Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Red M&Ms

5.12a, Trad,  Avg: 3.5 from 74 votes
FA: unknown
Washington > Central Region > Frenchman Coule… > Sunshine Wall > King Pins


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.

The route starts with easier moves, and then gradually increasing in difficulty, with possibly the hardest move just below the anchor. Avoid using the wide crack on George and Martha.

This route started its life as a trad route, was bolted, and now chopped to make for an exercise in using thin pro. You can access the anchors from the routes on either side to set up a TR if you aren't comfortable on thin pro.


Many small nuts. Bolted anchor at the top that is shared with George and Martha.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Tom Michael on "Red M&Ms".<br>
Photo by Todd Gordon.
[Hide Photo] Tom Michael on "Red M&Ms". Photo by Todd Gordon.
Photo by Geoff Georges
[Hide Photo] Photo by Geoff Georges
Olaf keeping his cool on Halloween 2015
[Hide Photo] Olaf keeping his cool on Halloween 2015
Some serious stemming on this one!
[Hide Photo] Some serious stemming on this one!
The awesome thin twin seams of Red M&M'S. first day of the year 2014.
[Hide Photo] The awesome thin twin seams of Red M&M'S. first day of the year 2014.
Lowering down after a clean send of M&Ms.  Lots of small gear as you can see.<br>
The rope on the left is hanging down on George and Martha's.  Friends were running laps on it when they talked me into leading M&Ms!
[Hide Photo] Lowering down after a clean send of M&Ms. Lots of small gear as you can see. The rope on the left is hanging down on George and Martha's. Friends were running laps on it when they talked me in…
Upper Crux. Photo by Geoff George.
[Hide Photo] Upper Crux. Photo by Geoff George.
Nice for little fingers. Crimpers. This is right before the crux
[Hide Photo] Nice for little fingers. Crimpers. This is right before the crux
Looking down from George and Martha
[Hide Photo] Looking down from George and Martha
Nearing the top of Red M&Ms on gear.  One preview TR before leading.
[Hide Photo] Nearing the top of Red M&Ms on gear. One preview TR before leading.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] 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? Feb 2, 2006
[Hide Comment] 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. Dec 17, 2008
Eric Hirst
[Hide Comment] 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. May 20, 2011
Stone Ridge, NY
[Hide Comment] 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. Jan 23, 2012
Wenatchee, WA
[Hide Comment] Lucander,

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. Oct 1, 2012
Josh Kornish
[Hide Comment] 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 Nov 15, 2012
Ryan Hoover
Marysville, Wa
[Hide Comment] 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. Apr 19, 2013
Erik Gearhart
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] 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. Oct 14, 2013
geoff georges
Seattle, Wa.
[Hide Comment] Nice story Dave Fulton, thanks for sharing the history. Sorry you had to go through all that. Apr 1, 2014
Marblemount, WA
[Hide Comment] Very fun stemming, never felt too desperate to find good pro. I used offset nuts, cams to BD #1, a purple TCU, three blue TCUs (green aliens) and 2 yellow TCUs (aliens). I did not use any micro nuts or ball nuts. Apr 22, 2014
MisterCattell Cattell
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
[Hide Comment] Huzzah! Mar 3, 2017
MisterCattell Cattell
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
[Hide Comment] After a short mental battle of whether or not I should do it, I decide to go for the onsight of this thing and absolutely loved every minute of it.

I'm not going to give too much beta, as to not take away from another's experience; but what I will say is that it's secure, safe, steep, and amazing. The biggest piece I placed was a yellow Metolius (.3 BD c3), but regretted not having a #1 BD down low. These cracks lust for small nuts, and if placing in both cracks, make sure to extend appropriately. Most of them would not be able to take an outward pull, but the steepness of the climb and clean nature of the falls gave me confidence in how they were oriented. Top crux must be pulled a few moves above a small nut, which could result in some great (and I mean great, I found out the hard way) air time on what is probably the smallest piece you've fallen on yet. So you've got to be okay with that.

I will say, though, that it is a pretty serious lead. The gear isn't TOO obvious, but it IS there. Must be comfortable on small gear (obviously), and must be able to maintain your composure or the disco leg will vibrate you right out of the stem box. You know pretty early on what you're going to have to deal with, and down climbing from low on the pitch is a real option.

Now get out, get psyched, and get on it. Mar 5, 2017
Jim Jam
Wenatchee, WA
[Hide Comment] Gotta love all the people downgrading this (as low as 11b/c!).This this is sure as hell more demanding in all aspects then Crossing the Delaware, rated 11b/c.

The grade is given based on ground up, onsight. period. Once done in this fashion, go ahead, downgrade it.declaring a downgrade after wiring the moves and/or protection (or especially a TR lap) is absurd.

If you find yourself at any point, using the right hand aerete. you are off route. climb the twin seams... Mar 25, 2018