I have determined I absolutely love outdoor climbing. I guess that doesn’t come as any surprise, but there is something about seeing all those fancy moves you practice in the rock climbing gym and that strength you just know you’ve been building all come together for a sweet sweet finish. I don’t think there are words quite for it and it just gets better every time.
On Saturday Rob and I met up with Andy (@aframe) and his son Jack at Quincy Quarries (QQ) in Quincy, Massachusetts for a try at some more urban style climbing in 94 degree weather. I’ve heard so many things about QQ so I was excited to get a chance to form my own opinion.
QQ is definitely a lot different than the types of outdoor areas I’m accustom to. Between the fact you can literally just park and stroll into the climbing area, and the abundant graffiti, you know you’re somewhere different than usual. But it’s worth the visit. I honestly never would have guessed so much was hiding right off the highway right near a golf course. Who knew!
Our group first checked out the I-Wall (H Face). From the main part of the quarry, it looks no bigger than a boulder, but the trees, hill, and a serious slope down hill are masking the true glories of this area. It’s huge, slightly intimidating, and I’m wishing now I had snapped a few more pictures from where we were belaying. We set up at the base of climb known as Fruit of the Loom (5.10).
We all took a turn on the route, and it was something. The start was a bunch of crimps on a fairly vertical slab, followed by putting all of those edge climbing skills to use. Then came the fun part. I haven’t had much of a chance yet to play around on overhangs in the gym or outdoors, so when I found myself faced with a lovely overhang that required some fancy acrobatic moves, I was surprised to find myself actually getting the hang of it! The worst of it was trying to just get from the ledge to the first jug on the overhang. Sweet stuff. The rest of the route was nothing compared to what had come before and I was psyched to have completed it. Even more psyched to know I had climbed so far above what I thought I was possible of. Oh, and Rob did his first ever rappel. Congrats, Rob!
Seeing as it was 94 degrees, we decided to keep in the shade and go check out the Q-Wall… we think. This area seemed to be not as well documented in Andy’s Boston Rocksguide, so we aren’t entirely sure what we did. Either
way – I promise it was still awesome. Rob and Andy set up ropes on what we think is Stupid Route (5.9?) and some other route that we really can’t figure out the name of but it appeared to have been in the 5.10-5.11 range.
I tried the route with an unknown name first, and I am in love with it even though I couldn’t actually finish it. The start of the route was lots of big juggy moves made significantly more difficult by spray paint on almost every surface, followed by a huge reach to get to a decent hold. I swear the most interesting part of every climb always comes about three-quarters of the way up. That’s where the holds turned into knife like rocks and the foot holds just stopped existing. I had to give up for this trip, but I will get it next time (note to self: tape, lots of tape). Rob as usual totally kicked my climbing derriere, and was able to climb the route first try. Someday I’ll be as cool as him, right?
The final climb of the day was Stupid Route, and I’m going to have to agree with the name. To make any headway on this route, you have to first jump over broken glass and beer cans (cleanup day anyone?) at the far right. It’s an easy climb to get your hands up to the ledge, but be ready to pull yourself up on just a crimp. Once up on the ledge, be ready for the most awkward walk of your life. The ledge slopes outward, can’t be anymore than eight inches wide, and it’s best if you do it with you back to the wall. If you can do that without falling off, pick yet another crimp and go all Tarzan style to swing yourself back around to the flat face of the wall… but not too far. Once there, heel hook time! And that’s as far as I made it. I’m epically horrible at heel hooks. I would like to note though that Rob, Andy, and Jack all made it up on Stupid Route, so nicely done guys!
All in all, awesome day. We called it quits way earlier than we would have on a much cooler day – but 94 degrees is just too hot! If you’re from the Boston area or are considering making the drive, Quincy Quarries is definitely worth checking out. I’m already looking forward to heading back.
A huge thank you to Andy and Jack for the invite and showing us around. There is no community out there quite like the climbing community, and I’m so thankful to be connecting with such incredible folks!