Saturday, September 8, 2012

Otter Cliffs - Rock Climbing

Otter Cliffs
Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor, Maine

Acadia National Park.....Bar Harbor, Maine....Mount Desert Island. These were places I had not heard of until Noreen, one of my rock climbing girl buddies, mentioned them to me six months ago.  Rock climbing on the ocean? Sounds good to me! I was out climbing with Kellie when I mentioned our intention to climb at Otter Cliffs and she offered to be our guide. The next thing I knew, we were "a go" for our Acadia trip! Jane, my indoor rock climbing partner, would be carpooling up with me. And we would meet up with Kellie, Beth, Anne, Kim and Simona for our Bar Harbor destination.

Otter Cliffs are a series of natural sea cliffs located just off the loop road in Acadia National Park. The cliffs are excellent for climbers of all skill levels, with routes ranging in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.12. And because they are so popular, a guide book states, "Don't hog the routes!" There is an access trail leading from the loop road to the top of the cliffs, where you can build your own anchor point or use one of several permanently installed stainless steel bars.

The Cliffs, which are about 60 feet high, descend to a little ledge just above the water. You begin your climb by rappelling down or getting "lowered" to this ledge. You then climb back up the cliffs, belayed from either below or above. Even though the climb is fairly short, the ocean views are spectacular! These cliffs are perfect for the beginning climber, as they are not too difficult. And what's nice about this cliff is that the routes are close to each other so there's no need to hike a long distance between climbs. Kellie set up anchors on two routes for us; Wounderwall Right (5.6/7) and In The Groove (5.5).

On climbing day there were mostly overcast skies with very few brief periods of sunshine. We shared the cliff with a crowd that also involved the local climbing school.  All of us rappelled down to the ledge and made at least two climbs back up to the top of the cliff. And I learned how to belay from the top. After climbing we packed our gear into our cars and hiked up the path to Thunder Hole. It was still low tide so the crevasse was bare except for the occasional wave and the small crowd was growing with folks coming in for the high tide.

Overall, Otter Cliffs offers a exciting climbing experience! It was both thrilling and beautiful to be rock climbing over the ocean.  And although it was overcast, the pounding surf added to the excitement as we belayed one another.

Just 5 days before leaving for Bar Harbor I had hurt my bad (arthritic) knee while solo hiking Mt. Willey. And during this entire trip my knee was killing me, but I just sucked it up, wore my brace and took Tylenol and Ibuprofen to get me through the trip. I would come back here again and again to climb! Unfortunately, I didn't get to kayak or hike, but that's for another trip for sure!

Many thanks to Kellie, Noreen, Jane, Beth, Anne, Kim and Simona for a day of adventure, laughter, good times and fond memories. It was empowering! <3 <3 <3

Update: When I got back from Acadia, I went to see my doc. He said that there was no injury to my ligaments or cartilage but I strained it badly and need to stay off of it for 3 week. So no hiking, rock climbing, martial arts, golf, Yoga, Pilates, working out at the gym...nothing! Its really boring sitting around watching tv....and it gets old playing Solitaire on my iPhone as well! LOL! But its only for a few weeks more! 

This was the best way for me to photograph the others climbing that day.
Yes, I'm anchored in and my camera is anchored to my harness. :)

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