Luis Benitez is the Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. Over the course of a decade, Luis has quietly emerged amongst a growing field of inspirational adventurers 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. Benitez also has attempted the famed K2 in 2010.
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 mountains and carry them back to the everyday challenges of life and business during his keynote presentations and seminars.
Early in his career, Benitez was hired by the well-established leadership development school Outward Bound Professional in Colorado, and was responsible for conducting courses in various mountaineering/climbing/skiing techniques, all with the fundamentals of leadership, communication, and problem solving at the core of the Outward Bound curriculum. He has led expeditions and was Director of Operations USA for Adventure Consultants (AC), a highly respected New Zealand-based expedition firm with a long and storied history of leading trips on Mt. Everest. Benitez also manages and leads an annual critical thinking / leadership development seminar in Ecuador and Chile for the Wharton School of Business, and volunteers his time as a guide for the non-profit; Trekking for Kids.
Before serving as the Director for the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry for the State of Colorado, he championed Talent Management and Leadership Development for Vail and Beaver Creek mountains with Vail Resorts and is also a seated town Councilman in Eagle, Colorado.
Benitez’s first summit of Everest was to climb with the blind athlete Erik Weihenmayer on his historic 2001 Everest summit, chronicled in the feature film “Farther Than the Eye Can See” and also in Erik’s book “Touch the Top of the World”. He also has led disabled veterans to the top of Mt. Lobuje, out of which was born the Soldiers to the Summits non-profit organization. He has been featured in films such as “Visions of Everest” (2002) and “Shadow of the Condor” (2002), has reported from Mt. Everest for ABC-TV News, and has filmed segments for an episode of National Geographic’s weekly TV series “Wild Chronicles”. In 2006 while guiding a group in Tibet, his witness of a tragic and historic attack by Chinese soldiers on Tibetan refugees led to Benitez’s firm commitment to dedicate his time to educating and helping people Be Their Own Leader. He is featured in a BBC documentary about that tragic event, “Murder in the Snow.”
Tickets for the 2016 SHIFT Festival can be found here.