Jon Tierney

Owner, Guiding since 1983

“Jon is a very experienced professional guide and one of the best educators in the AMGA. His client care and technical skills are excellent.” – Rob Hess (former AMGA Technical Director and Bela Vadasz (IFMGA Guide)

Jon is certified internationally by the UIAGM/IFMGA and examined and certified at the highest international standard by the AMGA as a Rock Guide, an Alpine Guide, and a Ski Mountaineering Guide. Certification in each discipline requires passing a rigorous multi-day peer assessment exam. Currently there are less than 80 American IFMGA guides. Jon began climbing as a teenager in the mid 70’s and came to Maine in 1982 and fell in love with the pink granite of Acadia. In 1984 he co-founded Maine Bound, the University of Maine outdoor program which he directed until 2001. During the summers in the late eighties and early nineties Jon traveled west to work for the National Park Service as a backcountry climbing ranger and paramedic. In 1993 he gave up the annual migration westward to established Acadia Mountain Guides as a summer guide service serving Acadia National Park. In 2001 Acadia Mountain Guides became a year round guide service offering not only rock climbing instruction by also ice climbing and mountaineering. With a passion for rock, snow, and ice, Jon’s accomplishments as a climber and guide include over 70 high altitude peaks as well as difficult first ascent rock and ice climbs and hundreds of multi-pitch rock and alpine routes around the world.

Jon has been dedicated to wilderness education for three decades. Seeing a need for improved professional standards in guiding, Jon became actively involved in developing nationally recognized guide education programs. He has served multiple terms on the AMGA board of directors and as was the chair of the AMGA accreditation program for several years. He has strived to synthesize good concepts, challenge usual paradigms, and develop new ideas to raise guiding standards. From 1997 – 2006 Jon led the development of the AMGA Top Rope Site Manager program which was the precursor to the current AMGA Single Pitch Instructor program. He most recent project has been to co-found the Professional Climbing Instructors Association, an organization specifically committed to developing the technical and educational skills of climbing instructors. Jon is the owner of Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School. Like many full time guides, Jon also maintains a second career. He is a retired flight paramedic with LifeFlight of Maine and a registered nurse working in emergency care. Jon has been a paramedic since 1988 and his emergency work resume includes working for the National Park Service as a backcountry climbing ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as working in numerous urban and rural medical care systems.

Guiding Credentials

  • IFMGA Licensed International Mountain Guide (2006)
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide (1992)
  • AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide (2006)
  • AMGA Certified Alpine Guide (1997)
  • AMGA Instructor / Examiner for Rock Discipline 1997 – 2007
  • Co-founder and Director of Maine Bound – University of Maine Outdoor Program (1984 – 2001)
  • Professor and Department Head of Outdoor Recreation Program – Eastern Maine Community College. (2015 – 2019)
  • National Director of Education for Professional Climbing Instructors Association
  • National Coordinator for AMGA Top Rope Site Manager Discipline (1998-2004)
  • Professional guide since 1983, climber since 1975
  • AMGA professional member since 1988
  • AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 Avalanche Course Provider (2000-present)
  • Lead Instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates (1989 – present)
  • Registered Maine Recreation Guide
Medical Credentials
  • WMS Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM)
  • IBSC Certified Wilderness Paramedic 
  • IBSC Certified Flight Paramedic 
  • UMBC Critical Care Paramedic
  • Registered Nurse, Emergency
Presentations and Writings
  • Technical editor of Go Climb, published by Rock and Ice Magazine
  • Author of Climber’s Guide to Clifton Crags
  • Wrote Winter Mountaineering and Backcountry Travel in Baxter State Park for the park authority.
  • Technical Rescue Standards for Maine Search and Rescue
  • Annual presentor at national and regional outdoor education and wilderness risk conferences.
  • B.S. Parks and Forest Recreation with additional studies in education and emergency medicine.
  • A.S. Nursing