This weekend Sara, Nick, Bill, and I decided to experience some of the fantastic climbing spots that Acadia has to offer. Credit should go to Sara, the most adventurous of the bunch, whose diligent cajoling, enthusiasm, and efforts brought this trip to fruition. We were able to get a great deal from the Atlantic Climbing School in Bar Harbor for a guided afternoon of climbing.
We met Hanna, our guide, at the Climbing School in Bar Harbor and, after signing over our lives, she hopped into our car and we embarked for Otter Cliffs, a dramatic 110-foot cliff that shoots out of the Atlantic Ocean and provides number of challenging climbing routes. Although we all had jitters, our guide did an excellent job calming our apprehensions and was incredibly diligent at ensuring our safety this afternoon. Hanna was all that we could hope for in a guide and more. Sara and Hanna really connected through their respective experiences and aspirations as schoolteachers.
Our first climbing route is known as the ‘Wonder Corner’: we repelled down the 60-ft ocean facing cliff and ascended up using any hand or foot holes created in the horizontal striations of the cliff face (with a little help from Hanna).
Our second route was the ‘Great Chimney’, which travels through a natural crack that occurs at Otter Cliffs. We were lowered down and made our way up, wedging our bodies between the two rock faces and ‘scootching’ our way slowly up to the top.
Our final climb was a shorter climb up a 40-ft cliff, which was called the ‘plaque wall’. We began at the base and weaved our way up the cliff face to claim our reward of slapping the cam that secured our rope lines at the top.
Rock Climbing is a unique way of experiencing the raw beauty of nature; the slow rise up a dramatic as you push, pull and wedge yourself upwards, gripping any ledge or outcrop that is offered by the cliff with your hands and feet is pure physical exertion. It is unlike hiking and many other activities I’ve known because it relies so heavily on tactile perception, as well as mental focus and creativity to interpret natural features and discern a path upwards.
I think that we all left today feeling as though this was an opportunity to be truly bold and adventurous that presents itself rarely in a lifetime, and this will become a memory that we recount innumerable times in our futures.