Tag Archives: rock spot climbing

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!

 

What I Look For In Climbing Shoes

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What I Look For In Climbing Shoes

So in my last post I talked about a new pair of Five Ten’s that I recently bought and I promised that I would would write a post about what I look for in climbing shoes. When I started climbing, my first pair of shoes were La Sportiva Miura Vs’s. For a beginner I spoiled myself because when people start out climbing they normally go for a cheaper, more relaxed shoe, until they get better. I couldn’t resist buying these shoes because I actually got them for a good price. I scored  my Miura’s at an REI Garage Sale  for only $50. For those of you who aren’t familiar with and REI Garage Sale it is basically a big sale for all REI Co-Op members who can buy items that have been returned to the store for a lesser price. On each item there is a tag that states why the item has been returned. The Miura’s were returned because they were too small for the last person. They were in brand new condition and fit me perfect so I scored. At the time I was still new to climbing and didn’t really know how to properly fit a shoe but the salesman at REI reassured me that they fit. I actually still wear the shoes to this day.

So because I spoiled myself with a shoe as aggressive as the Miura’s I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to switch shoes. For my birthday I decided to treat myself to a new pair of climbing shoes to help save the life of my Miura’s. Now that I am a very experienced climber I know more about what to look for in shoes and what I was after. I originally bought a pair of  Five Ten Rogue’s because I loved the way they felt on my feet and I loved how they were relaxed. I wanted to go with a relaxed shoe because I wanted a shoe that would be good at smearing on the wall since that is hard to do that with an aggressive shoe. My friend advised me not to buy the shoes because I wasn’t going to like the way they felt.

Well I will admit he was right and I was wrong. I wore the shoes to the gym the next day and I had such a hard time climbing in them. My feet were slipping on chips, my foot was moving around way too much in the shoe and I hated the gap it left between my foot and the wall. One of the men setting a wall over heard me and came down to look at my new shoes. I told him about my other shoes and what I was looking for and he told me that I needed more of an aggressive shoe. I should have listened in the first place! He also noticed that the shoe was at least a half size too big and that’s why I kept slipping. He gave me some really good advice I only wish I had known before hand.

I went back to REI the next day to return my shoes and look at other pairs. The salesman and I talked forever about climbing shoes. It was pretty awesome and the fact that I think that’s awesome is one of many reasons why I’m single. The salesman redirected me to a pair of Five Ten Anasazi’s  . The pair is very similar but the shoe is a lot tighter around the heel which is better for control, the top part of the shoe is padded for added comfort and there is a slight arch in the shoe making it more moderate. The shoe also fits super super tight which is good. I know that they’ll stretch over time so the way they fit now is perfect. If the shoes is very uncomfortable it fits right. I also love the fact that the shoe has straps instead of laces.  That is the one thing I look for when buying shoes. I just really hate laces. Some people prefer them but it’s really all about preference. When I took the shoes to the gym I really loved everything about them even more. I almost love them as much as my Miura’s and I can honestly almost compare the two. The most important part of shoes is to love almost everything about them. They are what’s going to help you climb better and will go with you on many adventures and journeys so be good to them.

 

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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Confusion In The Gym

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So last night I was climbing in the gym with my friend Mike when I decided to onsight a 5.11 on an auto belay. I asked Mike if he could film it on my phone so that I could see what mistakes I made and try and learn from them. While watching the video I did a pretty decent job but I noticed one small mistake at the top of the wall which makes me feel uncomfortable. If you look closely you can see at the top that I accidentally put my foot on the wrong foot chip, then fixed it by smearing it on the wall. This is something that I will have to go back and fix correctly or it will bother me. While climbing the route no one corrected me like they usually do because of the same reason I didn’t notice it at first. The foot chip (or hold)  is that same color as the rest of the holds that were in my route (yellow). I was following the 5.11 route which consisted of yellow holds with white tape underneath. However, on that route there is also a 5.9 which consists of all different color holds with red tape underneath them. The footchip that I used accidentally was yellow with red tape underneath which is why I didn’t notice at first. I saw that the hold itself was yellow and I assumed it was in my route since all my holds were yellow. It wasn’t until after I grabbed the last hold that I realized it wasn’t in my route because it had red tape under it. I fixed it by smearing my foot on the wall. However, I still feel like I have to go back and finish it. The fact that this happened makes me feel so unaccomplished. I hate how gyms do things that lead to confusion like this. I feel that all the holds should be the same color and that there shouldn’t be multi colored routes and same colored routes on the same wall because that is what happened in my case. Other then that one mistake I feel like I did pretty well.

I also wanted to share a little something personal with all my followers. So the last two weeks have probably been one of the hardest weeks in my entire life. My aunt who I was very close with suddenly fell ill and my mom I tried to stand by her and the rest of my family as much as possible the entire week she fought for her life. I don’t want to get too much into detail for the respect of my family but sadly she passed away this past Monday. I tried to be there for my family as much as I could, especially my mother. She never thought that she would lose her sister so early in life and she has been taking it pretty bad. I stayed away from social media as much as possible over the last two weeks to be with my family. I was kindly asked by my mother and grandmother to write a poem for my aunt so I wanted to share it here with you guys. Let me know what you all think.

Arby

Major Break Through

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I had a major break through this week! I climbed a 5.11 for the first time since I broke my thumb! A few months ago I broke my thumb and I suffered a set back that I have been pushing to work through since I healed. Before I broke my thumb I was climbing a max of 5.11 on the 30ft walls in the Lincoln location and 5.12 on the 45ft walls at the Peacedale location. When I broke my thumb a few months ago I was still climbing but in a brace. The brace restricted movement in half of my left hand. I was still able to climb but the harder walls became almost impossible while using only one hand. Breaking my thumb set me back to a 5.8 (on the 30ft walls). Once my thumb completely healed I shot up to a 5.9 then a few weeks later a 5.10 on the 30 ft walls. The 30ft wall are in Lincoln where I mostly go. Peacedale has the 45ft walls, which I can always climb a grade or two higher on, but the drive is long so I rarely ever go there.

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Climbing my first 5.11 on the 30ft wall for the first time since I broke my hand.

I began climbing 5.10 comfortably a little over a moth ago and I have been pushing myself to climb 5.11 for the past few weeks. Breaking the barrier requires a bit more technique and a bit more skill. I have been suffering a lot with pinches on my left hand and any move that requires me to squeeze with my left thumb. Even though it is healed it is still weaker than before and I am now suffering with something called “triggers thumb“. I have been trying to work through it a lot by climbing walls that require a lot of pinching and doing a lot of at home exercises. I am hoping to gain the muscle back in my thumb. I feel that I may have been able to climb 5.11 a few weeks ago but because I never tried there’s no way to tell. Once I started climbing 5.10’s again I immediately jumped over to a 5.11 but failed. Yesterday when I was at the gym I was breezing through every 5.10 I did. People couldn’t believe how fast I was on-sighting 5.10’s. Once I realized that the 5.10’s were not a challenge I knew it was time. Once I climbed my first 5.11 successfully I knew I had to keep climbing and hopefully I will only continue to progress. Now that I can climb 5.11’s on the 30ft walls I know that I can probably do the 5.12’s on the 45ft walls in Peacedale. I will have to head there soon. I have REALLY good endurance so I plan on doing even bigger walls this summer. I also plan to keep progressing with my climbing. I know that as long as I keep pushing myself anything is possible.