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Moving to Boston, Mass... need help!
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By Ben Warner
From Boston, MA
Apr 4, 2012
Jtree, by C. Kuzdas

Hi all,
My girlfriend and I are leaving the southwest and moving to Boston for work/school. I know there is climbing in the area, but I am worried that it will take us much longer to get out of the city if we live downtown. I would appreciate any advice regarding the best neighborhoods that provide quick access to a rock gym, and to crags outside the city. We will both be working downtown and hope to commute on the T. We are looking to rent a house because we have dogs.
Thx in advance.
Ben


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By john strand
From southern colo
Apr 4, 2012

For most areas you will need a car. Hammond pond is OK with the T as well as some gyms. You can get to Quincy via public transport but..Best to find someone with a car.


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By JSH
Administrator
Apr 4, 2012
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

Where are you working, and what's your budget? Are you looking for quiet family friendly or city living? Renting? Do you sport climb or trad climb?

Without getting specific, you'll want to stay pretty much on one color line (ie the red line or the green line) if you're commuting via T. And you'll want to trend north or west, with quick access to 93 (to NH) or 90 (to the Gunks) generally for climbing.

The main gyms are Everett (Metro) or the BRG (Woburn, just at the corner of 93 & 95 (aka "128")). Metro you can get to by T, but not that easily. I wouldn't plan your living around where the gym is, you'll end up driving there from somewhere.

Green line: if you like city feeling, Coolidge Corner is nice. Other parts of Brookline are also nice and/or quieter. You can get to 90 very quickly from the northern parts of Brookline. Red line: for city feeling, Davis Square area, or Porter. For quiet, East Arlington within walking distance of Alewife.


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By Ben Warner
From Boston, MA
Apr 4, 2012
Jtree, by C. Kuzdas

Great, thanks for the input. We do have a car so we can travel. We are working at Harvard and right across the river in Boston. We are going to rent a place; we are looking at houses because we need a yard for the dogs. Our budget is around 2500. We checked the classifieds and it seems like our budget is reasonable if we are willing to live a couple miles from downtown. So now we are just looking for neighborhoods that will provide quick access to climbing and that are safe. We climb trad. Any ideas on neighborhoods?


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By JSH
Administrator
Apr 4, 2012
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

In both cases you'll likely only get a floor of a house as an apartment. That's just how things work 'round here.

As long as your work is on the Red line, my top recommendation would be Cambridgeport: the area of Cambridge between Mass Ave and the river, bounded on the east by the BU Bridge. That puts you both close to Harvard and the Red line; because it's generally less dense, parking is a bit easier (this can vary by street). You're very close to the Memorial Drive and the Camb. exit off of 90 ("the Pike"). Lots of houses and green spaces in that area, generally. I lived on Magazine St. for a year - great location.

Second up would be East Arlington. Close to Rt. 2 (for getting out), again less dense and has mainly houses with yards; stay close to Alewife, and there's a bus that runs in to Harvard on Mass Ave as well. Also an easy bike ride. Also easy to the bike path. And you can park here -- most houses have driveways -- as opposed to Cambridge.

You might be lucky to find an apartment in a house nearer to Porter or Davis squares, but those are more dense areas; and they add a hunk to the getting-out-of-town time. It sucks to drive 3 hours then have to slog another bunch through a bunch of tight city streets, but that's just my opinion.

Both of these are about a 20-minute drive to either gym. Not a big deal.


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By clemay
From Boulder, CO
Apr 4, 2012

I 2nd everything what JSH said and I would add Belmont to your list of possible places to live. If you live right off or near Belmont or Trapelo Road, you can get the one of the 2 bus lines into Harvard Station, rent may be a little cheaper and you may get some yard space too. Easy access to Rte 2 and Rte 128(I-95)to get out of town to head north or west. If you have a bike, it's an short commute into Harvard from Belmont I lived in Belmont for about 3yrs and bike commuted to work Cambridge often. The only down side is that it is a longer drive and a bit more traffic to deal with getting to MetroRock Climbing Gym and Boston Rock Gym.

Good luck with the move!


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By John Braun
From Hendersonville, NC
Apr 5, 2012

The other gym besides the ones mentioned already in Boston is Rock Spot. It's technically in Boston but almost in Dedham. It's about a 4 block walk from the #32 bus or the Readville commuter rail station. It's easily accessible if you end up living in the Jamaica Plain or Hyde Park area.


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By Coz Teplitz
From Watertown, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Me before a cold Nov day at the Gunks, 2007.

I'd echo the suggestions of Cambridgeport and Porter Sq. ALso consider Union Sq in Somerville. It's densely populated but close to I-93 (your lifeline north to most of the better climbing) and to Metrorock. Rents are also a little cheaper because the T (subway) doesn't go there yet. Commute to Harvard is 15 min. on foot or 5 on a bike. Lived there for a year and dug it.

Also, anyone heard anything about a new gym opening in Waltham? Been hearing rumors. I live in Watertown, and I'm getting tired of the 40 min drive to both Metrorock and the BRG...


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By Andy Ryan
From Boston, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Me

Welcome to Boston Ben!! CLimbing up here is pretty great. MetroRock in Everett is very close to Boston and is a great rock gym. I climb at Quincy Quarries, and I have to say it's one of the best crags around. it's only about 10 mins from downtown by car, but can be easily reached via the MBTA Red Line, and then a little but of a walk from the station. It's all toprope there, no sport because bolting has been banned. When you get up, give me a shout and I would be happy to show you the quarries and climb with you.


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

Coz Teplitz wrote:
ALso consider Union Sq in Somerville.


This. +1 for Somerville.

Realistically you will be leaving the city for climbing - as such, consider ease of access to I-93 and I-90. To be honest, while Quincy Quarries may be one of the "best crags around" - that isn't saying much. Its a good way to get some laps in on real rock... expect anything else and you will probably be disappointed. Everything worth trying hard for is farther north or west...


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Apr 5, 2012
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

Quincy is nasty with graffiti and Hammond is kind of slimy and fingery puddingstone bouldering, but within an hour or two there is quite a lot of quality rock, especially if you boulder; Farley, Wendell,l Rose, Lincoln Woods, Lynne Woods, Pawtuckaway, Crow Hill and others. The White Mts of NH are pretty close and could keep you occupied for a lifetime. You will have plenty of climbing opportunities


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By Keyan P
From Burlington, VT
Apr 5, 2012
View from top of Standard Route on Whitehorse, NH

Andy Ryan wrote:
Welcome to Boston Ben!! CLimbing up here is pretty great.


Uhh...do you really think so?


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

I've been to the southwest, and have climbed in the Sierras. You are going to be mildly disappointed with the quality of climbing in the northeast. There are cliffs you will love, but there's maybe 10 of them in the entire NE versus hundreds (maybe thousands) of similar caliber out West.

We're actually in the early stages of planning our move Westward. After seeing mecca nothing here really compares.

You will probably love Cannon and Cathedral Ledges, and if you can get away for 4+ days (factoring drive time) there's a ton to climb in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York (about 6 hours drive from Boston?). There's also the Gunks in southern New York, maybe 5 hours from Boston. Rumney in New Hampshire for some pumpy sport and Maine even has some backcountry climbing near and on Katahdin.

Just want you to expect the worse, and heck maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. But most climbers I know who lived out West that came East have been VERY disappointed and got homesick really quick.

This is just how it is. Can't candy coat a turd sandwich.

The upside is there's a lot of good climbers in the East. Eventually everyone heads West though, so get to know them while they're still here.


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
I've been to the southwest, and have climbed in the Sierras. You are going to be mildly disappointed with the quality of climbing in the northeast. There are cliffs you will love, but there's maybe 10 of them in the entire NE versus hundreds (maybe thousands) of similar caliber out West. We're actually in the early stages of planning our move Westward. After seeing mecca nothing here really compares. You will probably love Cannon and Cathedral Ledges, and if you can get away for 4+ days (factoring drive time) there's a ton to climb in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York (about 6 hours drive from Boston?). There's also the Gunks in southern New York, maybe 5 hours from Boston. Rumney in New Hampshire for some pumpy sport and Maine even has some backcountry climbing near and on Katahdin. Just want you to expect the worse, and heck maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. But most climbers I know who lived out West that came East have been VERY disappointed and got homesick really quick. This is just how it is. Can't candy coat a turd sandwich. The upside is there's a lot of good climbers in the East. Eventually everyone heads West though, so get to know them while they're still here.


Most of this is completely false.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

Name ONE THING that is completely false in that post dipshit.

Let me put this another way - on any given day anyplace West of the great plains, at any given major climbing area, there will be numeorus international climbers that have traveled great distances to climb there. You'd be lucky to see anyone from a foreign land climbing in the northeast who aren't from Canada (no offense to our neighbors, just clarifying).

The Northeast by subjective measure is not destination caliber climbing. There's bigger, better walls elsewhere in the country and world. (and in larger concentrations) We happen to live here and don't want to fly to climb, so there are cliffs, crags, and routes. But really, it aint anything special.

Thumb through MP sometime and look at the Rockies, Sierras, Cascades, etc. Just ONE of those places has as many or more quality routes as the entire northeast combined. You can start in Colorado, start heading West, and run out of lifetime before you could finish climbing everything.


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
Name ONE THING that is completely false in that post dipshit.

Rough morning? I'll oblige you:

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
There are cliffs you will love, but there's maybe 10 of them in the entire NE

Really?


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

You can't come off any snarkier with your short replies. Really? Can't post more than a few words? Random internet posts too lowly for your time to respond?


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
You can't come off any snarkier with your short replies. Really?


Well, it is hard to keep up with your post edits.

Sorry you don't like the climbing here, and sorry that your measure of "quality climbing" is how many pros or foreigners visit. Maybe you'll be happier out west, and if so, great.

That being said - there are literally hundreds of crags scattered across New England. Thousands of quality routes. And, while you may have decided that you'll be happy elsewhere, all the climbers do not eventually head west.

Edit to keep up with your rapidly-changing posts: I know what's out there. I've climbed in the west. And the southwest, and the southeast, and, for what its worth, south america. Yes, there are huge areas out there, and lots of good routes. Doesn't mean I'm any closer to climbing out the Northeast. My to-do list seems to get longer instead of shorter every year...


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

Fair enough. Objectivity isn't everyone's strong suit.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

Just to add, defending where we live (and ultimately the pride/choice made to live there/here) isn't a new concept but it's funny how it plays out in social exchanges such as these.

After my first trip West my denial about the (mediocre) quality of my outdoors life back East was immediately erased. I've been doing everything I can to position myself (mentally mostly) for the big change/move. In the process, there's been a sudden influx of people who have moved in a such a manner come into view. I think the old expression "when the student's ready the teacher will appear" comes into play. It wasn't until I came to that realization that all the doors into other people's lives and their moves/changes appeared. So, yes there are a lot of people moving Westward. Maybe just no one you're associated with (plus, people who already moved are already out of view, right?). If you're in the mindset of staying put, why would you consciously seek out others who are not?

One day you too may find this to be true, but probably not until you tire of living where we do.

The ONLY thing the East has that is not found in large quantity out West is quality ice climbing. But with the warming / shortened winters even that's in jeopardy.


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By giants98954
Apr 5, 2012

As a lifelong Northeasterner, I think it's pretty self-evident that most outdoor sports are better practiced in the West. I too have seen a small but steady trickle of climbers heading westward for rockier pastures.

That being said, there is a lot of climbing here, it's just shorter and, with a few exceptions, is very scattered around. The bouldering is pretty good, but nothing on the scale of hueco, bishop, etc. A lot of the rock is bullet granite or gneiss and is quite good. Since it seems like OP is moving here because climbing is not his life's priority, he'll be fine weekend tripping to some very good crags and maybe squeezing in some after work playtime at one of the closer and lower quality crags.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

giants98954 wrote:
Since it seems like OP is moving here because climbing is not his life's priority, he'll be fine weekend tripping to some very good crags and maybe squeezing in some after work playtime at one of the closer and lower quality crags.


^^^^ And that very well could be true! It's a shame though when I see someone coming from rockier (lol) pastures.


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By JSH
Administrator
Apr 5, 2012
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

because I feel trolly: The Gunks is 220 miles. We routinely do it in 3 hours exit-to-exit. Yes, it's been said that I drive like a maniac, but even as I've gotten older I still do that drive in 3 hours.

North Conway is 150 mi, but they are slow miles; routinely 2.5 hours. Cannon is about the same. Rumney is 110 highway miles.

You'll have fun exploring local things for a little bit, but from your profile I think you'll end up doing a drive for most weekends.

I do have to agree that compared to living in year-round reliably good climbing weather of the desert southwest, living here is "mildly disappointing". That's a reasonable thing to say; you just end up climbing less, no two ways about it. But like anyone - you make the best of what you have while you have it.


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Apr 5, 2012
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

Kevin - done editing yet? Should I give you some more time?

I love the climbing in the western U.S. Hell, I love the climbing in Patagonia even more. But I also love living here. And, fortunately, there is a lot of damn good climbing here, much more than you would let the OP believe in your posts. So I responded.

I think the quality of your outdoors life has more to do with you than where you live - and that goes for everyone.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

cjdrover wrote:
I think the quality of your outdoors life has more to do with you than where you live - and that goes for everyone.


But having numerous, enormous cliffs of great rock, good people, and great weather definitely helps! Just ask someone who lives in North Dakota how much their outdoors life (especially with regards rock climbing) has to do with them. Sometimes the place is the destination. Wait, no. The place IS the destination! [and often I'm happy when I arrive and there's few people there]

If people want to climb and do it year round, their best bang for the climbing buck is West. Everywhere else in the US has major compromises, whether it be the quality/quantity of climbing available, weather, etc.

I've had a blast learning to climb while living in my hometown Northeast. But bigger things are ahead, and my time here is only preparation for what my experience and heart tells me awaits me elsewhere.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Apr 5, 2012
Rumney

JSH wrote:
because I feel trolly: The Gunks is 220 miles. We routinely do it in 3 hours exit-to-exit. Yes, it's been said that I drive like a maniac, but even as I've gotten older I still do that drive in 3 hours.


Hahaha takes me about 3 hours from Albany to get to Boston. Gunks are 1:15 from Albany. I won't ask how fast you drive. lol


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