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Abilene Paradox

Ever been in a situation where a group makes a decision to do something, then later finds out that no one really wanted to do that thing in the first place, but everyone went along with it rather than rock the boat? There’s a term for that...

Bro-Brah Skier Slang

Tenley in Jackson, Wyoming, calls to share the bro-brah slang of fellow skiers there. If a skier or snowboarder is taking on a challenging run, others will cheer them on with Bro, send it! or Sick! You sent that!, and they use the adjective sendy...

The Asthenosphere

The asthenosphere, as described in Brian Kevin’s Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks guide (Bookshop|Amazon) is a gurgling sea of plasticized rock beneath the earth’s rocky crust. Asthenosphere derives from Greek asthenes...

Open Book Rock Formation

An open book is a rock formation that looks just like its name. This specialized term is one of hundreds collected and explained in the book Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. Such a rock formation is also called a dihedral. This is...

Chossy Climbing Conditions

Chris from San Diego, California, says he and fellow rock-climbers use the term chossy to describe rock that’s dangerously crumbly. It’s probably a corruption of the word chaos. To choss up means “to wreck.” This is part of a...

Beta in Rock-Climbing

A rock climber in Omaha, Nebraska, wonders about the term beta, which her fellow climbers use to refer to  information about a particular route. It comes from the old practice of using Betamax video to record information about a climb. A good...