Oh the controversy of beta, for the most part people despise Beta. They want to do their own method or they want to figure out the puzzle, and if given beta consider it insulting. Climbing is the only sport where we want to learn by our own intuition, where receiving instruction or beta is viewed as not having faith in another’s ability.
In all sports there is a passing of information, teaching technique, and a general sharing of knowledge passed on from those with greater skill or coaches. It also is passed on from those you play with either through competitively trying to outdo each other or from mentoring each other. In our sport of climbing this is BETA.
With the recent advent of climbers starting in the gym, we are slowly seeing a push for more coaching and the passing of knowledge from one to the other. Prossional climbers are just not training on their woodys or just pushing numbers in the field anymore but going to personalized trainers. Specific institutions are ariseing allowing them to get this professional training and hone in on their weaknesses. Not all of us have the capability of either paying for class or going to a personal trainer. This is where beta comes in into play. 80% of the time we as climbers should be willing to except beta from those around us. Taking beta will advance our knowledge of the climb and advance our skill set. There’s no such thing as bad beta. Beta is strictly knowledge to be used to get to the end point. If a set of beta does not work for you it is either a skill set you have not learned or not in your preferred climbing style.
For me I look at beta in two ways;
1: It either gives me insight how to accomplish my goals
2: It shows me a weakness to work on.
The only time I ever don’t want beta is if I’m tryin to do a pure on-sight, other wise before I get on a route I want every bit of information about it I can get. Information on a route should be standard and asking for “beta” should become a practice you use to succeed. When a boxer goes into the ring he/she knows everything they need to know about their opponent. They will scrutinize every little thing to prepare for fight night. The route is your opponent, and before you leave the ground you should study your opponent.
Im not saying with every climb that you should harass the locals. Sometimes you just want to dance with the rock flowing in an empty state with no thoughts just the feel of the movement. But if your squaring off to an intimidating climb, speak up and get the low down.
Beta has many benefits: you will be less fatigued after the climb, you can prevent injury by not trying tweaky moves or knowing if a hold is strenuous. It can teach you new skills, and it can relieve stress by having knowledge of the climb.
So the next time your hanging at a stopper move, or about head up a test piece; ask for BETA.