Public invited to hear Des Moines adventurer Charlie Wittmack on Jan. 13

January 4, 2011 —

Des Moines, IA – What’s it like to bike through 18 inches of sand, swim the English Channel and climb Mount Everest? It’s likely only one Des Moines man, Charlie Wittmack, can answer those questions. Wittmack was the first Iowan to summit Mount Everest and he is preparing to do it again as the finale to The World Triathlon (TWT) project he began in July 2010.

Wittmack will speak at noon and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13 at Des Moines University (DMU) in the Student Education Center auditorium, 3300 Grand Ave. in Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public.

“Charlie is so full of energy and enthusiasm—this will be a great event. I know our students love hearing him and the Des Moines community will too,” said Dr. Yogesh Shah, associate dean of global affairs at DMU.

DMU is working with TWT to promote education regarding maternal health issues in Nepal while Wittmack is in the country. He’ll finish TWT by climbing Mount Everest for the second time. TWT started with a swim down the River Thames to the North Sea and across the English Channel. It then proceeded to about 9000 miles on the bike across mountains and deserts. He will next run almost 1000 miles from sea level at the Bay of Bengal through the Himalayas on his way to Nepal to climb Everest.

“Nepal’s maternal mortality rate is the sixteenth worst in the world,” Dr. Shah said. “Improving mortality rates around the world is an important focus at DMU and the World Health Organization. By joining with the World Triathlon we gain even more strength in bringing awareness to this topic.”

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Des Moines University (DMU) is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduate-level, professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, biomedical sciences, anatomy, health care administration and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students' pass rate on national examinations and board certifications is consistently higher than the national average and the rates at similar institutions.


Courtney Tompkins has been part of the DMU marketing team since Nov. 2005 and loves promoting a school she believes in so thoroughly. Proud daughter and patient of DMU alumni, Courtney knows, first-hand, that Des Moines University is doing a world of good. A fan of all outdoor festivals, fruity drinks and nearly all edibles, she has a hard time narrowing down her list of favorite places to go and things to do but lists the Iowa State Fair as an all-time fave. She loves her 8-minute commute to DMU from Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. She and husband Tyler are owned by three large dogs, Tonka, Tucker and Tank.