When most think of climbing in Maine, they think of Acadia. Specifically, they probably think of Otter Cliffs, that wonderful bit of golden rock that juts seaward from the most iconic stretch of the state’s coastline. And it’s obvious why: a 3-minute walk from the parking lot leads to a gorgeous and expansive terrace perched above nearly 70 different climbs. From here it is an easy rappel down to the base ledge, a momentary space out as you chalk your hands and stare out to the lobster buoys that bob so hypnotically, and boom, you are climbing – in paradise. This is what makes Otter Cliffs so special, so iconic, so classic. So idyllic and dreamy.
Make no mistake, though, there is much more to Acadia’s climbing than Otter’s pleasant topropes. Take, for instance, the South Wall, a cliff whose rock quality rivals anything in the East and whose cracks, corners, and slabs offer quintessential granite climbing. Or what about Great Head? Sure, that spot might require a few tricks here and there, and true, it isn’t the most friendly to beginners, but those who venture there are constantly blown away by the power and majesty of one of the nation’s tallest sea cliffs. There’s also the South Bubble, a cliff that offers family-friendly slabs, airy cracks, and perfect routes for the budding, mulitpitch climber. And these are just the cliffs that are currently included in the rakkup version of Rock Climbs of Acadia.
Tucked between the island’s mountains are many more climbing areas that will be included in next season’s update of the digital guide. One of the best is Canada Cliffs; a cozy crag nestled amongst huge, fern-covered boulders that boast nearly 40 climbs. With fairly convenient top-access for many of it routes and a nice selection of bolted lines, this is an accessible area for many climbers and offers something new to those climbers who have been visiting the island for a long time.
This time of year, as summer winds down and fall settles in, fewer and fewer climbers are seen at the cliff. Those that are here shift away from the seaside summer havens of Otter Cliffs and Great Head and move inland to the South Wall, where the rock feels so perfectly crisp that the climbing feels easy and eloquent. On the wall’s perfect belay ledges, eyes glance out across the tree’s colorful canopies to the horizon, where the blues of the skies merge with the blues of the seas, and it hits you – this is truly an island paradise.
Buy Grant’s Rock Climbs of Acadia rakkup guidebook and pay less than in app here.