Benegas Brothers, World Class Mountaineers

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Models paddled: AdvancedFrame Convertible.
  • Water that they paddle: Lakes, Coastal/Ocean, Bays and Estuaries, Rivers.
  • What they use their yaks for: Travel, Expeditions filming on-location.
Twin brothers Damian and Willie Benegas are two of the most respected mountaineers and climbers ever to have been produced in Patagonia, achieving a phenomenal number of summits worldwide, which have taken them to the furthest corners and highest peaks of the world. Growing up in Puerto Madryn on the Patagonian coast, the brothers spent their youth climbing in Patagonia with their father. This served as a strong background for a their climbing career, which took-off when they moved to the States at the age of 21, heading straight for the big walls of Yosemite. In the years to follow they made over 80 ascents of El Capitan. Not only has Willie climbed Aconcagua over 50 times, he has also led over 20 Himalayan expeditions, including eleven Everest summits, 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. Both brothers have a great philosophy on life. Damian always remains grounded, reminding himself and others to “keep having fun — what counts is the process, not the summit.” While Willie says: “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.”

Favorite AE Story:
While filming episodes for ESPN Adventure, Damian and his team have traveled to a number of locations in South America, using the AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayaks and the RapidUp Kayak Sail. In his own words, Damian says “During our remote expeditions, it’s almost impossible to take a hard shell kayak. Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks make it possible for water expedition destinations to happen. Anywhere from the Amazonian waters to remote areas of Columbia & Patagonia, the AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak gives you the freedom to travel, fully capable of touring all types of waters. When spending quite a bit of time kayaking in Columbia, we found it had enough space for carrying our equipment, and handling well with weight & balance. It was perfect for us, as most of our Columbia destination was water, which gives us a whole different level of exploration.”