COVID-19 Climbing Guidelines: The Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Muir Valley, and all RRGCC-owned property - which includes Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, Bald Rock Recreational Preserve, and Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve - request that you follow the guidelines outlined on each website if you choose to climb during this time. See links above for more details about each climbing area.


This route is located in the Southern Region at The Motherlode

The Verdict

3 votes

Chainsaw Massacre 5.12a (Sport) ****

First Ascent: Jeff Moll in 1994
Length: 60ft
Bolts: 7 (report bad bolts/anchors)

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This route begins on top of the low boulder mentioned in the description of Ale-8-One and moves up and left at the beginning.
Moves: Crimps or Edges
Descent: Cold shuts
Stays Dry: Downpour
Owner: Private
steep (1) classic (1) pumpy (1) fun (1)
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Quality Consensus

4.01 stars (99 votes)
Grade Consensus
5.12a (90 votes)

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Submitted by: Elodie
Date: Aug 10th, 2011

Submitted by: Elodie
Date: Aug 10th, 2011

Submitted by: Anthony Carco
Date: Nov 15th, 2010

Submitted by: JR
Date: Aug 29th, 2007

Submitted by: JR
Date: Aug 29th, 2007

Submitted by: ray
Date: Dec 18th, 2005


Anonymous said on July 24th, 2005
pile of steaming sith
TVA said on June 15th, 2007
i know it's over hyped, but if chainsaw were located at some other crag out west you know it could be the best 5 star pitch at the crag. In my opinion, if you think chainsaw sux you should realize just how good you have it in the south.
anticlmber said on June 15th, 2007
we do realize how good we have it. that's why this route kinda sux balls in comparison.
jakeclimber said on November 8th, 2008
i don't really like this route
mike_anderson said on May 15th, 2009
I agree that this would be a top notch route at most crags out West. Ironically, the climbs most RRG climbers seem to rate highly are the techy slab-type or bouldery routes that Western climbers are sick of.
pigsteak said on May 16th, 2009
that is correct mike. that would be because we grew sick of steep sport climbing decades before "out west" even knew what they were....don't worry, I have said the same thing about rifle and shelf.."so and so route would be considered real good back home, if it weren't for all the real climbing we have in kentucky"
mike_anderson said on May 18th, 2009
Yes, I realize that. It just should make us consider how star ratings should be assigned. Should the stars be based on the opinions of the seasoned Red veterans who are "sick of steep sport climbing"? I supposed it depends on the purpose of the star ratings. Clearly the primary purpose is to give climbers something to bitch about, but they can also be used to steer people to a route they would likely enjoy, assuming they didn't have the time to climb every route and decide for themselves (i.e. a visiting climber). In that case I think most visiting climbers would consider this a 5-star route. Lucky you who don't like won't have to worry about waiting in line for the REAL classics like Techno Destructo or So Low.
SCIN said on May 19th, 2009
For star ratings in the paper guide I try to use a combination of my opinion along with user consensus based on data from this site. If you think a route deserves less stars than it has then I suggest you give it a 1 star rating on this site. I don't have a hard formula on how I determine star ratings but I can guarantee that in the next edition of the guide a big black hole will suck away a lot of the stars. It's next to impossible to not include my opinion in the guidebook and I happen to love techy routes so expect high stars on lines like Swahili.
Anonymous said on May 19th, 2009
I'm just saying that (at least on this website) there seems to be a lot of hatin' on the older, super classic routes (see the above comments on Chainsaw). These routes are what made the Red what it is today, and it would be a shame to see these routes "down-starred" because cynical locals are sick of them. Pure democracy isn't usually a good thing, so I would encourage you to utilize the data from the online voting sparingly, and mostly go with your own judgment, accounting for any recognized bias.
Anonymous said on May 19th, 2009
PS, I would suggest locating that black hole in the vicinity of Muir Valley.
pigsteak said on May 19th, 2009
sounds like "someone" is a cynical climber who wants his opinion heard, but not the others...that's an interesting take on democracy.
SCIN said on May 19th, 2009
I definitely won't be down-starring any classic lines. I can still recognize the ultra-classic steep pulling lines in the Red and fully appreciate them for all they're worth. I've heard too many comments though that the book is a bit star heavy in some newer areas and I've since had a chance to climb those lines with a little more skepticism. I'd rather someone get off of a line and say "Damn, that should've had more stars" than "Man, that book just lead me on a 15 minute hike to climb this supposed 5 star pile!". In the end what I want to do is just provide a better and more reliable star system for visiting climbers based on more than simply my own opinion.
mike_anderson said on May 20th, 2009
That was me...apparently I got kicked out before I posted again. In a representative democracy, the wiser, more experienced people are given power to make decisions for the rest of us. That's how it should be in this case as well.
pigsteak said on May 20th, 2009
so by your admission, shouldn't the cynical locals actually be making the decisions? ie..I am assuming they are the wiser, more experienced crowd. maybe we should only be allowed to vote on routes 2 number grades lower than our max....because almost everyone gives more stars to their hardest sends...human nature.
THB said on October 6th, 2009
This route is awesome and super-fun. Classic.
Brentucky said on February 18th, 2011
Nice and sustained, it's obviously been climbed a few times. This is one pumpy SOB! I smell either a victory whip or else a potentially long-standing grudge.
pigsteak said on February 19th, 2011
brentucky...victory whips are only allowed after first clipping the chains on the may then unclip and take the ride.
JR said on February 20th, 2011
Has anyone climbed this to the top of the cliff???
der uber said on May 9th, 2012
This is a quality route that features sustained climbing on decent crimps. Peope should consider checking out this climb if they are in the area. Solid 12a.
climb2core said on August 4th, 2012
Not a great choice in high humidity. Found the line over chalked, repetitive and uninspiring. Also could just be that it spit me off.
tbwilsonky said on August 6th, 2012
i haven't successfully given this the ole rockclimbing 1-2, but when i tried i kinda thought it was a dud.
Ryanwsu4 said on May 7th, 2016
Super fun, definite RRG pump climbing. Definitely 12a imo, but if someone told me 12b I wouldn't argue with them. Clipping the chains is the crux.
johnwesely said on May 23rd, 2016
Fastest known time for starting with first bolt clipped and clipping both anchors: 1:14
Anonymous said on September 20th, 2019
New speed record 1:03, first bolt sticked, both anchors clipped no bolts skipped -Giuseppe
Anonymous said on September 20th, 2019
Is the accent going to be documented in Reel Rock 15?
the lurkist said on November 1st, 2021
I want to up date the comments on Chainsaw. So for 28 years I have done this route. I did it days after it was put up in 93 and I still use it as a third warm up. Yes, I have it dicked. Over the years I have changed. I was 26 when it went up and am 54 now. Ove the years I have gone through multiple iterations of my love for climbing. Through grad school med school marriage children divorce marriage kids growing up life I have been it really good 13b shape and really sad atrophic vaginitis shape. Through it all I have used Chainsaw as the metric. Good news, the sandstone of the Red stands up to traffic. Other than chalk caking hold Chainsaw hasn't changed. And to the point of this long winded missive, Chainsaw is 12a. Solid. Never to budge, but not 12b. Ale 8 One- Flyin Brian RIP- maybe 12a as well. So there. I did stir shit up. Carry on.
itssoftiswear said on November 19th, 2021
I did this route early in the season, back when it was still hot, and honestly I'm unsure about the grades. We can prove just through basic knowledge that chainsaw is harder than burliers bane (11b) but is it harder than Jab me in the Jimmies? I thought Jimmies was rather soft for 12a. I did flash all of these routes except for Chainsaw but MY BELAYER did that shit by short roping me hard!!!! I mean I know the load is soft but 12a feels way over the top. Classic case of burly Men giving their routes the status of 12 without considering the possibility that none of these routes should have grades above 1lc
Cromper said on November 19th, 2021
Think you’re 5 years late on the troll bubbs
Dangershin said on January 6th, 2022
If chainsaw is getting too boring, try the "Chainsaw Chug". Climb to the top as fast as possible with a beer in your chalkbag, then chug the beer from the clipping holds without clipping the chains, followed by a drunken victory whip. Current time to beat is 2:40.