Today was gorgeous.
And what do we do on gorgeous days? Do we stay at home and apply to jobs? Do we sit at computers in the dark, not exploring or enjoying the sun? Do we?!?!
Yes. But then what do we do after?
We explore and enjoy the sun!
Which, incidentally, is exactly what Tara and I did with Quincy Quarries. We drove down, and for once we didn’t even hit super horrible rush hour traffic at 2:00 in the afternoon! It was just normal rush hour traffic at 2:00 in the afternoon. Damnit Boston, your rush hour is ridiculous.
But past the driving adventure, the quarries were lovely – a huge departure from the previous time I’d been there (Ed Note: See post “A quick Quincy recon” for details, dear readers!) due to the… what’s it called… Ohh! Ground!
Yeah, due to being able to see the ground. Kind of crazy, there not being 3 feet of snow, right? I mean, it’s not like Boston has been held hostage by nearly 10ft of snow this year… <cries in the corner>
The trip was lovely, please see the pretty pictures below.
So I’ve climbed at Quincy Quarries since my first climbing trip into the outdoors, back in 2005. It’s an amazing place to climb, but from the first I’d heard about hiking trails tracing their way through the blue hills surrounding the quarries. The Quarries are part of the Blue Hills, and while I’ve gone on a few hikes in the area, I realized that I’d never explored the sections around the one place that I’ve spent the most time.
So on a lazy Sunday, I decided to change that. I packed up a light snack and a bottle of water, put the top down on the car, and tore down I-93 to do some exploring.
What I found was surprising, to say the least: I’d expected significantly more trails than I found, but I also didn’t expect to find a whole historic monument to one of the first railroads in the United States. I’d known that the Quarries had been, obviously, a large quarry back in the colonial days, but the scope of the work hadn’t ever hit me… until now.
But the hiking was good, and it was a nice excuse to get out of the house on an otherwise boring Sunday. Maybe next time I’ll try the other areas around the quarries… This was just one spot, and I’m sure that there are more cool things to be found hiding around! That’s one of the things I love most about New England, and why I want to explore Europe – the hidden history. Places that have ages of human occupation written into the very stone (literally, in this case) that’s just waiting to be learned about.
Quincy in September
I hadn’t been climbing with NUHOC in ages – I hadn’t been to a meeting in over a year, missed the annual presentation by a famous climber, and didn’t even help out at the “intro to climbing” weekends.
But, one Friday afternoon, I saw a post asking whether anyone with a car wanted to go to Quincy to do some climbing at the quarries. Originally I wasn’t thinking that I’d even be awake that early, but after canceling out of a party I had intended on going to, I found myself with an early evening and a free morning…
So I drove down to Ruggles at 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday, packed gear into the trunk, and then headed down 93 toward Quincy.
Nothing else to be said really, except for the climbs we were able to set up:
- Harvard corner. I don’t know the real name of this, but it’s in the middle of the pond area… I think it’s called the BoilerPlate wall since it gets so hot in the sun.
- We set up three climbs here, though I don’t know their names.
- #1 and #2 were fun crack/face climbs, no real difficulty to them, but they had some quite interesting moves and kept us entertained through multiple runs of the second climb.
- #3 was on the boilerplate wall itself; a short vertical section followed by a large and easy slab. I stuck to the vertical section, primarily, and we took at least three runs each on this wall. It was hard face climbing, working through a series of tiny little crimps and ledges. Took a few falls on it, even.
- The Prow. This is the wall opposite the MILK / K / Ships prow wall. Dominated by a huge disconnected flake, it has amazing face moves and hellish laybacks
- The layback – 5.8 – Not 100% sure on the name, but that’s what this climb is – straight-up laybacking, using a really good crack and a horribly-slick face. It’s possible to climb is as a hand-crack, but quite tough for me since it’s just at that awkward width where my fingers can’t grip, but I can’t fit my whole hand in… Either way I went up twice, and had a blast doing so.
- The beginner’s slabs
- Alex, one of the guys who came along, wanted to get a lead in. He knew what he was doing, so I trusted him with my rack and we set up this easy, though tricky, intro climb. It was fun, and it was a nice nostalgia moment, since this climb was actually where I led my first climb on gear.