Thais Vegas Torres is a 56-year-old Tico-Venezuelan who made high-altitude climbing a passion seven years ago. And since then, and based on a lot of commitment, tenacity and, of course, economic efforts, this mother of two children and an engineer by profession has scaled numerous summits.
The most recent took place last month in Nepal. This is Ama Dablam, a mountain located in the eastern part of the Nepalese Himalayas that means “the necklace of mother and pearl”. The main peak is 6,812 meters high, which went up (and down) in 21 hours. In total, she spent 20 days in Nepal, of which 12 days included acclimatization.
Her goal of reaching peaks above 6,000 meters above sea level in 2022 was satisfactorily met. Now the goal for 2023 is to reach mountains higher than 7,000 meters above sea level.
But to do so, she hopes to first climb the snowy Ojos del Salado with 6,891 m, it is a summit belonging to the Andes mountain range, which is located on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is the second highest mountain (it is actually a stratovolcano) in the American continent, only surpassed by Aconcagua, in Argentina (6,960 m.s.n.m).
The latter is already in the Vegas registry, a native of Caracas and who arrived in Costa Rica about eight years ago. Her love for this country is so great that soon she will be another Costa Rican.
Preparation in Costa Rica
Vegas said that her passion for mountaineering is not something new, but that until recently she managed to crystallize it thanks to the confluence of several factors. The first and most important: her two children were no longer children. The oldest is 29 years old and the youngest is 18. This gave her more peace of mind to undertake her dream.
The second: a greater economic solvency, although she recognizes that each escalation requires a lot of savings. This passes for being financially very responsible. Third: conscientious preparation and looking for the right people. Thus, she began by climbing the mountains of Costa Rica.
Her training includes climbing in Cachí de Cartago:
Thais Vegas trains at various locations in Costa Rica. One of them is Cachí, in Cartago. She also climbed the Kamuk hill in La Amistad International Park. Its height is 3,549 meters above sea level, in the south of the country.
Cerro Urán has a height of 3,600 meters above sea level. This peak is part of the Cordillera de Talamanca and is located within the Chirripó National Park. And, of course, she has also climbed the Chirripó hill, the name of the highest point in Costa Rica (3,821 meters above sea level) and which is part of the Chirripó National Park. The massif is located in the border zone between the cantons of Pérez Zeledón, Turrialba, Limón and Talamanca.
Out of the country and the lessons
Outside our borders, Vegas has climbed peaks between 5,000 and 7,000 meters above sea level. Some of them are:
Mateo (Peru, 4,030)
Nevado Urus (Peru, 5,495)
Orizabal (Mexico, 5,636)
Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, 5,895)
Cotopaxi (Ecuador, 5,897)
Chimborazo (Ecuador, 6,263)
Cerro Bonete (Argentina, 6,760)
Aconcagua (Argentina, 6,961)
Vegas assures that she has the energy to continue achieving goals, but she is also clear that it is a passion that must be taken seriously. For example, for the trip to Nepal, she required a programmed training of 16 weeks, with the need of a hyperbaric chamber (in a pressurized chamber).
In the case of her goal of climbing above 7,000 meters above sea level, she commented that it is necessary to acclimatize for about two months. But she confesses that she cannot do it by virtue of her work. However, preparing herself in another way, without using the chamber.
¿Will you climb Everest, the top of the world with 8,849 m?
Veras assures that she will not do it for several reasons:
Requires a high budget
She likes “more technical” mountains (that have more difficulties)
This engineer knows that her passion has risks and very high ones, but she says prefering to focus on the thrill of climbing. “My children feel proud to see me very active, very enthusiastic. I will die on the way to make my dreams come true,” she insisted.