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Max Tepfer

Date of Surgery: 9/29/2015
Update (9/2017): Max has returned to guiding full-time.

About Max

I am an AMGA Rock and Alpine guide based in Bend, Oregon. I’ve been travelling in the mountains since climbing my first volcano in the Cascades when I was 16. Within two years, I was entirely hooked and, after taking a NOLS semester in the Rocky Mountains, I knew that I wanted to spend my life working in the mountains. While I enjoy all forms of alpine recreation, I am primarily a rock climber. To that end, I split my free time between pursuing long multi-pitch free climbs in the wildest places I can find and honing my craft on the shorter rocks near my home in Bend. When my fingers or skin need a break, my favorite cross training is ski touring in the mountains around Bend (or wherever I happen to be at the time).

Career Background

Professionally, I work in all disciplines of guiding, (alpine, rock, and ski) but spend the vast majority of my time alpine guiding. My year typically begins in April with the first laps on Mount Hood of the season. May­/June is a whirlwind of trips up and down the Oregon Cascade Volcanoes. After snows melts off of Hood, I travel north to the Washington Cascades. The migration continues in August when I travel to the Tetons and then onto the Sierra in mid-­September. Ultimately I come full circle in the Fall and return to Bend to guide at Smith Rock when it cools off sometime in October. While I enjoy all types of trips and objectives, by far my favorite to specialize in is coaching already competent climbers on how to improve their skillset and empowering them to achieve big objectives without me. I’m also a Guide/­Athlete with CAMP North America and have taught multiple clinics for them highlighting exactly that skillset. Moving forward, I’m continuing to pursue full certification through the AMGA and hope to be done in the next few years.

Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan

For the past ten years, I’ve suffered from increasingly severe instability in my right shoulder and ultimately underwent a Latarjet Procedure to help stabilize the joint. It was two months before I could ski and three before I could climb. In both cases, reintroduction to the respective sports was exceedingly slow and gradual (particularly climbing). I returned to work six and half months after going under the knife with a week of guiding multi-pitch rock climbs in Red Rock, Nevada. That was this Spring and, since then, I’ve continued to enjoy gains in performance and strength. People ask me frequently if my shoulder is ‘better’. The short answer is yes, but the honest one is that I’m fortunate to enjoy a highly functioning shoulder, but that takes a lot of self discipline, strengthening, stretching, massage, self awareness, and rest to keep it that way



"My shoulder will always be funky and I will always have to work to keep it highly functioning, but the excellent care I was able to receive through the support of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has given me the opportunity to both continue working full time as a professional guide as well as to continue pursuing my dreams and ambitions outside of work. "

- Max Tepfer