Sep 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm #1239051
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
I can't stand it any more…who is the moron who invented the term "trail beta" or "route beta"?'
There are perfectly adequate words available (e.g. how about "information" instead of "beta"), so why invent a whole new one? Some sort of silly in-crowd thing, I imagine.
But worse, it seems to be catching on more and more.
Aaargh…Sep 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm #1524841
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
Yeah, it's just horrible that people know how to say the same thing in different ways. Or should I say, it bad people talk not same.Sep 3, 2009 at 1:13 pm #1524842
Beta is climbing jargon that designates information about a climb. In rock climbing this may include information about a climb's difficulty, crux, style, length, quality of rock, ease to protect, required equipment, and specific information about hand or foot holds. For alpine climbs, beta may include information about the length and difficulty of the approach, availability of water on the climb and the approach, ease of exiting the route before completing it, descent information, perhaps even useful logistic information for climbs in foreign countries.
This is off wikki.Sep 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm #1524843
Just for the record, "i can't stand it" "in crowd" and "catching on" are all slang terms as well.
So is "just for the record"Sep 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm #1524845Sep 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm #1524853
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
To be honest I can’t believe you’ve heard this term long ago. I mean the term ‘beta’ has been in common usage by climbers for over 35 year. By your avatar photo you’ve been around long enough to have heard it and you know that it’s a climbing term so you’ve been exposed to that culture. I’m surprised that you haven’t heard it before and think its some new word. Well I suppose you could have spent the last 35 years living in a hole but come on man.
I think you may just be a grouchy old duffer.Sep 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm #1524858
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
I climbed many years with close friends but haven't been part of a "climbing scene" since the early 1970's. Sounds like the word came into being just as I was dropping out.
English is a remarkably malleable language, the most malleable in the world. Some relish the appearance and abundance of new words, others detest it. Some have a "descriptive" approach to English word definition, others a "prescriptive" approach. People on one side usually think people on the other side are crazy.
I tend to the descriptive philosophy, but of course recognize the need for new words when none exist (we do this ALL the time in physics). But arbitrary coinage of a new word when perfectly adequate words exist bother me. And somehow "trail beta" just gets to me.
Now let's all lighten up, like all UL backpackers should, because the whole topic is just a joke, anyway!Sep 3, 2009 at 2:02 pm #1524861Sep 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm #1524862
Agree with Elliott ; )Sep 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm #1524896Sep 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm #1524898
What Dave say is double plus good idea.Sep 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm #1524908
I'm really feeling the synergy here.Sep 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm #1524919
will trail beta or route beta go the path of beta tape? sure
now begin discussing The Dancing Wu Li MastersSep 3, 2009 at 6:02 pm #1524921
Physics is like Ultra light eastern backpacking. The more you know about where you're going the less you know about where you are. Groovy!Sep 3, 2009 at 6:40 pm #1524929
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
As a "descriptive" rather than a “prescriptive” or "proscriptive" grammarian and English professor, please allow me to say,
Jargon is the specialized, even secret, language that a group uses to distinguish itself from the teaming horde. Astronomers do it. Engineers do it. Dookers do it. It's okay. Really.
P.S. In other word, what Elliot said.Sep 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm #1524937Sep 3, 2009 at 9:03 pm #1524963
VHSOct 21, 2009 at 11:50 am #1538471
@jamespatsalides-comLocale: New England
Weird. I didn't know about the climbing use of the word "beta", but interpreted it along the lines of a stock's beta, something like relative volatility or risk. When people were talking about the trail's beta, I thought they meant how risky it was.. I leapt to using alpha in my mind to describe the potential reward from traveling on the trail… ;-)
I think if we took (say) the JMT as having a beta of 1.00 and an alpha of 1.00, all other trails could be measured in terms of risk and reward relative to the JMT. Since many of the trails use symbols very similar to stock symbols (JMT, AT, CDT, etc), you could have a lot of geeky economics/math type fun (that's type 2 fun – horrible at the time but great to look back on).
OMG – I really need to get a life.Oct 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm #1538493
The use of the word "beta" originated in climbing (as a joke) and then drifted outwards to other other types of climbing and, regretably, hiking.
The climber, Jack Mileski, used to ask "You want the beta, Max?" in reference to giving information related to how to succussfully climb a given route. It was a play on words related to a Betamax video recording of a climber on a difficult route that he'd previously watched in order to figure out how to do the route.
I think it's really stupid that hikers and backpackers have adopted the term. It seems to me that the word has been stolen and is used to create a "tough", "hard" reputation for certain hikes.
In my opinion, the word's lost a lot of its meaning. Hiking isn't climbing.
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