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Acadia National Park

Original Post
Max Frey · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Hey Guys,

I'll be out in Acadia National Park for a week from July 18-22. Otter rocks looks sweet. So does that Pinnacle area. Looking for a buddy and/or some advice. I'll elaborate.

I know my anchor systems (in bolts... cordlettes / quads / cleaning anchors) for TR / sport. Totally comfortable at a crag, lead/ TR belaying. I have all the gear to top rope / sport climb. I'd like to be with someone more experienced than me.

I'm a trad novice, with a set of nuts and few cams. I've received a bit of instruction from friends, and have placed ~15 pieces in my life. Lead two climbs at a 5.4 that didn't require gear to feel safe on. I climb outside regularly and imagine I'll be a "solid" novice come July, but I tend to climb sport more often.

I figure the best option for me at this point is to hire a guide for a full or half day and receive some legitimate instruction on gear placements / get an introduction to Acadia climbing. But, I don't REALLY wanna pay for that..

SO 2 questions:

1. Anyone who has been there: how do you build anchors on the staples? I have a triple length runner, or 20 ft of 8mm that I normally use, but am fine climbing on 2 draws too. What's your go to system up there?

2. Any thoughts on the guide option, or anyone willing to rope up for some trad for a day? I'd TR too but I can do that with my friends / family... I'm looking to place some gear! Or at least follow yours!



M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50

I know you don't want to blow the cash on it, but hiring a guide may be worth it just for the enhanced experience and learning about placing gear. The guiding services that cover Otter Cliffs do a really good job. Just food for thought.

I won't be there in July, but as for setting TR at Otter Cliffs, you'll want a single trad rack for setting anchors toward the climber's left side of the cliff. On the climber's right side, there are some steel staples and pegs that you can tie on to without needing trad gear. Most of the gear placements and the staples are typically 5-10' back from the edge, so you'll want 20-30' of something to extend your masterpoint over the edge, and maybe a carpet square or something to pad the edge under your anchor.

A lot of people just clip their anchor to the staples/eyebolts using a locker with a big opening, but they are smooth so tying or girth/basket hitching is fine too.

I think the best way is to belay from the top in a semi-hanging belay, there are a lot of little nooks just below the edge to stand on while hanging on the masterpoint, which makes it more comfortable. The other option is to rap down to the ledges below the climbs (keep an eye on the tides) and belay from the ground in a normal toprope setting, but the last person will still have to be belayed from the top to exit.

The climbing is actually pretty fun, and the setting is incredible. Enjoy and be safe.

yukonjack · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 15

Can't go wrong with that crew, and they were not as expensive as you might think, all things considered.
I was up there a month ago, and they were nice, knowledgeable folks who you'd be happy to spend a day at the cliffs with. And they were happy to "instruct" along the way.

Chris Kalman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 200

+2 for ACS for guides. The owner is an awesome dude, and all the staff is dialed and super fun. Never heard anything but great testimonials.

As for guidebooks, there's a new one in print which is really well-done:

Have fun up there!

James Sweeney · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 30


Check your PMs


keithconn · · LI, NY · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 35

Was up there last summer and let me tell you it's some of the most fun climbing!

Forgive if I mess up the names but we climbed otter cliffs for a couple of days. Setting up top rope is really easy but to do it correctly you need to know how to belay from the top using ATC guide or other device. We climbed Great Head which is also spectacular but not as accessible. I did some solo TR there that was awesome! They have some bolts there for top roping as well. Canada cliffs on the other side of the island has some sport routes that were crazy. Most of those climbs were 5.9+. Get the guide through Rakkup.

First stop should be otter. Some static rope and/or webbing will get you climbing in no time with the staples. What helped us a lot was simply checking where and how the guides were setting up anchors. No need to reinvent the wheel. For famous chimney and others a number of cams and passive pro will get you going.

All in all a really mellow friendly vibe and lots of helpful people. I would hold off on the guide until you explore for a day or so.
Save your money for the lobster soup and surf &turf dinner at Paddies.

Have a great trip!!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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