BGBS 014: Luis Benitez | CO Outdoor Recreation Office | Sometimes Your Path Chooses You

BGBS 014: Luis Benitez | CO Outdoor Recreation Office | Sometimes Your Path Chooses You
July 26, 2021

BGBS Episode 014: Sometimes Your Path Chooses You

Over the course of a decade, Luis Benitez has quietly emerged amongst a growing field of climbers as one of the more experienced, respected and busiest professional guides and leadership development consultants in the world. Throughout his career, Luis has summited the top of the famed “Seven Summits” a cumulative 32 times, including being a six-time summiteer of Mt. Everest.

Between managing expeditions on some of the most remote peaks in the world, while consulting with a deep and varied group of clientele, Benitez works to tie the lessons available from the outdoors and carry them back to the everyday challenges of life and business during his keynote presentations and seminars.

In this episode we talked about:

  • What Luis’ current title Director of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office for the State of Colorado means and the kind of difficulties he faces.
  • Some of the early ambitions Luis had growing up.
  • What life was like for Luis growing up in Ecuador and the history of his family and where he got his outdoor and mountaineering experience from.
  • How Luis became instantly inspired to be a mountaineer from reading about Jim Whittaker, who “had what I have (Asthma).”
  • What steps Luis took to become a mountain guide as he inspired to be.
  • What it’s like to be a mountain guide and what type of hierarchies are involved.
  • Luis expedition to Cho Oyu in Tibet and the horrifying experience that occurred going through the pass from Nepal to Dharamsala India.
  • The involvement Luis got into with the incident he had seen going on his expedition.
  • Luis experience meeting the Dalai Lama, what conversations they had, and how his message to a certain group of refuges changed the perception of Luis’ life and how he had applied it to his community.
  • What lead Luis getting into politics and being elected to serve as Town Council in Eagle, Colorado.
  • The call with John Hickenlooper and him hiring Luis to be the first director of the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.
  • Luis’ take on the leadership of the country today, especially on how it influences the outdoor economy.


[13:58] “I remember dragging that magazine into my parents’ bedroom, pointing at Jim Whittaker saying, “This guy has what I have. This is exactly what I want to do. I want to be a mountain guide, I want to climb mount Everest.”

[26:12] “That expedition [Cho Oyu] really changed the trajectory of my life personally and professionally.”

[27:27] “These soldiers can’t follow us up the hill, so let’s leave for our summit push. Let’s get a move on. By the time we come down, the world is going to know…and I just never had such heavy feet moving up the hill.”

[38:56] “The director for ICT (International Communicator for Tibet) laughing, saying, “ok Luis pop quiz, when the Dali lama special envoy calls you and says that his holiness wants to meet you, what do you say?”

[40:55] “He [Dalai lama] said, “You know, sometimes you don’t get to choose your path, sometimes your path chooses you. And now it’s going to be up to you to decide how you want to show up.”

[51:52] “He’s [John Hickenlooper] one of the few people that if he said, “Jump off that ledge [or] walk through that window.”, I wouldn’t even think twice to follow him.”

[55:11] [Politics] “Now what I think what we’re going to see is a shift and understanding how cohesive social justice can and should be in relation to our natural resources and relation to our economy and industry and what we do and how we do it.”

[59:19] “Did you have fun? Was it hard? Was it Worth it?”

Links Mentioned On Our Show:

Luis Benitez

John Hickenlooper

Dalai Lama

Jim Whittaker

Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Mount Rainier

Mount Everest

Seven Summits

About Luis moving on to his new role at VF Corp:

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