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Waypoints: Max Tepfer & Billy

Waypoints celebrate the places our dogs take us and the joy of returning to them together, time and time again. Whether it's a summit, a shoreline, or a certain spot on the trail where your dog just has to stop and sniff every time.

We worked with some incredible dog and human teams who shared their own Waypoints with us through storytelling and some really fun photoshoots.

Up next in our series of Waypoints stories is an interview with Max Tepfer about his sidekick Billy and their connection to Trout Creek.

Max and his dog Billy hiking at Trout Creek

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your dog?

I grew up in Eugene and moved to Bend in 2012. I picked up Billy from Herd U Needed a Home (a rescue service in Central Oregon) a little over a year ago. I'd just gotten surgery to repair my ACL and getting to know and hanging out with him was a vital morale boost while I was recovering.

Your photoshoot was at Trout Creek in Oregon. What makes Trout Creek a Waypoint for you?

I've been visiting and climbing at Trout Creek every year for the past 15 years. It's for sure near and dear to my heart, and these days I dedicate pretty much every fall to climbing up there.

Working seasonally allows me to travel and climb more or less wherever I want in the off-season and year in and year out, I keep going back up there.

Max and his dog Billy take a break while hiking at Trout Creek

I suspect the fact that Billy and I spend as much time up there as anyone made us solid candidates when you all were looking to make a shoot happen up there.

I first visited Trout while in college back in 2006 and was instantly hooked. The next 5 years were basically spent scheming when and how I could get back up there until I finally made the move to Bend.

The crag is incredibly beautiful, the climbing is as good as anywhere, and there's always a really fun, friendly, and motivated community of people climbing up there.

What makes it a special spot for you and Billy? 

It's special for me because of the deep history I have climbing up there, and it's special to Billy because it's an amazing day of exercise for him!

He's a super high-energy dog, and we typically play fetch while hiking up and down the 800' hill that accesses the crag... which means on any given day he probably does 2-4 bonus laps.

Max and his dog Billy hiking at Trout Creek

And, the base of the cliff is a jungle-gym of broken basalt columns, making it a really fun agility course, which he's both very good at and very excited about.

Why do you keep returning to this spot?

So many things. The climbing itself never ceases to motivate me. The wild and scenic nature of the landscape and the stunning views of Mt. Jefferson, the Deschutes, and the Warm Springs Reservation mean there's pretty much always something beautiful and/or interesting to look at.

And again, the people who visit and share in the excitement for such a rugged and incredible place make every climbing season up there feel too short.

Max and his dog Billy at an overlook at Trout Creek

What do you think Billy loves about this place?

Hands down the hike in and out. There are no leash laws and the approach is fairly long, so each day starts and ends with him running through the sage to his heart's content.

Then he runs and jumps over boulders all day and gets two fetch sessions in while we hike up and down the hill. It's hard to actually get him tired, but that place never ceases to deliver on that front.