What better example than the feat made by Manuel Montero, who without a leg, but armed with two climbing poles, a huge heart and the support of a group of friends, who managed to conquer the 3,820 meters of Cerro Chirripó.
The great dream that he believed impossible, was managed to be fulfilled last Sunday, two days after his 52nd birthday. “Before, he would not have imagined this achievement. Less 33 years ago, when he had just turned 18, because at that time he lost his right leg in a work accident.
Dream of youth
Since he was young, he cherished the idea of going to Chirripó one day. He had been inspired by the radio programs his father listened to which referred to Chirripó’s attraction.But the accident caused the dream to be forgotten.
Even so, Manuel – or Manuelillo as his loved ones call him – did not give up on himself with one less leg.Accustomed to sports activities, he joined Pérez Zeledón’s soccer team for amputees.After thinking it over, very soon it began to hover in his head that if he was serious that he could finally fulfill his old dream of conquering the peak.
One year of preparation
Even with his natural conditions, Manuel had to prepare well for the adventure, and that took him about a year.The support team took care of the logistics, such as arranging the lodging in Los Crestones, planning the route and preparing the necessary equipment so that Manuel could fulfill his mission.
Besides that, Manuel had to prepare. His great advantage is that he trained twice a week on the amputee soccer team; This served as a complement for his preparation on difficult terrain and slopes to withstand the hard road to Chirripó.
Finally, the big day arrived on December 25. A group of twelve people, including Manuel and his wife Ana Patricia Matamoros, began the ascent to Chirripó.It was planned to be done in three stages. The first was on the way to the Crestones Base Shelter, where they would rest, to do the second stage the next day, to reach the highest peak in Costa Rica.
Despite the hard road for many people, Manuel was able to complete the route without major problems. In fact, it made it to the top in very good condition.“It was something really beautiful, very hard, but it was something from another world. At that time, I wanted everyone I know to have a chance to see what I was seeing.
“It is something magical, incredible to see these mountains. It’s a show,”said the indomitable climber. That same day, Manuel and his companions returned to the base shelter.
The third stage took place on Monday from Los Crestones to the starting point. There was no major difficulty, except for a small problem of blisters on his hands that affected him in the last 5 kilometers.
“Manuel never complained, never said anything and went on his way as if nothing had happened. That helped make everything easier for us,”said Dixa Jiménez, a member of the Senderistas de Pérez Zeledón (support group).
The group that accompanied Manuel never left him alone. They always had a team member with a harness to hold him in case it was necessary, and of course, they provided him with a helmet and all the support so that he did not have to carry a lot of load on the journey.
The group, which has existed since 2017, was founded with the purpose of promoting rural tourism in the area. But in this case, its 9 members were also the great support that Manuel had throughout the trip.
“I am grateful for all the support to Senderistas, to the Fundación Semillas de Luz, which has always supported me, and also to my wife, who accompanied me at all times,” said the brave climber.
After the achievement, more dreams come to mind for Manuel. For now, try to digest what just happened; but he already realized that there is no obstacle to stop him.”Everything is in the mind. We must stop complaining. To those who have not gone to Chirripó, I tell them to dare, to set goals,” he concluded.