Adventure comes naturally to TWU alumna
Roxy Gonzales-Vogel is making a habit out of making history.
She made it big in 2019 after she accomplished one of the fastest ascents ever of Mt. Everest, making it from sea level in her former hometown in Berkeley, Calif. to the top of the tallest mountain in the world in Asia and back in a mere two weeks.
A year later, she added her name to another elite roster when she climbed to the summit of Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, completing the extraordinary feat of reaching the highest peaks on each of earth’s seven continents.
Besides scaling the earth’s highest mountains, Gonzales-Vogel also has reached the summits of six of the planet’s tallest volcanoes, the last of which she completed just two days after reaching the top of Mt. Vinson.
Her primary focus this spring is making history of sorts in another way: conducting research on nutrition that aims to improve endurance and performance of athletes in extreme heat. It’s an area of research where there currently is scant data, particularly for women, and one that could have major implications for adventurists who regularly endure the harshest elements on earth.
She is conducting her research in familiar territory: Texas Woman’s University, from which she earned her master’s degree in exercise and sports nutrition in 2017. She is using a heat chamber at the university to simulate extreme conditions for athletes. Her research is supporting a PhD in exercise physiology she is pursuing at Southern Cross University in Australia. The results of her research also have potential application in her career as a nutrition and performance research manager at GU Energy Labs in California.
Gonzales-Vogel has personal experience in pushing the body to extreme limits in pursuit of the Seven Summits adventure. To prepare for her climb of Everest, she spent three years training: scaling mountains, completing high-altitude, long-distance runs, and working and sleeping in oxygen-limiting quarters to simulate conditions on the world’s highest peaks. Additionally, she maintained a strict diet and robust exercise regimen to stay in optimum shape.
“For me it’s always trying to see if there’s a limit to what I can do – and where that limit is. I guess I haven’t found it yet,” Gonzales-Vogel said.
In addition to the research for her dissertation, Gonzales-Vogel also has her eye on yet another adventure – and another opportunity for making history: completing the Explorer’s Grand Slam, which involves climbing to the tallest peaks on each continent and then skiing to the last degree of the South and North Poles.
She continues on a meticulous training program even while conducting daily research. If plans come to fruition the way she hopes, Gonzales-Vogel will be heading to the North Pole in April 2023.
She hopes her achievements serve to inspire others who may not think they have the spirit to embark on their own adventures.
“Your mind is so much stronger than you think, and even if things are not going the way you want them to – and it’s not how you had envisioned it turning out – you always have a little bit left in reserve,” she said. “So you can always count on yourself to get through it.”
Assistant Vice President, University Communications
Page last updated 3:51 PM, February 28, 2022