Wes Whitaker -
Wes spent more of his formidable years on a surfboard than on a rock. After spending several summers in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, however, Wes came to appreciate adventures above tree-line as much as the sand between his toes. His earliest climbing memories include Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges and awe-inspiring fingertip hangs by his first climbing mentor.
These days, while a full-time teaching position at the University of North Georgia works hard to distract him, Wes prefers to spend his time in the Western North Carolina alpine, Tallulah Gorge, the Sierra Nevada, or Joshua Tree. Wes’s passion for climbing comes from the modesty of the experience: the friendships formed by simply looking up, planning a line, placing gear, building trust, and ultimately topping out. It’s not about the grade; it’s about sharing the pursuit. Currently living outside Atlanta, Wes is a transplant via Eastern North Carolina, Washington, DC, and San Diego, CA.
Jeff Mekolites -
Jeff Mekolites, a classically trained chef, is just as likely to be found climbing in the mountains as he is behind the stove or teaching culinary arts. Jeff’s interest in rock climbing was sparked in the mid 90’s while he was hiking in Eldorado Canyon outside of Boulder, Colorado. On that fall day, he noticed people dancing up the walls of that canyon. It took him nearly 10 years to return and go climbing in that same canyon. Since those early days, Jeff has continued to chase his climbing dreams, from alpine rock climbing in Canada, mountaineering in Peru and the Swiss Alps, ice climbing in New England, to multi-pitch routes in Red Rock Canyon.
As a long-time climber in the southeast, Jeff guides clients at the numerous local crags from Alabama to North Carolina. He also regularly participates in local climbing stewardship activities, including bolt replacement and trail days. He is a current Board Member of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) and served in the past as President and Trip Coordinator of the Atlanta Climbing Club.
Jeff is also an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and previous American Alpine Club Live Your Dream Grant Recipient. Jeff resides in Atlanta with his wife Johanna and their two children, Evan and Riley.