We’ve climbed at Quincy Quarries more times than we can count. The set-ups are fast, the rock dries quickly after a storm, and the walls are climbable year-round. Whether you’re heading out for a post-work top-roping session or a day trip to this popular early-season locale, here’s a best-of list to check out, one route for each grade. Just be forewarned: the ratings are already sandbagged and the graffiti adds at least a grade.
White Knight (5.5) on Knight’s Face would be a bucket list climb if it went on another 1,000 feet. The climbing is fun and it packs a variety of movements—including smearing, stemming, edging, underclinging, side pulling, and mantling—in its 30 odd feet.
Although there are several contenders for the best 5.6 at the Quarries (including C Wall’s Flake Direct, pictured above), our favorite is Layback on J Wall. As you’ll learn in the first 15 feet, it’s “old school” 5.6 for sure. Just commit to the layback while smearing on the smallest of spray-painted nubbins and you should be fine. It gets easier as you get higher.
The tricky crux of Ceaseless Turmoil on C Wall makes it the top 5.7 at QQ. It involves making a high step or heel hook into the horizontal crack, then mantling to stand up. The movement is fun, with the only complication being that the feet at the start of the sequence aren’t great.
Outside Corner on K Wall is the most popular climb at the Quarries for good reason: it’s the best sandbagged 5.8 in Greater Boston. There’s a bouldery crux down low, some moderate, thoughtful climbing in the middle, and then some delicate moves into a strenuous crack near the top. A great lead.
Two routes over on K Wall is Pins, a 5.9 that packs a punch. It too is sandbagged, starting on spray painted holds, then transitioning to a 20-foot section of difficult climbing up a crack and adjacent flakes. Above that, the climbing moderates, but many get so pumped that they don’t make it there.
Ladderline (5.10), on J Wall, is a long-standing Quincy Quarries test piece. It begins with a seemingly impossible start on the tiniest of holds, that even the late John Strand conceded was more like 5.11 back in the pre-spray paint days. If you make it through—or just skip it by accessing the higher horizontal from either side—the rest of the route is fun, delicate face climbing on small edges. As you near the top, don’t let your guard down; there’s still a high crux.
Finger Flux in Swingles Quarry is a fun, short 5.11 crack. It’s a great dry tool route, best climbed in late fall before the ice comes in.
Since everybody loves a post-climb brew, make sure to check out Trillium Brewery’s Canton location at 110 Shawmut Road. It has two tasting rooms, retail space, and views of the production facility. Just make sure to bring your cooler so you can take some of your favorites home with you.
Words by Doug Martland
Photo by Tim Peck