.

On the other hand, redpoint and pinkpoint climbing demands a high level of climbing skills. You can also bring extra gear to help with your trip.

The rocks for redpoint and pinkpoint are often more rugged and difficult than those for flash and onsight climbing. Even with the gear, do not lose track of your speed.


The rocks for redpoint climbing are the most difficult. However, they allow you to prepare the most in terms of gear and strength.

Before taking a redpoint climb, you have tried the challenge multiple times. Hence, you know the exact moves and sequences needed for each section.

On the other hand, you can still prepare for flash climbing because you have learned about the terrain. However, it will still be challenging because it’s your first time trying.

Similarly, you don’t have much time to deal with the pre-placed gear in your pinkpoint climbing, although you have practiced it before.

Finally, onsight climbing doesn’t allow for any planning. You can only use your judgment to complete the goal.

Difficulty Level

All of those climbing methods have unique challenges. Hence, it’s hard to determine which is the most difficult. However, according to experienced climbers, onsight climbing is the most difficult.

When onsight climbing, you don’t know what to prepare for your challenge. In other words, this climb is a test for your raw climbing skills.

On the other hand, redpoint climbing focuses on climbing skills. You have to practice and learn the terrain a lot. Even when you have tried it before, you may still fail.

Flash and pinkpoint climbing are both hard. However, you can use your prior knowledge or quickdraws to make it easier.


So which is your favorite activity? Regardless of your choice, you must be determined because they will all challenge your skills and knowledge. Yet, you will have rewarding experiences in the end.

You must be excited for your next challenge. What are you waiting for? Let’s set up your goal and get started!

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