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If you have only one day to climb at Acadia, you should head out to the Otter Cliffs. But save an hour or two to head out to Great Head to do this incredible pitch. In contrast to the other sections of the cliff that have committing apporaches, Head Arete has a simple walking approach. It is somewhat tide dependent though, so pick a low tide window to head over or else the start will be wet.
At low tide, the climb starts just above waterline next to the sketchy traverse that accesses the middle part of the cliff. Clip the high first bolt, and then make a sketchy mantle manuever to get established on the climb. The cruxiest move comes at the 2nd bolt, where a powerful lieback gets you on to a beautiful headwall. The next section is why this climb is so classic: tricky, thoughtful, sustained 5.10 face climbing in a spectacular setting. The bolts are never so far apart that you could get seriously hurt, but big whippers are possible. A cam placement in this section helps with piece of mind. The great climbing, coupled with the fact that your belayer is out of sight and there is nothing but ocean beneath your feet, is what makes this pitch so memorable. The finish is harder than it looks, so think about it before committing.
One of the best pitches of trad face climbing anywhere.
6 or 7 bolts. A couple small-medium cams.
Alissa past the crux on Head Arete.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Sep 30, 2009
A CLASSIC ! You think you may die from several factors but it's really fairly safe and wild climbing.
From: jackson, wy
Aug 25, 2010
Full value 10+ climbing. Thoughtful and devious, bring your A game for the onsight.
By Zak Munro
From: VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Aug 25, 2016
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Finally stepped up to the plate and got on head arete today and it sure did not disappoint. Technical yet powerful, most likely the best 10+ in the park and what a position! The climb is safe enough that the falls are clean but you still get a good quality pucker factor throughout!