Jesse Guthrie (born October 23, 1958) is an American rock climber and author. He is one of the pioneers of sport climbing in the USA. In 1986 he climbed the first 5.13 routes in Alabama and one of the first 5.14a routes in the USA. He also wrote 4 novels and an autobiography. He is currently living with his wife Anička daughter Emily and son Jeremiah in Libčice nad Vltavou, Czech Republic.
He was born in 1958 in Huntsville, Alabama and moved to West Springfield, Virginia. At 13 he started rock climbing at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. In the spring of 1975 Jesse Guthrie placed the first bolt at Seneca Rocks, causing a controversy and subsequent critique of climbing’s future. After graduating high school in 1975 he climbed throughout North America in places like Boulder Colorado, Yosemite California and the Shawangunk Ridge, before becoming a professional bareback rodeo rider in 1978. In 1979 he won the Virginia state champion bareback riding belt buckle and award. In the following years he became one of the No. 1 ranked riders of the American Rodeo Association.
In 1984 he went to Germany where he met Wolfgang Güllich, Kurt Albert and Jerry Moffatt (“This was the beginning of my true climbing career.”) to climb in the Frankenjura and in the Verdon Canyon in the South of France. The redpoint climbing philosophy of Kurt Albert and the extremely tough training methods of Wolfgang Güllich had a strong influence on Jesse.
For the next two years he lived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (where he met his first wife) and in Nuremberg, before moving to Huntsville Alabama, USA in 1986. In the area of Yellow Bluff he climbed the first ascent of the route “Rainbow Warrior” and “Flashback”. This was the first route as hard as 5.13b in Alabama. Then he did the route “Tour de jour”, which was the second 5.14a climb in the USA at that time.
In 1992 he moved to Boulder, Colorado where he put up many new hard routes like Reeperbahn 5.13b, Twist and Shout 5.13c and the Gagger 5.14a. 1993 Jesse was invited by Jeff Lowe to take part in an expedition with Catherine Destivelle to climb the Makalu in the Himalayas.
In 1998 he moved back to Germany where he was seriously injured by a large falling rock while sitting on a ledge 30 feet high in a climbing garden writing his second book The Rains of India. After a long recovery period he successfully started climbing again.
In 2003 he moved to Prague, Czech Republic and started working in the outdoor industry again.
In 2007 he met and married Anička Gabrikova and in January 2009 Emily Anne was born and then Jeremiah in April 2013, they live in the Czech Republic.