The Mt. Hood Climb to Fight Breast Cancer is always an experience to cherish – particularly this weekend.
Five breast cancer survivors were among our 18 climbers raising money, awareness, and appreciation for the groundbreaking research occurring every day within the walls of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Mt. Hood has marked the kick-off of the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer season for many years. It’s where the Hutch celebrates recovery, honors loved ones, mourns friends and overcomes exhausting challenges.
Tricia Otto recounted her personal roller coaster living through diagnosis and recovery. Eighteen months after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, she stood on the summit of her state’s largest landmark greeting the sunrise last Sunday morning, and dedicating the climb to her 6-year old daughter, Ariel.
“When I was first diagnosed, I thought, how can this be happening to me? It has been an eye-opening journey and I thank God for my early detection, all the wonderful doctors involved in my care, and the continued research in my life.”
Barb Slack, 12 year survivor and mom to a preteen daughter, said “I support breast cancer research with my boots or my bucks. This year it’s my boots.”
Three-time breast cancer survivor Lynn Lippert, the inspiration behind the Mt. Hood Survivor Climb says, “Everything is easy after chemo.” Lynn and her partner of 30 years, Sal Jepson, matched the donations of her friends and family to create a named endowment at the Hutch.
Scott Smiles started climbing to fund a cure after his thirteen year old niece lost her mother to breast cancer. He climbs so other young girls don’t have to experience such a devastating loss.
Third grade teacher and first time climber Alaura Keith, the mother of two teenage boys, was diagnosed at age 37 with triple
negative breast cancer. She kept teaching through her year of chemo, radiation and surgery. Her elementary school supported her fundraising efforts and was featured recently on KOMO 4 television. Alaura tearfully recounted that she decided to climb a mountain to help raise money for research. “I can do that through fundraising and I can give that to Fred Hutch so they can figure this all out,” she said. “I pray that that money does that.”
This summer marks the five year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis.
One mountain. Many milestones.
Climb a Mountain. Save a Life.
Mt Adams Charity Expedition Logistics
Elevation: 12,276 feet
Guide Service: Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)
Minimum Fundraising Total: $3,000.00
Take your skills a step higher on majestic Mt Adams. Situated in the eastern Cascade Range, Mt Adams is the second-most massive and the third-tallest volcano in the Cascade Range. Its eruptive volume is about 48 cubic miles, and only Mt Shasta is larger in volume in the Cascades. The team will embark to set up camp at 8,000 feet, beholding breathtaking views in every direction. During the climb, PP&R will provide instruction as needed to ensure that the team is physically prepared and properly outfitted to summit Mt Adams.
Climbing skill level:
This climb is open to any physically fit enthusiastic novice, beginner or advanced beginner. One day of training is included in the climb. Prior experience with backpacking is helpful.
50 pound pack In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Climbers must be able to carry an average of 50 pounds or more. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and team safety. We encourage you to contact PP&R so that they can assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs.
Mt Adams Climb Itinerary
Day 1 Friday:
8 a.m. meeting at the Trout Lake, Washington, Ranger Station (directions listed below). Be ready to go at 8 a.m. with all of your gear in one pack. Some cars will be left in Trout Lake. A nominal parking fee (per car) will need to be paid to Yakama Nation. Note: This is the only outside fee you will need to pay.There will not be an official gear check. Please refer to the attached Mt Adams gear sheets for everything you will need. The group will have to share the labor of carrying the group items so save room in your pack. You will hike up to base camp, where you will set up camp for the night.
Day 2 Saturday:
Snow School and acclimatization. You will all turn in early to your sleeping bags.
Day 3 Sunday:
Summit day. Rise early. After a climb up the Mazama Glacier to reach the summit, you will return to base camp, pack up your overnight gear and hike down to the trail head. The expedition will be complete by late afternoon on Sunday.
Transportation is not provided. Climbers will need to provide their own transportation to the trail head.
PP&R will provide dinners and breakfasts. You need to bring your own lunches and snacks.
Driving Directions to Mt Adams
From Portland vicinity: Drive I-84 to Hood River. Take the exit for White Salmon, Hwy. 35 (Government Camp). Cross toll bridge to WA. Rte. 14. Go left 1.5 miles, turn right on Rte. 141-A (alternate). Meet Rte.141 in several miles. Continue to Trout Lake. Just before town, take the left at a “Y” (note café and gas station in the “Y”). Drive about ½ mile to the Mt Adams ranger station on the left.Mt Adams Ranger District, 2455 Hwy 141, Trout Lake, WA 98650
If you’d like to stay before or after the climb in the Mt Adams area, the Trout Lake Valley Inn is just two miles south of the Ranger Station. You can make reservations by calling 509-395-2300.
For other options visit: http://www.gonorthwest.com/Washington/cascades/Trout_Lake/Trout_Lake.htm
Mt Adams Climb Gear
- Base Layer: Lightweight long underwear. Light colors and zip necks help with ventilation (Suggested brand, Patagonia capilene)
- Insulating Layer: Expedition-weight long underwear, synthetic sweater, soft-shell jacket. (1-2 layers in this category are recommended depending on personal preference and weather conditions)
- Shell Layer: Waterproof (Gore Tex) shell with hood large enough to fit over your helmet.
- Insulating jacket: Warm down or synthetic parka. (One with a hood is recommended)
- Gloves Liner Gloves (2 pairs can make the trip more comfortable) and Insulating Gloves – Wind and waterproof
- Climbing Helmet (suggested brands Black Diamond, Petzel) This can be rented at local mountaineering shops like REI.
- Hat: Warm hat, thin enough to fit under your climbing helmet. Wool or synthetic materials are recommended. (Hat with a fleece band on the inside won’t make your head itch)
- Sunglasses: Wrap around glasses with UV protection
- Ski Goggles
- Base Layer: Lightweight long underwear. (Suggested brand Patagonia capeline)
- Insulating Layer: Expedition weight long underwear, fleece or softshell pants.
- Shell Layer: Waterproof (Gore Tex) shell (with full side zippered legs are more flexible for putting on and taking off over boots)
- Socks 2 pair of thicker wool socks (ex: Smartwool Mountaineering) and 2 pair liner socks
- Mountaineering Boots: Double plastic are the recommended boots for this trip. Full leather boots that accommodate crampons will work. Check with guides if you have questions about your boots. These can be rented at local mountaineering shops like REI.
- Gaiters: Knee-length gaiters that cover your mountaineering boots (Suggested brand Black Diamond)
- Crampons: mountaineering crampons are recommended and should be compatible with mountaineering boots. (ex: Grivel G-10) These can be rented at mountaineering shops like REI.
- Ice Axe: A general mountaineering axe between 60 – 80 cm (length is based upon your height) with a wrist loop. This can be rented at local mountaineering shops like REI.
- Water Bottles: Two 1 liter bottles (The tubes in Camelbak or other type of water bladders will often freeze on Mt. Hood and are not recommended.)
- Trekking Poles: Adjustable is better than fixed length.
- Headlamp: With extra batteries.
- Backpack: An overnight pack should also be used for the climb itself – no need for two. Pack size will vary with the size of your sleeping bag, but one that is between 3,000-4,000 cubic inches. External frame packs are not recommended.
- Balaclava or Bandana
- Sunscreen: SPF 15 is the minimum recommended. Chap Stick with SPF is also recommended.
- Baseball style cap
- Garbage bags: Use these to line your pack; it will help keep your gear dry (Trash compactor bags work the best as they are made from heavier material)
- Sleeping bag: Down or synthetic, comfort-rated to 10 degrees or better. Down is lighter and more compact than synthetics.
- Sleeping pad: Closed-cell foam or inflatable, full or ¾ length. Pad must be waterproof. No spongy or “open-cell” foam.
- Cup/bowl/spoon: Something simple to eat out of. A cheap plastic bowl plus lightweight insulated cup allows the luxury of hot food and drink at the same time.
- Synthetic shorts and a wicking T-shirt that will be comfortable for the hiking portion of the trip.
Overnight mountaineering trips allow us to get further into the backcountry, and for this we need a little more equipment than for a day climb. Keeping the weight of our packs as low as reasonably possible is a main consideration. Please keep in mind that when we spend the night on the mountain for a climb, it will be more of a brief stopover than an elaborate base camp. Backpackers commonly carry a variety of luxurious extras, extra weight that climbers cannot afford. As climbers, we must carry rope, ice axes, harnesses, crampons and helmets -things the backpacker doesn’t need. Keeping your pack as light as possible can dramatically increase your enjoyment of both the hike in and the climb itself.
In some cases climbing routes and descent routes are not the same, and small packs will allow us to descend the mountain by the easiest, safest route without the need to return to a camp. To these ends, please try to avoid packing cumbersome, heavy or unnecessary items. Portland Parks & Recreation will provide all tents, stoves, pots, and other group gear, however the group will have to share the labor of packing them in and out.
Volcanoes of Mexico Charity Expedition Logistics
Elevation: 18,850 feet and 17,343 feet
Guide Service: Alpine Ascents International (AAI)
Minimum Fundraising Total: $7,500.00
In the heart of Mexico, about 800 miles south of the United States border, rise the third and seventh highest mountains in North America. El Pico de Orizaba (also known as Chitlalcotepetl, 18,850’) and Iztaccihuatl (“Izta,” 17,343’) rise impressively above the central plateau. These two ascents are by far the most attractive climbs in Mexico.
The Legend of Popo and Izta
This traditional story is well known throughout the Puebla regions and is quite famous throughout all of Mexico. As the legend goes, while Popo, the Smoking Warrior, was at war, the emperor’s beautiful daughter, Izta, died of heartache. When he returned and learned of her death, he built two mountains. On one he laid her body, and on the other he stood holding a funeral torch. Some days it still appears as if Izta is stretched on her back while the steam of Popo watches over her. And given its recent activity, many are reluctant to forego the romantic imagery of this great “Smoking Mountain.”
Climbing skill level
Climbers should have successfully completed an AAI training course or have had a strong performance on an equivalent climb. They may also join based on approval by AAI. They must have basic knowledge of progression on snow and ice, self-arrest, crevasse rescue and glacier travel. Snow and ice slopes are moderate (up to 45 degrees).
In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Prior experience carrying a heavy pack for multiple days serves as excellent preparation for this climb. Climbers must be able to carry an average of 50 pounds or more and be physically and mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations at high altitudes. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and team integrity. We encourage you to contact us so that we may assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs.
Volcanoes of Mexico Itinerary
Day 1: Flight to Mexico City, early afternoon arrival (not evening). After arrival we spend the evening visiting Mexico City’s Central Square, which includes the Metropolitan Cathedral and various federal buildings. We have a nice dinner near the square and spend the night in Mexico City, where we prepare for our first climb. We also have a thorough equipment check and orientation, including discussion of Leave No Trace practices.
Day 2: We travel by 4×4 to the small town of Amecameca (8,200 feet). Situated in the highlands, Amecameca rests at the base of Volcanoes National Park along the foothills of the mountains. We have lunch and spend part of the afternoon enjoying this beautiful traditional Puebla town. The people in this region are known for their warmth and hospitality. The marketplace is filled with foods and spices indigenous to the area, while the surrounding countryside is covered by rich vegetation. After final preparations we drive to La Joya (12,200 feet), our base camp for our first objective, Iztaccihuatl (Sleeping Lady), and overnight in a hut or tents during this first phase of acclimatization.
Day 3: We actively begin our acclimatization today by climbing to the Las Cruces hut on the normal route at just over 14,000 feet and then returning to spend the night once again at La Joya. We spend the rest of the day relaxing and prepare to move to our high camp.
Day 4: We break camp, load our packs, and slowly climb above 15,000 feet, where we establish a high camp and prepare for our summit bid and early morning summit departure.
Day 5: We depart for the summit of Iztaccihuatl in the pre-dawn hours via the Ayaloco Glacier. On clear mornings, the sunrise has proved to be exquisite and finds us climbing high on the mountain. We don crampons and carry ice axes for the upper regions of the volcano where we encounter an easy rock ridge, navigate across ice cliffs and finally traverse into a couloir just before our final push to the summit. Viewing the terrain, it is easy to visualize the geologic cataclysms that created these giant mountains and look across to Popo keeping watch over the sleeping lady. By late afternoon, we return to La Joya and drive to Puebla for much-deserved rest, showers, and a good night’s sleep.
Day 6: Rest in Puebla. Explore the colonial town.
Day 7: Our second objective is Mexico’s highest mountain, known as Citlalcotepetl or El Pico de Orizaba. (Mountain of the Star) At 18,850 feet, it stands almost 1,000 feet higher than legendary Popo. We head to Tlachichuca, where we load our gear into 4x4s for the drive to our base camp at Piedra Grande (14,000 feet) on the lower slopes of Orizaba, where we spend the night.
Day 8: We pack up our camp and move to 16,000 feet, furthering our acclimatization and putting us in a better position for a successful summit attempt. We set high camp and prepare ourselves for an early morning departure for the summit. We spend the rest of the day relaxing and preparing for tomorrow’s climb.
Day 9: Our ascent of Orizaba is similar to Izta. We begin before dawn to take advantage of optimal snow conditions and provide ample time to complete the climb before dark. En route we climb through a rock ravine, make a moderate roped ascent and traverse a series of crevasses. On the final stretch we maneuver the ridge along the crater’s edge. From the summit, we scan the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the central plateau to the west. We descend and drive to the town of Puebla for the night.
Day 10: Fly home.
Volcanoes of Mexico Climb Gear List
For a current list of required gear, please visit http://www.alpineascents.com/mexico-g.asp.
1. Avoid becoming overweight. Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer after menopause, the time of life when breast cancer most often occurs. Avoid gaining weight over time, and try to maintain a body-mass index under 25 (calculators can be found online).
2. Eat healthy to avoid tipping the scale. Embrace a diet high in vegetables and fruit and low in sugared drinks, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods. Eat lean protein such as fish or chicken breast and eat red meat in moderation, if at all. Eat whole grains. Choose vegetable oils over animal fats.
3. Keep physically active. Research suggests that increased physical activity, even when begun later in life, reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. All it takes is moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk five days a week to get this protective effect.
4. Drink little or no alcohol. Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Women should limit intake to no more than one drink per day, regardless of the type of alcohol.
5. Avoid hormone replacement therapy. Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, avoid those that contain progesterone and limit their use to less than three years. “Bioidentical hormones” and hormonal creams and gels are no safer than prescription hormones and should also be avoided.
6. Consider taking an estrogen-blocking drug. Women with a family history of breast cancer or who are over age 60 should talk to their doctor about the pros and cons of estrogen-blocking drugs such as tamoxifen and raloxifene.
7. Consider taking the aromatase inhibitor exemestane. The results of a study released earlier this year showed that the drug exemestane reduced the risk of breast cancer by 65 percent in high-risk, postmenopausal women. Talk to your doctor about whether this may benefit you.
8. Don’t smoke. Research suggests that long-term smoking is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in some women.
9. Breast-feed your babies for as long as possible. Women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.
10. Get fit and support breast cancer research at the same time. Regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. Ascend some of the world’s most breathtaking peaks while raising vital funds for and awareness of breast cancer research by participating in the Hutchinson Center’s annual Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.
Mt Olympus Charity Expedition Logistics
Elevation: 7,962 feet
Guide Service: Alpine Ascents International (AAI)
Minimum Fundraising Total: $3,000.00
Mt Olympus is the highest peak of the Olympic Mountain Range in Washington State. For any Northwest climber, this peak is considered a rite of passage. For everyone this is an adventure through the beautiful and diverse terrain of Olympic National Park, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The team will embark along the Hoh River Trail through one of the few remaining temperate rainforests in the world, passing towering old growth trees and alpine lakes, and over glaciers on this five-day climb to the summit.
Climbing skill level
This climb is open to any physically fit, enthusiastic novice, beginner or advanced beginner. One day of training is included in the climb so team members can safely evaluate conditions and proceed with a successful summit attempt. Prior experience with backpacking is helpful.
Physical conditioning: 50-pound pack
In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Climbers must be able to carry an average of 50 pounds or more. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and team safety. We encourage you to contact AAI so that they can assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs.
Tents Equipment and Meals
Provided: All group climbing equipment: climbing ropes and technical hardware; meals and tents.
Not provided: Personal equipment. You are responsible for all items on the gear list.
Note: If you are a beginning climber, we strongly advise renting as much gear as possible. Specialty outdoor equipment can be quite expensive. AAI and other local retailers provide quality rental equipment at reasonable prices. Other personal items are available through local outdoor stores.
Mt Olympus Climb Itinerary
Climbers are required to arrive in Seattle the afternoon before our trip begins. A mandatory gear check is performed on this day. A thorough gear check ensures everyone is fully equipped and prepared to depart the next morning. Rental gear is fitted and packed at this time.
Location: AAI Office, Seattle Duration: Approximately 2 hours
A guide and our gear manager will give you an overview of the climb, answer all your questions and make sure you have all the necessary equipment or rental gear.
What to bring: Please bring your pack fully loaded with all required items from the gear list.
Day 1: Depart Seattle in the early morning, and cross Puget Sound by ferry and drive on Hwy 101 past Crescent Lake to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. Drive to the Hoh River Ranger Station (600 feet) just past the town of Forks & begin the 17.4-mile approach hike. Hike nine miles along the Hoh River trail through old growth timber in this rainforest to the Olympus Guard Station camp. This camp is situated next to the river surrounded by forest and meadows.
Day 2: Continue hiking up the Hoh River valley and the forest turns to a temperate forest. At Elk Lake, the team will begin to gain elevation as the trail steepens to reach our camp for the evening at Glacier Meadows (4200’). Team will have a quick snow climbing school covering crampons, ice axe and rope travel before going to bed.
Day 3: Awake early and hike through the meadow and up the moraine for about an hour before descending the moraine onto the Blue Glacier. After roping up, cross the Blue Glacier and ascend to the top of “Snow Dome” (6600 feet), where there is a great view of the East, Middle, and West peaks of Olympus. After reaching the summit, the team will descend back to camp at Glacier Meadows and spend the night.
Day 4: A relaxing start to the day and an opportunity to look for and photograph the black bears that frequent the area around Glacier Meadows. Pack up camp and begin the hike down to the river valley to establish camp along the river.
Day 5: Hike the final distance along the river and through the old-growth forest, reach the trailhead in early afternoon, and then drive back to Seattle.
Mt Olympus Climb Gear List
- Ice Axe w/Leash. General mountaineering tool. Sizing is important: under 5’7” use a 60cm tool; 5’7”- 6’1” use a 65cm tool; over 6’1” use a 70cm tool. (Too short is preferable to too long). No rubberized grips-they are heavy and do not plunge well into the snow. Make sure that you have a leash that is designed for use on a glacier axe. Please no technical leashes designed for ice climbing-they are too short, heavy, and not versatile.
- Crampons. With flat rather than “cookie cutter” frame rails. Anti-balling plates are useful only in very specific snow conditions. A combination heel bail/toe strap is better than a heel and toe bail system.
- Alpine Climbing Harness. Harness should fit over all clothing, have gear loops, adjustable leg loops and be reasonably comfortable to hang suspended in. Make sure you can get into the harness without having to step through any part of it.
- Carabiners. 2 Locking.
- Climbing helmet. Must be adjustable to fit, with or without hat or balaclava on.
- Trekking poles. Snow baskets required. Collapsible three section preferred. Helpful for balance when carrying a heavy pack or if you have knee problems.
- Double plastic climbing boots. Good quality plastic shells with inner boots Avoid tight fit with heavy socks. Comfort is key in buying plastic boots. Spend a little extra time walking around in the store or take them home and wear them around your house to make sure the fit is right. A little big is always better than a little small.
- Gaiters. Please make sure your gaiters fit around the plastic boots without being to tight around the boot. No lightweight hiking gaiters.
- Wool or Synthetic Socks. 3 pair heavyweight wool or synthetic socks (wool is warmer) to be worn over the liner socks. When layering socks, check fit over feet and inside boots. It is very important to buy new socks regularly as they lose their cushioning over time. Socks with padded shins are especially nice with plastic boots.
- Liner Socks. 3 pair of smooth thin wool, nylon or Capilene to be worn next to the skin. This reduces the incidence of blisters and hot-spots and helps the outer sock last longer before needing to be changed. They should fit well with your heavyweight socks.
- Lightweight Long Underwear. 2 pair tops & bottoms, No Cotton. Lightweight and off white is more versatile. Zip-T-neck allows for better ventilation. May thru June – two long sleeve shirts. July thru Sept – one long sleeve and one short sleeve. Recommend one light weight and one medium weight bottoms for variable conditions.
- Heavyweight Long Underwear top. For extra warmth.
- Soft Shell Jacket. We highly recommend full zip as it is easier to put on and ventilate than pullovers.
- Soft Shell Pants. You will most likely wear these everyday during the course as they are very versatile and durable.
- Hard Shell Jacket w/ hood. We recommend a waterproof breathable shell material with full front zipper, uderarm zips, and no insulation. This outer layer protects against wind and rain.
- Hard Shell Pants. Waterproof, breatheable. Full length side zippers preferred because it allows easy removal of pants, 7/8th zippers allowed but is more difficult to remove pants, no short lower leg zippers allowed.
- Synthetic shorts. (Optional) Can be worn during approach hike in July and August.
- Insulated Hooded Synthetic Jacket. Needs to fit over all other layers. Worn during breaks or climbing in cold weather used throughout the season.
- Insulated Synthetic Pants. (Optional for July and August Courses) Full separating side zippers (This is very important for ventilation. Full side zips
also allow pants to be taken off without having to remove boots). Fleece pants are also acceptable.
- Lightweight synthetic/wool hat. Both the hat and the balaclava should be able to fit under the helmet. Hat should cover ears.
- Balaclava. Look for a simple lightweight model.
- Baseball cap/sun hat. One with a good visor to shade the nose and eyes. Synthetic is nice as it dries quickly.
- Glacier glasses (w/ side covers or wrap around). Regular sunglasses are usually not sufficient. 100% UV, IR, high quality optical lenses designed for mountain use, must have side covers, leashes, and a nose guard is particularly helpful. No more than 8% light transmission. If you wear contact lenses we recommend packing a spare pair of glasses—it is a good idea to have these with “photo-gray” or equivalent light-sensitive material so they can double as emergency sunglasses. If you wear glasses we recommend prescription glacier glasses (gray or amber).
- Bandana. Used to shade your neck.
- Lightweight Synthetic Liner Gloves. 1 Pair. To wear alone on very sunny days for hand protection or as a layering piece with your Shell mitts.
- Soft Shell Gloves. 1 Pair. This glove is usually worn alone and during times when the shell mitts would be too warm. This glove can have a light shell exterior.
- Shell Mitts w/ insulated removable liners. Waterproof, breathable shell material. We recommend that the insulation in your mitts can be removed in order to dry faster. Make sure that you can wear your Lightweight Synthetic Liner gloves inside the mitts. Shell gloves “ski gloves” can substitute for mitts during the later part of the climbing season.
- Expedition Backpack. Internal frame pack expandable to a minimum of 5,500-6,000 cu.in. Keep it simple and light, avoid unnecessary zippers, etc which add weight.
- Sleeping Bag. High quality with hood to at least 200 F. A 00 F bag for May courses. If you sleep cold bring a warmer bag. Goose down preferred over synthetic for bulk & weight. If well-cared-for, a down bag will last much longer than a synthetic bag. It should be roomy enough for comfortable sleeping but snug enough for efficient heat retention.
- Compression stuff sack. Necessary to reduce volume when packing a sleeping bag.
- Self Inflating pad. One 3/4 or full length pad. If you are over 6’ a long is recommended. Make sure to include a valve stem and patch repair kit.
- Closed-Cell foam pad. One full length closed cell is recommended.
- Tent. Good quality, 2 person, 4-season mountain tent. Make sure there are guy lines for body and fly. No 3-season tents. Include snow stakes.
- Cup: 12-16oz. plastic insulated mug with snap-on lid (retains heat well and is spill-resistant in the tent).
- Spoon: Good quality tough plastic (lexan). You do not need a plastic knife and fork.
- Bowl: Deep plastic with 2-3 cup capacity. Recommended: Tupperware 3 cup bowl.
- Cooking pot: 2qt. minimum, lightweight pot with tight fitting lid and handle. Aluminum or titanium are much lighter and easier to use than stainless steel. Make sure you include pot grabbers to hold your pot.
- Backpacking stove. Complete liquid fuel stove and repair kit. Make sure fuel pump is included. Gas canister stoves are not recommended as you have to supply your own fuel and they are much heavier and take longer to boil water.
- Fuel bottle (33oz.). Alpine Ascents will supply the fuel. We can supply the bottles at no cost due to expanded airline security measures.
- Headlamp (LED). Lightweight simple model. Bring an extra set of batteries.
- Small personal first-aid kit. (Simple and Light) Aspirin (Extra Strength Excedrin is best), Antibiotic ointment, Moleskin, molefoam, waterproof first-aid tape, athletic tape, Band-Aids, personal prescriptions, etc. The guides will have extensive first-aid kits, so leave anything extra behind. Please let your guide know about any medical issues before the climb.
- Sunscreen. SPF 30 or better, 2 small tubes. Make sure that the sun screen is not older than 6 months. Sunscreen older than six months loses half of its SPF rating.
- Lipscreen. SPF 30, at least 2 sticks. Not older than 6 months.
- Water Bottles: 2 to 3 Wide mouth bottles with minimum 1 Litre capacity per bottle. No water bag or bladder systems, they freeze or are hard to fill.
- Water Purification tablets. 1 bottle. Water filters are too heavy and clog quickly with silt.
- Toiletry bag. Include toilet paper (no more than one roll stored in plastic bag), alcohol hand sanitizer, toothbrush, small toothpaste. Do not include soap, shampoo, deodorant, or cosmetics.
- Insect repellent. Small bottle. Not necessary until July. Do not use repellant that is stronger than 25% DEET. Non-DEET alternative: Green Ban.
- Compass. With sighting mirror and declination adjuster.
- Knife or Multi-Tool. Medium sized. Keep the knife simple.
- Lighters (2). We recommend disposable, adjustable lighters, rather than matches, for lighting stoves. Make sure the lighter is new and full of fuel.
- Trash Compactor bags (3). To line stuff sacks to keep gear dry. Trash Compactor bags are made from a heavier plastic.
- Camera gear. Optional. We recommend a small instant or point and shoot cameras. Please do not bring large SLR cameras with extra lenses. For the best pictures bring slow speed film, 50, 100, or 200. Simple and light. Disposable and digital cameras also work well.
- Food for course. See enclosed menu planning guide. Your lunch bag should weigh as much as your dinner & breakfast bags combined.
- Large duffle bag w/ travel lock. Used for transporting your gear and for storage of extra gear at Alpine Ascents.
Repeat mountain climber Monica Stein sheds light on what helps her push beyond her comfort zone and be able to summit peaks she was sure she’d never reach. Monica also shares the many personal rewards that keep her returning to Climb to Fight Breast Cancer again and again.
Interviewer: So I understand you have quite a few stories from having summited five different peaks with Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. Would you please share some of the experiences that stand out most in your mind?
Monica: Right before I was about to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I had been raising money for breast cancer research. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and approximately a month before the trip, my dad passed away very unexpectedly. So my parents had been living in Las Vegas, and because it was so sudden, my mom needed a lot of help and support.
I actually moved in with her to kind of help her take care of things. So I really didn’t think I’d be able to make the climb. I had been sucked into trying to take care of the family, and not myself. But it ended up being a great opportunity for me to get away. So that trip was so symbolic in so many ways that it was for this great cause and it was time away for myself.
It’s About Connection
Monica: There were so many amazing people on that climb, and even though they weren’t all climbers. It made a huge difference that they all came through for me knowing what I had just been through with my own family. It was just pretty amazing for them to all rally behind me, and when I returned back to the states, they had helped me reach my fundraising goal because it meant a lot to them.
Interviewer: Sounds like there are relationships that you’re building out here, too.
Monica: Yeah, it’s amazing. Colin, who is helping organize a lot of the photography and the climb itself, we did Mount Rainier together, which was my first climb. Then John, over there, he climbed Mt. Baker with Julie and me. So there’s been a lot of wonderful people that I’ve met here and been reunited with again.
It’s Takes A Village…
Monica: So that was pretty amazing. Then about a year later, I had moved to New York which is not the easiest place to train for high mountains.
Interviewer: But you’ve got so many skyscrapers that you can run up and down there.
Monica: Well, yeah, I had lived on a fourth floor walkup at the time, so that was pretty good training. But I was climbing the Mexico Volcanoes and they’re pretty tough. They’re the third and fifth highest peaks in North America.
Most people don’t notice that there are high mountains in Mexico. I met three of the climbers that are here today, Julie, Paul, and Lynn. Lynn is actually a cancer survivor, as well. Again, it was just very symbolic of the challenge that someone goes through when they’re fighting any type of cancer. But on both peaks, especially the first one, I had gone pretty high up and was just not interested in summiting. It was just the high altitude. I felt like I was the most out-of-shape I’ve ever been.
If You Think You Can’t
Even though I hadn’t been able to train on mountains, everyone was very encouraging and eventually I made it to the top.Then we had a day of recovery in between so we could rest and recover. Julie and I were roommates and got to know each other really well.
So then we started on the next climb after a day of recovery and a massage. Lynn was not feeling very well and she ended up deciding not to climb. But, again, we went up and it was a smaller group of us. It just comes down to mind over matter.
Again, we got close to the peak when someone had a leg cramp and was going to stop there. I was actually hoping he would stop so that I could stay with him. Finally he said, “Come on. It’s just another couple hundred feet.” So we ended up summiting again to my surprise. It’s just very symbolic of the challenges that you face.
In retrospect, I’m so glad that I didn’t just give up because when I did come back to the states again, my aunt had been diagnosed with cancer. So it just felt great to have summited both mountains. It was for a great cause, and it helps to know that she’s a big supporter of mine and now she’s doing great and is fully recovered.
Making Up Your Mind
Interviewer: What would you say to anyone who’s on the fence about becoming a climber?
Monica: Are they also thinking about the fundraising element of it, or…?
Interviewer: Yes. But maybe they’re not sure about themselves and you want to give them some words of encouragement. How would you speak to these people to get them motivated to support this cause and this organization?
Monica: One of things that makes supporting the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer really easy is knowing that when I’m going to ask for money for a fundraiser, that the money actually goes towards breast cancer research and studies and treatment. I think increasing the awareness of breast cancer is really important and so is the fact that Fred Hutch is really coming up with some amazing cures for other illnesses.
So that’s encouraging for someone if they need to raise money. As far as the actual climbing goes, the best part is that every time I decide to do another climb, there’s a moment where I know I’m going to hate it and I’m going to tell myself never to do it again. The amazing thing is that I know I’ll be over it after I reach the top. Of course actually coming down is the worst part but you know that you’re going to forget that and that you’re going to want to sign up again. You know this why you’re doing it. It’s like mind over matter and that’s amazing to me.
Long-time mountaineer and Fred Hutch advocate John Prillaman talks about why he returns to the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer year after year. He also reveals his best advice about effective fundraising and how his own personal loss due to breast cancer brought him purpose and passion.
Interviewer: So how did you find the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer? How long ago was that and how did you get involved?
John: I live in North Carolina, and I started climbing 12 years ago with a good friend of mine from Washington. He pretty much came out every year to climb with me. When I was in Washington state in 2005, I saw on TV that some folks were climbing Mt. Adams to help fund breast cancer research.
I was really intrigued by that. So I kind of bookmarked that in the back of my mind, and the following year when I was trying to make some climbing plans, I just did a search on the internet for it, and came up with the Fred Hutch climb.
Mountain Climbing On Purpose
Interviewer: So you’ve been a mountain climber for a long time, but then you came across this organization, and you thought, “Hey, I like climbing mountains and this is a great cause. Why not join the campaign to save lives?”
John: Exactly. I was able to do something that I love for a cause that I’m very passionate about. Breast cancer has struck a number of folks in my family, and to be able to help the cause and help find a cure is a huge opportunity.
Interviewer: Would you please talk about just your experience with the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer organization?
John: This is a phenomenal organization. My contact Lisa has been incredibly supportive over the years. When I first got started with this, especially being on the other coast where nobody had heard of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, I was a little concerned about getting involved. She provided me with all sorts of resources to the perks of fundraising.
Savvy Fundraising Strategies
John: The first year, I went out and beat the goal considerably. I was pretty pumped up about that. And the folks with the climb have been incredibly supportive. There’s always a lead person that we have email access to and telephone access. So if there’s ever any question, they’ll get a quick answer for us. They help with fundraising, or the climb itself or gear. You name it.
Interviewer: It sounds like you do your own fundraising for the climb. What are some of the fundraising techniques that you use when you’re going into your own social circles and your own community to do promotion?
John: I’ve tried Facebook. That hasn’t been as successful the last couple of years. I’d gone to a high school reunion three years ago, and there was a lot of interest from a lot of my classmates who are on Facebook. I got a lot of contributions that way. It hasn’t been quite so successful since then. I do email blasts. I also mail physical flyers with self-addressed envelopes, which makes it real simple for people to just send a check. A lot of people appreciate that I make it easy for them.
Interviewer: Do you send those out to your friends and people you meet through work?
John: Friends, family, past contributors, and a lot of folks that have contributed every year.
Tips for First-Timers
Interviewer: So tell me about mountain climbing. If you were speaking to a new climber that’s just coming to Mt. Hood for the first time, what would information would you want to share with them?
John: Well, when I climbed Mt. Hood ten years ago, I was climbing with one friend of mine who was also experienced, and two novices who had never climbed before. It was just the four of us on our own. We slept in a tent up above the top of the Palmer, where the ski lift is. We got a bright and early start.
The only really technical section to climb is an area called the Pearly Gates, and there the summit is a little dicey. For a first-time climber, I would suggest doing it with the guide service for safety reasons. Two of us had climbed enough before that we felt comfortable bringing two novices on the mountain. But I wouldn’t recommend somebody without any kind of background attempting it on their own.
Interviewer: Yeah. That makes sense.
John: Portland Parks and Recreation, they’ve got great guides. Any gear that people don’t have, they’re able to rent locally, so you don’t have to go out and invest in all the gear to test out the waters. But I would encourage anybody that has an interest in the mountains, hiking or just being outdoors, to give it a try. Get a hold of the guide service and see what you think. If you love it, pursue it. If you don’t, hey, you gave it a try and it was a new experience for you.
The Right Mountain Climbing Equipment
Interviewer: If this is my first time climbing, what kind of equipment should I be using? What preferred brands are you using?
John: Most of my gear is made by Mountain Hardwear. I’ve been using their gear for 15 years because they’re very well-engineered products, and high quality construction. The pack I’m carrying, most of my fleece gear, my vortex shell, it’s all Mountain Hardwear.
It All Matters
Interviewer: A lot of this is support that comes from the community; people who might donate to a climber at a small amount, maybe just $10 or $20. How important are their donations to you?
John: They’re huge. Getting the people involved at the grassroots level, that’s what this is all about. It’s getting those individuals, family, friends, coworkers, and clients that make all the difference. As a matter of fact, over the years my clients have contributed at least 50% of what I’ve raised. Because they believe in me, they believe in what I’m doing.
Just get the word out there and ask people. And understand that some people are going to say they’ll donate but they never do. Don’t get too discouraged. But do let people know that every single donation helps no matter the size. It all makes a difference to the valuable research that’s going on at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Interviewer: Do you have a tie to cancer? Is there an emotional drive in this for you?
John: There is. I lost my mother to breast cancer in 1991 and several other members of my extended family have survived breast cancer. So it’s something I feel very, very strongly about.
Interviewer: I’m sorry for your loss.
John: Thank you.
Interviewer: Thank you for all of your support over many years of participating in the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.
John: I feel this is my way to really give back, and I think it’s something that my mom would be proud of. I certainly know that my family members have expressed their gratitude for my working towards the cure.