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Onsight & Flash definition in Bouldering 
 

Click to Enlarge PictureIn 2005, 8a presented a suggestion for Practice and Ethics in Sport climbing which can be said to be the first guidelines in climbing and it has worked out quite well with the traffic light system.

"In sport climbing, compared to most other sports, there are few written rules or use of referees. Instead, the climbing community creates and circulates their own Practice & Ethics. Beginners are sometimes struggling to understand what is "normal" behavior and what's allowed and what's not. Over time, the general procedure has been modified and in different subcultures different ethics apply."

Two year later we presented some bouldering ethics but it did not include guidelines for flashes and onsights. Here is the 8a suggestions and please feel free to comment.

Flash: It is OK to watch a video and touch any holds you can reach from the starting position. If it is a roof near the ground it would NOT be OK to feel every hold and work the sequences just by dragging a foot on the ground. You are not allowed to rappel down the boulder and look at all holds. Once you leave the ground you can NOT reverse and save the onsight as sometimes is done in route redpoints.

Onsight: You are only allowed to touch the holds you can reach from the starting positions. If it is a roof or traverse, you are allowed to look at all holds. You are allowed to get beta where the line goes and where it tops out. You can discuss the beta with any person who has no knowledge about the climb. Your friends are not allowed to say anything but cheering you on.

It should be noted that onsight bouldering is quite rare and we seldom report it. At the same time, 8a thinks this is the best style for kids. Having a coach or parent telling them where to put the feet and hands are not so educational and fun for the kids.