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"Trail beta" is an abomination
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Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
"Trail beta" is an abomination on 09/03/2009 14:00:54 MDT Print View

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.


Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
The nerve on 09/03/2009 14:10:03 MDT Print View

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.

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: The nerve on 09/03/2009 14:13:52 MDT Print View

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.

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: "Trail beta" is an abomination on 09/03/2009 14:16:28 MDT Print View

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"

Edited by kilgoretrout2317 on 09/03/2009 14:46:03 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 09/03/2009 14:23:48 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 21:30:14 MDT.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Term 'beta' on 09/03/2009 14:40:46 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by chadnsc on 09/03/2009 14:42:27 MDT.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Trail Beta on 09/03/2009 14:53:36 MDT Print View

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!

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 09/03/2009 15:02:47 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 21:30:47 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: "Trail beta" is an abomination on 09/03/2009 15:05:11 MDT Print View

Agree with Elliott ; )

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 09/03/2009 17:40:42 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 21:31:19 MDT.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
""Trail beta" is an abomination" on 09/03/2009 18:00:16 MDT Print View

What Dave say is double plus good idea.

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: ""Trail beta" is an abomination" on 09/03/2009 18:24:31 MDT Print View

I'm really feeling the synergy here.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: "Trail beta" is an abomination on 09/03/2009 18:50:30 MDT Print View


will trail beta or route beta go the path of beta tape? sure

next topic:

now begin discussing The Dancing Wu Li Masters

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: "Trail beta" is an abomination on 09/03/2009 19:02:52 MDT Print View

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!

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Jargon beta on 09/03/2009 19:40:43 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by nerdboy52 on 09/03/2009 19:42:22 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 09/03/2009 20:09:07 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 21:32:24 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Trail beta on 09/03/2009 22:03:39 MDT Print View


James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
Alpha and Beta on 10/21/2009 12:50:21 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by on 10/21/2009 12:51:23 MDT.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Beta on 10/21/2009 13:56:37 MDT Print View

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.