Getting high on rock climbing at Clifton Crags

Posted June 21, 2013, at 5:32 a.m.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.9 route &quotWheaties" at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.9 route "Wheaties" at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, looks over the 5.9 route &quotWheaties" at Eagle Bluff, a popular climbing spot in Clifton.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, looks over the 5.9 route "Wheaties" at Eagle Bluff, a popular climbing spot in Clifton. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, lays out his rack of cams and nuts before lead climbing at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, lays out his rack of cams and nuts before lead climbing at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
From left, Hilary Buntrock and John Vicenzi flake a rope before climbing at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
From left, Hilary Buntrock and John Vicenzi flake a rope before climbing at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy as a warm up at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy as a warm up at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy as a warm up at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy as a warm up at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Hilary Butrock removes a nut while climbing Pride and joy, a 5.6 route at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Hilary Butrock removes a nut while climbing Pride and joy, a 5.6 route at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
John Vicenzi climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
John Vicenzi climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
John Vicenzi climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
John Vicenzi climbs the 5.6 route Pride and Joy at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
From left, Jared Garfield leads climbers Hilary Buntrock and John Vicenzi to Highlander, a 5.7+ route at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
From left, Jared Garfield leads climbers Hilary Buntrock and John Vicenzi to Highlander, a 5.7+ route at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, hangs his 5.10 climbing shoes and belays other climbers barefoot from an anchor on the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, hangs his 5.10 climbing shoes and belays other climbers barefoot from an anchor on the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, and Jimmy Haller get ready to climb the 5.9 route &quotWheaties" at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, and Jimmy Haller get ready to climb the 5.9 route "Wheaties" at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo
Jared Garfield, manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, switches positions at an anchor and belaying point on the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, switches positions at an anchor and belaying point on the 5.7+ route Highlander at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.9 route &quotWheaties" at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine.
Jared Garfield, Manager of Rental Equipment and Repairs at the Mainebound Adventure Center, climbs the 5.9 route "Wheaties" at Eagle Bluff in Clifton, Maine. Buy Photo

CLIFTON, Maine — Jimmy Haller’s grunts echoed across the granite crags at Eagle Bluff. “Watch me,” he yelled down to his belayer.

While pinching the wall with his left hand, in a split second Haller unclipped a quick draw — two carabiners attached together with a piece of nylon webbing — from his harness and clipped into an anchor on “Wheaties,” a difficult route located just below “Breakfast of Champions” on the long stretch of cliff.

“Climbing gives you a chance to not worry about anything else,” said Haller, a third-year University of Maine engineering student and rock climber. “All of that other [expletive] — money, grades — doesn’t matter anymore.“

Workers at Maine Bound, the University of Maine’s adventure center, and UMaine students fought their fear of heights as well as swarms of black flies to enjoy a recent day out doing what they love — rock climbing.

Located about 15 miles east of Bangor, Clifton Crags encompasses hundreds of climbs on several area rocks.

Jared Garfield, a local climber and Maine Bound climbing trip leader, often leads outings to the area.

“There’s a healthy mix of both sport climbing and [traditional] climbing out here.” said Garfield. “It’s awesome to have it in our backyard.”

While locked into an anchor more than 100 feet high on Highlander, a moderate route on the northernmost edge of Eagle Bluff, Garfield looked over his shoulder toward Cedar Swamp Pond.

“I get to the top and there’s such a feeling of accomplishment and it’s like, can you really beat this view?” he asked.

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