Tactics for a trip to the Red

I am taking a three-week trip this fall to the RRG and looking for some advice about tactics. My last trip to the Red was 15 years ago, with a trad rack and not quickdraws. I am excited about an extended trip focused on the bolted climbs. My goal for this trip is mileage on sport climbs rather than posting up for a project. I am using the PCC Dru Mack .12 and .13 “To Do” lists to provide some guidance for diversifying the crags visited during the trip.

Overall, I feel great about my prep for the trip. However, most of what I climb locally is overhung but lower angle than my impression of the Red. My interest in tactics relates to endurance building during the first half of the trip. My initial thought is to start with less steep routes and build endurance early, then move onto steeper walls.

So the question for those familiar with first-time trips to the RRG is whether the plan of slowly increasing steepness during the trip makes sense. If so, are there zones that you suggest earlier in the trip and others later? I’m also super open to other ideas about a mileage trip to the Red.

Thanks in advance!

Mileage and endurance is absolutely important there, but I’d put a big emphasis on learning to rest and recover at smaller holds or worse stances. If you can get to the point of recovering on most 11+ or 12- terrain, there are very few routes in the Red you won’t be able to do quickly.

Honestly, the majority of the Red isn’t really all that steep. It might be when compared to most outdoor areas, but definitely not in comparison to most gyms. If you can prepare using terrain that’s 20-35 degrees overhanging, you’re not going to have trouble with the steepness of most areas.

I’d recommend seeing where you are pump wise at a crag like DriveBy, the Motherlode, or Solar Collector that exemplify that style, and then lean into it if need be. Rather than angle, I’d aim more for long and pumpy just to get used to the style. There are things at the Zoo and Shady Grove and Bibliotek are mega juggy long and pumpy. From there it’s pretty easy to find routes that insert a crux or two (almost every 12a and b at other areas) and then the Undertow wall is the archetypal same size hold super resistance enduro climbing.


Thanks Kris! Super helpful and confidence inspiring.

Not really a tactic but if you have a cold ish but sunny day, check out Funk Rock City and/or Eastern Sky Bridge. They aren’t super steep but have lots of classic routes

1 Like


I would also add that one of the best pieces of advice I was given for the Red was to learn how to be minimalistic with hold selection on routes below project level. On a lot of classic 12’s and 13’s there will be 3X as many holds as you need. Being able to decide quickly which holds to use while you’re climbing rather than touching every hold on the wall will save you an incredible amount of energy. TLDR: If you’re onsighting and a hold is good enough to pull on, use it and keep going.

Thanks Nate!

1 Like