Friday, July 30, 2010

Guidebook: Acadia - Wafer Step (5.5), Deep Blue Sea (5.7), Guillemot Crack (5.6), Story of O (5.6), Bartleby (5.8), Yellow Wall (5.8), Recollections of Pacifica (5.9), Brochure Crack (5.9+)

Acadia National Park

Descriptions of a few of the routes in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Click here for the rest of the Acadia guidebook posts.

Otter Cliffs

Approach: From the main parking area at Otter Cliffs, cross the street to the walled path that leads to cliffs. Take a sharp left at the end of that path to another well-worn path that parallels the road but goes in the opposite direction. After about two minutes of walking, find the climber's path on the right (it'll be a short, steep step down). Walk down that and sign at the registry before getting to the climbing area.

Once at the top of the cliffs, Wonderwall is to the left (where the staples are) just before the Adair Wall, Guillotine Alcove is straight ahead with the Outer Face just to the right of that, the Sea Stack is to the right (the chimney is easy to find), the Amphitheater is right of the Sea Stack, with the next cliffs to the right being the Mermaid Wall and the Sea Cave. All of these require being lowered down to the bottom. The Plaque Wall is around the corner to the right and can be accessed from the top of the other cliffs, though you'll still likely need to walk back up the path to set up a toprope here.

Otter Cliffs is best climbed when the tide is going out, but that is not always necessary if care is taken to avoid the surf. All climbs noted here can be climbed with a single 60m rope, are single pitch, and require gear to set up anchors at the top.

Outer Face: Most people build anchors at the top and belay from the top, though some of the routes can be led.

Yellow Wall
Yellow Wall (5.8): The arete on the far-most left-hand side of the Outer Face, where the Outer Face wall and Guillotine Wall meet. Start on the left side of the arete and climb straight up to the second rest ledge. From there, follow the flakes on the left and top out a few feet to the left of the arete. The direct finish at the top is probably 5.9 and fun if you find the key hold on the arete.

Deep Blue Sea
Deep Blue Sea (5.7): The arete on the right side of the Outer Face, where the Outer Face meets the Sea Stack. From the offwidth at the bottom, climb the face just right of that up to the roof. Then step left as if heading into the chimney, but instead of getting into the chimney, about where the chockstone is, head back right across the face and finish on a nice sequence of holds a few feet right of the chimney.

Guillemot Crack
Amphitheater Right: Same as the Outer Face, it is recommended to belay from the top.

Guillemot Crack (5.6): On the right side of the Sea Stack, where the Sea Stack meets the Amphitheater, and just left (if looking up from below) of the chimney on the left-side of the Sea Stack, stem the start of the chimney to a nice ledge, staying on the arete and in the crack system to the left of the chimney.

Plaque Wall: Some routes can be led here, but the route described below is best top-roped.

Brochure Crack
Brochure Crack (5.9+): Right in the middle of the Plaque Wall, just a few feet right of the plaque where the triangular pods are, climb up left of the lower triangle and fade left to the upper one. Lieback the remaining section to the top.

The Precipice

Approach: From the park loop road, park about 100 yards or so past the Mt. Champlain / Precipice hiking trail parking lot (yes, the hiking trail starts in a different spot than where the climber's trail is). Follow the path through the woods for a few minutes until the path meets what is the Lower Wall (please sign in at the registry before getting to this point). Take a left up the talus and follow it back right to where it meets the Center Wall.

Many of the climbs here have more than one pitch, and require gear anchors, but there are bolted anchors at the top of many of the climbs. A single, 60m rope is plenty for descending.

Center Wall: This wall is the wall that one first gets to immediately after the talus field.

Story of O P1
Story of O (5.6) - Three Pitches - Trad - Gear / Bolted anchors

Approach: From where the path that leads up through the talus field meets the Center Wall, head left about 25 feet to find a blocky groove with a few trees at the base.

Pitches one and two can easily be combined. Rope drag will probably make combining pitches two and three difficult.

Story of O P2
Pitch One (5.6) - 60 feet - Gear anchor: Climb up the blocky section to the corner with a crack in it above. Stem through the corner (crux) to a nice ledge with a crack above. Climb this crack to a larger ledge with a crack in a slab. Belay at the crack.

Pitch Two (5.6) - 45 feet - Gear anchor: Climb up the crack / slab to the left-facing corner above. Stem / layback the corner to a small tree ledge with a nice crack to build a belay.

Story of O P3
Pitch Three (5.6) - 60 feet - Bolted anchor: Head up the crack systems above to a notch, then fade left on easier ground to a two-bolt anchor belay.

Descent: Rap twice straight below with a 60m rope or rap to the bottom with two 60m ropes.

Right Wall: Where the path through the talus field meets the Center Wall, head up to the right and find a set of exposed stairs that continue straight back away from what is the Stairs Alcove area. At the top, head left, following the path (which is actually a part of the Precipice hiking trail) to the cliff. The far right side, just right of a finger-like block sticking straight up in the air, is Wafer Step (5.5).

All routes mentioned below are single pitch routes that can be done easily with a 60m rope. All three have bolted anchors at the top and can be descended with a 60m rope.

Wafer Step
Wafer Step (5.5) - Trad - 70 feet - Bolted anchor: Find the finger block with a crack right behind it, and look for another crack a several feet to the right. This second crack starts on top of the blocks that are probably holding the finger block upright.

Climb the crack to a nice stance that is just left of a left-diagonal fading, upward-facing flake. Step right into the flake and follow that to the top where, upon standing up, there will be a thin seam. Climb the seam (crux) to the horizontals and finish up right on easy terrain and bolted anchors at the back of a large ledge.

Recollections of Pacifica
Recollections of Pacifica (5.9) - Trad - 70 feet - Bolted anchor: Find the finger block with the crack right behind it. Climb the crack straight up to a stance where there is a left-arching block below a thin seam. Climb the block and the thin face (crux) to the seam and the horizontals above, stepping right at the top and finding the bolts in the back of the large ledge.

Bartleby (5.8) - Trad - 70 feet - Bolted anchor: On the left side of the crag. It might be missed on the walk in, but look for a steep right-facing corner with a crack and a triangular block in it. The corner is about 20 feet off the ground.

Climb the easy ledges about 10 feet right of the offwidth with a chockstone in it. Gain the slab above and traverse right past the pods to the steep corner. Climb the corner up to the left (crux) and gain the low-angle arete to a stance. Follow the left-leaning crack to another stance, then fade up right to a bolted anchor above.

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