Jesse is a blind rock climber. He is best known as the first blind person to lead climb the Old Man of Hoy, which is the focus of Alastair Lee’s multi award winning documentary ‘Climbing Blind’.
The Old Man of Hoy is however only a part of the extensive roster of hard traditional a.k.a “trad” rock climbs he has completed. As well as this, he is also the first blind person to claim 1st ascents in the Arctic, and a world class competition climber representing the GB Paraclimbing team.
Jesse has Rod-cone dystrophy which is a genetic condition. He was born with approximately 20% of central vision (no peripheral vision) with large blind spots. From this drastically low baseline Jesse’s vision has further deteriorated and he can now only distinguish between light and dark (light perception) in an extremely restricted field of view.
Jesse’s lack of sight means that he is no longer able to recognise images or to read. Consequently, he uses text-to-speech software in order to use a computer and to work full-time as a Principal Patent Engineer for a clean energy technology company making hydrogen fuel cells.