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Good first 12s at the Red

Original Post
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Hey everyone,

So as the spring season comes to a close, I'm starting to look ahead towards my goals for the fall (besides: climb more). I'm currently a low 11s climber, and I'd like to push for 12 next season, so I'm looking for a good target route.  This is probably a bit ambitious, as I'm just breaking into 11s, but I like to have a goal in mind, even if I don't reach it this season.  So I'm looking for a route that:

1) Is super fun and classic/worth doing

2) soft for the grade, or plays to my strengths (big holds and reachy).  I'm tall (6'3) so I tend to do well on reachy routes with big moves to positive holds.

3) well bolted, preferably with permas so I can throw myself at it without worrying about groundfalls and/or leaving gear.

Ideas so far:

Twinkie: definitely fits the bill for classic and fun from what I've heard, but the permas don't start until the top so I have to be able to send the bottom slab and I'm not sure if it is easy for the grade.

Ro Shampo: I've heard having good reach makes this a lot easier, but I don't recall seeing many permadraws so it might be a PIta to project.


billysimek · · Boston, MA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 1,166

Without permas: Check Your Grip (Drive-By), Hippocrite (The Zoo), Ro Shampo (Roadside), Wildfire (Curbside)

With permas: Starry Night (The Gallery), Beta-vul Pipeline (Bob Marley), Magnum Opus (Solarium)

Also, Twinkie has not had any permadraws for a few years now due to the moratorium against fixed gear in the north RRG. Bring somebody to top-rope clean after you're done, unless you want to ruin your day.

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 790

Check your grip, pine, Ro Shampo. Avoid any Porter Jarrard routes if you want a gimmie.

If you're worried about hanging draws, bring a stick.

David Mehr · · Lexington, KY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Hey Ted. All of the following get 12a and are definitely on the softer end of the grade, and I think are all fun climbs. Some like Hippocrite and Naked involve some bigger moves and will play to your strengths. Go get em!



-Scar Tissue

Chocolate Factor



-J Rats Back

Left Flank

-Wild Yet Tasty

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 735

Ro Shampo is definitely soft for the grade, and is the first 5.12a for many people at the Red. Burlier's Bane is another softie.  Supafly and Check Your Grip are both good/easy/straightforward. Hippocrite definitely favors reach, too.

Or you could do Immaculate Deception or Manifest Destiny, and only look at the old guidebook for grades. :)

Twinkie isn't supposed to have any perma's on it... It's FS land. There aren't many 12a's I can think of that are fully equipped with draws anymore, come to think of it...

Magnum Opus would be a good one, will have a lot of permadraws on it, though maybe not every single bolt... but the crux is relatively low, around the 3rd bolt, so you might not want a lightweight belayer ...

If permadraws are your criteria for a good route to project, do Starry Night at the Gallery. It is new, fully permadrawed (well, except for the first bolt, but come on!), fun, and soft as a pillow, with multiple hands-free rests. That route needs to have a grade calculator at the bottom: Something along the lines of start with a grade of 12a, subtract a letter grade for every inch above 5'2", until you get to about 5'7", do not subtract anything for more height after that. Then add a letter grade for every 10 pounds above 140, stop adding at about 180 pounds...

Just do it fast, before it gets downgraded in the next guidebook. :)

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
BrianWS wrote:

Check your grip, pine, Ro Shampo. Avoid any Porter Jarrard routes if you want a gimmie.

If you're worried about hanging draws, bring a stick.

Holy shit, no kidding!  I've done Porter 10s that felt harder than 11s, and he definitely was not into grid bolting.  That said, his routes are also amazing...

Thanks for the recommendations!  Ew, good to know about Twinkie...didn't realize there were NO permadraws.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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