Pepins Conquer Kilimanjaro

Tom Pepin and his four of his daughters are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!

In conjunction with this fantastic event, the Pepin Family Foundation is raising funds to donate to the Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute. By participating, you can help conquer heart disease as the Pepins conquer the mountain.

Beginning July 1, 2017, Tom Pepin and his daughters will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – a total climb to the summit of 19,340’ a 10-day journey.

Join them on their daily adventure while they share their passion for health and fitness. They will be broadcasting live through Facebook from their camps to give daily updates, heart healthy tips and need your camaraderie and support to keep them going all the way to the summit.

You can join in the journey by pledging funds to get them to the summit. As the Pepins conquer Kilimanjaro, you can help conquer heart disease.

Funds received from the Pepins Conquer Kilimanjaro event will benefit Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute’s Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program. This advanced program gives patients with severe lung disease a chance to heal by bypassing their lungs with a sophisticated machine that oxygenates their blood. In most cases, ECMO is an option of last resort; it’s a truly life-saving system for critically ill patients when other treatments aren’t effective. Lear more about the ECMO program by watching the video below.

Pledge Levels:

  • $50
  • $250
  • $500
  • $1000 – BRONZE LEVEL
  • $2500 – SILVER LEVEL
  • $5000 – GOLD LEVEL
  • $10,000 – PLATINUM LEVEL

To pay by check, please mail to
Pepin Family Foundation
4121 N 50th St., Tampa FL 33610

Please make checks payable to FHTampa Foundation and in memo field, include “Kilimanjaro”.

To pay online, click the button below.


Kilimanjaro Journey Updates

Day 10

Summit Day
Elevation: 19,340 feet / 5895 meters; Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

We made it!! After breakfast, we left camp to hike to the top of the crater rim. From there it is a ten-minute hike to Uhuru Summit, the highest point in Africa at 19,340 feet! We arrived to clear views before the midmorning clouds roll in. We spent about 30 minutes at the summit before we began our descend.
Mweka Campa – Elevation: 10,500 feet / 3200 meters ; Hiking Time: 8-10 hours to camp (6.8 miles)
Words cannot describe this journey but in the days to come and cell service improves we will share pictures which tell our story. We sincerely thank you for all your support and words of encouragement.

Day 8

Arrow Glacier
Elevation: 16,000 feet / 4877 meters; Hiking Time: 2-3 hours (1 mile)

The Western Breach ascent route is now in full view. We spent a few hours climbing to the base of the route and made camp near the Arrow Glacier at 16,000 feet. To acclimate to the altitude, we take an afternoon hike up a ridge further up the route before relaxing in camp. This camp is famous for the absolutely magnificent sunsets, which illuminate the African sky.

One more day of climbing, then summit day. We have found a rhythm: slow as a sloth. Seems my steps are so exaggeratingly slow like I’m making fun of moving slow. It’s no joke. Even getting into my sleeping bag is done at a snail’s pace.

The girls are doing good with just a few minor cramps. Breathing is still a challenge and altitude sickness comes and goes with a vengeance but they are powering through. I’m so proud of them.

Day 7

Lava Tower
Elevation: 15,000 feet / 4572 meters; Hiking Time: 5-7 hours (3.6 miles)

Hiked to 14,850 feet, just under the “Lava Tower.” This is our first introduction to the Alpine Zone where the only plant life is the hardiest of grasses and lichens. We have spectacular views of the final route of ascent up the Western Breach. There is an exciting rock scramble to the top of this unusual lava tower. The views from the lava tower summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru and the surrounding valleys are quite impressive.

Our climb was roughly a 30 degree incline to the point it is easier to just go down to hands and knees to continue upwards. By the time we get to camp we are exhausted and it’s damn cold when the sun goes down. Sleeping has been difficult. Training in an altitude tent at 13,000′ is way different than working at that altitude for 5-6 hours/day. At this point every bone aches.

But the bright spot here is that the girls are encouraging and lifting each other up as opposed to competing. It is no longer a single-minded goal – they want the whole group to succeed and are there for each other. Proud Dad moment.

Day 6

Moir Camp
Elevation: 13,500 feet / 4115 meters; Hiking Time: 3-6 hours (4 miles)

It took us roughly three hours to hike across the Shira Plateau and then one hour up the western slope of the Kibo Massif. Our Camp is in the upper Heath Zone. We passed the Fischer Camp, which has a plaque dedicated to Scott Fischer, friend and founder of Mountain Madness (our guide). In the 1980’s, Wes Krause and Scott Fischer pioneered the Shira Plateau route on Kilimanjaro which we travel. The views of the mountain at sunset and sunrise are truly spectacular.

Day 5

Shira Plateau – West Side (4.8 miles)
Elevation: 11,400 feet / 3474 meters ; Hiking Time: 6-8 hours

We will take our time walking through the forest, which enables us to acclimatize comfortably and spot the plentiful game and bird life while enjoying the views down canyon through breaks in the jungle. Today’s hike will take us through the Montane Forest and the Hagenia Zone.

Day 1

Montane Forest – Lomosho Approach
Elevation: 9,000 feet / 2743 meters; Hiking Time: 3-6 hours (3.2 miles)

After a short drive through the beautiful grasslands and scattered Maasai villages we will arrive at the forest edge of the National Park. From here we will walk a few hours through the undisturbed lush jungle to our camp for the night. The Tanzanian guides will share their knowledge of the local ecology as you walk through the fantastic plants and trees, hear birds, and see other exotic wildlife.


We have arrived at the airport