Build it for yourself.

People’s differences in experience level, fears, and willingness to “just go for it” make it very difficult to create the perfect site or source for any activity. This is where Betaknot’s mindset “build it for yourself” comes in.

Dive in and do the research. Find joy in reading more than one route description or trip report. Who knows, you might learn something that has nothing to do with the route, but ends up saving your life someday.

Use Betaknot to tie together what you think is useful. Build a habit of reading and compiling during the work week. Don’t worry about file structure or organization until later, instead, focus on saving the good sources and capturing the details. 

Betaknot is not a crowd-sourced or curated content site; it is your personalized content site. Our goal is to help you build plans and keep them updated, so you can be successful or at a minimum remember why you were not. As the site grows, we will help create micro communities and make it possible to share ideas with fellow enthusiast, but at the end of the day your beta will always be yours.

We built the framework for ourselves and now want to share this version with you. So go, use Betaknot – build a plan for yourself, and share it after you try. Have fun & embrace that everything is a work in progress!

Summit of Gothic Peak, a hike/scramble in Washington state.
Summit of Gothic Peak, a hike/scramble in Washington.

Why printing matters, and where Betaknot is headed.

Where you come from, whether that’s you as a person or you as an idea, plays a role in what matters to you. For Betaknot, we like to sell that it “prints nice” and for a lot of tech savvy people this doesn’t seem relevant.

Printing matters because we take our plans on adventures. The type of adventures that you would not want to pull your phone out because it’s too wet or you could drop it and never see it again. Being able to print a couple copies of the beta (or info) and not have to worry, keeps the stress level lower and the fun factor higher.

Here's what we take with us & shove in our pockets!
Here’s what we take with us & shove in our pockets!

We know that this use case does not apply to everyone. Betaknot is heading in the direction of a mobile app. The app would make it easy to sync your book for a trip to your phone and hit the road. Let us know if this sounds interesting to you!

Why We Created Betaknot

Maybe you can relate?

We emailed constantly throughout the week: “What about this route?”, “Want to go here this weekend?”, “Have you seen this recent trip report?”. Our email threads were really long by the end of each week, and Friday night we would scroll through everything and try to remember which pieces of information would be worth bringing with us. The process of pulling out what we thought was relevant and printing typically took over an hour. In the transition seasons it took longer because we wanted to find the latest information on road and trail conditions. And when we hadn’t decided on where we were going, it took even longer because we still had a few options to pick through.

After about a year of this routine, we wanted a better solution for tying all of this information together. There were plenty of crowd-sourced content sites for each activity, but managing lists and publishing content on all of them was overwhelming. We could have started a blog, but we weren’t into sharing the story aspect of our adventures. Essentially, we wanted a digital journal that would help us save useful information and our lessons learned. That way, if we went back again we could be successful or if a friend asked for our notes we could provide good detail.

We started to use Google Docs. It was great because it allowed us to collaborate. The problem was it felt too formal, consistent formatting took extra effort, and file organization was a pain. In the end, we only ended up using it for big outings and we still felt like there had to be a better way.

We’ve spent the last year trying to build that “better way”. Betaknot is in beta. It’s a planning and recording tool for your life experiences. Here are some examples of how you could use Betaknot to prepare for what’s next or remember what matters.

Click here for some Betaknot examples.

The Betaknot Backstory

We went to college, started our careers, and then a friend introduced us to this thing called climbing. We worked Monday through Friday and became weekend warriors. Our days off were full of adventure. We were introduced to wild places in our own backyard that we had never explored before. And then we moved…

We moved to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for work. We didn’t know the area and didn’t have anyone to show us around, but we were excited to explore our new backyard. Sometimes our weekends were fun and successful. Other times they were full of road closures, poor signage, incorrect maps, and inadequate information. So we started thinking, there must be a better way…

We’ve spent countless hours developing the idea for Betaknot. It started simple, but slowly grew into what you see today. The original focus was on improving the research process for climbing related information. But now, Betaknot is a research tool that you can use for just about anything.

We hope you find Betaknot useful. If you have any ideas, we’d love to hear them. And if you’re still wondering, ‘beta’ means info in climber’s lingo, and knots tie things together.