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Funny, It Worked Last Time...

posted May 12, 2018, 7:07 PM by Ken Goodman   [ updated May 12, 2018, 7:16 PM ]
When working a new project, there is a balance between searching for new beta and throwing yourself at a single move with sheer grit. Each attempt carries with it an opportunity cost.

Classic 
over head toe smear mantle beta on bull dog...

Ben Smith is famous for being on the extreme end of beta optimization. Trying every single possibility for years until the ultimate beautiful beta reveals itself. 

Other climbers prefer a less nuanced approach: throw your fingertips at the granite, close your eyes, and think of England...


As ever, the optimal approach is something in the middle. In human factors research there is a phenomenon known as a fixation error: you get stuck trying the same task repetitively and lose sight of other possibilities. 

I did a fun problem at Nouveau Riche today without knowing the beta. Nice toe hook, satisfying rock over finish. Enjoyable. Then I checked the topo - surprised to find a very negative review! It made sense when I watched the video... that topout had to be a fixation error :)


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