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Jess Beneski

Guiding Since 2020

Jess was originally introduced to rock climbing as a young child by their dad and has vague memories of top roping with him at Quincy Quarries in Massachusetts. After a long hiatus from most physical activities, Jess was re-introduced to rock climbing while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and minor in Psychology at the University of Maine in Orono. Finding rock climbing again sparked energy within Jess that she had not felt in a long time. She found and continues to find climbing interesting, loving that it challenges both mind and body to work together for a common goal.

Jess began teaching rock climbing pretty soon after being re-introducedfor her, the structured education one receives in courses meant for instructors helped reduce some anxiety about entering the world of outdoor recreation. Jess had a hard time getting into outdoor rock climbing and experienced a lot of fear and self doubt. Luckily, Jess was and remains determined to transmute this fear and self doubt into curiosity and motivation to develop technical skills to keep herself and others safe while navigating mountainous terrain.

After graduating from college in 2020, Jess decided to take a break from academia to pursue a more in depth relationship with rock climbing. Jess had their intern year with Acadia Mountain Guides in summer 2021, where they became a PCIA Single Pitch Rock Climbing Instructor and was introduced to traditional climbing. Anxiety and fear were still present, but Jess’s relationship to those feelings shifted through having the opportunity to be brave for other people and help other people navigate their own anxiety and fear around rock climbing. Jess embarrassed herself a few times during this internship, crying in front of campers and coworkers while lead climbing to set up routes. Instead of letting these experiences turn them off from being a guide, they started adopting the mantra: “you cannot be brave if you are not first afraid.” Jess gets the most fulfillment from being a guide through helping people navigate fear and vulnerability, and watching people develop confidence and trust in themselves and each other. Jess is constantly inspired by all of her clients: “from the ones who are very bold and seem to lack fear, to the ones who can barely get themselves to look over the edge without shaking, but try to do it anyway.”

In addition to pursuing a passion for rock climbing, since graduating college Jess has devoted herself to a path of developing a life focused on physical and mental wellness through deeper relationship with herself, community and nature. In fall 2022, Jess participated in a 200 hour intensive yoga teacher training that they credit for improving their confidence as a rock climber and as a guide. Through using breathing practices, restorative movement, self inquiry and meditation, Jess made big internal shifts that transferred into more calm and grounded energy while climbing rocks and navigating busy social settings. Jess feels rock climbing and yoga go hand in hand, and is passionate about using yoga to counter the stresses we put on our bodies as we climb harder and taller terrain. Moving forward in their guiding career, Jess intends to find balance between rock climbing and yoga, simultaneously offering yoga classes and rock climbing experiences for visitors and folks in their community.

When going out for a session with Jess, you can expect to be met with patience and compassion for wherever you are at in your climbing / life journey. She can match hype energy or hold a calm space for those who are feeling nervous. Jess believes firmly in challenge by choice and will gently encourage people to push their comfort zone but understands when it is time to back down and let people opt out of certain activities. Jess is in the process of learning to identify the local wildlife and plantsyou can expect her to get very excited when insects land nearby and to point out any plants she sees and knows to be used as food, medicine or first aid tools.

Guiding Credentials

  • PCIA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor
  • AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Training

Medical and Rescue Credentials

  • Wilderness First Responder

Educational Crendentials

  • B.S. in Zoology, Minor in Psychology
  • 200 Hour Yoga Teacher

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