Date and New Time
Boston Grotto meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month from 8:00 to 10:00pm, except for holidays and special events. Check the calendar for details.
We meet in room 145 in the MIT Tang Center (MIT building E51), which is located at 70 Memorial Drive, at the corner of Memorial Drive and Wadsworth St, in Cambridge, Massacuhsetts. There is one door to the building from the parking lot (see below) and another door at the corner of Amherst and Wadsworth. If both doors are locked, wait by the parking lot door for someone to arrive who can let you in.
Parking is available in the lot right next to the building, which you can enter from the ramp off of Amherst St. If that lot is full, use the Hayward St parking lot, on the west side of Hayward St. Permits are not required for these after 5:00 pm, despite what signs say.
Note that there is another parking lot across the street from E51, on the east side of Hayward St, which is gated and should not be used.
Meetings usually include recent cave trip reports, announcements of future trips, discussion of local, regional, and national caving activities, and a program, usually photos, a video, or a speaker on some aspect of caving. After the meeting, you can usually find us eating pizza and discussing caves at Cinderella’s in Cambridge or La Hacienda tavern in nearby Somerville.
Several times per year, the grotto holds rope-climbing and rappelling practice and training sessions at local cliffs. The modern methods used to traverse vertical passages in caves are called Single Rope Techniques (SRT), to distinguish them from older methods that used an additional “safety” rope, which became obsolete after nylon ropes became available. Caving SRT is somewhat different from rope work in other sports, such as rock climbing, so we recommend that members attend at least one vertical practice before joining a trip to a vertical cave. Novice vertical practices are often held at College Rock, in Hopkinton, MA, or the famous Quincy Quarries, which are accessible from public transportation. For more advanced training, we visit Crow Hill Cliff, in Leominster State Forest, near Fitchburg, Mass. This is about a 90 minute ride from Boston, but offers a 105 foot free drop, the highest in the area, and extensive views of Mt. Wachusett and the Eastern Massachusetts landscape.