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Benegas Brothers Expeditions

The Benegas Brothers Guide Team

We take huge pride in the experience, expertise, and professionalism of each and every one of our guides. They are chosen based on experience and knowledge of a particular country, region or mountain, and languages spoken.
The main guides for our expeditions are IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations) qualified. IFMGA certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our lead guides have also traveled and climbed extensively in any given destination and know the mountains there intimately.
Furthermore, their knowledge of local culture as well as the mountains, combined with their passion for teaching others to become competent mountaineers, guarantees that your experience will be one to remember! Wherever we climb, we combine our guides’ experience with the top choice of local expertise to ensure we have the best in transportation, food, equipment, and lodging.
Safety is our number one priority, and whilst our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering, they cannot eliminate them. Our guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that improve your chance of reaching the summit without compromising the necessary margin of safety. In a number of the countries where we source some of our best guides, including in the USA, our best choice is not always 100% represented in the IFMGA scheme.
Damian Benegas

Growing up in Puerto Madryn on the Patagonian coast, Damian Benegas and his twin brother, Willie, had to be creative when it came to finding places to climb. According to Damian, “The chimney of Willie’s girlfriend’s house and the clay sea cliffs on the coast of Peninsula Valdes were the only vertical things we had.” But they persevered, and it wasn’t long before Damian had graduated from 20-foot chimneys to soaring 20,000-foot mountain peaks, making a name for himself in the Andes and the Himalaya, in both Nepal and Pakistan.

Not content to climb where others have, Damian prefers the challenge of opening new routes, claiming that seeing traces of other climbers on a mountain gives him “too many clues.” In the spring of 2003, he and Willie climbed a new route they named “The Crystal Snake” on the north face buttress of Nuptse in Nepal, a feat for which they received Climbing magazine’s Golden Piton Award.

In addition to big-mountain climbs, Damian excels in traditional and sport climbing, with numerous first ascents and speed climbs under his belt. His favorite place to climb is Yosemite, California, where he estimates he’s made over 85 ascents of El Capitan in the past ten years. Yet no matter how high he sets his sights, Damian always remains grounded, reminding himself and others to “keep having fun — what counts is the process, not the summit.”

Damian also specializes in filming mountain and outdoor adventures, lately for ESPN LatAm.

Guiding Experience, Certifications, and Honors

  • 2011 Argentine Olympic Committee “Heroic Athlete Award” for rescue of abandoned climber on Everest
  • Golden Piton Award for the First Ascent of “Crystal Snake”, north face of Nuptse, Nepal, 2003

 

Notable Ascents

  • Nuptse, “The Crystal Snake”: new route on the north face buttress; Climbing magazine’s Golden Piton Award for best climb, 2003
  • Over 50 ascents of Aconcagua on nearly all faces, including a new route on the west face: “Flight of the Condor”, 2002
  • First ascent of “Swept by the Wind,” Patagonia, 5.13a, 1,000ft.,2001
  • Oshapalca: first ascent of sout face, “My Message,” 5.7 WI 4/5, 2,400 ft., 2000
  • About 85 ascents of El Capitan in 10 years.
  • About 18 ascents of Half Dome in 10 years.
  • Summited Ama Dablam 4 times
  • Attempt on the north face of Jannu
  • 5 Everest Summits
  • 2 Cho Oyu Summits
  • About 30 ascents of 20,000 ft. mountains in the South American Andes
  • First ascents of Piedra Parada, 1993-2001

 

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Willie Benegas

Willie spent his youth climbing in Patagonia with his father and twin brother, Damian. This served as a strong background for a his career, which took-off when he and Damian moved to the States at the age of 21, headed straight for the big walls of Yosemite. In the years to follow they made over 80 ascents of El Capitan. Each year Willie has returned to Argentina to guide trips on Aconcagua, which he has climbed over 50 times. These ascents include the difficult South face and a speed record that he held for five years.

In 1995 Willie rose to fame when he obtained the first ascent of the 3,000-foot North Face of Pakistan’s Nameless Tower (“Book of Shadows” VII, 5.10+ A4 W14). He has since led over 20 Himalayan expeditions, including eleven Everest summits, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, an attempt on the North face of Jannu, and the “The Crystal Snake” first ascent on Nuptse. This accomplishment made with his brother Damian in 2003 won them Climbing magazine’s Golden Piton Award. Willie has also set speed records in Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, made three attempts on the highly coveted Pakistani peak Latok 1, done first ascents on the big walls of Baffin Island and climbed dozens of Bolivian and Peruvian peaks.
Willie is a certified AMGA Rock and Alpine Guide. He is a fully certified IFMGA mountain guide and AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide, spending his winters as a ski patroller in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

Willie is often asked the question, “Why do you climb?” His response echoes his philosophy on life: “A mountain adventure will carry over into the many facets of life, teaching you about yourself, your co-existence with nature, and respect for other people’s cultures.” , He has truly earned his place among the world’s mountaineering elite.

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Guiding Experience, Certifications, and Honors

  • Fully certified IFMGA mountaineering/ski guide
  • 2011 Argentine Olympic Committee “Heroic Athlete Award” for rescue of abandoned climber on Everest
  • 2010 AMGA Outstanding Guide of the Year
  • 22 years of guiding experience and over 20 Himalaya expeditions
  • AMGA Certified Rock and Alpine Guide
  • AAIRE Level III Avalanche Certification
  • Wilderness EMT and WFR
  • Leave No Trace Certification
  • National Ski Patrol Association- Snowbird Ski Patrol
  • Golden Piton Award for the First Ascent of “Crystal Snake”, north face of Nuptse, Nepal, 2003

 

Notable Ascents

  • Eleven Everest Summits
  • Over 50 ascents of Aconcagua, Argentina
  • Aconcagua: world speed record ascent/descent, 23 ½ hs round trip, 54 miles, 13,500 ft. elevation gain, 2000
  • 22 mountains in 21 days, Cordillera Real Bolivia, 2006
  • Everest and Cho Oyu Summits in one season, 2005
  • Cho Oyu and Makalu Summits in one season, 2014
  • Manaslu 2016
  • First ascent of “The Crystal Snake,” north face of Nuptse, Nepal, 2003
  • Mt. Kenya: all massif towers in 16 hours, 2002
  • Oshapalca: new route south face, “My Message,” 5.7 WI 4/5, 2,400 ft, 2000
  • Mt. Cuerno: first ascent of south face (17,600 ft.), 5.7 WI 3, 4,640 ft. in 4.36 hs, 2000

 

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Tomas Aguilio

Tomas (Tomi) was born in San Carlos de Bariloche and has worked for BBE in Patagonia for many years as a mountain guide, climber and skier.

He has climbed Cerro Torre (x2), and climbed and guided Cerro Fitz Roy (x6), including his famed first ascent of the new route ‘Historia Sin Fin’.

He sport climbs at level 5.13b and has skied for over 20 years. Tomi is also a UIAGM certified alpine guide.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Sofia Benegas

Sea Kayak Guide. Sofia has participated in numerous expeditions exploring the coast of Patagonia together with Pablo Passera. Sofia is a PADI dive instructor, skipper and whale watching guide, and has dedicated 12 years to these activities in the Península Valdes, specializing in whale watching guidance alongside her older brother Rafael Benegas. She regularly works with wildlife documentary film crews such as National Geographic and the BBC, both as a support diver and guide. She has worked as a volunteer for several research projects involving the Southern Right Whale. She worked the 2008 winter season as a trekking and sea kayak guide in Southern Greenland. She is certified as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and American Canoe Association (A.C.A) Coastal Kayaking Level 3.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Pablo Passera

Sea Kayak and Trekking Guide. Pablo regularly participates in varied sea kayak expeditions in both rivers, lakes and the Patagonian sea, and additionally kayaks for personal challenge and scouting. He is also a certified ski instructor and patroller. Pablo has completed studies as Professor of Physical Education, with a major in recreational and mountain activities. He regularly takes part in courses and workshops covering environmental education and nature interpretation. He has had the opportunity to travel to diverse locations within Argentinean and Chilean Patagonia and also to the Antarctic and Artic. He  worked the 2008-09 winter season as a sea kayak guide in Southern Greenland where he completed several expeditions. He is certified as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and American Canoe Association (A.C.A) Instructor of Open Water Kayaking Level 4.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Georgina Davenport

Georgie began working with Damian and Willie in 2008, whilst also running an adventure travel company in Patagonia. Nowadays now runs BBE’s expedition planning and logistics, as well as Everest Base Camp, down to the finest detail, to ensure the highest safety standards possible and maximize chances of a successful summit.

Georgie adores skiing and fly fishing, and lives in the Pyrenees’s Val D’Aran. She is a USA certified NREMT-Paramedic and AHA Basic Life Support Instructor.

Languages spoken: English and fluent Spanish.

Sherpas

Our Sherpa team can count dozens of Everest summits between them! They are regarded as some of the strongest and most conscientious on the mountain, with an unsurpassed knowledge of the mountains we climb, and lengthy experience, that creates an atmosphere of cooperation, teamwork and commitment in all our Himalayan expeditions.

Our Sherpa team feels a great sense of responsibility toward both us and our members and the high mountain environment. BBE’s reputation is so strong, that we’re proud to say that Sherpas from other expeditions work to pursue a future position with us.

Phura Geljen Sherpa

Phura Geljen Sherpa is from the Solu Khumbu Region and has worked for five seasons with the Benegas Brothers, latterly as our Sirdar on Everest. As well as four Everest summits his has climbed Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and Kanchenjunga. He completed his IFMGA guide’s diploma in 2011.

Phurba Namgyal Sherpa

Phurba is from the Dolakha region of the Khumbu. He has attained an exceptional number of Himalayan summits, including Everest (North side 4 times and South side 4 times), Cho Oyu (4 times), Ama Dablam (3 times), Lobuche East, Island Peak, Pharchamo, and Barunste. He has also climbed in the Alps in both Germany and Austria. Phurba completed his IFMGA guide’s diploma in 2011.

Languages spoken: English and German.

Dawa Gyaljen Sherpa

Dawa is from the Dolakha region of the Khumbu and has adored climbing and mountaineering since he was very young. In recent years he has summited Cho Oyu, Everest four times from both the South and North Side, as well as smaller peaks much as Lobuche East, Island Peak, and Pharchamo.

Languages spoken: English, Nepalese, Hindi, Japanese and Spanish.

Matias Erroz

Matias ’Matoco’ Erroz has been guiding with BBE since he was 19 years old and has since become Argentina’s premier high altitude guide. He has climbed multiple summits in the Himalaya, both in Pakistan and Nepal, including Everest and Lhotse, and been involved in high altitude rescues since honored by the International Olympic Committee. At home on Aconcagua he has reached to the top more than thirty times via many routes. His specialities are the normal route and also the Polish Glacier. He is an AMGA certified alpine guide and also leads expeditions in Peru, Bolivia, and Patagonia.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Pablo Pontoriero

Pablo lives in Bariloche, Argentina  and is a UIAGM mountain guide, climber and skier. He has climbed Cerro Fitz Roy twice and opened numerous new routes in San Carlos de Bariloche’s surrounding area. He sport climbs level 5.13d.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Lucas Jacobson

Born in Argentina where he spends mosts of his time, Lucas has been mountaineering and climbing since the age of 16. He is a UIAGM mountain and ski guide and has been guiding for over ten years. He has climbed in BC, Canada, Yosemite, the Alps, Brasil, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. Leading different expeditions in Patagonia, he also teaches ice climbing and glacier travel, as well as being a dedicated member of the local rescue team. In winter he ski guides in the mountains around Bariloche and leads trips to climb or ski volcanos in the area.

Languages spoken: English, French and Spanish.

Adelina Odriozola

Ade was born and raised in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, surrounded by Patagonia’s beautiful lakes and endless mountains. In winter she works as a ski instructor at the local mountain club, and guides during the summer.

She has been working with Benegas Brothers Expeditions for six years during which time she has summited several big mountains including Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, and Cotopaxi.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish.

Brian Muller

In the winters, Brian works as a Ski Patroller at Snowbird Ski Resort and a Ski Guide in the Wasatch.  The rest of the year, Brian finds himself in Washington on Mount Rainier, or in the North Cascades, up in Alaska on Denali, or guiding Ski Mountaineering trips.  Brian has guided internationally in Tanzania, Nepal, and Canada.  Brian is a Certified Ski Guide by the American Mountain Guides Association, holds a Level III Avalanche certification, and is certified in Outdoor Emergency Care. When Brian is not working, you can find him looking to find big lines to ski, or out climbing in the Utah desert.
 
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Samuel A. Tyler

Sam is a sea kayak and mountain guide who has guided from AK to Argentina, and the Himalaya. Notable ascents include Denali, Aconcagua, Island Peak and Lobuche East, and Ama Dablam, as well as guiding on Rainier and in the Cascades.