Meet Our Guides

Atlantic Climbing School Staff 1

 The core of our climbing school, or of any business, is its staff. All of our guides are individually certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), and we are proud to be the only guide service in Maine to have this distinction.  At ACS our staff are expert climbers, dedicated teachers, and talented and friendly guides. As trained professionals, our guides are masters of matching a client’s needs with our local terrain in order to create courses that consistently exceed our client’s expectations. 

At ACS, we pride ourselves on our sterling reputation. With 20 years of outstanding performance, innovation and professionalism we strive every day to continue to be Maine’s premier climbing school.

In fun, in professional commitment, in everything we do — at Atlantic Climbing School, WE CLIMB HIGHER.

Atlantic Climbing School Staff

The Guides

Eli Simon

Eli Simon is the lead guide and owner of ACS. Born and raised on the coast of Maine Eli began climbing in 1999 in his hometown of Camden. Since then Eli has climbed or guided on every continent except Antarctica, including nine big wall routes on Yosemite’s famed El Capitan, Fitzroy in Patagonia, and first ascents in Patagonia, Mexico, and Newfoundland. Eli is a dedicated educator and is Maine’s only provider of the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor course. This course is the only nationally and internationally recognized training program of its kind. In this capacity Eli has certified hundreds of guides all across the nation. Eli is a graduate of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Besides guiding Eli has worked professionally as a nationally registered emergency medical technician and a sail boat captain, holding a U.S Coast Guard 50 ton captain license. Although climbing and guiding takes Eli all over the globe, there is no place he would rather be than on the beautiful coast of Maine sharing his love for climbing with others.

Joel Enrico

Joel Enrico is a Maine native who has spent the last few years climbing throughout the western United States. He has visited areas like Yosemite National Park in California (where he climbed the famed Nose of El Capitan in less than 24 hours), Zion National Park in Utah, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, and the Needles of South Dakota. When Joel isn’t traveling the globe he loves climbing right here in Acadia; with it’s flawless granite, unique style and surreal setting, Acadia National Park is Joel’s favorite place to climb. Joel honed his teaching, leadership, and communication skills with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Joel is a certified AMGA Aspirant Guide, a Certified AMGA Rock Instructor, and has completed the AMGA Rock Guide course. In addition Joel is a certified Wilderness First Responder and Leave No Trace Trainer. He is excited to share his love for climbing with you this summer on the coast of Maine.


Matt Ritter Matt Ritter  is a certified AMGA Rock Instructor with 13 years of climbing experience. Matt started climbing in the Shawangunks of New York and has since developed an obsession for climbing in the Northeast. He enjoys climbing in all its forms and sharing his passion for climbing and adventure with others. Matt studied Adventure Education at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire where he realized his desire to be an educator. Matt is a certified Wilderness First Responder and an AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course graduate. He looks forward to continuing his education and pursing a lifelong career in guiding.
Hanna Lucy

Hanna Lucy is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and also holds a Wilderness First Aid certificate. Hanna grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where she began exploring the area’s many crags at a young age. After a short stint as a would-be collegiate ski racer, she headed west for bigger rocks and deeper powder. For the past three years, she has lived in Bozeman, Montana, finishing a degree in Art Education at Montana State University. During her time at MSU, Hanna has climbed throughout the state, both on rock and ice. She has climbed in a handful of western states, with especially memorable trips to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Tuolumne Meadows in California. During the winters, Hanna skis the “cold smoke” Montana powder, coaches skiing and makes beautiful winter hats! Though she has come to appreciate the spectacular landscape of the west, Hanna is excited to return to New England, where she feels most at home with the dense forests, granite cracks, and 80% humidity.

Ansel Gifford

Ansel Gifford’s climbing career began with some exposure to indoor climbing through a local gym. He moved to Vermont and quickly became captivated by the real thing: exploring the cliff bands of the Green Mountains. Soon, climbing was a driving force in Ansel’s life. Through this wonderful sport and lifestyle Ansel met some of his best friends, and visited some of the most beautiful places he has ever seen. Within Six years Ansel has climbed from Maine to California, with extensive stints in New Hampshire and Montana. Ansel has a Bachelors Degree in Adventure Based Programming from Lyndon State College and is Wilderness First Responder certified. Ansel is a certified AMGA Single pitch Instructor.
Grant Simmons

Grant Simmons grew up in Maryland, but once he discovered climbing, he was gone, searching for the perfect place to live the climbing dream.  During time spent in the southwest, he discovered the irresistible gravity that big mountains hold, and soon all his climbing ambition became focused on pursuing those inspiring landscapes.  Over the years, that inspiration has brought Grant to one incredible place after another and has introduced him to amazing people the world over.  It was actually a chance meeting in the Patagonian jungle that brought him to ACS. Now, he happily spends his summers on Mount Desert Island, climbing and exploring in a place that he feels totally supports his dream. Grant is a very talented writer and is currently is in the final stages of publishing a new climbing guide book for Acadia! Grant is honored to have this opportunity to give back to the climbing community in the north east and add his own slice to the unique and rich climbing history of Acadia. Grant has just launched an online version (phone app) of the guidebook and it is beautiful and available HERE!. Grant is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and is holds a certificate in Wilderness First Aid.

Dane Sterba

Dane Sterba is a AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness first responder, Leave No Trace Master, and holds a ARAIE Avalanche 1 certification. Dane grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has since lived in Maryland, Virginia, and Arizona. He has traveled around the world from Kenya to Peru and is always ready for an adventure. Dane is a graduate of Prescott College in Arizona holding a degree in adventure and environmental education. Since Dane started climbing in 2005, and most of his climbing experience has been honed in the Southwestern part of the US in renowned areas like Indian Creek, Cochise Stronghold, and Joshua Tree National Park. Dane has been working in the field of adventure education working as an instructor for Prescott College leading backpacking trips in the desert south west. Dane also spent the last year teaching environmental education to 5th grade students in Arizona. In addition to climbing Dane is an avid skier and has done extensive ski mountaineering in Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho. Dane is a very fun loving guy and makes a mean cheese dip!

Christian Wagner

Christian Wagner is a recent graduate of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor where he has spent the last five years immersed in Mount Desert Island’s incredible scenery, recreation and community. His first climbing experiences where had atop of the iconic Otter Cliffs, and his love of the sport has since lead him as far as Mexico and California in search of new and inspiring challenges. Christian currently splits his time between guiding for the Atlantic Climbing School and building custom furniture in his hometown of Frenchtown New Jersey.  Christian is an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and is certified in wilderness first aid. 

Richard Parker

Richard Parker is an AMGA certifed guide (RI) who began climbing in 1973 and guiding in 1977. He has guided extensively in the Alps, the Wind Rivers and throughout the east. Previously employed by EMS in North Conway and Mooney Mountain Guides in Plymouth, NH, Richard also directed the climbing programs at Proctor Academy and Holderness School for a total of 23 years. He first climbed on the island in 1973, and our pink granite is his favorite rock to climb. Holding degrees from Middlebury, Dartmouth and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, Richard spend 31 years in education and is now retired but still guiding part time because he loves sharing climbing and the natural world with others. His favorite thing to do is to spend time with his three grandsons.

Tipping your guide:

Many of our clients ask us whether or not to tip there guide, and if so how much. Tipping is never expected but always appreciated. Tips usually range anywhere from $20 to $100.