Ivan Vallejo – World Renowned Mountain Climber

On 19 December 1959, a boy born in Ambato was to become one of the world’s most respected climbers and a hero in Ecuador. Ivan Vallejo was born to climb mountains and growing up in areas that were at an elevation of 2 800 meters gave him the capability to climb some of the most difficult and dangerous mountains without using the supplementary oxygen bottles that most climbers require.

After conquering his first summit, the Andean peak of Chimborazo in Ecuador, Vallejo knew that climbing was his destiny. Taking on the majestic mountains of the world would become his life’s passion and his road to becoming an Ecuadorian legend. Vallejo went on to summit Manaslu in 1997 and Broad Peak in 1998. But on 29 May 1999, Ivan Vallejo would become part of the history books as the very first Ecuadorian to reach the summit of Mount Everest – and without the assistance of an oxygen tank.

It was his amazing ability to acclimatize quickly that gives Ivan an edge above other climbers. And even though he does not have the funding to take part in expensive expeditions, he has the determination and the will power to succeed. For those who know him, it came as no surprise that Vallejo would set himself the ultimate challenge – to reach the summit of all 14 mountains in the world that are over 8 000 meters including Mt. Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, Annapurna, Lothse and Daulaghiri. By the year 2004, Ivan had already conquered ten of the 14 summits and in October 2004, Ivan added Shisha Pangma to his list and Kangchenjunga for the following year. Gary Pfisterer’s International Expeditions accompanied Ivan in his climb of K2 in 2000 and again in 2001 when he ascended Lothse. He also formed part of Dan Mazur’s team in 2002 with the Kangchenjunga expedition.

Media attention, expeditions and his natural talent transformed Ivan Vallejo from an Ecuadorian climber to a famous Ecuadorian climber. Vallejo’s name will be remembered together with three other famous other climbers that managed to beat Everest without oxygen: Ed Viesturs, Reinhold Messner and Anatoli Boukreev.