Flash vs Onsight

The other day Alex Megos posted that he’d made his first flash of a 14d. But he’s already onsighted the grade. So is that true?

When I started climbing, 27 years ago, it was called an “onsight flash”. Flash denotes first go. Onsight is the qualifier. There was also “beta flash” and “running beta flash” that were used as qualifiers.

Thoughts? Which method makes more sense?

PS: Day Flash is not a thing. :joy:

Day flash not a thing. Check! But what’s the moratorium on tries? Like if I tried a boulder 2 years ago, was way above my level, remember no beta (cuz I got goldfish memory for beta), come back two seasons later and smash it! What then?

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@WhitPershing i feel the pain, but in my opinion, not a flash. Still a proud ascent, but rules are rules!


That’s the game we play

I’ve heard the term “retro-flash” for this kinda thing . Whether that’s an acceptable level of nuance in the kaleidoscope “flash” types, I’ll leave that up to debate :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Definitely a term that’s used jokingly - and one I like - but also not real in my opinion. :nerd_face:


I jokingly (but kinda not) claimed a “dad onsite” recently. After I climbed 4 bolts of 5.8 slab, my 3 year old let me know that he had to poop so I got lowered down to take care of it. I got back on and sent the route (12a so significantly harder than the part I had already done) while hanging the draws which added a bit of difficulty.

Technically I realize this is not a flash/on-site but I think it demonstrates flash skill and ability level. In this case, it’s part of the challenge of climbing with a kid in tow.

A further question, can you claim the onsite/flash of a route that is an extension of something you’ve already been on?


Love it! Can I get more points for a grandpa flash?

I say no to the extensions. I could make an exception if it’s a variation that shares only significantly easier climbing, but even then I’m outside of the “rules”.


Only if you come down before it gets hard to change a diaper or give the kid a Werther’s Original

Does it really matter that much,at least for us ordinary folks?

If yes: Knowing Beta-> Flash
Know nothing->onsight

That‘s what i‘ve been told is the difference. People freak out a bit about that and probably you can go deep and merely anything is onsight anymore.(chalkmarks,polished feet,often even just the clean parts of the rock is some kind of beta)

When in doubt count as flash,it‘s still an accomplishment?

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I think it honestly doesn’t matter in the slightest - it’s just fun to pick apart. :slight_smile:


Grandpa flash < geriatric onsight?


Uh oh… My first 12b onsight might not be real… I had onsighted “Banshee” and then “Abiyoyo”.

Shared start… :confused:

Also, definitely heard the term “Amnesia Flash” used for something you’ve been on years before… Fun to use, but not a thing…

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If you down climb to the ground and get off is your next attempt still either an onsight or a flash go?

That’s been the accepted rule, for routes anyway. Never seen it employed bouldering. In some places the ethic is just “don’t weight the rope”, so people have been know to untie and jump down to preserve the onsight.
In my opinion it should be done away with, but that’s me.