Feb 08, 2006 03:30 pm EST   

Everest summiteer Luis Benitez sails to climbers' paradise

(TheOceans.net) When you think of climbing remote peaks in far away destinations, its not often that a boat or a treacherous stretch of ocean enters your mind. Not so in this instance, says Luis Benitez.

Starting out in Ushuaia, Luis, along with 12 other climbers and 5 crew members are now flogging their way across the Drake Passage bound for the Antarctic Peninsula. Weve been going for 48 hours, he told ExplorersWeb by sat phone yesterday.

Bobbing south

As they bob their way down south aboard an 80ft sailboat named Evohe, Luis tells us that a boat was not exactly on his gear list when they said 'climber's paradise'.

Some would say its a bit of a crazy way to get some climbing done, but for 30, yes 30 days, our possibilities will be limited only by what we can get ashore on, and our own fears of the unknown, said the 4 time Everest summiteer.

Headed for climber's paradise

But Luis figures that with a little luck, lots of initiative and plenty of research on previous expeditions, the skys the limit. Armed with skis, climbing gear, and even a hanglider, the team hopes that on the southern side of this crossing, a climbers paradise awaits them.

This is no ordinary paradise however. In a land few see, and fewer get to walk on, we hope to take only pictures and leave only footprints, he says as Evohe steadily makes her way towards what promises to be a great adventure.

Luis Benitez was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1972; his mother Italian/American; his father, an immigrant from Ecuador, Luis has been a busy guide. He has summited Everest 4 times, Aconcagua 10 times, and stood on other "Seven Summit" peaks 14 times. He's been to Elbrus (5642m) in the old USSR, Ama Dablam, Antarctica (Mt Vinson with Annabelle Bond), and Aconcagua.

In spring, 2005, he attempted an Everest traverse along with a client. In fall, he successfully guided a team on Ama Dablam. Next, he'll guide another team in Antarctica.

On each of his expeditions, Luis has been dispatching pics and reports over Contact 3.0. Currently single, Luis lives in Boulder, Colorado.