The Elusive Quincy Quarries – Boston Urban Climbing

We got up at the time we were supposed to leave so we were already running late for meeting Andy.  plus, we weren’t packed all the way and my aunt and uncle had been planning to take us out to breakfast, not knowing we had to leave early.  I felt like we had a rushed goodbye and I feel bad about it.  It wasn’t very good of a thank you to just hurry off instead of going to breakfast.

My uncle was out, so my aunt told him to pick up some doughnuts and juice and she wanted to make crepes for us. I told her not to worry about doing that for us (though she still did try to insist). She packed a little bag of goodies for the road and after finishing our juice and Dunkin Donuts (man, the Northeast loves this place!) we were on the road to Boston- Quincy Quarries in particular- to meet and climb with Andy.

It was not easy finding the place at first, though it really should have been. We were about an hour and a half late and we kept texting Andy to find out where to go because of wrong turns, traffic, etc.  We finally arrived, thanks to a very patient Andy, who took our being late in stride- a patience I don’t often see in Northerners.  I know, a generalization, but I’m family with a lot of them, so I’ve earned the right to say so.

We finally met Andy! I’ve been friends with him for about a year on Twitter and through my Sketchdining group.  If I ever get my stuff in order, Andy is gonna be the head of the Boston chapter, which is how we orginisally became friends.  More recently, though, Andy has taken up climbing and has gotten absolutely addicted. He’s met a bunch of climbers on line, gotten tips, started a climbing blog, hired a guide in Acadia, bought gear… wow.  It’s awesome to see new people getting into the things you love and being on fire about it.

Quincy Quarries is right outside of Boston.  To get there, you take 93 south from Boston, get off at exit 5 (Quincy Quarries) and take an immediate right on Ricciuti Drive.  It was the immediate part that messed us up.  It is right after getting off the exit and we missed it entirely.  We were then stuck on one-way roads, something I think is the norm and not the exception in Boston.

But we found it.  Andy took us into the now-closed Quarr and wow. He had explained this was urban climbing but I wasn’t really prepared for this place.  I stood in a large open field (especially large for being in a city). There were graffiti-covered cliffs strewn about it.  The more you walk around, the more you realize you’re gonna like this place.  There are tons of area here and even a bouldering section. The place has it all and the granite is even better than the stuff back home in Salt Lake.

I can’t get over the scene: climbers on graffiti rock with Boston in the background (which you can see from the topouts).  I believe the only drawback here is that almost all the routes are top—rope, I only saw a few bolts.  But whatever. Top yourself out and just got hard.  It’s a great practice area.

We got on a tricky looking 5.10 Steve impressed the small crowd. Oh yeah- sidenote- Andy, while in the parking lot, said that the folks we had met climbing in Acadia were there.  I guess while he was waiting, he struck up a conversation with 2 people and it turns out they had met us at Otter Cliffs in Maine a couple of weeks ago.  Awesome! So we got to see them again. They live here in Boston so now Andy has some climbing buddies here in town.

Anyway, the route Steve was on involved some interesting moves, but Steve got up in a pretty quick fashion.  I was feeling pretty good about that because we both need a good run of climbs right now after being thrown off harder climbs in Rumney. Darn that Rumney Rating.

I hopped on next, not thinking I’d be able to finish.  Steve had come down pretty tired, so I thought there was no way I’d finished.  I kept pushing myself on the climb and ended up ascending a lot faster than I thought I would. I took one small fall and stopped once to tie my hair back in a knot (I’ve lost my entire stock of rubberbands).  There were some blank areas that I had to smear with my feet and some areas that required lieback and some balance moves, but I got to the top and felt pretty successful overall.

We took another area over and tired a flake later after Andy left.  The flake followed the cliff most of the way up and then turned to some small ledge-like footholds about ½” wide.  After doing the flake, the ledges seemed too easy and I tried to find harder moves.  There were none- no holds other than what was apparent.  Still felt awesome about the crack climb in the flake, though.

So we’re staying here longer.  We love it.  Unfortunately that means we have to pay for camping since we’re in the city and it wouldn’t’ be safe otherwise.  We met some great people here, though and hopefully will get to meet more while we stay.  Andy just texted and said Access Fund is actually doing a crag cleanup tomorrow at the Quarry. Coincidence

This may be my favorite area along with Exit 38 in Seattle.  Loving the environment here with the graffiti and the fact that it’s so close to a major city and not overpopulated on the climbs- but we’ll see if that hold true for tomorrow (the weekend).

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