/ Unsolicited beta at Bouler UK (continued)

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MikeMarcus on 03 Mar 2019

The original thread has been archived so I’m starting a new one. 

I went back to BUK and it happened again. I was discussing the beta on a V3 with my girlfriend, and someone who was walking past overheard. In an instant he was on the route and flashing it while talking through each move as he went.

He didn’t give me the chance to tell him that I wanted to work out the beta for myself and when I told him post-flash that I really didn’t want unsolicited advice, he didn’t appear to understand my point of view.

I know many of you here don’t see this as problematic, but I boulder to become a better climber and part of that is learning to work out the sequence. If someone denies me the opportunity to do this, they’ve robbed me of the motivation to do the problem in question. 

It really is analogous to someone looking over my shoulder while I do a crossword,  telling me the answers before I’ve had a chance to work them out. Under these circumstances, there really is no point in doing the puzzle in the first place.

I hate to single out BUK but it’s happened on two out of three visits and I’ve never experienced it anywhere else. For reference I’ve probably been to nine or ten indoor centres and quite a number of crags in the Peak, Lake District, and Snowdonia. 

People may look at me taking three or four attempts to top a V3 and assume I’d benefit from their tuition, but a simple “do you want beta?” would have cleared things up.

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guy127917 - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I understand your frustration. I've actually been thinking of making some t-shirts (or vests or beanies since we're talking about bouldering) saying 'take your unsolicited beta and f*ck off'. It would be better if the slogan had a pun in it, and if it was funny rather than offensive, but I think the message is clear at least. 

Post edited at 19:27
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mountain.martin - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I'm sorry but for me this isn't a problem. When it has happened to me it doesn't bother me at all, and has usually ended up in a friendly conversation with someone I don't know. This friendly interaction has been more important to me that the loss of one boulder problem that will be changed next month anyway.

I agree it  would be more polite if they had asked if you would like beta but if it happens to you once in a visit you still have plenty of other problems to go at once you have told the offender that you would prefer not to have any more beta.

I have sometimes offered unasked for beta, as I feel that saying directly to someone "would you like some beta" could sound a bit condescending, in a way that a quick "have you tried it like this" might not.

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Ciro - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

A crossword clue had one answer, a boulder problem usually has at least a couple, even indoors. 

I find that improving my route reading is a lot about expanding my imagination about what moves I could actually pull off. IMO seeking out the tall person's beta, the short person's beta, the strong person's beta and the flexible persons beta and trying them all out will improve route reading skills far faster than working away at them on your own - if that's what you're after I suspect you may be holding yourself back.

Post edited at 20:38
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syv_k - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Couldn’t you just have turned away from the wall and continued talking to your girlfriend, and then you would have missed the unwanted beta?

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plyometrics - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Next time they do it, stroke their left cheek gently and whisper “thank you” in their right ear. 

Chances are they’ll not bother next time. 

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Hardonicus - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Come on now you're only pissed because you been shown up as a shandy in front of yer missus.

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deepsoup - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I'm sorry but for me this isn't a problem.

That's cool, but I don't think this is about you.

>..   as I feel that saying directly to someone "would you like some beta" could sound a bit condescending, in a way that a quick "have you tried it like this" might not.

Strikes me you're wrong about that.  If you don't like "Would you like some beta?" why don't you try "May I make a suggestion?" or something along those lines.  Doesn't really matter how you phrase it though, it's always going to be less condescending to give the person the opportunity to politely decline your beta *before" you spray it.

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alx on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

> People may look at me taking three or four attempts to top a V3 and assume I’d benefit from their tuition

On a scale of 1 to man dry humping a lamp post would you describe your previous efforts at the climb?

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John Kettle - on 03 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I feel your pain!

I had an absolute classic one of these recently in Spain as I geared up for an onsight well within my grade:

Them: "Would you like some beta for this route?"

Me : "No thanks I'll be fine"

Them: "Well it's not really beta but there's a really good kneebar that makes the crux much easier"

I climbed off muttering under my breath...

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I'm sorry but for me this isn't a problem.

And that’s fine. But you wouldn’t want everyone to have identical sensibilities to yourself, right? I should be able to have the choice to refuse (or not) unsolicited beta, no?

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Ciro:

> if that's what you're after I suspect you may be holding yourself back.

So I shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to climb in the way I choose?

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Hardonicus:

> Come on now you're only pissed because you been shown up as a shandy in front of yer missus.

Oh dear.. there’s always one 

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to alx:

> On a scale of 1 to man dry humping a lamp post would you describe your previous efforts at the climb?

should it matter? 

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mountain.martin - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

> And that’s fine. But you wouldn’t want everyone to have identical sensibilities to yourself, right?

No I shouldn't, fair point, it is not something I have done that often, but I will reconsider how I approach this if I feel like doing it again.

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Presley Whippet on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Headphones, earplugs, a bight t shirt with the slogan "don't talk, I am a bets snob". 

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MusicalMountaineer - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

There is a lesson here - Don't bother pulling plastic!

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The Fox - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

One thought Mike, and I mean this as a genuine suggestion rather than any sort of dig. 

I think you’ve identified yourself that you’ve had 2 experiences of this in all your most recent visits to walls. 

That does suggest it’s a very small number of people, though this doesn’t make the problem it causes you any smaller. 

That being the case though, I do wonder if coming on a public forum to highlight the issue to hundreds of people who don’t do this is the most effective way to deal with it, rather than just speaking to the 2 people you’ve found who do. 

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Andy Gamisou - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

> There is a lesson here - Don't bother pulling plastic!


Pretty sure beta spraying occurs outside too. 

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Headphones, earplugs, a bight t shirt with the slogan "don't talk, I am a bets snob". 

It’s snobby to derive enjoyment from working out beta?

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BFG on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I'll admit, I've done this when I was younger. It was borne of not understanding the other person's point of view and enthusiasm, rather than anything more show-offy, but it took someone getting quite pee'd off to get it through my thick skull that beta from strangers isn't always appreciated.

Some people like it, some people don't. Generally if you end up working a route with a stranger, indoors or out, a bit of conversation and shared beta is part of the fun, less so if you rock up and flash a route they're working. It doesn't take too much effort to just strike up a conversation / ask if people want beta and respect the answer if it's no.

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to The Fox:

> One thought Mike, and I mean this as a genuine suggestion rather than any sort of dig. 

> I think you’ve identified yourself that you’ve had 2 experiences of this in all your most recent visits to walls. 

4 incidents over 2 visits (out of a total of three). Specifically it hasn’t happened to me anywhere else so this does suggest a problem with the culture at the particular location. 

> That being the case though, I do wonder if coming on a public forum to highlight the issue to hundreds of people who don’t do this is the most effective way to deal with it, rather than just speaking to the 2 people you’ve found who do.

I’m sure there are many here who don’t frequent BUK/don’t offer unsolicited beta and they’re presumably inclined to pass this thread and move on to the next. But presumably many regulars at BUK will see this and the owners may stumble across it too? It’s a great bouldering venue and my post might help to make it even better. 

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MonkeyPuzzle - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I have sometimes offered unasked for beta, as I feel that saying directly to someone "would you like some beta" could sound a bit condescending, in a way that a quick "have you tried it like this" might not.

You don't want to sound condescending so you go straight into telling strangers how to do something?

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tom_in_edinburgh - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I don't think it is realistic to expect to be able to climb indoor problems without seeing other people's beta.   It's a shared space, unless you are actually on the problem you don't have a reservation and other people have every right to climb it.   If you work it for any length of time the chances are somebody who knows the beta will have a go while you are there.

It isn't a crossword in your newspaper it is a crossword written on a massive whiteboard on the wall with a marker pen for anybody to use and the social aspect is part of it.

People who come up and show you beta have probably noticed you are climbing roughly the same grade as them and trying to make friends.    Maybe next time it will be you that knows the beta and they'll be stuck or there'll be a problem you're both stuck on you can puzzle out together.

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Andy Gamisou - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> If you work it for any length of time the chances are somebody who knows the beta will have a go while you are there.

This isn't quite the same as someone watching you on a problem then once you step off it immediately getting on it, and climbing it whilst giving a commentary on what they are doing - which is more akin to what the OP is describing.

> People who come up and show you beta have probably noticed you are climbing roughly the same grade as them and trying to make friends. 

Not sure about the 'probably' bit.  In my experience they might be attempting to be friendly, but they are just as likely to be marking their territory (metaphorically speaking).  Climbing has it's fair share of dicks.  I once had someone follow me around what was then my local wall, immediately getting on everything I tried, and making a point of doing it.  No idea what they got out of this, but hey ho...

[Addendum] And yes, I have considered the possibility that I am one of them (dicks).

Post edited at 11:12
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The Fox - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Fair enough Mike, I was just suggesting that I might approach it differently, which doesn’t make either of us wrong or right, as I’m not sure you’ll achieve your desired result (if that’s is for people to stop giving unsolicited bets) by the use of this forum. 

> 4 incidents over 2 visits (out of a total of three). Specifically it hasn’t happened to me anywhere else so this does suggest a problem with the culture at the particular location. 

I think that might be overstating it. If a whole bunch of people had replied on either or both post, saying that they too had the same problem then maybe so. But as it is I’m not sure it does, as it’s just 4 incidents, though again this has undoubtedly spoilt your experience  

> But presumably many regulars at BUK will see this and the owners may stumble across it too? 

I don’t know what the owners might do if they saw this post, but I would be very surprised if they took any action. If they agreed with you and felt it was an issue, I still don’t think they’d act on it by say, staff policing it, or info posters etc. Don’t really see that happening 

i honestly think the most likely way to manage this, and probably the only successful way is to engage directly with the people doing it, and as the injured party, you are the one who knows who these people are.

anyway, I am not the world authority on anything in particular, so hope you continue to enjoy BUK (without beta!) - it is indeed a great venue  

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Tyler - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

> I’m sure there are many here who don’t frequent BUK/don’t offer unsolicited beta and they’re presumably inclined to pass this thread and move on to the next. But presumably many regulars at BUK will see this and the owners may stumble across it too? It’s a great bouldering venue and my post might help to make it even better.

How, are you expecting them to see this and start enforcing a no unsolicited beta rule? I can't see why this wall would be different to any others, a lot of people do know eachother so that might make it more "chatty" generally but then at most walls people know eachother and if undoliciuns beta is the result of a greater friendliness from locals I wouldn't want them to change that . The only other difference between this and other walls is that outdoor and older climbers make a up a greater proportion of the clientele than at other walls I go to.

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teapot - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

I think that this is a valid issue and worth discussing, but don't think it is a BUK specific thing. Over the last 20 years I have had people offer beta unsolicited across the UK. Most often it is people genuinely trying to help and to be friendly. 

One of BUKs strengths is the generally friendly atmosphere, and that makes people more likely to start up a conversation and chat about a boulder problem than in other places. 

Specifically climbing the problem and providing a running commentary of each move seems a bit weird!

When warming up, I tend to avoid any problems that others are struggling with, as I recognise that it can be quite demotivating to have someone path a problem that you are working. Actually I rarely join people on a boulder problem without asking. Same outside. 

I do take quite a lot of school groups to BUK and other walls and will definitely have a word with them about offering advice to others. They do sometimes get a bit excited when they complete a problem, and I expect they might not consider whether advice is actually wanted.

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mickyv33 - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Haaate unsolicited Beta. 

Completely understand that it's mostly well intentioned but a lot of the time I feel it's more of an ego-rub for the person spraying the Beta at you. 

It's also mega-painful to see fellas spray unsolicited beta at girls on the wall as way to strike up conversation.

It's just simple etiquette I think and not difficult to ask if someone would like beta before the spray commences.

Post edited at 12:34
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Deadeye - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

straight in at number 3 in today's list of first world problems to confect outrage about

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dh73 - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> straight in at number 3 in today's list of first world problems to confect outrage about


Not sure about that. what if it was a dude in a beanie with his top off that gave you beta? Surely those aggravating features would make it more serious?

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Andrew Kin - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Another perspective.  I, like many people find talking to new people not the most comfortable experiences ever.  Considering I work in sales it’s strange that in a room with climbers doing something I find fascinating I still get tongue tied.  Is it just possible that in these instances the person finds the most comfortable thing to say and ‘break the ice’ is Beta.  It would make sense even if it was not invited.

I would personally find it easier to say to a stranger at the wall “if you just do this or that then it makes that so much easier”, rather than “hi i’m Such and such and would you like to chat”

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sn - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

This problem would be solved if everyone got their partner to hold a sheet over them whenever they were climbing. Unless they had no friends...

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Oceanrower - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to sn:

> Unless they had no friends...

We are talking about boulderers, yes?

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Andy Gamisou - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> straight in at number 3 in today's list of first world problems to confect outrage about

(Sigh) .  A thread about climbing in climbing forum - outrageous indeed.  If you're so busy saving the world then how did you find time to read the thread and reply.  The user  Offwidth likes to blame  the dislike button for a reduction in climbing related discussion.  Personally, I put it more down to sanctimonious posts like yours.

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Deadeye - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Hahaha. Not really about climbing though is it? Beta at an indoor bouldering wall. And two threads.

As far as sanctimonious goes, you've perfected the art! Chill dude and go send. The yellow foothold is just under the other yellow foothold...

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deepsoup - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Andrew Kin:

> I would personally find it easier to say to a stranger at the wall “if you just do this or that then it makes that so much easier”, rather than “hi i’m Such and such and would you like to chat”

That's an example of the logical fallacy called a "false dichotomy".  So how about you split the difference between those two and try "I've found an easier way to do that, would you like me to show you?"

If I'm just getting on a problem that is new to me, I *really* don't want your beta until I've had at least a couple of goes.  It's nice to be nice so give me the opportunity to respond with "No thanks, I'm just enjoying trying to figure it out for myself at the mo." all friendly like (and look - we're already having that chat!) as opposed to responding with ill-disguised irritation at best.

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brianjcooper on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Reminds me of a time when...

A friend was leading a climb whilst getting non-stop beta from a guy on moves, holds etc. A dislodged rock fell and nearby hit the guy, who shouted "You're supposed to shout BELOW when you do that." My friends reply was. "Tried to, but couldn't get a word in edge ways."

Post edited at 15:32
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r0x0r.wolfo - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to brianjcooper:

> Reminds me of a time when...

> A friend was leading a climb whilst getting non-stop beta from a guy on moves, holds etc. A dislodged rock fell and nearby hit the guy, who shouted "You're supposed to shout BELOW when you do that." My friends reply was. "Tried to, but couldn't get a word in edge ways."

Was he being too polite to cut the other guy off and shout? 

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derryclimbs - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> (Sigh) .  A thread about climbing in climbing forum - outrageous indeed.  If you're so busy saving the world then how did you find time to read the thread and reply.  

completely agree. This whole 'first world problem' clause is getting old fast. It's good as a clichéd joke from time to time but to say you can't have any grievance because there's famine in africa, or a genocide somewhere else isn't really a valid point.
Some other first world problems: Brexit and Trump!

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Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Maybe blurting out the beta for the thing they are working is not the best idea but I think the general idea of offering a bit of advice, being an ice breaker at the wall with someone you don't know is valid. In the mind of the beta giver, it's like they are offering a little gift to you in order to start a conversation. "oh I see you're stuck on that move, I struggled too at first but then found if I put my foot here it really helped." 

It highlights a common ground, a problem you're facing which they had to tackle once too. They may then follow it up with "oh have you tried this one yet, I'm finding it hard?" In most cases its basically saying "hey I've seen you climbing and you're on a similar level to me, want to hang out and climb together / just chat?"

I'd take it as an outward expression of friendliness, even if you personally would rather they opened with something else, so if I was the OP I wouldn't get too hung up on it. Put it this way, I'd feel a lot more included at a local wall if people were happy to chat to me and show me moves, work problems with me etc than if everyone just ignored me and focused on their own stuff only.

A Beta offer is often the easiest ice breaker and not everyone has the social skills to come up with others. 

 

 

 

Post edited at 15:56
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J Whittaker - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Im forever getting unsolicited bouldering happening when i go to Beta UK. All i want to do is sit and discuss how to climb a problem, not actually go and climb it. Jeez.

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Presley Whippet on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Beta snob, beta purist, you decide. 

Apologies for the awful typing, fat fingers. 

I think you are taking it all too seriously it is a climbing wall, chat, make friends, train, enjoy yourself. 

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slab_happy on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> A Beta offer is often the easiest ice breaker and not everyone has the social skills to come up with others. 

On the other hand, it may be useful for people with limited social skills (a group I certainly fall into) who may be reading UKC to discover that unsolicited beta is not universally welcomed, and that it might go down better if they ask first.

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Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

I agree, and I think part of the issue here is given the low grade the OP is climbing, you're going to get fairly novice climbers who probably won't know the etiquette around beta, chipping in. Because they see someone climbing something they can do and think "ah ha, finally I can chip in here with a bit of knowledge" and off they go.

So yes, hopefully, less experienced climbers who do want to make conversation or just be helpful will see this and learn the more appropriate way of breaking the ice with a beta based conversation starter.

BTW, if anyone spots me struggling on a problem and you know a trick to make it easier, please come tell me because I'll take all the beta I can get. 

 

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MikeMarcus on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

Here’s what I do to break the ice: I see someone climbing something I’ve done and I say something like “how are you doing on that, I found it tricky”. They might answer about their progress, how they’re finding it, etc. I then say “let me know if you want some tips” - then I watch them climb (because actually I’m interested in other people’s problem solving process too).

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slab_happy on 04 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I sometimes go for asking "Would a suggestion be useful or annoying?"

I've also taken to asking myself, any time I'm tempted to offer beta: am I interrupting someone else's learning process?

If someone's totally stuck and seeming frustrated and about to give up in disgust, then saying "Yeah, it took me ages to get that one, would a suggestion be useful?" might be greatly appreciated.

But if they're happily trying out different options and making bits of progress and seem immersed in doing their own thing, then me rushing up to show them that I can remember the exact beta that worked for me on that problem -- I'm not giving them anything, I'm just showing off. Also being a dick.

Asking myself the question is a suprisingly sharp tool for distinguishing when I might be helpful versus when I'm looking for an ego-boost.

(Not that you can't be helpful and also get an ego-boost. But it's useful to know which impulse is driving.)

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alx on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

> 4 incidents over 2 visits (out of a total of three). Specifically it hasn’t happened to me anywhere else so this does suggest a problem with the culture at the particular location. 

Hmm different people each time?  Must be a common factor somewhere...

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Offwidth - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

You can maybe add people sanctimoniously calling out someone who made a reasonable climbing joke in an attempt to improve the site atmosphere ? ;-)  I never claimed causation but we do know there is a correlation so it's maybe part of the problem and it has been used in a childish bullying way against new posters (and the site sensibly tweaked a few things to help prevent some similar abuse in future) .

On the OP I'd say its fair enough to be annoyed about beta sprayers but I think pretty dumb to call out the particular wall on this...firstly sprayers are everywhere and its probably just statistical noise this wall seems bad... secondly what do you expect the wall to do about it? (recruit beta police???). If you don't like beta just say so in as friendly a way as you can.. instead of sulking and later moaning on the internet about what was probably ignorant enthusiasm. Its hardly the end of the world if you get told a solution (I agree with a poster above that part of the fun of bouldering is the variety of possible solutions to a problem and so its its fun to find several methods). Finding solutions can even become obsessive: I think we have about 10 solutions now for Verandah Buttress, with two certainly below 5b one of which is really hard to suss out (I had to be shown..then forgot it .... then had to be shown again.).

I find it bizzarre people get annoyed when someone flashes a problem they have struggled on indoors. The climbing ego that worries about someone else being a better climber is never going to be a happy one... there is always someone better.

Its quite funny you had someone following you  I've seen a few shy people do this to get handy style tips from someone they see as just a bit better than them: benign stalking. Yet, I had someone accuse me of following them once, when if they thought past their paranoia they might have figured we were just going round a circuit the logical same way.

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mrphilipoldham - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

I reckon you're the guilty party..

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slab_happy on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

> This whole 'first world problem' clause is getting old fast. It's good as a clichéd joke from time to time but to say you can't have any grievance because there's famine in africa, or a genocide somewhere else isn't really a valid point.

I've also seen it pointed out that it implies that people in developing countries don't ever do anything except suffer and starve and get massacred, whereas in fact -- for example -- people in Nairobi will totally bitch about whether they can get 4G on their mobile phones.

(In fact, Google tells me that there's at least one climbing wall in Nairobi, so I imagine that, even now, someone is probably getting unwanted beta at it.)

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Ciro - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

> So I shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to climb in the way I choose?

Not at all, I was merely suggesting another way to look at it, that might make your time there less irritating and more productive. You don't have to take up that suggestion. As others have said, if you want to avoid the social nature of boulder gyms there are ways to make it obvious that you want to train on your own.

The gym I train at is super friendly, with people offering advice and suggestions all the time. I find that a brilliant source of learning.

Personally, I would always ask before offering beta as I know some people don't like it, but I'm always glad when someone offers and find it pretty rare that anyone turns it down when I do... I can see why some people would just skip the question, when offering beta is mostly just a good thing to do.

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Offwidth - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

Psst...sorry to bother you but I know a great Ugali

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morphomouse - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

To me the idea of the unsolicited beta was all very strange at the beginning, as I thought climbing had an inherent culture of openness and sharing. I thought it was akin to a grumpy old man trying to get his 1000 piece puzzle done and helping him with a few pieces only for him to end up even grumpier.

Even though I used to approach others with 'unsolicited beta' often out of friendliness, I understand now that some people are actually offended by it, so now I preface it by 'Do you want some beta?', which is often times very welcomed. I think next time you're annoyed it might help to simply explain that this is a thing. The average joe at the wall doesn't just magically understand the odd ethics of climbing overnight.

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Offwidth - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to morphomouse:

Finishing someone's jigsaw or crossword without permission is pure evil ;-)  In contrast you can't finish a boulder problem for someone even if you want to...  they still have to climb it themselves.

I'm lucky that most unsolicited beta I get doesn't normally work as the puppy doesn't usually have the experience of being as heavy as I am.

Post edited at 11:54
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MikeMarcus on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Deadeye: 

> Hahaha. Not really about climbing though is it? Beta at an indoor bouldering wall. And two threads.

Posting about my experience in a bouldering centre in a bouldering forum? No, not about climbing at all.

> straight in at number 3 in today's list of first world problems to confect outrage about

Would you prefer to talk about how the IMF force African countries to prioritise cash crops over food production? Or how baby formala manufacturers still guilt trip mothers in rural communities into buying their products by launching huge educational campaigns to disseminate inaccurate medical information? Or how Zionists leverage Holocaust guilt to enact human rights abusesagainst Palestinians with impunity? Happy to engage with you on any of these topics outside of this space, as it’s named “UK climbing” and the UK is part of the so-called first world. 

What actually is wrong with half the people here? They seem to be more concerned with dick-sizing than discussing climbing.

> Chill dude and go send. The yellow foothold is just under the other yellow foothold...

If you think climbing on plastic is invalid, then fine. But don’t then bellyflop into a discussion about climbing on plastic to preach. Accept that other people feel differently to you and move on - the slopey smear is right under your idiot foot!

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Andy Gamisou - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> You can maybe add people sanctimoniously calling out someone who made a reasonable climbing joke in an attempt to improve the site atmosphere ? 

Ah - I'm the sanctimonious one? How is the tired "first world problem" accusation to anything you personally feel trivial a "reasonable climbing joke"?  Genuinely puzzled.

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Offwidth - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

It's pretty standard humanly comic cynicism applied to a rather over offended posting.

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Deadeye - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> I reckon you're the guilty party..


Lol.  Unlikely to be me showing *anyone* how to boulder!

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mountain.martin - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Well I've learned from this thread that some people (like me) are happy to receive unsolicited beta and think it can add to the social atmosphere at a wall, and others resent it.

I dish out little unsolicited, possibly because most people at a bouldering wall climb harder than me, but there have been a couple of helpful suggestions about how to offer beta in a friendly non condescending manner that should be reasonably easy to politely decline. I have taken those onboard.

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Deadeye - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

> Posting about my experience in a bouldering centre in a bouldering forum? No, not about climbing at all.

> Would you prefer to talk about how the IMF force African countries to prioritise cash crops over food production? Or how baby formala manufacturers still guilt trip mothers in rural communities into buying their products by launching huge educational campaigns to disseminate inaccurate medical information? Or how Zionists leverage Holocaust guilt to enact human rights abusesagainst Palestinians with impunity? Happy to engage with you on any of these topics outside of this space, as it’s named “UK climbing” and the UK is part of the so-called first world. 

> What actually is wrong with half the people here? They seem to be more concerned with dick-sizing than discussing climbing.

> If you think climbing on plastic is invalid, then fine. But don’t then bellyflop into a discussion about climbing on plastic to preach. Accept that other people feel differently to you and move on - the slopey smear is right under your idiot foot!


Wowza!  There is a spectrum of issues you know.  It's not all either fluff like wars and famine or the deadly serious issue of people being friendly in a way you don't like.  There are things in between.

Honestly, if the biggest concern of your week is that someone tried to help you on V2, you should be a happy, happy person.  Without invoking any plagues or mass extinctions.

Just tell whoever at the wall, eh?  Oh, and try to avoid the ad hominems when you do it face to face... (e.g. if I said "does failing on V2 *really* make people this moany?" you wouldn't like it.  So I didn't)

*edited to remove somehting genuinely offensive!

Post edited at 15:54
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robin mueller - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

As has already been mentioned, "unsolicited beta" is not a concept known to all. Do you think it should be? That seems a little sad to me. I like people being helpful at boulder uk. I'm sorry if you see suggestions as unwelcome intrusions, but I'm quite happy for people to keep doing it. Judging by the majority of replies, most people think the same.

On the subject of learning how to be a better climber, have you considered that discovering one person's solution to a boulder problem is only part of the puzzle? As others have pointed out, there are are often many ways to climb a set of holds. And even if there is only one way, understanding why that works is a big part of learning. Learning through copying has just as much to teach as learning through experimentation.

Post edited at 16:23
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deepsoup - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to morphomouse:

> The average joe at the wall doesn't just magically understand the odd ethics of climbing overnight.

It isn't a concept entirely unique to climbing.  Have you ever played pool with one of those guys who insists on telling you which ball you should be going for next and how to take the shot?

http://azzopardi.tripod.com/Image192.jpg

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deepsoup - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I have taken those onboard.

Top sausage.

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johncoxmysteriously - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to the OP:

Christ, the things some of you people find to worry about.

As a general proposition, the way to get better at this game is to interact with climbers who are better than you. Any opportunity to do that should be taken. Refusing such opportunities, let alone while whinging about them, is a sure route to continuing to be useless.

jcm

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alx on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Let the comedy gold continue!

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Oceanrower - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I don't understand it. You lot are all "beta, what about the beta". 

Fools. Alpha is where it's at!

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kevin stephens - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Well John, imagine you are at one of your chess matches and a grand master leans over your shoulder and tells you what move to make (even if you may have a different strategy in mind), an excellent chance to learn from your betters?

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Offwidth - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

I now imagine a supermarket incident one of my pals witnessed. He accidently knocked over a box on the check-out belt in the shopping for the guy in front, after pushing the divider forward a little.   The guy turned round angrily and pushed over one of his boxes and said "see.... you know what it feels like now". Comparing competition chess with indoor V3 where beta sprayers are common is just weird.

Post edited at 18:27
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mountain.martin - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I don't understand what beta sprayers are, I've seen some people offer unsolicited advice sometimes, it has happened to me and I have done it myself on a few occasions but it has always seemed friendly and not done in a show offy "look at me" kind of way. I can understand how this could still be a bit annoying if you really don't want the beta.

A beta sprayer sounds like someone patrolling around showing off, marking his territory and insisting on offering unsolicited advice to everyone in earshot. I can honestly saw I have never seen behaviour at a wall that I would describe as anything like this. Do these people exist?

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Offwidth - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

A beta sprayer is just someone who commonly gives unsolicited advice on a problem. They will normally be nice folk, just a bit too enthusiastic to share their knowledge. Bouldering Walls being public sport venues will always be busy (and with plenty of inexperienced climbers) compared to the crags so those who don't want beta need to build a coping mechanism or suffer as an angry obsessive (like the man my mate met in the supermarket... from the dislikes above I clearly hit a nerve)

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ClimberEd - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

You really need to chill and not take it so seriously.

It's an indoor boulder problem at punter level ffs.

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Tyler - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Last Wednesday I was at Malham and I spent a good 10 minutes shouting beta at one of the lads who works there. By the end of it he looked thoroughly pissed off and totally ignored all my suggestions, consider karma restored!

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fifthsunset - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

I heard on a podcast the other day that unsolicited beta is mansplaining. So next time someone does it, march over to the front desk and demand that they ban the sexist pig from spouting his patriarchical diatribe or you'll organise a womans march right through the boulder centre. 

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Offwidth - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to fifthsunset:

They may have a point. I've never seen a female prolific beta sprayer and for my local walls that seems to  be about 1/3 of the users.

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Flinticus - on 14 Mar 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I don't think it is realistic to expect to be able to climb indoor problems without seeing other people's beta.   It's a shared space, unless you are actually on the problem you don't have a reservation and other people have every right to climb it.   If you work it for any length of time the chances are somebody who knows the beta will have a go while you are there.

Totally agree with this. I warm up by doing problems of the easier circuits and, at the times I go, the centre is busy and a lot of those problems will have less experienced/ skilled people attempting them. I'm not going to wait until the problem has no-one sranding in front of it, that may take ages and so I'll jump on when there's a space/ pause and move on. I may ask 'do you mind...'but not if you've ignored the ethic below...and I've been waiting unduly 

There is also the ethic of not hogging a problem either as an individual or group and, if you're working it, you should step back between attempts and let others on. If you don't want to see it done, look away.

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slab_happy on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to fifthsunset:

> I heard on a podcast the other day that unsolicited beta is mansplaining.

I wouldn't say it's inherently "mansplaining" (plenty of it is done by men to other men, in plenty of instances I don't think gender's a factor at all).

But if you're a female climber you'll get a TONNE of unsolicited beta from guys, sometimes in really weird ways.

For example, I've had the experience of working on a hard problem and being lectured on how I should be doing it by a guy who a) was failing on a problem three V-grades lower and b) hadn't done or even tried the problem I was working on.

(I know this because after enough useless "suggestions", I got to the point of saying sweetly "Oh, maybe you could show me how you did it?")

Obviously this one dude may just have been clueless, but as part of a pattern (which I've also seen happen to other female climbers) -- yeah, I think there absolutely is a tendency for many guys to assume that female climbers in particular must need/want their beta, and to start "helpfully" providing it when they might not do so to a male climber.

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Flinticus - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

> (I know this because after enough useless "suggestions", I got to the point of saying sweetly "Oh, maybe you could show me how you did it?")

That's funny! He must have felt a right fool

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DenzelLN - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Was it me that offered the advice? I climb there maybe 4-5 times a week.

Since your last post on this subject i have thought about wether i do this, and i don't think i do, not that i can remember anyway.

Post edited at 14:01
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MusicalMountaineer - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Totally agree- being deliberately facetious.

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teapot - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to MikeMarcus:

Funnily enough this week I was at Boulder UK with a group of my students and I pointed one of my students towards a problem with a tricky start, which I knew he would find challenging. I had done the problem the week before with another group. Within 2 minutes a climber headed over just to show him the move without asking if he wanted help. Oh yes she happened to be female!

Me and my colleague both found it really funny as we had just been talking about this thread! She definitely was trying to be helpful so not a problem.

Post edited at 19:45
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alx on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to teapot:

What you have to ask yourself is, would it have still happened if MikeMarcus had not posted?

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Flinticus - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to slab_happy:

Yesterday bouldering at TCA I was toying with the idea of doing a problem I had already failed at previously and a female climber asked me about the start. We both gave it a try, her last. At that point two male boulderers who were struggling on lower grade problems came over and took over the problem, failing to get anywhere, before moving away. I had the feeling they had seen the female climber get to the crux then come off, thinking if she is trying it, it might be easy and we might flash it in front of her. Funny and eye opening.

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scoobydougan - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Or maybe they just wanted to try it ? No sexist back story just 2 blokes trying a problem at the wall ? 

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Flinticus - on 16 Mar 2019
In reply to scoobydougan:

That was so evidently not the case. 'You weren't there, man!'

At one point the woman came off the crux (not high up and a short fall to the mat), one of the guys, though way too far away, rushed over with his right arm out as if to catch her. A fall of maybe 5ft. She was back on her feet before he was half way to her. I didn't see such concern when any of the numerous dudes came off.

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