The air is cool, the wind blowing against my back. The waves crash into the rock behind me. My arms are tired and my toes hurt from being squished into the climbing shoes. I stare up at the rock face looming over me , a straight vertical climb to get back to Rafael and Rachel, both of whom have given up for the day. Like that last ski run you shouldn’t do because your knees hurt and your legs are tired, I decided I needed to do one more climb.
It has been an amazing day in Acadia National Park in Maine. This is our first ever rock-climbing experience and we love it. Solving the problem of how to use tiny hand and foot holds to scale a wall is surprisingly fun. It is challenging, exhilarating and rewarding. It’s also very tiring if you are not used to it!
I start my final climb, muscles burning. I try not to linger too long before making the next move. Hanging on with my fingertips and toes will only get harder the longer I wait. When I reach the top of the cliff, I am relieved and proud. I made it!
Climbing the granite cliffs in Acadia is a great way to spend a day. We hire a guide and equipment from Atlantic Climbing School, which is located right in Bar Harbor. After some basic instruction, we are ready to roll. We drive to Otter Cliffs, which is right on the ocean. There we are able to tackle a couple different types of climbs, a chimney and a cliff. With a knowledgeable guide and professional equipment, it is very safe and lots of fun.
After climbing in Acadia, we decide we have to learn how to do it ourselves. We go to North Conway, New Hampshire and the International Climbing School there. A three-day course gives us what we need to know to do top rope climbing. This is where you have the ability to anchor a rope from above. You do not need to put in anchors while climbing, which takes a lot more skill. With your own ropes, harnesses, helmets and shoes, you can be top-roping every rock face around. Be sure to take a class, though. Even after our lessons, my husband and I had to call our instructor from the top of a cliff to confirm we remembered the right way to anchor our rope. We also still hire a guide to do longer climbs. For us, this is a lot like scuba diving; we don’t do it enough to venture out on our own so we hire professionals. It makes for a great, stress free day! Happy climbing!
Can I do this adventure?
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult.
Courage Level: 3 You don’t have to be the most adventurous person in the world to rock climb, but it helps if you aren’t afraid of heights!
Fitness Level: 5 If you have lots of injuries, or are not physically fit, this is not the adventure for you.
We used Atlantic Climbing School in Acadia National Park. They were great, and I highly recommend them. https://www.climbacadia.com/
In North Conway, NH, we took lessons at the International Climbing School. They can teach you everything you need to get started. They also have a store full of the equipment you will need. We have gone back to them to hire guides for a day, and have always been very happy. http://www.ime-usa.com/imcs/