/ What counts as beta, exactly?
For example, if you only read info about a route/problem in a guidebook (grade and a brief description), but don't get any further info such as verbal advice, then it's still an onsight right? Or are you supposed to know literally nothing about the route in advance except for the grade? In which case you might not necessarily know you're on the right line
A lot of people would disagree with you. A guidebook description can sometimes give away the full route and sometimes very very vague.
It is a pretty open question and only each person can decide for themself where the line is and I think one man's beta isn't always another man's. Some people might think "take a few cams" as beta and some might not in comparison to something more specific like "take a .5 camalot and a no 3 RP."
I don't get hung up on it and personally if I'm climbing near my limit I will take on board any information that's offered and be grateful for it but then I'm not too concerned what other think about me in that regard.
There is no answer to your question.
That doesn't make it stupid, since so many people bang on about what an 'onsight' is. But the reality is that it doesn't matter. Every climb ever done lies somewhere on a scale of a redpoint after years of work and a first ascent without any prior knowledge. Where you want to draw the line is up to you.
There is no single correct answer which is just fine because it doesn't matter a jot.
Apply common sense and you'll be fine talking climbing with all but the most anal of oddballs.
So whoever writes the guidebook is the god of what is beta and what isn't?
That's the thing isn't it, it depends how much of a purist (in other words, how anal) you are. No doubt there are some people out there who think that simply knowing the grade before starting off is too much information. Nevertheless I do think route descriptions in guidebooks should have the bare bones and no more
Basically yes, bearing in mind that most descriptions are originally written by the first ascentionist. Essentially the route is graded by the first ascentionist and grade confirmed by subsequent ascentionists for an onsight attempt based on the description given.
Often descriptions will include info on specific holds "move up to a sharp side-pull", occasionally info on how to do moves "rock up left" etc, normally as much as is required to ensure someone goes the right way on the route. A lot of hints are given such as "continue with interest" or "climb boldly to the peg". Sometimes critical gear is mentioned ie "climb to the break (friend 2.5)". At the end of the day a good route description gives you enough clues where you're going but leaves enough out to leave something for you to work out for yourself.
Chalked holds are beta
"beta" is an American term. It means additional information. Hope that clears that up.
> So whoever writes the guidebook is the god of what is beta and what isn't?
Sounds a bit melodramatic, the way you put it, but basically - yes. Is that such a bad thing?
There will be minor variations in style between different guidebook writers, but by and large they will find a pretty good middle ground - providing enough information to keep you on route, without providing unnecessary beta.
I reckon the solution of guidebook info = onsight, any other info = beta is a reasonable and practical one. Of course, you're entirely free to categorize your own ascents any way you want. By all means log every lead as beta unless you didn't have a guidebook at all.
> Chalked holds are beta
Yes - usually. But perhaps not if the holds are very obvious anyway. And sometimes there's so much chalk that it's more of a hindrance than a help. FWIW chalked holds wouldn't stop me logging a lead as an onsight - but if the chalk made things considerably easier I might mention that in the notes.
There are two answers to this:
(1) who cares?
(2) it is up to you.
Seriously, unless you are climbing >E8, >F8c no one cares but you so it is entirely personal. From an ethical standpoint everything is fair game so long as you, don't hurt anyone (or the environment), don't alter the rock (beyond what is agreed in the community) and don't misrepresent your achievements / lie.
From a practical PoV any information beyond the route description that makes a difference counts as beta.
> Yes - usually. But perhaps not if the holds are very obvious anyway. And sometimes there's so much chalk that it's more of a hindrance than a help. FWIW chalked holds wouldn't stop me logging a lead as an onsight - but if the chalk made things considerably easier I might mention that in the notes.
I would still log a climb with chalked holds as an onsight, otherwise it would be mighty hard to onsight some climbs. Interestingly in 'How To Climb Hard Trad' Dave Macleod suggests taking advantage of chalked holds when going for an onsight attempt. Just shows that people draw the line in different places.
> "beta" is an American term. It means additional information.
That's what I always thought.
Guidebook info is alpha info. Additional info above & beyond this from mates/interweb/photo's etc = beta.
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