News Media Resources Publications Inside Penn Medicine Contact Us for Experts  
  System News | HUPdate | PresbyBulletin | What's New at PAH | Browse Archives  

Making It to the Top!

KilamanjaroKham Xapakdy, Business Intelligence and Data architect in IS, has been where few of us have ventured:  the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Located in Tanzania, East Africa, it is not only the highest peak on the African continent, but also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. At its peak, it rises more than 19,000 feet above sea level (19,336 to be exact).

Xapakdy did the climb with expedition group which included his wife, Jessica Lamey, who works at Penn Presbyterian. “I’ve always tried to do things that expand my experiences and boundaries,” Xapakdy said.

According to the Tanzania National Park website, Kilimanjaro is one of the world's most accessible high summits.  Still, the climb isn’t easy. The high altitude makes it both a challenge and a danger. “We for the climb, but it was hard to be physically prepared for the altitude. You can run a marathon but, up there, every step is a challenge,” he said.

And the altitude’s impact on him mentally was a surprise. “The higher you climb, the harder it becomes to think straight, to concentrate,” Xapakdy said. 

It took six days to reach the top.  Kilimanjaro is so large, it creates its own weather system. “The bottom is a rainforest and, as you go up, you pass through many climate zones,” he explained.  “The top is an arctic desert, with 30 mph winds.”  

The last day was the final push to the top.  “It took 8 hours to reach the peak that day. It was really hard to push yourself to do that last 4,000 feet.”

The reward, he said, was conquering the physical and mental aspects.  “The climb itself was more enriching than reaching the summit.  You have to want to do it.”

Do you want to keep up with all the latest news stories about Penn Medicine?

Subscribe to Penn Medicine In the News daily emails! Click here to sign up online if you're not yet receiving one of our email editions.

Or, if you've received an email edition recently, use the "update your preferences" link at the bottom of the email or contact us to subscribe.

Do you volunteer your time or provide supplies to help those in need?

Have you discovered a way to reduce costs while maintaining high quality care?

We're always looking for great story ideas!

Let us know! Click here to send your stories, ideas, and photos to us online now, or email them to tipline@uphs.upenn.edu!

Make it count! Help us keep track of all of Penn Medicine's community outreach activities by filling out the Penn Medicine CAREs reporting form. No contribution is too small to report. Visit PennMedicine.org/community.

Browse More Stories Inside Penn Medicine

Share/Save

 

About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine , Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2011, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania