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) as either Rock Guides, Rock Instructors, or Single Pitch Instructors, 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 23 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 10 big wall routes on Yosemite’s famed El Capitan, All of the peaks in the Fitzroy massif in Patagonia, and many 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.

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Seth Pettit became a member of the American Mountain Guides Association in 2008, and has since attained both Rock Instructor and Single Pitch Instructor certifications. In 2010 Seth graduated from Indiana University’s School of Health Physical Education and Recreation. Over the last five years, he has worked as a climbing guide for Uprising Adventures in Joshua Tree National Park, Seneca Rocks Climbing School in West Virginia, Rock About in Austin Texas, Inner Passage in Washington State, and now is pleased to join Atlantic Climbing School for another great season. Spending that much time working with individuals in vertical environments has rewarded Seth with a calm and confident demeanor that puts people at ease on the rock. His cool presence combined with a mastery of technical rock systems, enables Seth to create memorable experiences for first timers and help experienced climbers achieve their true potential. When he’s not teaching people about rock climbing, Seth is busy scouring obscure cliffs looking for new routes or traveling to climb established classics all over the United States. Seth also holds a Wilderness First Responder medical certification.



Matt Ritter Matt Ritter  is a certified AMGA Rock Instructor and has completed an AMGA Ice Instructor Course. Matt has 15 years of climbing experience and has been guiding since 2007. 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.  This will be Matt’s third year with ACSinstructor_RI_B&W
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. This season will be Hanna’s fourth year with ACSinstructor_SPI_B&W

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Ryan Scott is originally from the Florida Keys, where he grew up with a passion for surfing. Despite Florida being rather flat…Ryan always had a keen interest in the mountains. He was exposed to climbing while going to college in southeast Ohio where his studies focused on adventure leadership and emergency medicine. At Hocking College, Ryan was the manager of an outdoor pursuits program, where he was trained and helped co-teach advanced climbing classes. He is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and had completed an AMGA Rock Guide Course. Ryan is a Nationally certified wilderness AEMT. He has climbed and guided at famous climbing destinations all over the US, including Seneca Rocks West Virginia, Red River Gorge Kentucky, Yosemite, New River Gorge West Virginia, and the T-wall in Tennessee. Ryan feels privileged to share such beautiful places with others, and feels honored to be a professional climbing guide. His utmost concern is to provide a safe, fun, and enjoyable experience. This summer will be Ryan’s fourth year with ACS.


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 has just published the new Rock Climbs of Acadia guidebook. 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 is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and has completed his AMGA Rock Guide Course. Grant holds a certificate in Wilderness First Aid and this year will be Grant’s fifth season with ACS.


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 has completed his AMGA Rock Guide course. 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! This summer will be Dane’s fifth season with ACS.instructor_SPI_B&W

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 has completed his AMGA Rock Guide Course. Christian is certified in wilderness first aid and this summer will be his fourth year with ACS!instructor_SPI_B&W

Richard Parker

Richard Parker  began climbing in 1973 and guiding professionally in 1977. He has guided extensively in the Swiss 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. Richard is an AMGA certified Rock Instructor and has been guiding rock and ice climbing for ACS since 2012.   Holding degrees from Middlebury, Dartmouth and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, Richard spend 35 years in education and is now retired but still guiding part time because he loves sharing climbing and the natural world with others.   In addition to his climbing interests, Richard is also a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and teaches classes at Cattitude Yoga Studio in Bar Harbor; he also teaches literature and religion courses for the Acadia Senior College.  His favorite thing to do is to spend time with his four grandchildren.


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.