the subtle art of sharing beta

The subtle art of sharing climbing beta in the gym

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The subtle art of sharing climbing beta in the gym

When it comes to sharing climbing beta, sometimes being helpful may not be the right thing to do. If you just started climbing and love bouldering, you may develop the urge to share beta to help others send. Unfortunately, when climbing, getting unsolicited beta can be frowned upon. But if you have the urge to share beta with your fellow climbers, there are ways to do so without being annoying.

Ask and you shall receive

The first rule about sharing beta is, do not share beta with anyone you don’t know. It would be best if you did not even share beta with people you know. If you do want to share you can but never initiate. Always wait to be asked. Giving unsolicited beta is like giving away the crossword puzzle answer to someone who is doing the crossword puzzle. Give the person time to give up all hopes of solving the puzzle and when they ask for help, that’s the time to share your answer or in this context the beta.

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Do not spray

One of the cardinal sins of climbing. Is spraying beta. When you are up on the wall in the midst of figuring out the next few moves at the crux and out of nowhere “Hey! Move your foot to the right! No, the other foot. Now right hand to the crimp… no the higher crimp… no no the lower one is better”. You try doing what you heard and it doesn’t make any sense and you fall off. You turn around and it was a couple of strangers just spraying random beta at you. Don’t you just hate that? So never spray beta even if you think it’s helpful because you are only confusing the climber.

If you can’t do it don’t share it

First, no disrespect to noobs. It is fine if you are climbing with someone you know who happens to be at the same level as you are… I believe the level is low yes low is the right word to use here. So if you are climbing at a low level you should not share any beta with climbers who are climbing something hard. If you can do the climb you may share your beta if you can’t you shouldn’t even think about it.

Show the way

bouldering beta

If you see a climber who is so close to sending a route and you are dying to share your beta. Because you know all he needs is to know your beta and he will send the route. However, if he never asks for help then you should not share. So the workaround for this situation is for you to climb the route in front of him. Like you just showed up and didn’t know he had spent the last hour working on the route. Show the way to do it, especially the crux move. If he wants the beta he’ll watch and apply. This is the most unintrusive way of sharing beta.

Share beta only if there is no hope of sending

If a climber is in the situations listed below. It is a telltale sign he had given up hope of sending the problem.

  1. Spent hours trying a problem and had no progress? Checked ☑️.
  2. He had been repeatedly trying to send with the same beta. Checked ☑️.
  3. Look desperate and have lost all hope in sending the problem? Checked ☑️.

When you encounter these situations. It is a safe bet that he is going to welcome your help. Your beta (if works) will make this climber a happy camper.

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Consider the difference in height

sharing climbing beta

Not all beta work. A beta that works for you does not mean it’ll work for someone else. This is especially true if the beta “giver” and the beta “receiver” have a huge height difference. When you are so tall that you can simply skip a couple of holds and still top the boulder problem maybe you should keep your beta to yourself. Because sharing your tall man’s beta will upset many people. Just simply standing and stretching upwards to touch the end hold is not a beta.

Pointing out overlooked holds

When a climber is struggling with a boulder problem and you notice that he has missed a hold. Pointing out the overlooked hold is not considered sharing beta. Feel free to inform the climber that he has missed a hold which can be the key for him to send the problem.

However, some climbers want to challenge themselves and have the intention to eliminate the use of some holds to make the problem harder. So how would you know? When the hold is obvious and not covered in white chalk stain, say like a huge jug and the climber is not using it. It is a giveaway that he doesn’t want to use it. If this is the case, your help is not needed. Pointing out the hold may make you look stupid.

So the next time you are bouldering in a gym and have a sudden urge to share beta just remember to follow the above advice.

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