CAMP USA is proud to partner with our newest affiliate mountain guide, Max Tepfer. Max, just 30 years old, lives in Bend, Oregon and guides across the western United States. He has established new trad climbs up to 5.13- and enjoys teaching climbing to folks of any ability level.
How did you start climbing and why did you stick with it?
[*I started in college partly on a dare after a long night of drinking, but mostly for the fame and glory. I stuck with it for the fast cars, women, and lucrative product endorsements.*] I actually started climbing because my friends in high school were all part of a mountaineering club. At first it scared me to death every time I went on a trip, but for some reason I kept going. I think the reason I pushed past being scared out of my mind on every trip was because the environment was so beautiful and different from anything I’d experienced at that point in my life. At some point I started rock climbing more because I figured it would help me tackle bigger and harder alpine climbs and from that point on, it quickly took over my life.
What are your favorite 3 routes?
What motivates you or draws you into your sub discipline of
mountain adventure? Which mountain sports have you tried and disliked?
Does your work/employment complement your passion?
For me, guiding and climbing compliment each other very well. I know a lot of people for whom this isn’t the case, but the style of climbing I pursue personally is so far removed from what I do professionally, that I haven’t found burnout to be an issue. On the contrary, working in the mountains gives me an excellent base level of fitness and keeps me familiar and comfortable in a variety of alpine terrain as well as dialed with a range of different technical systems. Lining up a personal trip with a work trip in a more exotic venue is also a great way to subsidize my own climbing trips. In the other direction, challenging and humbling myself during my free time gives me a better idea of what my guests are experiencing when they climb with me. They also appreciate hiring someone who’s not just a guide, but is also passionate about pursuing climbing objectives on their own time.
If you could give any training / improving / climbinge advice to yourself 5 years ago, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to prioritize the things in life that make you happy. It’s super cliche, but at that point in my life I was hanging on to negative elements of my life because I thought that I was supposed to want them. I felt guilty prioritizing climbing over relationships and both were suffering the consequences. Letting go was super difficult, but incredibly liberating and was the crucial first step towards attaining every goal I’ve achieved since.
Any plans or goals for the next year?
-Pass my ski movement make-up exam to continue the process of becoming a certified mountain guide
If you could only eat one breakfast for the rest of your life what would it be?