Last week at the climbing club of the “Escuela Politécnica Nacional”, Ivan Vallejo showed us some pictures, not from his latest adventures in the eight thousands, but from his first mountaineering steps in the Ecuadorian Andes where he climbed some really amazing routes -some of them have not been repeated yet-.
I appreciate very much the time Ivan spent with the people from the club.
Instead of showing us his amazing adventures, Ivan Vallejo showed us how did he begin climbing smaller mountains in the Ecuadorian Andes twenty years ago. Ivan started the same way that many students do nowadays. Basic clothing and borrowed climbing gear.
What Ivan was trying to tell us was that it is not an easy task to be one of the best in the world. It requires a huge amount of accumulated experience. It also requires to follow a logical order of learning, climbing the many interesting routes in Ecuador, then climb higher or tougher mountains in Peru (Cordillera Blanca) and Bolivia (Cordillera Real). Only after that you should think about climbing those big mountains in the Himalayas.
Ivan Vallejo quit a good job in a big company and became a college teacher. Why? I would say that it was because he needed to be honest with himself. He needed time -more than money- to pursue his dream of climbing mountains in Peru, Bolivia and the Alps and finally the Himalayas. Although his career as a Chemical engineer was rewarding and very important for him, he wasn´t happy with the idea that his job was taking his mountains, an important part of who he is, away from him.
It was very interesting to hear his stories. I think that is very important for successful people, still remember where did they came from, how difficult is it to start and push people to dream, and the most important, to work hard to make their dreams come true.