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The Precipice aka The South Wall

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Balance Queen T 
Bartleby T 
Birch Ade T 
Chicken of the Sea T 
Chitlin's Corner T 
Connecticut Crack T 
Country Corner T 
Crack Of Senility T 
Dynamo Hum T 
Emigrant Crack T 
Fear of Flying T 
Fingers in a Seascape S 
From Russia With Love T 
Gale Face T 
Games Without Frontiers S,TR 
Green Mt. Breakdown T 
Grendal T 
Gunklandia T 
Gunklandia Direct Variation T 
High Wire T 
Jaws T 
Juvenile T,S 
London Bridges T 
Maniacal Depression T 
Michael's Pin T 
Mme. LeBois' Troubled Lunge T 
Old Town T 
Philidelphia Story, The T 
Pipe Dreams T 
Precipice Ledges T 
Ramp Traverse, The T 
Recollections of Pacifica T 
Retlaw T 
Return to Forever T 
Rusticator T 
Scaramouche Arete S 
Sea Gypsy T 
Space Between T 
Standard Route T 
Story of O T 
Sweet Surrender T 
Swept Away T 
Trotsky T 
Vacation Cracks T 
Wafer Step T 
Wet Lithuanian T 
Unsorted Routes:

The Precipice aka The South Wall Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 44.34691, -68.19013 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 38,180
Administrators: Ladd, Robert Hall, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brett Butera on Mar 10, 2007  with updates from Dillbag
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BETA PHOTO: Overview of the Precipice

Annual Trail Closures to protect Peregrine falcons MORE INFO >>>


The Precipice is located in Acadia National Park on the east side of Mount Desert Island in Maine. The glaciated pink granite is high-quality, solid rock for climbing and provides some excellent dihedrals, such as the classic climbs “Old Town” (5.7) and “Return to Forever” (5.9). Other not-to-miss climbs include: “The Story of O” (5.6), “Green Mountain Breakdown” (5.9+), and “Chitlins Corner” (5.10a). From the top of the climbs, one has a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean. A guidebook is available for the island, “Acadia: a climber’s guide” by Jeff Butterfield and can be picked up at Cadillac Mountain Sports in Bar Harbor.

The crag is over two hundred feet tall at its highest point, resulting in 2-3 pitch climbs. The climbs are traditional and require a standard rack of mixed stoppers and mostly small-to-medium size cams. Fixed rappels are located at the top of many climbs. A 60-meter rope is best, although most climbs can be done with a 50-meter rope. Due to Peregrine Falcon nesting, the right side of the Precipice is closed seasonally.

The island has many campgrounds, although the island is more of a bed-and-breakfast type of place. Definitely try some of the local brews on the island. The Bar Harbor Real Ale is exceptionally good and is made by the Atlantic Brewing Company on the island. Also, if you need an inexpensive, fatty burrito after climbing, go to Gringo’s in Bar Harbor.

Current closures and conditions on the NPS site: nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/tra...

Getting There 

Directions to the Precipice: From Bangor, Maine, take Rt. 1A to Ellsworth and then Rt. 3 to Mount Desert Island. Once on the island, head towards Town Hill on Rt. 198. Continue on Rt. 198 until you reach a junction with Rt. 233, at which you’ll need to take a left. From Rt. 233 take a left to enter Acadia National Park. Take the park loop road past the Precipice Trailhead parking. The trailhead to the crag is approximately 100 meters past the trailhead parking. You can park on the right side of the two-lane one-way road. You’ll know you are on the right approach trail when you see the climber sign-in box. Continue on the trail until you reach a small cliff, where you need to head left across the talus field to the base of the crag.

Climbing Season

Weather station 10.4 miles from here

46 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',30],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Precipice aka The South Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Precipice aka The South Wall:
Wafer Step   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Standard Route   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 180'   
Story of O   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   
Gunklandia   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   
Old Town   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   
Bartleby   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Chicken of the Sea   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Return to Forever   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 95'   
Recollections of Pacifica   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 50'   
Sea Gypsy   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   
Green Mt. Breakdown   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 125'   
Chitlin's Corner   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 170'   
Wet Lithuanian   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Emigrant Crack   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 85'   
Fear of Flying   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 20'   
Connecticut Crack   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 70'   
Jaws   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 190'   
Juvenile   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   
Maniacal Depression   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   
Pipe Dreams   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Precipice aka The South Wall

Featured Route For The Precipice aka The South Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch. Adam Patridge chillin'

Maniacal Depression 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13  ME : Acadia National Park : The Precipice aka The South...
On the right side of the Precipice, just before you encounter the stairs is an obvious open book dihedral. The start is just left of an obvious short roof crack called Small Crack Warning (5.11d). Climb the dihedral (5.10) to its end and belay on the right. Traverse left to a very thin and flared finger crack. Optional belay here. Tricky small pro and a technical crux climbing the crack past a steep swell leads to easier climbing....[more]   Browse More Classics in ME

Photos of The Precipice aka The South Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The view.
The view.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Precipice from Schooner Head Road
The Precipice from Schooner Head Road
Rock Climbing Photo: view from a belay ledge on The Precipice
view from a belay ledge on The Precipice
Rock Climbing Photo: the view
the view
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading Chicken of the Sea, Precipice Wall, Acadia...
Leading Chicken of the Sea, Precipice Wall, Acadia...
Rock Climbing Photo: Early morning start in the parking lot of the Prec...
Early morning start in the parking lot of the Prec...
Rock Climbing Photo: Old Town
Old Town
Rock Climbing Photo: A. Boys from Bangor  B. Chitlin's Corner & Green M...
BETA PHOTO: A. Boys from Bangor B. Chitlin's Corner & Green M...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunrise from Story of O
Sunrise from Story of O
Rock Climbing Photo: A view of the ocean (and the approaching ferry fro...
A view of the ocean (and the approaching ferry fro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bomber.

Comments on The Precipice aka The South Wall Add Comment
Show which comments
By Ladd
Apr 11, 2007
Due to a recent earthquake, beware loose rock
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 25, 2007
The Precipice is one of the coolest crags I have ever climbed at. Incredible position, incredible view, incredible climbing!

The guidebook "ACADIA: a Climber's Guide," by Jeff Butterfield, is an outstanding resource and gives excellent beta on the routes at the Precipice.
By Luke Hanley
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 26, 2007
If you make the trip to New England, make a point to head to this crag. In my opinion the rock, and climbing are both quality. If you're a 10 plus-11 trad leader you'll make quick work of these routes, but the quality is so good you might just do some routes twice.
One you must do is Green Mt. Breakdown...absolutely classic climbing and position.
By climberKJ
From: Holderness, NH
Jul 16, 2010
Anyone know when the closure takes place? I'd like to go up in August, but want to make sure this wall is open to climb.
By Michael Buchanan
May 14, 2011
Sweet area! Killer granite, nice cracks. The approach (like most in the east I have been to) is amazingly short. Can get here at the crack of noon and climb a dozen routes!
By dyana313
Jun 6, 2012
A great place to get beta or any gear you might have forgotten is the gear shop at 228 Main street, Alpenglow Adventure Sports. And if you don't know how to trad climb, Acadia Mountain Guides (run out of the same shop) can take you out to some amazing sea cliffs or granite splitters.
By rickgrick
Jun 20, 2016

I've got an older guide book and it says that from the top, you need to make two double rope raps. None of the pitches seem all that long though.

Is it possible to make two single rope raps with a 60m from the top of the cliff band?
By Derek Doucet
5 days ago
A single 60m is perfect at the South Wall. There are numerous fixed anchors at sub-30m intervals in numerous locations: The top of Return to Forever down to the top of Figures on a Seascape and then down Old Town, another descent just left of Gunklandia, and others as well.

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