Graded incorrectly (as 5.11b) in the Rock Climbing Washington Guide, Red M&Ms is a great stemming route that heads up the corner just right of George and Martha. Any actual holds on the route are small and some stemming skill is a bit of a necessity. This route started its life as a trad route, was bolted, and now chopped to make for an scary lead on thin pro. Unless one or two of the bolts magically reappear, this might be better as a TR unless you're super solid at the grade and fearless...
Many small nuts. Bolted anchor at the top that is shared with George and Martha.
Feb 2, 2006
This route was chopped almost 5 years ago! It is a traditional rock climb, and should have never been bolted. I haven't climbed it, but you'll want lots of small gear like micronuts and ballnuts. When was the last time you've climbed here?
Dec 17, 2008
This route was originally put up by Max and he always thought it was in the 12's. I'd done it on TR and on lead and agreed it was firmly a 12. I told him he should've bolted it and he agreed but didn't think it was worth the effort. I told him I'd bolt it he didn't have a problem with that and he didn't. I then went out there, I think it was about 1997, equipped with a power drill and a bag of bolts to do the dirty. I TR'd it to make sure where the best possible place would be to sink as it turned out the nine bolts then preceded to go to work. Unfortunately it was a borrowed drill and it quit after 1 and 1/2 holes. I couldn't leave it like that so I finished it off by hand. That's right, I hand drilled 7 1/2, 3 inch deep holes and it took a little more than 6 hours standing in aiders the whole time. Man that basalt is hard stuff. My friends there thought I was nuts but I told Max I'd do it and I did. Oddly enough the pro I placed to steady myself had a regular bad habit of ripping out reaffirming my belief that this was a case were maybe bolts were needed. Some guys from Wennachee came by as I was finishing up and seeing as I was too tired to lead it they did and had big smiles on their faces afterwards. Unfortunately it later got chopped by someone who never climbed the route but felt if he did he didn't want to be tempted by the bolts. Considering all that's been bolted out there I was a bit perplexed as to why someone gave a crap about this route but as with anything, when you put something out there you make yourself open for criticism. Nowadays I hear of people leading the route but first pre-placing all the pro needed which I'll bet is more than 9 clips. Oddly enough, I was part of the first climbers out there when I put up routes with Dane Burns and the crew on the Middle Eastern wall. Ah those where the days, virgin cracks, no crowds and lotsa guns. By the way, I've been climbing for 30 years now and will keep doing so for as long as I can. Do I climb out there now? Nope but I'm glad some people still do. Besides, I live in Europe now and it's a bit too far to go to just do a half a pitch while someone on top knocks loose rocks on me and I have to step in dog shit to avoid them.
|By Eric Hirst|
May 20, 2011
Most people toprope this after climbing George & Martha, but it's also a fantastic trad lead that I think adds a lot to Vantage. I started projecting it recently, and found that the pro is a lot better than many people seem to think. GEAR BETA: There are a couple good purple and green camalot placement down low before the real business, then it's mostly thin (3/8" or so) stoppers and maybe a couple ball nuts. The final crux is hard to protect if you're pumped or short, but again takes a solid small stopper. Bring a good nut tool, as the gear likes to weld itself in hard if (when?) you fall on it.
From: Stone Ridge, NY
Jan 23, 2012
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a
Toproped in May 2011, looks like the bolts were chopped. This could be safely led, but it would take a lot of finicky small nuts. I'm putting this at mid.11 because I've never made it up a .12, with or without hangs.
From: Wenatchee, WA
Oct 1, 2012
Climbs are graded based on an onsight lead, meaning you can't top rope a pitch, lower off and declare it trivial. If you lead climb, you can agree there's a damn sight difference between the safety of a top rope vs. placing your gear, especially on desperately thin leads.
I bet had you decided to lead Red M n M's onsight, you would agree with it's current grade.
|By Josh Kornish|
Nov 15, 2012
Yes often times when routes are bolted the difficulty is easier than placing gear because gear can often time occupy crucial holds. Rating off a TR ascent is weak
|By Ryan Hoover|
Apr 19, 2013
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a
Protects fine if you can spare the time to fiddle with gear. You can place a .5 C4 down low, and a black and green Alien up high, the rest will provide plenty of creative nut placements.
Had one of those freak sunny hail storms start up before the first crux, wetting my holds, and giving me the opportunity to test out what proved to be adequate gear.
Oh, and don't forget to hop onto Crossing the Delaware with your Pants Down afterward. Bring a .3/.4 C4 for this ultra fine climb.
|By Erik Gearhart|
From: Seattle, WA
Oct 14, 2013
I agree with Jplotz. Gotta love it when someone siege TR's up a route and then downgrades it by saying, "well, since I've never done a 12, this one can't be one." It is amazing how many times I see climbers at Washington crags downgrade routes they hang their way up on TR with repeated falls.
|By geoff georges|
From: Seattle, Wa.
Apr 1, 2014
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a
Nice story Dave Fulton, thanks for sharing the history. Sorry you had to go through all that.