The Urban Climber

Nothing says urban climbing more than spray paint

I have a certain affinity for urban climbing as my first true experience climbing came at the Quincy Quarries located just south of Boston.  In fact, the majority of my formative climbing came at the Q’s (as we affectionately called them).  It was at the quarries that I did my first top rope climb and later learned to build top ropes.  It was also at the quarries that I learned to place protection and did my first lead climb. 

Mickey Spades modeling his new Mammut Extreme Jacket

As my skills grew I still found myself using the quarries for training.  Whether I was practicing for the AMGA SPI course or training for bigger, harder climbs in New Hampshire, it proved to be the perfect place to work on releasable rappels, top down belays, and belay take overs.  It also provided a good location to run laps on favorite routes and work on technique on some of the quarries’ harder climbs. 

Mickey Spades getting “extreme”

As my skills continued to advance I found myself using the quarries for mixed climbing as some friends and I discovered some mixed climbs existed there (provided perfect conditions).  At the discovery of the mixed lines we found ourselves practicing for the rock part of the climbing by dry tooling on some of the quarries’ lesser known walls in preparation for the lines to come. 

Luke dry tooling the 5.10 crack 

Some friends recently visited one of these outshoot quarries to do a little dry tooling and sent me some photos.  It seems strange that all the while I climbed at the quarries I complained about the spray paint and about the fact you can hear Route 93 in the background as you climb, but these photos make me nostalgic for climbing at the quarries.  Maybe if conditions line up, I will find myself there for some mixed climbing soon.

It is hard to believe this is less than a quarter mile from Route 93