Fundraising, as defined by Miriam-Webster as: “the organized activity of raising funds” can be a daunting task. It’s difficult to ask for money, especially when you know people have had a tough few years. However, when you are passionate about your cause it seems folks open up their wallets.
Climbing a mountain for the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer requires participants to raise a certain amount of money depending on what mountain you aspire to climb. While the actual climbing sounds difficult, some folks are more nervous about raising the money. But….”the ceiling can’t hold us”.
When you sign up for the CLIMB, you decide how much money you want to raise. Don’t let the ceiling hold you…put down one or two more thousand dollars than the minimum amount. You can do it, start early, don’t wait to start fundraising; “tonight is the night, we’ll fight ‘til it’s over”….
Thank each donor individually for their donation, keep your donors (and would be donors) notified of how well you are doing with training, what the next step will be, get THEM excited about your climb! It’s infectious, they will tell their friends about your climb, and the climber on your webpage starts ascending the mountain.
“Let the night come, before the fight’s won
Some might run against the test
But those that triumph embrace the fight cause
Their fears then prove that courage exists.”
Thanks Macklemore for “this is the moment”……the ceiling can’t hold us”…..indeed….
January 3-26, 2015.
Aconcagua is the 2nd highest of the world’s “7 Summits” – the tallest peaks on each continent. The Climb to Fight Breast Cancer is offering 4 of the 7 summits in 2015! Climb is offering 3 of the 7 Summits in 2014 (Denali, Kilimanjaro and Elbrus). All are guided by Alpine Ascents International.
Courtesy of Alpine Ascents International.
Aconcagua, which translates as “Stone Sentinel” is 22,841 ft, making it the highest mountain in the Americas and the highest mountain outside of Asia. This spectacular mountain is surrounded by numerous peaks over 20,000 ft. and the surrounding lowlands (up to 13,000 ft.) consist of beautiful desert landscapes with a large diversity of flora and fauna.
We climb Aconcagua using the nontechnical Vacas Valley Route (Polish Variation).
This is a fully guided ascent, led by American guides who climb the mountain with you. We are one of the few outfitters that offer this type of support (and in turn, high success and outstanding safety record). It should be noted that most outfitters merely offer a supported trek, where a single guide facilitates the climb but does not act as a guide during the ascent.
Aconcagua Expedition Itinerary
Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip information package.
Day 1: Depart country of origin.
Day 2: Arrive in Mendoza, Argentina. Climbers should arrive before 5 p.m. if possible. After checking into your hotel, we will have a climb orientation session, a Leave No Trace discussion, and an equipment check. This will be followed by a group dinner in one of Mendoza’s finest restaurants.
Day 3: After completing the permit process in the morning, we board our private bus to the town of Penitentes. We generally stop for lunch in the town of Ushpallata (where the movie Seven Years In Tibet was filmed). After we arrive in Penitentes, we organize our mule loads, then have dinner in the lodge-style hotel.
Days 4-6: After one night in Penitentes, we drive 15 minutes to Punta de Vacas (8,000 ft.), where we will begin our three-day, 30-mile trek into Plaza Argentina (13,800 ft.), which serves as Base Camp for our expedition. Mules will carry our gear so we can enjoy the trek without heavy loads. During our daily lunch stop, we’ll enjoy a picnic-style buffet, including sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared by the guides. On the approach, we’ll walk through green desert valleys dramatically enclosed between the mountains of the Andes. Sometimes we’ll see wildlife, such as condors or guanacos. During the first half of the approach, our objective will remain hidden by the nearby mountains. However, at the end of the second day, the stunning east face of Aconcagua will be dramatically revealed. On the final day of the trek to Base Camp, we’ll cross the Vacas River in the morning, then ascend up the Relinchos Valley, for a steeper and more challenging day of trekking. We’ll set up our camp and say goodbye to the mules and Arrieros that transported our gear.
Day 7: A rest day, limited to sorting our loads for the remainder of the climb. We’ll explore the local terrain to gain acclimatization to this higher altitude, and enjoy another day of plentiful meals while we relax in the comforts of Base Camp.
Day 8: We’ll carry supplies to Camp I and return to Base Camp for the night. Camp I is located behind an old glacial moraine at 15,500 ft. This camp is private and only Alpine Ascents uses it. Generally we’ll have lunch at this location while the guides cache our loads. We’ll “double carry” to keep pack weight down and to help ensure good acclimatization.
Day 9: We’ll move to Camp I, departing base camp after a hearty breakfast and taking our time on the ascent. We’ll climb for approximately one hour, rest for 15 to 20 minutes to rehydrate, refuel and tend to other climber needs. This allows for efficient climbing and helps us arrive Camp I with sufficient energy to build camp.
Day 10: We’ll carry to Camp II, located on a high pass known as Ameghino Col, at 17,700 ft. Sometimes we’ll use crampons (depending on snow level) to ascend the slopes below the Col. Often we encounter the “penitentes” â€” tall snow triangles that can reach 6-plus feet in the air â€” for which Aconcagua is famous..Ameghino Camp provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the upper route of the Polish Glacier. This is the saddle between Aconcagua and neighboring Ameghino peak.
Day 11: Rest day at Camp I. After the previous day’s carry to Ameghino Col, this is a well-deserved and much-appreciated rest day. This gives us further acclimatization time and rest before moving higher to sleep. Since we won’t be climbing or carrying on this day, we’ll enjoy creative and plentiful meals while in camp.
Day 12: We’ll carry and move to Camp II, ascending the same route as the prior carry, while feeling much stronger better acclimatized. We’ll arrive at Ameghino Col and set up our tents, then prepare our dinner and rest.
Day 13: We’ll carry to Camp III (19,200 ft.), located just below the Polish Glacier, then return to Camp II. This day involves ascending directly upward then traversing west to the base of the Polish Glacier. At camp, we’ll cache our loads and have a brief rest before descending back to Camp II for dinner.
Day 14: Move to Camp III. We’ll build camp, often constructing rock walls around our tents in case of high winds. From there, we’ll have a great view of the Polish Glacier, as well as our route to High Camp.
Day 15: Rest and acclimatization at Camp III. This will prepare us for our move to Camp IV (High Camp). We’ll soak up the views from Camp III and rest while enjoying more lengthy and creative meals. While contemplating our summit attempt (two days out) we’ll be closely monitoring the weather to plan for the best day available.
Day 16: Move to High Camp, aka Camp IV (20,600 ft.), located on the North Ridge. On the approach, we’ll enjoy magnificent views of the Polish Glacier. We’ll traverse west across the Polish Glacier and up the snow/scree slope leading to our Camp IV, which offers breathtaking scenes of many of the highest peaks of the Andes.
This is a single carry day in which pack weight may reach approximately 55 lbs. The weight depends on a number of factors including: weight of personal gear such as backpack; if extra days were used earlier in the trip consuming food and fuel; and temperature on the day of this carry (if all clothing is worn).
Day 17: Summit day begins at 5 a.m. After breakfast, we’ll generally leave camp at 7 a.m. and climb the North Ridge to Refugio Independencia at approximately 21,400 ft. From there, we’ll traverse the West Face and climb up into the Canaleta, an 800-foot couloir that leads to the summit ridge. Finally, the Guanaco Ridge poses an easy traverse to the summit. On the top, we’ll have a spectacular 360° view. All around, you will see the Andes Mountains consisting of several 20,000-foot peaks, including Mercedario, another of the highest peaks in South America. To the west lies Chile and the Pacific Ocean; to the east, the plains of Argentina. You’ll also be able to look directly down the 9,000-foot South Face of Aconcagua, which is considered one of the great faces of the world.
Day 18-19: These extra days are built in to provide the best possible conditions for each participant to summit, and can be used for acclimatization, rest, or as bad weather days. If not used, you’ll have two additional days to enjoy Mendoza, and the great restaurants and wine for which the city is famous.
Day 20: We’ll descend from High Camp to Plaza de Mulas (Base Camp on the west side of the mountain). This day involves a 6,000-foot descent into the Horcones Valley. Once at Base Camp, we’ll enjoy dinner while appreciating the new perspective from this side of the mountain, and watch the sun set on Aconcagua’s summit.
Day 21: We’ll trek out from Plaza de Mulas to the Horcones visitor center. This trek follows the Horcones River, and we’ll have several great vantage points to see the South Face of Aconcagua. We’ll arrive at Confluencia camp and enjoy a refreshing snack and lemonade, then finish the hike to the Horcones visitor center. Our outfitter will pick us up and take us a few minutes to Penitentes, where we’ll have our celebration dinner and hot hotel showers.
Day 22: We’ll return to Mendoza and our hotel, celebrate our time in the mountains and enjoy the wonders of Argentina. If climbers have extra days and want to tour the many wineries surrounding Mendoza, our guides can provide suggestions.
Day 23: Depart Mendoza.
Day 24: Arrive at your country of origin.
When considering what food to take on your climb the number one rule is: PACK THINGS YOU LOVE TO EAT. Altitude can curb your appetite so you want to have a variety things that you think are delicious. You never know what might be appetizing at that particular moment. There is no perfect food but the qualities of good mountain food include: light weight, high in calories/fat, doesn’t freeze/melt, is durable, and doesn’t have a lot of extra packaging. Here are a few of the must-haves:
1.) Cheese – string cheese or mini Babybel are two of my favorites. Some of the small spreadable brie or herbed cream cheeses are also nice on crackers.
2) Bars – while Luna bars are my personal favorite, I am also a fan of any bars with nuts or chocolate in them. Bars have a tendency to freeze at high altitudes so are better if you carry them inside a jacket on summit morning or eat them earlier in the climb. Many bars some in mini sizes which are great for putting in a hip pouch of your pack to eat while you are walking or at a quick break.
3) Electrolyte replacement – Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate, but on the mountain you sweat a lot. It is important to replace your fluids, but also your electrolytes. I like NUUN tablets or Gatorade powder. Even something like Emergency can also work. If feeling nauseous, I find that adding a little sugar to my drink can help.
4) Candy – gummy worms, gummy bears, gummy frogs! The quick sugar rush can be a great pick me up on the long summit day.
5) Crackers – I love Chex Mix, Cheese Its, Goldfish or Ritz with peanut butter in between them. Careful how you pack them though so you don’t end up with a bag of crumbs.
6) Fresh fruits and veggies – while not very good in the calories/weight department some fresh food will go a long way, especially for those 3+ day trips. Soon you will get tired of the monotony of crackers, bars and gorp so a few apple slices or baby carrots packets away will be a welcome treat.
7) Chocolate – another great sugar pick me up with more fat content than gummy treats. And, it handles freezing well. Make sure it melts in your mouth and not in your pack though.
8) Nuts/Peanut butter – salt is another great way to replace some electrolyte losses. Peanut butter can be pre-spread on bagels and crackers but doesn’t need to be refrigerated like some other spreads. Nuts are durable, great for quick snack breaks and loaded with fat and calories to keep you going.
9) Hot beverages – tea, instant coffee, cider and hot cocoa are all good options for an evening or early morning caffeine/sugar rush.
10) Dehydrated Meals – while expensive, Backpacker’s Pantry, Mountain House and other brands all make great dehydrated meals that are filling, usually tasty, and light weight for dinner-type meals. You can also consider a ramen noodle, instant potato meal, or personally dehydrate a meal to save the wallet.
Climbing a mountain with a close friend, partner or family member can be an incredibly meaningful experience. To be able to share a summit with someone you know will be something you will never forget. Whether it is a spouse, friend, co-worker or family member, here are a few tips to consider when deciding how to best climb with someone you know.
1) Don’t Share a Camera: Each of you should carry one so you have photos of both of you. If you do share a camera, trade-off carrying it so you get photos of both of you on your climb.
2) To Rope or Not To Rope: Sometimes you and your companion can work well together on a rope team, other times you do better off the mountain together. Before you decide to tie in a rope together consider your communication styles, fitness level and trust in one another. Sometimes your best rope partner is a stranger. If you and your companion have successfully gone on many training hikes together and are of similar pace then there is a good chance you will work well on a rope team together.
3) Have a Summit Plan: What if one person has to turn back? What if one person gets sick? 14,000 ft in 50 mph winds is not the time and the place to have that conversation, decide before you go. Be honest about your own abilities, desires and strengths and that of your companion to determine the best plan if you think there is a chance you both won’t make the summit.
4) Sharing Gear: One benefit of going with a partner is sometimes you can get away with sharing gear on the mountain. Collaborate with your partner to see if you could get away with just carrying one utility tool (knife/scissors), share a stick of deodorant (ew!?!), a magazine to read, only bring one extra set of shoe laces between you, etc. Cutting even a small amount of weight from your pack can help make your summit chances even better.
5) Be Kind and Patient: The mountains can bring out the best and the worst in people. Going on a little bit of sleep, being physically exhausted, scared or hungry can make people grumpier than they are at sea-level. Try to treat your companion as if they were any other stranger on the climb, don’t take out the little stuff on him/her.
6) Put Yourself First: Safety is of utmost importance on a climb. Just like on an airplane where you “put on your own air mask before assisting someone else” be sure to do the same on a climb. While it is our instinct to help our friends out, be sure you have eaten enough before you give away your last granola bar. Before you offer up your warm jacket, be sure you have enough layers on.
7) Support Your Dreams: Just because you are sisters, spouses or best friends doesn’t mean you have the same motivations for climbing. Be aware that your companion may be perfectly happy with stopping half way. Your companion may only want to climb to make the summit. Your companion may just want to climb so they can raise funds for The Hutch. Your companion might just enjoy eating instant oatmeal at 10,000 ft. Honor the desires and motivations for your companion and don’t expect them to want the same things out of the experience that you do.
8) Fundraise Together: There can be power in numbers when it comes to fundraising for a climb. If you plan a fundraising event or send out emails to friends and family be sure to include the buddy you are climbing with. Some of your donors may end up donating to both of you and visa versa. In the end, it can mean more funds raised for research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Sara Bareilles latest song “Brave” is a song about being just that: Brave. The lyrics indicate the difficulties people may have on a day-to-day basis. A lack of confidence yields “the shadow wins” and one dives back into the safe world of being in a cage…where no one…or nothing…can hurt you.
Imagine you’ve just been told you have breast cancer—that phrase just became a weapon and deeply wounded your soul. You’ve retreated to the cage, where it’s safe as the weapon is out to get you and you need to hide. “I wonder what would happen if……”
The researcher is staring down at the enemy. Dollars donated by many, many people are funding the research that will allow you—the patient–out of the cage of darkness. To a place where you can survive, where you can thrive, where you can show someone how big your brave is. “I wonder what would happen if….”
The climber, never climbed before, is staring up at the mountain. Might be easier just to retreat to the cage; simply bow down to the mighty mountain. “I wonder what would happen if….”
If you showed your brave. You went out of your comfort zone. You put yourself to the test, never fund-raised before, never climbed before, never set foot on a glacier before. The challenge is ahead of you, you can do it, many have done it before you, why can’t you do it? “Honestly, I wanna see you be brave….”
Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Show us your brave.
Climb a Mountain, Save a Life
Christine hails from Denver, CO and works at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. She climbed in honor of her patients, and to fund forward-thinking, pioneering, creative research that leads to life-saving discoveries.
Her journey began in her home state, where she prepared for her expedition by raising money, reviewing a detailed gear list, collecting supplies and making travel arrangements. She then traveled more than 8,900 miles to begin a trek that traversed through five ecosystems. It’s dramatic terrain, framed by one of the world’s most imposing mountains.
Mt. Kilimanjaro crowns the Tanzanian landscape at 19,340 ft. Christine was professionally guided by experts at Alpine Ascents International. Alpine Ascents takes the less-traveled Machame Route to the peak’s summit. Christine gained elevation over many days while acclimatizing to increasing altitude, experiencing a new culture, and enjoying the company of the porters and guides who support Climb to Fight Breast Cancer teams.
After her amazing summit, Christine and her teammates enjoyed a safari in some of the African continent’s greatest game parks.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is the first international peak the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer added to a domestic peak itinerary ten years ago.
A group of stellar volunteers took part in our first Tanzanian adventure, and many more have followed. Kilimanjaro is one of the “seven summits” and is incredibly popular with CLIMB participants all over the United States. Many describe their time on this trip as life changing.
Private Support like the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer allows Fred Hutch to fund new ideas and innovations as they emerge—accelerating our ability to prevent, detect and treat cancer and related disease.
Congratulations, Christine. Thank you for embarking on this incredible journey!