Meet Jon! Jon has been guiding since 2010 and is based out of New Hampshire. We recently sat down with Jon to learn about his background and his role with Eastern Mountain Sports Schools—get out and #goEast with Jon by visiting or emailing [email protected]


goEast: Where are you from originally? What brought you to EMS Schools?

Jon: I was born and raised in the North Country of New Hampshire. I had met former EMSCS guide, and legendary climber, George Hurley at a little-known crag years ago. We started climbing together fairly regularly, and after I had taken a 10-day “Rock Instructor Course” through the American Mountain Guide Association, he put in a good for word for me at the school. After being hired, EMSCS helped me further develop guiding skills, techniques, and (most importantly) experience. It has truly been an honor to be with EMSCS throughout the years.

goEast: How did you get into rock climbing?

Jon: As a young impressionable teenager looking for his place in this world, a friend and I stumbled upon a scattered ledge system in the woods near our homes.  From scout camp we knew enough about knots and climbing techniques to be dangerous, and so with random lengths of our parent’s manila rope, the sketch-fest began. I remember eagerly awaiting the paycheck from my part-time job, so that I could go up to EMS in North Conway (back then it was located in the Eastern Slope Inn lobby) to buy a new carabiner and/or piece of gear. After a short while we had, between the two of us, amassed a modest lead climbing rack and started aiming our sights toward the mecca of New Hampshire climbing: Cathedral Ledge.

goEast: How long have you been climbing for?

Jon: Wow, I guess I’m going on 27 years now…

goEast: Do you have a favorite place you have climbed at locally?

Jon: Well, although I have always had a penchant for the obscure (routes and crags), I’ve got to say that Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges are the best climbing locations in the state.

goEast: What are three pieces of gear you can’t live without?

Jon: Although I try to stay as fast and light as possible, I would be remiss to go to the mountains without my fine Italian footwear….La Sportiva rock shoes and mountain boots to be specific. For the remaining piece of gear, maybe a good waterproof/breathable shell.

goEast: If you could climb anywhere in the world where would it be?

Jon: I would love to visit the Bugaboo Mountains at some point.

goEast: What’s your best piece of advice for people looking to get into climbing?

Jon: Fully immerse yourself in it. Read books, watch videos, and hire a guide to make sure you have the foundational skills required to climb safely and confidently. Don’t worry about the grades right off the bat, they will come the more you get out climbing.

goEast: What was the most challenging route you’ve ever done?

Jon: Well that all depends. The route with the biggest number attached to it, and the most challenging route I have done, are not the same route. I have climbed many in the 5.13s, but the route that took the most out of me was when I was a college student. A relative stranger and I ventured up to Devil’s Bay in Newfoundland to do the second ascent of Leviathan (5.12a, IV 1300’). The remoteness, the stormy weather, topping out well after dark, and the descent was really a monumental effort for me at the time.

goEast: What is your favorite part about guiding?

Jon: Giving guests an experience that exceeds what they were expecting.

goEast: When you aren’t climbing, what do you do in your free time?

Jon: I built a bouldering gym in my barn, so my family and I like to spend time in there some evenings. I also like lifting weights, and working on/driving Jeeps.

goEast: What certifications do you have?

Jon: AMGA Certified Rock Instructor with Ice Instructor Course Completion, Certified Wilderness First Responder, AIARE Avalanche levels I & II.