A group of SmartRent employees recently set out to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, located in Tanzania, Africa. At 19,341 feet high, 46 miles to the summit, arctic temperatures near the peak and oxygen levels dipping to roughly 10%, it’s needless to say summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is no small feat.
SmartRent Vice President of Engineering, Jason Walsh was the driving force behind the trek, calling it his “largest physical challenge to date.” His ultimate goal is to attempt to climb each of the 7 summits, named for the tallest summits on each continent. Less than 1,000 people globally have ever achieved all 7 summits, making it both an extremely challenging and rewarding goal.
After hearing about Jason’s plan, Jonathan Coffey, Vice President of Product Management was inspired to join the trek, “I knew this would be a challenge that would push my limits to the max” said Coffey. Michael Rankert, Regional Sales Director, also decided to join the quest, stating “When I heard about the expedition, I immediately said I wanted in.”
A Goal with Purpose
The team prepared themselves for the strenuous journey by completing countless hikes, purchasing the proper gear and finding a deserving cause to benefit those in need. The team decided to fundraise to benefit Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that works to advance women in computer science and software engineering professions. “In 1996, 37% of Computer Scientists were women. In 2017, that rate dropped to 24%. By 2022, the percentage of women in the computer sciences field is predicted to fall to 22%” (Source: Girls Who Code ).
Girls Who Code is a beacon of hope for young girls who have the resolve to succeed. Likewise, their mission represents a core value at the heart of SmartRent, by enriching people’s lives through technology. SmartRent fuels entrepreneurial spirit. And SmartRent believes in giving communities and individuals a helping hand so they may achieve their dreams.
In order to raise donations, friends, family and fellow employees were asked to pledge a certain amount for every 1000 feet in elevation gained for a total of 19,000 feet above sea level, or 3.66 miles. The team ended up raising over $6,000 for Girls Who Code!
The Trek Begins
The hikers set out for Tanzania, Africa on December 26, 2020. They arrived safely and began to prepare for their treacherous 9-day summit.
With the help of various guides, the trekkers fought their way through many of the trail's ascents, descents, walls and weather. At roughly 13,315 feet, altitude sickness began to set in for a few of the team, but spirits remained high. Despite the challenging terrain, the trekkers were met with majestic wildlife, stunning scenic views of the Shira plateau and the chance for personal reflection.
On January 2nd, they finally reached the highest point on the African continent. Beaming with pride in their accomplishment, they unfurled a SmartRent flag so that we could all share in their triumph.
All of us at SmartRent want to congratulate our fearless hikers, Jason, Jonathan and Michael for doing what so few can, and giving back to Girls Who Code along the way.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made a donation in support of Girls Who Code. You can learn more about their mission and how to give back here.