MEET OUR GUIDES
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.
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 Rockport. 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.
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.
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.
Noah Kleiner is a College of the Atlantic alum with a degree in Human Ecology. Before working for Atlantic climbing school he worked as an outdoor classroom leader and wilderness trip leader for the Chewonki Foundation. Noah grew up on the coast of Maine. His life has taken him on many adventures from building his own canoe to living in an off the grid house. He holds a single pitch instructor license from the American mountain guide association as well as a Maine state recreation guides license. His interest in working and playing in the outdoors was a value instilled by his parents, who began taking him on canoe trips at the age of six months old.
Chris Olson comes to us from Virginia, where he grew up with a love for being active outside. After a brief stint as a professional golfer, Chris decided to follow his passion into the world of outdoor adventure recreation. He has backpacked, climbed, kayaked, and biked throughout much of the east coast, as well as iconic locations such as Zion National Park, Newfoundland, and Puerto Rico. Chris has come full circle with us here at Atlantic Climbing School, first as a climber looking to grow his skill set, and now years later, as a full member of our guide and office staff! His love for this island, and the many ways to explore while on it, is no secret. On days off, he can usually be found somewhere in Acadia, breathing hard, having fun, and soaking in life on MDI with his wife, Bradleigh. Chris is certified as a Single Pitch Instructor with the AMGA, as a Wilderness First Responder, and has had multiple articles published as a freelance writer.
first discovered his adrenaline-fueled obsession of rock climbing in a climbing gym in southern New Jersey, where he was born and raised. He has experienced the transformative power of the sport first hand as it delivered a sense of direction into his life. From his home in New Jersey, his first outdoor climbing trips were made to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to areas like Rumney, Cathedral Ledge, Cannon Cliff, and more. Shortly thereafter he enrolled in Plymouth State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Adventure Education and graduated as of Spring 2017. During his stay at Plymouth State University he had many fortunate run-ins with reputable guides and would-be mentors. He has been pursuing building a career of guiding year-round including rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. He holds an AMGA SPI Certification and a Wilderness First Responder and has every intention of continuing his education in the field!
Zack Sawyer is native Vermonter, although he did not discover climbing until he left his beloved New England. With a philosophy degree in hand, he returned north to satisfy both his newfound desire for climbing and friendly people! Zack has a deep respect for the pursuits we devote ourselves to, and the particular worlds that emerge. Additionally, he is captivated by the beauty and importance of the teacher-student relationship in navigating these worlds and engaging with the chosen art, no matter how small or peculiar it may be. Zack feels fortunate to share his love for moving over warm granite, and grateful to learn all he can from the adventurous souls he has the opportunity to spend time with each day. When not at the cliffs, Zack is likely to be found wild blueberry picking, hiking, or smiling at just how magical Acadia is.
Wendy Eliot received a degree in Outdoor Leadership and Experiential Education from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. This is where she discovered her love of rock climbing as well as a deep appreciation for sustainable farming and agriculture. Wendy taught rock climbing at the North Carolina Outward Bound School until she returned home to the cliffs of Acadia National Park to begin instructing with a Single Pitch Instructor certification from the American Mountain Guide Association. She is eager to compassionately guide others out of their comfort zones in order to facilitate personal growth and she believes rock climbing is an excellent activity for such growth. Wendy is also looking forward to developing empowerment programs for diverse groups using rock climbing as a foundation. In her spare time she can be found perfecting sweet stunts, playing dungeons and dragons, or tending her garden full of bees.
Jay Massey graduated from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina with a degree in Experiential Education. It was in the mountains of western NC that Jay discovered his passion for rock climbing and teaching. Since graduating in 2016, Jay has spent his time traveling abroad to climb, adventure, and learn. Jay's goal is to one day be teaching communication skills to diverse populations.
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.