Tag Archives: belaying

Quincy Quarries

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Quincy Quarries is a unique crag full of awesome graffiti art, big walls and persistent routes.  It is located south of Boston and isn’t a far dive from Providence. The first time I went was on a hot summer day with my friend Alex. The temperature was reaching the mid 90’s and the the crag was pretty much open with hardly and trees. The sun shines right over the crag and trying to find shade wasn’t that easy. With that being said it was still a great day. When you look up photo’s of the crag online it doesn’t seem as big as it is in person. When I first arrived I was pretty over whelmed with how big the walls were and how great the graffiti art was. The graffiti covered every wall in the crag which made it very eye catching and made for some awesome photos. However, the graffiti made it harder to climb since it was all so slippery making it impossible to smear and place your feet. Most of the graffiti was towards the bottom so once you climbed past it and go higher the wall became easier to climb. Most of the routes there are on top rope but there are a few trad and sport routes. We started out on a basic 5.8 route and ended on a 5.10 route. Alex even practiced some trad on the way up one wall. Over all the I thought the crag was pretty awesome. The walls were great, the routs were great and it wasn’t that far of a drive. I would love to go back when the weather is cooler. I feel like that was the only thing holding me back from climbing harder. If you’re new to climbing in RI/MA/CT or just looking for a crag to climb in thats not a far drive I would suggest Quincy. There’s a lot of fun routes there and you can be there all day. The one thing that I didn’t like about it was all of the litter and broken glass making it impossible to walk barefoot. I wore sandals and woke up the next morning with a big chunk of glass coming out of my foot! I almost considered getting a tetanus shot. A lot of young people go there at night to party and just leave all their trash there. I know the Rock Spot gym I belong to has certain days where they go clean the crag and climb but I feel like people should take responsibly and clean up after themselves. Leaving trash behind isn’t cool and it disgusted me. Other than that I can’t wait to go back and climb.

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Advice On Lead Climbing

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So one of the many things I did this summer was learn how to lead climb properly. My good friend Alex and I decided that since we both do a lot of out door climbing it would be a good idea to become officially lead certified. That means that we had to take three classes at the gym and then finally a test. The class was very informative and the test was pretty easy to pass as long as you stay cool and take it slow. The problem that I ran into while just starting to lead was that you can no longer climb the grades you once were able to on top rope. On top rope you only have to worry about going up, if you fall, your belayer will catch you. While leading you have to worry about finding a good position, holding it, clipping in and taking big falls. You don’t realized how tiring it is until your hanging in an uncomfortable position trying to clip in with one hand. Then if your arms or legs give out and you don’t get the rope in the clip your taking a possible 15 foot fall. If you do get the clip and you fall you will only fall half of that. It can get pretty scary and when you first start out pump comes on quick while trying to hold your position to clip. That’s why when you first start you might get set back a few grades. On top rope, or auto belay in the gym I can climb usually anything between 5.10 and 5.12 right off the couch. When I first started lead climbing I struggled with 5.7’s and 5.8’s. I  think now I’m comfortable leading at 5.9 but thinking about doing a 5.10 or higher scares me. It will take some more practice until I can get to where I am on top rope. But I know as long as I keep practicing and pushing myself it will happen. I may even attempt to lead a 5.11 in the gym next time I go with Alex to belay me. I probably won’t make it but you never know unless you try, you’ll never get better or learn to climb higher grades unless you attempt them. When I first started leading I never once thought that it was going to set me back a few grades. I thought that because I could climb a 5.11 on top rope then I could on lead. I didn’t realize I was wrong until the first lead class.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 2.08.38 PMBelaying is  a bit different too since it pretty much backwards. Instead of taking slack you’re feeding the rope through giving the slack to the climber. It took a few classes to actually get used to it. It was pretty weird to me and it does feel uncomfortable and first. There is a lot to keep in mind as the belayer like how much slack to give, when to take it, where to stand and when to take a soft or a hard catch. But practice makes perfect and even after I passed the test I still feel like I am always learning something new about it. There is just so much beta to go around that no matter what type of climbing you are doing you are always learning something new about the sport. I guess you can say it always keeps you on your toes. I would recommend learning how to lead if you plan on doing a lot of outdoor climbing and if you take climbing seriously. If you are only going to climb in the gym for fun and maybe set up a top rope a few times a year then it’s not something you need to learn how to do right away. Learning does take time and I have spent more times in the gym during the week then I ever have in the past while learning how to lead so it does become time consuming. My advice would be if you’re going to do it take your time, study and don’t get frustrated. It will come as long as you keep going.

The Reason I Climb

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All through out my climbing career people have asked me what made me start climbing and why do I do it. I’m sure you’re reading this now thinking the same thing. The half assed answer I normally give people is “well I came to the gym once and really feel in love with the sport”. Well that answer isn’t wrong but it’s also not true. The real reason is a bit longer of a story that I haven’t really told until now. The reason I never shared with people was so dark and I didn’t want to re-live the past. I wasn’t okay with the past because of how harsh it was. I was scared by it. It wasn’t until recently that I have come to terms with the past and am somewhat okay with sharing it with others. Maybe some people will learn from my story.

It all started about three years ago. I was dating a guy named Jeff and we had nothing to do on a Friday night. A friend of mine invited us to go to the local rock gym with her and her boyfriend and we agreed to go. It was our first time being there and we had a blast. Since that day I continued to go either with friends or alone. One night I was there with a friend and I had just came off a wall. Tired, I threw myself on the ground and I thought to myself “wow, I really love this place and everything about climbing”. That’s when it became more than a hobby to me, it became a passion.

About a year later Jeff had bought a house for us and I moved in. I continued to climb at the gym and he even came with me every now and again. We even got belay certified. However, there was a slight problem, climbing with him wasn’t a lot of fun. Since I moved in with him he became a completely different person. He became controlling, possessive, emotionally and physically abusive. He picked and chose when I could go to bed, come home and even eat (which only made me binge eat when I wasn’t with him). He was insecure and in the gym he was a sore loser. If he or I wasn’t climbing harder than the person next to us he would throw a hissy fit and drag me out of the gym with him. I would then get screamed at because I wasn’t climbing like them and I was weak. I’m a very laid back, down to earth person and to me that wasn’t cool. You don’t do that in the gym, it’s not a competition with other people, it’s all about conquering yourself, not others and people took notice of his poor behavior. He was 29 years old and the time but acted like he was 12.

I told Jeff that if he was going to continue to act like that than I didn’t want him to climb with me anymore. He had a chance to fix his attitude and he chose not to. The emotional and physical abuse didn’t end and I still don’t want to go too much into detail with it. I was a vegetarian for 12 years at the time and he had gone as far as telling me that if I didn’t start eating meat he would leave me. So like an idiot I started eating meat even though I didn’t want to. At first eating meat made me sick but I had to deal with it. I guess that shows how dedicated I could be. It was only a matter of time until I feel into a deep depression and started to lose myself and every thing that I was. I was in a dark place I didn’t think I could ever get out of. I wasn’t aloud to hang out with other people and have fun. There were a few friends I could see but not too many. The only place I could go without being accused of cheating was the rock gym because he somewhat understood my passion.

Going to the rock gym was the only place I could go that he was okay with. Climbing at the gym pulled me from the dark place and made me happy. It was the happiest I had been in a while when I was there. I would forget all about the negativity in my life and it was just me, the wall and some of the great people who were there. I was accused of cheating a few times but I just ignored it. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a cheater. I would never hurt someone the way I was hurt in the past and I wouldn’t wish that emotional torture on anyone. Apparently he was too insecure to get that. I lived with Jeff for about 7 months until July of 2015. We had got into a heated argument because he wouldn’t come out to dinner with some of our friends (he was invited and said he would go a week before). He told me he didn’t want me to go either and his reason was that he wanted to stay in and play video games. I told him I was going regardless. As I was walking out the door he called me a “fat fucking bitch”. I will never forget that. Never in my life has anyone said anything so rude to me and it was coming from the person I “loved”.  I cried all that night when I was out because I just couldn’t believe it. If you care about someone you don’t say that. He obviously didn’t care he was just obsessive and that’s when I knew I had to leave. My mother and I had talked about it for months before but that was the last straw.

I moved back home but when I moved back home I realized that I was broken. I had been abused, belittled and made to feel as if I didn’t matter for over a year and it took it’s toll on me. I wasn’t me anymore, I was an empty shell of myself with low self esteem. I weighed around 120 pounds before I moved in with Jeff and I had weighed close to 140 when I left him. That wasn’t okay.  Climbing was all I had left and I knew it was going to take time and a lot of work to feel like myself again. That summer after we broke up was when I started taking climbing seriously and getting into a lot of outdoor climbing and bouldering. I started eating healthy again and realized how depression made me binge eat when Jeff wasn’t around to tell me not too. It was a abad idea but depression makes you do crazy things. I lost the 20 pounds that I gained ( I have to thank Herablife for that one) and spent more time in the gym. Even with a broken thumb I watched my climbing grades grow. Climbing helped me find myself when I didn’t think I ever would and made me happy again. I regained my self esteem and am finally very happy with myself. I even recently earned a sponsorship with Onsight Gear which made me ecstatic. Climbing was there for me when no one else and saved me from the darkest place. I have grown extremely fond of the sport and what it has done for me and that is why I climb and will continue to climb. A year ago I would never have thought that I would accomplish what I have. I climb because I want to show people that anything is possible as long as you are happy and will powered. I have had zero training from anybody and am completely self dependent.  You just need to trust in yourself.

Since last July I haven’t dated anyone since. I really wanted to focus on bettering myself and making myself happy again. I literally took me almost a year but I think I have succeeded. You can’t make someone happy unless you are totally happy with yourself first. I would say I’m ready to date again but it’s tough finding someone I click with. Since everything I have been through I also want to take things slow and keep my guard up but I am willing to take it down. I’m really shy and usually don’t approach guys, I wait for them to approach me so it may be while but I’m also not going to search. When the time is ready then I guess I’ll know but in the mean time, climb on!

 

GoPro!

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I’m so sorry that I haven’t been on recently! I Friday was my birthday and I had a lot of celebrating to do over the week. I started out the week by treating myself to a new pair of climbing shoes. I got the Anasazi by Five Ten and I absolutely love them. I do want to explain why I love them and what I look for in climbing shoes but I’m going to save that for my next post so make sure to stay tuned! Anyways the following day my parents surprised me with an early birthday gift. My very first GoPro Session. I love it! Wednesday I went out and shot and the over the past few days I have spent editing the clip (that was in between celebrating on the weekend lol). So here it is! I decided to post it to my Youtube account  for sharing reasons butI will also add it to my Vimeo later on. Let me know what you guys think! This is my first time making a climbing video so feedback would be amazing!

 

 

Making A Route

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So last week my friend and I went hiking on the trails in Snake Den near my house. We came across this giant crag that we have never scene before and that’s when we knew I had to climb it. I went home that night and did some research on it and there was absolutely no record of it being climbed at all. I couldn’t believe it because it was a decent 40ft wall. After hours of researching it I came to nothing but dead ends.  Who knows, maybe it had been climbed and named before but I found nothing. I decided to take the initiative to send and and name it myself.

Over the weekend we set up top rope over the crag and invited a few other local climbing friends in the area. Since it was my idea I was the first one to get to climb it. I went through a bit of trouble because I wanted to stay left to the left of the route but the top rope just wasn’t hearing it. I knew I had to stay under the rope which actually was the most difficult way to go. That’s when I realized the route was going to be a little difficult. I got to an over hang and got stuck for a few minutes but I found a little foot hold all the way to the right that I used to push off on. I decided that the route had to be about a 5.10. The first half was easy but once you got to the over hang it became very difficult and needed a bit of technique to push through that section. When rating a rout you can sort of feel what the grade is just because you have climbed so much. It’s almost like driving a car, you don’t need to look at the speedometer to know you’re going 35mph. You are so used to driving that you can feel how fast our going. It’s sort of the same way when it comes to climbing.

When I got to the very top of the rout there were two ways to get up. You could stay right and top out there or you could  stay left and there was about another 5ft to climb that had a giant crack going through it. If you stay left you have to climb the crack and then top out. You basically do whatever you think you can do. After the climb I decided to give it a rating of 5.10+ because if you stay left up the crack it makes it a bit harder. If you stay right and top out the easy way its a solid 5.10. Since I was the first to send it I had the honors of naming it. We had the 80’s pop station playing on Pandora when the song “The Land Down Under” came on. It was sort of fitting, at the bottom of the crag it feels like you’re in a land down under since the cliff is so giant, especially with the over hang. That was the moment when I decided that it was only necessary to name the route The Land Down Under 5.10+. I made a page for it on the Mountain Project website.  Feel free to check it out. I didn’t  realize that creating a route was so much fun and actually makes you feel proud of yourself. I encourage all of you adventurers to go out and find a new route, send it, grade it, and name it!

 

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Belaying

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Belaying

So I was reading Climging Magazine the other morning during breakfast when I came across an article on belaying. I have to say that after reading it new thoughts came to mind that I had to agree with. I feel as if many gyms fly through the belay class and quickly give people the test to belay without teaching them the importance of belaying and the safety behinde it. Belaying isn’t just holding, catching and lowering your partner on the wall. It’s watching out for their lives and safety.

I often times see people belaying in the gyms not paying attention or even on their phones. The people working at the gym also don’t correct them on this bad habit. When climbing out doors this would lead to a serious injury. Even in the gym with 30ft walls someone could still get hurt.
Almost a year ago my ex was belaying me in the gym. He had just learned to belay and passed his test. I had fallen off a hold on a wall, which I forgot the rating to, but I was determined to finish the climb. I had got my foot on a hold and was ready to jump back onto the wall to climb when out of the blue he began to lower me without warning. I was very upset about it and told him off in front of other people at the gym. Which he was not happy about but he had to know what he did was wrong. You don’t lower someone with out

A: your climber asking you, or

B:You asking your climber if they need to come down.

God forbid I was on an overhang outside and didn’t know I was being lowered and hit my head or slammed into the wall which could have lead to an injury. While climbing with a belayer communication and the realization of your partners safety is vital and I think that is something gyms need to get into more with their members.