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upintheair


Sep 11, 2008, 6:40 AM
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Female Beta
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When you're working a problem at your limit, do you find it helps to get beta from other female climbers? Do you think there's really much difference in how men solve cruxes vs. how women solve them?

The reason I ask is that I've started to work some harder climbs lately, and am having trouble using some of the beta my male climbing partners use. I'm sure part of the reason is most of them are in the 6-ft range, and I'm 5'5". But on some climbs, I don't seem to have much luck using beta from my shorter male friends, either, especially if it's a situation where they're getting through a crux using a huge, dynamic move. I'm at this awkward stage with climbing where I've started to improve and outpace many of the female friends I've climbed with over the past year, but that means I don't have other women to get beta from on the harder stuff. So I'm wondering if it's worth seeking out other women to climb with who climb a few grades harder and seeing how they do things. Thoughts?


lena_chita
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Sep 11, 2008, 7:04 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Female Beta [In reply to]
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Yes, it is definitely worth finding other females who climb better than you and learning from them. I am very lucky to have a partner like that. And yes, women often find different ways to climb the same route than males do.

But it isn't so much male/female as body type/size.

I climbed with a really strong lady two weeks ago. She is also about 7-8 inches taller than me. And no, watching her didn't really help me. She also wasn't very helpful with beta. "There is a really long move getting over the lip there, I don't know if you can pull it"-- is not very helpful.

Regardless of body type, some people are really good at giving beta specific to YOU instead of spouting off what THEY did, when obviously I won't be able to do what they did. There is a really good climber/route-setter that sets routes in our gym. He is tall, with a positive ape index, etc. Watching him climb is not really helpful. I commonly get frustrated on problems that he sets. BUT-- if he is there, he can usually talk me through series of moves that would get around that reach, or talk me through making that huge reach, that rurns out not to be so huge, after all. The key is that instead of telling me "I just put my feet here and reach, you can do it, just go for it" he watches what I do, and then makes concrete suggestions, such as "use this jib and drop knee" or " you need to turn more", or "initiate from your left leg, really push off". So it isn't me watching him that is helpful, it's him watching me that is helpful.

So don't limit yourself to climbing with only women, or only partners of your size. Find a variety. :)


tavs


Sep 11, 2008, 8:49 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Female Beta [In reply to]
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I have to echo what lena_chita said--I have some good climing friends who can do the same thing for me in suggesting beta. While it can be great to find someone who is a similar height AND climbing style to yours (ie, the guys your height who climbing dynamically aren't going to be much help if your style is more static), the next best thing (and maybe even better) is finding someone who understands how to climb.

I've gotten lucky in having friends like this among my climbing partners. But you can try to get the same help--maybe ask someone to simply watch you climb. Not to just give you their beta, but watch you try a move you're having trouble with and give you feedback--are you letting your body sag away from the wall? Is your arm or leg still bent even though you feel like you're reaching as far as possible? Does it look like you're pushing enough with your leg? Are you overshooting the hold? Etc etc. More than watching someone else or getting basic beta--left hand moves to X hold while dropping the right knee--this kind of feedback can improve your technique and make you a better climber faster (in my experience, at least).


Partner lwilson


Sep 11, 2008, 9:25 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Female Beta [In reply to]
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Great questons upintheair.

In my experience, I've found that it is no different to get beta from a female/male, whether short or tall, on a consistent basis.

To echo one of the other posts, climbing with someone who really knows technique makes a difference. I've begun to climb with a male who climbs much harder than me, but he knows technique and can convey that better (to me at least) than anyone else. And it helps!

I am short, and have a very short reach, so even when I climb with those who are short, we still tend to not use the same beta. This is especially true when climbing outside, when more options are available. I began to learn how differently I climb just by climbing with a variety of people, with a variety of styles.

For example, I tend to move my feet A LOT. And I have to use more hands in order to get to the same spot that someone just reached in one go. I don't think I learned that from anyone per-se, I think I learned that thru trial and error. For certain climbs female beta can be more helpful, but then again, its not on a consistent basis that this occurs.

I hope all of my rambling helps....Crazy


stonefoxgirl


Sep 11, 2008, 9:36 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Female Beta [In reply to]
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I have great male partners that use prases that are encouraging rather than demanding. So rather than hear a fellow male climber say put my hand or foot somewhere, they let me try it first and if I get a bit frustrated we all stand on deck and look at is like a math problem. I get statements like 'I noticed you were really reaching at this point, maybe be concious of your left foot around here and try to get a higher foot before reaching with your right.' Or 'you did a really good job trying to figure out that part, the strength and muscle memory will come, I couldn't have done it better myself, keep tryin.'
The girls I climb with a re just great spotters and good at encouraging. I have never felt that I was given beta overload - we are all willing to offer an opinion but if it's not need or wanted we can sense that too. Say something if it bothers you. Honestly, 10 people yelling at me from the ground wastes a lot of my energy while Im up there climbing. I'd rather figure it out and talk on the deck.


granite_grrl


Sep 11, 2008, 3:32 PM
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Re: [tavs] Female Beta [In reply to]
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tavs wrote:
While it can be great to find someone who is a similar height AND climbing style to yours (ie, the guys your height who climbing dynamically aren't going to be much help if your style is more static)
I have to disagree here. Sometimes we have to change our style of climbing to do the move more efficiently, and its great if we have someone to help us with the style.

I think one problem a lot of women have is that they don't want to climb dynamically, or burley, or whatever. This really limits us. I'm speaking as one that had to flip her climbing style completly upside down over the past two years. I can't imagine climbing the routes I can now with the way I used to climb.

That all said when you're working something really hard, at your limit, it can be helpful to have someone of a similar body type as you. But to echo others in this thread it is much more helpful to climb with someone who understands climbing movement and good technique.


clausti


Sep 12, 2008, 8:56 AM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Female Beta [In reply to]
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In general, I prefer beta that is the location of a hold rather than an imperative to put one of my limbs on it.

but, if I may be so un-humble, I generally have a very good idea of how big a move I can make, and what kind of sequence I need to get where, so I find "MOVE YOUR LEFT FOOT" ect to be really distracting. "go on, just reach for it!" has been known to make me see red.

some people give much better beta than others, though, climbing style aside. i have had partners who were above 6 feet who have been really helpful, and I have coached camhead through a few cruxes that he couldn't figure out, even though I couldn't do the moves.

it IS sometimes helpful to have similarly sized partner, but i think it's more helpful when the person just is good at intuitively seeing movement. climbers vary a great deal in their ability to do that.


kostik


Sep 12, 2008, 8:29 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Female Beta [In reply to]
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This is female betta:



acacongua


Sep 15, 2008, 8:15 AM
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Re: [kostik] Female Beta [In reply to]
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Why can't you just figure it out on your own?

Don't get me wrong, I love beta, but I found that the guy I like to climb with often doesn't take the least path of resistance. So I get on the rock and show him the girl beta. But, I probably have more experience than you to have confidence in that.

Also, don't discount the friends you've had who are not exceling as fast as you. I've had the same situation and those same friends have also shown me the least path of resistance on cruxes.


marebear


Sep 15, 2008, 9:56 AM
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Re: [upintheair] Female Beta [In reply to]
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I think there is a difference between how women and men climb, and as a result, having the girl beta can be a big help. I climb with a variety of people: guys and girls with ability from 5.8 to 5.14, and have found that when I am really struggling with a move on a climb, no matter how much beta the 5.14 climber spits at me, the beta that works and makes sense often comes from another girl. I think it is less an issue of height, and more an issue of balance, technique, and the ability to explain things. I am 5'9" and some of the best beta I get comes from my 5'3" female friend.

Does this mean you should seek out female climbers who are stronger climbers than you? I don't think so, though it is always nice to have them around. Finding any climber that can analyze movement on the wall will be helpful. And, don't be afraid to flail on the same move for 15 tries. That's what makes you stronger.

One female friend of mine works on 5.13 and there is such a strength disparity between her and me that her beta isn't always helpful on 5.10/5.11 climbs. When people suck at giving beta, sometimes it is because they have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of someone who is not as strong as they are. As much as we like to thing climbing isn't about brute strength, some moves on some climbs just are. That's what I think is different about girl beta, it is a way to get through the same moves with more balance and less muscle.

My advice: climb with people you like that are fun to be around. :)


upintheair


Sep 15, 2008, 10:36 PM
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Re: [marebear] Female Beta [In reply to]
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In reply to:
As much as we like to thing climbing isn't about brute strength, some moves on some climbs just are. That's what I think is different about girl beta, it is a way to get through the same moves with more balance and less muscle.

Bingo. Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

By the way, here's a video showing someone soloing the climb that inspired my original post:

http://www.youtube.com/...&feature=related


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