Timberline Mountain Guides (TMG), a guided alpine and rock climbing, and backcountry skiing company based in Bend, celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year. Since 1983 TMG has been expanding its adventures to include backcountry skiing, avalanche rescue training and international skiing and climbing, as well as climbs all over the Pacific Northwest — from the Three Sisters to Mount Rainier and the North Cascades National Park. Timberline Mountain Guides is accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and employs many certified and internationally certified mountain guides (IFMGA).
“At Timberline Mountain Guides, our strength lies in our passion for climbing and skiing, and our dedication to professionalism — which means creating great experiences for our customers and pursuing training and certification to ensure that our guides are of the highest caliber,” according to owner Clifford Agocs, who is an AMGA Certified Alpine and Rock Guide.
TMG also prioritizes community involvement. They continue to support Bend Endurance Academy and REALMS Schools, both financially and through climbing experiences for their students. TMG partners with Oregon Adaptive Sports and Wounded Warrior Project, to provide incredible climbing experiences to local adaptive athletes and veterans with and without disabilities. They partner with SheJumps to provide more female-only spaces in the world of backcountry skiing. They also support the rebolting efforts of the High Desert Climbers Alliance, with the donation of good old physical labor.
Timberline Mountain Guides may be best known locally, for its winter programs — under their Oregon Ski Guides division. Hundreds of locals have completed their AIARE avalanche education with Oregon Ski Guides both in the Deschutes National Forest and on Mount Hood. And skiers and splitboarders come from all over the Pacific Northwest to ski powder as well as spring ski lines in the mountains with our team of Certified Ski Guides. What started as the first guide service at Smith Rock (Smith Rock Climbing School), and grew into an internationally-renowned guide service on Mount Hood, continues to expand and explore new terrain. From the secretive Cougar Crags, to a brand new ski touring program this coming winter in Hokkaido, Japan, TMG is always seeking out new adventures in new terrain. “Because we have a small staff, that is both deeply experienced and highly trained — our name is well-respected amongst our peers. That creates a lot of opportunities for us to seek out partnerships, so that we can bring our guests to new places. Our guides have the unique ability to customize our trips to meet our guests’ individual climbing and skiing goals” says Agocs.
TMG’s guide service was started by Mike Volk who ran the company from his home in Terrebonne, OR directly across from the world-class rock climbing of Smith Rock State Park. Volk started TMG “to share my love of the outdoors with others and give clients a professional, safe and enjoyable climbing experience.” Over the years, Timberline Mountain Guides have left their mark on Central Oregon climbing and skiing. Smith Rock state park is home to many classic routes that were authored by TMG guides, including Voyage of the Cowdog and Walking While Intoxicated, and the local mountains also feature first ascents on obscure alpine routes like the Full Richardson, and most routes at the locals favorite, Crag of Doom. Along with other guides, Pete Keane who ran the company for much of the last 30 years, pioneered several locally popular backcountry skiing zones. Alan Watts — the Father of American Sport climbing — guided for TMG in the 80’s soon after sparking the revolution that made climbing what it is today. Guide Pat Carr went on to found Metolius — an internationally respected climbing gear company. In more recent years, TMG has helped to produce a dozen IFMGA guides — a group that only has just over 200 US members at present count. IFMGA guide Chris Wright, who still resides part-time in Bend, began his career at TMG and went on to win the Piolet d’Or, the most prestigious international award in the world of alpinism. “Raising the guiding standard in Oregon was my major goal when TMG opened for business.” states Volk.
Current owner, Cliff Agocs continues to run the company in this tradition — continually raising the standards for guides, for customer service and for quality of adventures. “We hope that when you look up at the mountains and begin to dream, you will think of us,” he says.
TMG is having their anniversary celebration on June 3, 2023 right across the street from Smith Rock State Park, at the home of Mike Volk.
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