Meet Our Instructors 2021-04-24T18:58:38+00:00

*NOW HIRING for the 2020 season & beyond! Find more details here. *

Welcome to the home & heart of Southeast Mountain Guides! We are thrilled to meet you.

Our Mission

To help people who want to try rock climbing and to teach people who want to become rock climbers.

Our Standard

Above all, we believe in connecting with people. We achieve this by providing meaningful and engaging experiences in the realm of climbing. We strive to be professional servant leaders who are committed to personal growth and genuine connection with others.

Connection – Growth – Professionalism – Servant Leadership – Integrity
 
We strive to connect with people authentically.
 
We seek to cultivate an environment of growth and betterment.
 
We support a team made up of professional and caring servant leaders who act with integrity.
 
These core values guide us as we offer climbing services that minimize risk; encourage learning; are refined, relevant, engaging, and unique; and that promote climbing stewardship through responsible enjoyment of the outdoors.
Our Instructors

All of our instructors for our guided activities are nationally certified through the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) as Single Pitch Instructors or Rock Instructors. Our instructors are professional, friendly, and knowledgeable, and strive to provide the best service and experience for each and every client. This takes time, dedication, and training towards their craft. Please consider providing gratuity for your instructor (15-20% recommended).

In 2001 Mark and Kathy Meyer opened up the country’s first Via Ferrata, providing the public with a thrilling, yet easily accessible way to experience high adventure on our sandstone cliff lines. Their daughter Nicole became the company’s first rock climbing instructor in 2004, and she’s been guiding and managing the business ever since. After all these years, the Via Ferrata and guided activities remain the key services offered. Keeping it in the family, Nicole purchased the company in November 2017 and renamed it Southeast Mountain Guides, formerly Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure. Her passion for rock climbing continues to open new doors for climbing and instruction possibilities. But none of this growth would be possible without you. So truly thank you for your continued support and dedication.

The origins of Via Ferrata can be traced back to the Alps. For centuries, simple, protected paths through mountainous terrain connected alpine villages to their pastures. In WWI, Via Ferratas were built to help troops move through the mountain ranges of the Dolomites. Some of those wartime routes were restored with modern Via Ferrata hardware (iron rungs and steel cable) and are now used for recreation.

Our Via Ferrata became the first commercially operated course in the United States on 9-1-01, and has been enjoyed by folks all over the world since then!

Nicole loves living, working, and playing in the beautiful & rugged mountains of eastern Kentucky in which she has lived for over 20 years now.

What Nicole loves most about owning and operating Southeast Mountain Guides: “Oh gosh, I truly love the ample opportunities to connect with people, my crew and clients. I also thoroughly love business and all the diversity, challenges, and rewards of being a small business owner.”

What Nicole is most passionate about: “Jesus Christ is the foundation of my life. And of course the growth of my company and rock climbing. Outside of that just simply enjoying life and being physically active outdoors.”

Fun Fact: You will daily find Nicole drinking hot black tea from her favorite mug(s) with a broken handle(s).

Nicole has been the owner of Southeast Mountain Guides since 2017, but she has been a part of the company since its inception in 2001 when her parents started with the Via Ferrata, climbing guide service, BBQ restaurant, and a Bed & Breakfast. Nicole managed the Via Ferrata & guide service for 8 years before purchasing it. Nicole has been an AMGA certified climbing instructor since 2004.

See you soon!

Gannon hails from the lovely state of North Cackalacky (also known as North Carolina). He first found climbing while attending Appalachian State, but that has snowballed into an avalanche lifestyle of traveling and adventuring (and of course climbing)!

Gannon has lived in three different countries and has visited dozens more. In his most recent adventure, he spent several months in Southern Spain building a rock climbers hostel in the small town of Cogollos de La Vega. While he loves to travel, in 2020 his adventurous spirit was called Stateside into the beautiful state of Kentucky and the enchanting Red River Gorge to work for Southeast!

Gannon is an AMGA SPI certified Climbing Guide and current Manager of Southeast. No matter if he is in the office, working on the Via Ferrata, or taking some clients out on a guided trip, you can count on his positive attitude and cheerful spirit!

Cody grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio area and has been visiting the Red River Gorge area throughout his life. Cody first discovered his passion for climbing while serving in the United States Marine Corps. He enjoys sharing his love for climbing by helping others get started in the sport and push their own limits. Cody attended and completed the American Alpine Institutes Mountaineering Instructor Professional Training Program based out of Bellingham, Washington. He returned to the Red River Gorge to share his love for climbing with others through guiding.

He is a certified Wilderness First Responder, as well as a certified Single Pitch Instructor through the AMGA.

Cody is patient, knowledgeable and always excited to share his experience to anyone looking to start or advance their rock climbing, and most importantly have fun while doing so!

Diego was born in Brazil but grew up living in Puerto Rico. He is trilingual, which means he is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Diego’s favorite type of climbing is bouldering and sport, and his favorite route at the Red River Gorge so far is Hippocrite at the Zoo. Diego said he loves working at Southeast because: “I get to work outdoors and meet cool people every day! It gives me great satisfaction to see folks enjoying themselves and getting over their fears!”

Fun Fact: his favorite color is Navy Blue

Taylor is from a small town in Minnesota called Winona. His favorite type of climbing is technical vertical, but he has been delving more into traditional climbing (placing protection in cracks as opposed to clipping bolts) as he progresses through his climbing career. Why he enjoys working at SE: “The culture at Southeast is world class. Employees and clients get to learn and have fun in a very comfortable and supportive environment.”

Favorite food: 100% sushi (as opposed to 80% sushi)

Fun Fact: He enjoys spending his time playing the mandolin and other stringed instruments out of an old ambulance!

Maggie is a Kentucky native who grew up in Louisville. She started climbing in college while pursing a degree in environmental science and biology.

What Maggie loves most about climbing is the personal challenge. As well as the nature and scenery that comes with hiking out to crags.

When she’s not climbing, she enjoys cooking, running, snowboarding, and wrangling her beloved dog, Kash.

On Fridays, Maggie enjoys working with children at the Red Oaks Forest School exploring the outdoors and nature. She also likes foraging for wild edible plants.

Fun Fact: she has 4 chickens and likes to play farmer

Adam is from a small town in NC called Advance (not pronounced the way you think). He grew up playing in the woods and generally causing havoc around the property. Adam graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Data Analytics. His favorite type of climbing is NC-mixed (we call it runout sport), and friction-slab is his go-to style of route. He loves climbing so much he actually found the job posting while browsing Mountain Project forums! While not at work, you can find Adam enjoying his time at Miguel’s Pizza or climbing the obscure routes no one wants to try. He enjoys working at Southeast because he gets to interact with a wide range of individuals and abilities. He likes helping people book a trip that’s right for them!

Favorite Food: Breakfast burritos

Fun Fact: A few years ago he went on a climbing road trip to Colorado, in December, and only climbed one route because of the snow.

Our Difference

We believe climbing is life-changing, and it’s our goal to introduce you to that discovery! We take the time to get to know you, to best help you enter or progress in your journey of climbing.

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