Maine a rock climbing paradise

Posted July 09, 2010, at 7:52 a.m.

Experience Maine vertically this summer by learning how to climb rocks — and enjoy nature along the way.

Maine abounds in sheer granite cliffs rising dramatically against the summer sky. Folks like me hike along a terra firma trail to the cliffs and relish views that drop precipitously. Other souls — braver, less acrophobic — ascend or descend those same cliffs via harnesses and belaying pins and ropes that resemble glorified bunji cords. These people are rock climbers.

Care to join their ranks this summer? Interested in scaling cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean or a Midcoast for-est? Google “Maine” and “rock climbing” and check out the results.

Multiple Web sites appear, and some function well. Expe-rienced rock climbers will like:

• www.rockclimbing.com, which lists six regions subdivided into specific climbing areas. Each typically lists a climbing description and directions to the nearest parking spot.

Novice rock climbers, or at least those people thinking that hanging off a cliff could be lots of fun, should check out:

• www.meliving.com, which provides good, basic rock-climbing information, but lists only three general rock-climbing regions.

Don’t bother with www.etravelmaine.com, which apparently defaults to the same “page could not be found” link for every requested climbing site. And www.infohub.com is little help, too.

Do check out the few rock-climbing-specific business Web sites. Such businesses usually include “climbing” or “mountain” in their d/b/a names. Each site lists vital information, including available rock-climbing courses and phone or email contacts.

Climbing businesses take clients to different sites, with the Mount Megunticook cliffs in the Camden Hills and various Acadia National Park cliffs among the more popular. On any summer’s day, rock climbers hang off Otter Cliffs, and one perfect hiking day in 2008, I encountered rock climbers ascending South Bubble’s vertical wall above the Park Loop Road.

By attending a climbing school, novice rock climbers can experience the sport’s thrill without investing in the requisite equipment. The rock-climbing businesses offer half- and full-day excursions priced on the number of participants: the more the merrier — and the cheaper.

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