OutdoorSpeak: The Terms that Make Us Outsiders

“Hey bro did you just barn door in that chowder?” “That manky yard sale is going to cost you a booty beer.” As outdoorsmen and women we pride ourselves on our addiction to the outdoors, and like any cult we have our own way of communicating the intricacies of our sports. It’s what sets us apart from the shoebies and the squares. Whether you climb, paddle, ride, swim or just sit at the crag and spray all day

ctScreaming Barfies
Ice climbing is a sport that needs no introduction. It takes a certain kind of individual to spend their free time scaling frozen waterfalls in white out conditions with glorified steak knives and something called a screamer potentially keeping you alive. A buddy of mine called it Type 2 fun — the kind you enjoy in retrospect when you are sitting in the car warming your hands. And nothing says fun quite like the sensation of the “screaming barfies“. For those of you who prefer hot chocolate and foot massages to sinking screws, the barfies are caused by gripping your tools with the force of a truck stop arm wrestler for too long without shaking out. The blood pools in your arms and when you finish the pitch the warm blood returns to your freezing hands with the icy vengeance of Ghengis Khan. For most the pain is so bad you double over and blow chow immediately while simultaneously screaming (hence the name). The cherry on top is that the pain somehow makes its way to your stomach, not just in your hands and it doesn’t go away for a ridiculously long time.  So who wants to road trip to Ouray next winter?

Kayakers are a breed unto themselves. Probably due to lack of circulation from being forced underwater in rivers that humans should not be floating down. It does take a good amount of skill to maneuver yourself in a white cap attached to 5o lb bobber, though and kayakers tend to shamelessly glorify themselves through their cultish verbage. A “boof” is nothing more than timing your paddle stroke and thrusting your hips in just the right combination (kinda like how your mother showed me last night) to propel yourself over a rock snag. The connection between the term boof and the act of boofing is as hazy as you would expect–that is no one knows. But don’t think about it too hard –the gobs of kayaking forum rats have already done that for you. It sounds more like stoner lingo for some dank chronic or the sound of air exiting the lungs from a well placed gut shot. When it comes to kayakers, it could be all three.

The term ‘bonking’ isn’t actually and outdoors term but rather refers to the uproarious antics that wily Bonkers D. Bobcat got himself into on his rarely view Disney show in the early nineties. Boy what a rascal he was… If you’ve ever actually “bonked” you know that nothing could be farther from the truth. For cyclists, alpinists and riders the term bonking is when you shift from drive into park. It’s the end of the line — full collapse. The term bonk actually does come from it’s original meaning ‘to hit’ and it is marketing gold. There are tons of products and advice columns on how to ‘beat the bonk’ which is quite the mental image when you think about it very literally.

Everyone who’s anyone in rock climbing knows what beta is and anyone who wears beanies without a shirt will spray their beta all over you whether you want it or not. Beta is the quintessential clique term- it rolls off the tongue like it doesn’t belong there in the first place and it is just enigmatic enough to make you seem tougher than you are. To catch up the non-climbers, beta is the sequence and techniques used to scale a rock climb. Wikipedia told me that the late climber Jack Mileski originated the term when he would video tape  himself rock climbing for reference later on and hand them out for folks to use–pit stench not included. Wiki also would like to say that it is not proper etiquette to share beta with fellow climbers unless they ask for it. A climber who has been involuntarily given beta can no longer flash his route if he climbs it his first go, only onsight and thats worse than French freeing. Keep that in mind kids — everyone hates the French.