December 10, 2018
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One-handed rock climber stars in ‘Stumped’

Courtesy of Cedar Wright
Courtesy of Cedar Wright
Maureen Beck, who grew up in Ellsworth, is starred in the new film "Stumped," which is touring the world this winter as a part of REEL ROCK Film Tour and Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Beck, who was born without her left hand or the lower portion of her left arm, is a rock climber who currently lives just outside Boulder, Colorado.

Rock climber-turned-documentary star Maureen Beck wants the world to focus not on what she’s missing but on what she’s got.

“I have a different ability,” she declares on her website,

Indeed she does. In “Stumped,” a prizewinning 25-minute film, the 31-year-old Ellsworth native, who was born without a left hand, gets the better of a cliff rated Class 5.12.

Just how difficult is that? Rock climbing “routes,” as they are called, are rated from Class 1 (a flat, easy walking path) to Class 5 (technical climbing in which a rope is required for protection). Class 5 is broken into subcategories ranging from 5.1 to 5.15. That’s as hard as it gets.

Beck’s film is featured in two famous outdoor film series: REEL ROCK Film Tour and Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Banff’s festival is coming to Bangor, Portland, Rockport and Ellsworth in early February. Beck plans to will attend the Feb. 3 screening at The Grand in Ellsworth.

“‘Stumped’ just morphed into this bigger thing than a climbing movie,” Beck said. “You don’t have to be a climber to enjoy it.”

She added, “I definitely got a little braver for the film, and I actually became a much better climber through the process.”

Although Beck objects to the term disabled, she has won gold medals at the Paraclimbing National Championships and IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup, the top competitions for rock climbers with disabilities.

She lives near Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and three dogs, including a three-legged pup named Gimp Biscuit. She works at Eldorado Climbing Walls, which makes climbing walls.

In the film, she talks about the struggles she’s had with society’s perception of disabled athletes.

“I went to this competition and the routes were so easy it was insulting,” she said. “We were held to a lower standard. I’m really trying to send the message that my ‘try hard’ may look different than someone with two hands trying hard, but we should all be trying hard.”

Her film premiered in November at the Kendal Mountain Festival in Britain and won Best Climbing Film of 2017.

In Maine, the Banff tour schedule is Feb. 2-4 in Ellsworth, Feb. 6 and 7 in Bangor, Feb. 9 and 10 in Rockport and Feb. 11 and 12 in Portland. “Stumped” may not be played at every venue because the host determines the film lineup. To learn more and buy tickets, call the hosts. For Ellsworth it’s Cadillac Mountain Sports at 207-667-7819 or The Grand at 207-667-9500; for Bangor it’s Epic Sports at 207-941-5670; for Rockport it’s Maine Sport Outfitters at 207-236-7120; and for Portland it’s Chestnut Mountain Productions 215-923-9161.

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