Crag Cleanup With REI and Access Fund

We showed up at Quincy Quarries and the place was buzzing with volunteers.  REI had a tent set up with raffle items and people with orange REI volunteer shirts were dumping giant black garbage bags into one large pile.  I asked who was there with the Access Fund and REI.  I was directed to Dane with REI who told me that Tom, who was an Access Fund member, was on top of the cliff.  He then pointed over to a man, silhouetted against the sky with a vacuum cleaner, cleaning up glass.  Interesting sight.

Dave and I talked for a while.  I found out that the REI here does several cleanups a year and works with lots of regional organizations among the national ones like Access Fund.  They usually cleanup Quincy Quarries once a year along with the AMC and Access Fund and say there is always work that needs to be done there.

REI and Access Fund were able to pull a great group out.  There were over 40 volunteers there bagging brush, cutting back overgrown approaches, getting rid of broken beer bottles on the top rope areas and picking up litter. The volunteers were rewarded with pizza for their efforts.

The vibe was enthusiastic and most volunteers were happily socializing among themselves.  We talked to one pair, a guy and a girl, who were sitting on the sidelines after everyone had been called back for lunch.  He had done a number of volunteer efforts with REI; this was her first one.  They both described getting there at 9:30 am, ready to work and feeling great about helping in an area they used as climbers.  Turns out the majority of the volunteers were either heavily involved with climbing or had as least dabbled in it to some degree.

Dave and Tom told us to grab some pizza while they began the raffle for prizes offered by Access Fund.  A good proportion of the volunteers walked away with a prize from the event.

We said our good byes after taking a few group pictures and started walking over to the climbing area to get on the rock.

The first area we tackled was a lower grade but fun.  There was a great group there from an area YMCA who kindly invited us to use their ropes which they had already set up on the top ropes.  We were happy to accept since setting up takes a while.  Not only were these guys generous with their ropes, they were pretty hilarious, too, and it didn’t take long for them to start cracking on us as well, which made us feel right at home.

The ratings here are known for being one under, but they seem pretty true to me.  I really enjoy the rock here- a grippier version of the granite back in Salt Lake City.  It’s blocky and has some crimps, but not many fingernail-sized ones- more like ¼ “ seams.  There are generally at least two cruxes with the first move always being one of those cruxes because of the spray paint that covers the rock and makes it slick.

The 1st climb I got on had a short chimney section and then some of the only fingernail crimps I’ve noticed in the area.  Things weren’t apparent here until you are practically on top of them.

We met Tom and Greta towards the end of our day. They were familiar with the climbing in New Hampshire and asked us about our time in Runey as we climbed next to each other.  They had recently returned from an eco-trip in Puerto Rico with their college and described the climbing there a bit (apparently very rough on the shoes) along with the kayaking and hiking they did while there.

On the other side of us was a group of college kids who were showing off to their girlfriends.  They were climbing barefoot, playing loud music, hollering to each other and smoking.  They arrived late, thankfully on our second to last climb, so we didn’t’ have to deal with them long.  I know they were super excited because they wanted to show their girlfriends how good they are, but I don’t think they were too well versed in the mechanics or ethics of climbing.  At the end, I looked up and had to do a double take.

One anchor.  One carabiner.  Braking hand taken off every time the rope was taken up.

These are the type of people that make our sport so dangerous.


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