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Registration for 2018 is OPEN!

September 26, 2017

If you register early, you have first choice of our many climb dates! Visit us at http://www.fredhutch.org/climb ~ Climb dates for 2018 are LIVE!

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Beautiful memory captured by Rainier climber Helen Wang

Check out KOMO 4 today for stories on CLIMB by Denise Whitaker!

September 22, 2017

Mt. Rainier Amazes

September 12, 2017
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Sunrise on Mt Rainier. Photo by Helen Wang.

Congratulations to our Climb to Fight teams on their recent summits of Mount Rainier! THREE Mount Rainier teams made their way to Washington’s highest point this year. Rainier remains the most coveted mountain summit in the lower 48 and one of the most revered mountains to climb in the world.

Those who reside in Washington state are graced almost daily with one of America’s dominant landmarks. Once you’ve stood atop it, you actually feel closer to its majestic presence.

About 10,000 people try climbing Mt Rainier annually and about 50% make it.  Being a member of the Climb to Fight Cancer increases your odds of attaining your personal summit. A summit is as individual and diverse as each climber. To some, it means nothing short of standing on top of a mountain. To another, it could mean joining a team, climbing to base camp, climbing to high camp or helping a climber attain a fundraising goal.

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Summit! Photo courtesy of Paulson Paulrajan.

This year’s teams included a team of Fred Hutch employees, three Bellevue Christian High School seniors, and adventurous, passionate people across the country, stretching from Washington to Florida.

Team member Sarah Barger, of the Hutch’s HICOR group, called the climb “a challenging yet humbling experience that required significant physical and mental strength but imparted so much gratitude, awe and inspiration.”

Through her work, Sarah said she’s come to recognize the “metaphorical mountain” that many cancer patients are forced to climb. “Their stories and experiences have shown me how critical and powerful it is to listen to, support and advocate for our cancer patients,” she said. “And Mount Rainier, with its mercurial weather and dangerous crevasses, reminded us all of our vulnerability and the fragility of life.”

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Recent high school grads on the summit. Photo courtesy of Kevin Smith, Nathan Aguirre & Noah Kreyenhagen.

Whatever mountain you are climbing, be it metaphorical or physical, we want you as an adventurer on our team. Every summer since 1997, ordinary people have done the extraordinary – standing on top of the world’s tallest peaks – all to fund cures for cancer. Over the 20-year history of the Climb to Fight Cancer, more than 1,000 climbers have raised over $8.3 million for research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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One Billion Star Hotel. Mt. Rainier at night. Photo by Helen Wang.

Mt. Baker Summits

August 23, 2017

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Mt. Baker is the eye-catching snow-crowned volcano on Northern Washington state’s landscape. The flat football field-like summit resembles something out of a Hollywood movie set. At 10,781 ft, the summit offers views of the San Juan islands, the Picket Mountain range, the North Cascades and into Canada.

Last month two teams of Climb to Fight Cancer adventurers climbed to Mt. Baker’s summit via two separate routes in one day. One team ascended the pristine Easton Glacier route and another ascended the lesser traveled Squak Glacier route. The teams included individuals from varied backgrounds and one full team was from AT&T, captained by Climb to Fight Cancer long time committee member David Kendall. Tiffany Locker, a trained dancer turned mountaineer summited a Climb to Fight Cancer peak for the fourth time! Two Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center employees and another long time committee member rounded out this group of extraordinary individuals.

Climbing Mt. Baker is a full wilderness experience. Climbers carry their food, clothing, tents and share the weight of the group gear. Backpacks can weight 50 pounds. Expertly guided by Alpine Ascents International, guides teach Leave No Trace mountain ethics and point out landmarks and natural features along the route. Most guides welcome any chance to climb in the North Cascades and are as excited as Climb to Fight climbers to traverse this unique mountain.

Summit day dawned with beautiful weather, clear skies and safe passage up the heavily glaciated peak to the summit register on top! Months of training, fundraising and planning came together as both the Easton and Squak route teams summited.

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Adventurer Tiffany Locker taking in one of many Mt. Baker views.

Climbing Mt. Baker is exhilarating and a must-do for anyone wanting to climb their first mountain or sharpen their snow travel skills. It has glaciated peaks, limitless views, a full range of weather and truly beautiful camp sites. Whether it is your first mountain, or one of many, it’s a great place to spend a weekend.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Fred Hutch’s Climb to Fight Cancer – that’s two decades of climbing and fundraising that has been integral in allowing scientists to develop new methods to prevent, diagnose and successfully treat cancer. In those 20 years, the Climb to Fight Cancer has raised and incredible $8+ million to support the innovative research happening at Fred Hutch. Each year brings us closer to the ultimate peak: curing cancer, and we could not do this work without the unparalleled enthusiasm and commitment of each of our climbers.  Please consider joining us in 2018. Registration is open today at http://www.fredhutch.org/climb ~ Climb a Mountain. Save a Life.

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Summit for Rainier 2 team!

August 18, 2017

Recent Bellevue Christian School graduates Kevin Smith, Noah Kreyenhagen and Nathan Aguirre summited Mt. Rainier on August 6, raising over $15,000 for life-saving research at Fred Hutch.  Photos by Kevin Smith.

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Our first Mt. Rainier team of the 20th Anniversary Season SUMMITS!

July 18, 2017

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Mt Shasta ~ Third Time will be a Charm

July 17, 2017
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Mt. Shasta started for me six years ago as my first ever mountain and first mountain with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Care Center. I chose carefully. This climbing business was brand new to me, I didn’t know any climbers (or for that matter many hikers!) and I wanted to choose something that I thought was within reach for me skills wise. Though topping out at just over 14,000 ft., Shasta is an excellent mountain for a novice climber. I learned in my research that ‘hard’ didn’t really have to do with just elevation gain, rather it’s a full spectrum of variables that one must consider. 
 
Shasta’s Avalanche Gulch route was a challenge and though I was recovering from bronchitis, I persevered. I met some fabulous people along the way including a Hutch Climb legend, Lynn Lippert. She said, “You’re with us, kid.” I learned a lot of tips and tricks from her on that trip. Shasta is a sassy minx of a mountain and creates her own microclimate. Gusts up to 70 mph took out our summit day and we returned to town to feast at the Brown Bear Diner. I knew I had to come back. 
 
Six years later, I returned having climbed a few more Fred Hutch mountains and with several Fred Hutch friends to take on the West Face route. We started our trip in Medford where some silly rental agency thought it was a good idea to give ME a full size Dodge RAM 1500 instead of a Nissan Sentra. Yee haw! Little did they know how much I love trucks and mud! Off-roading dreams aside, we arrived at our favorite hotel and met the team for a culinary feast at Yak on the 5. The owner was excited that some of us had clearly stalked and salivated over the menu (ok, namely me!) and brought us many delicious items to try including their famous cinnamon rolls. Holy smokes, we died and went to heaven!
 
The next day we fueled up at Black Bear Diner and met  our fantastic guides from Shasta Mountain Guides and off we went to Bunny Flats Trailhead at about 6,900 ft. We headed northwest, up through Horse Camp for a water stop and then across several snow fields to our camp at 9,200 ft. To say it was windy was an understatement! In fact, we lost one tent that had been stowed for us! We set-up camp and secured each tent with huge rocks to ensure we didn’t lose our own tents. We did a quick training to brush up on basic mountaineering skills including self arrest and glissading technique. Dinner was delicious and we headed to our tents to sleep in hopes of an alpine start around 2am for the summit. The howling wind kept many of us up despite ear plugs and our guides swung by at 2 am to let us know that gusts at summit were up to 115 mph. The summit was a no go. Despite being inside our tent and sleeping with my buff over my eyes, a fine powdered sugaring of dust covered each of us … a testament to the wind howling around us. The guides said to go back to sleep and perhaps we would have a new plan at 6 am. With a few more hours under our belt, we decided to make for neighboring peak Shastina’s summit. We donned crampons and harnesses and off we went! 
 
20045737_10155664665137922_8681558826226359930_oMt. Shastina was a fantastic climb. The wind was high at 60 mph and we were all excited to glissade down the mountain. It’s so funny how quickly you descend all the feet you carefully labor up! As we descended, I reflected on how much I had learned in six years and how much more confident I felt. We arrived at camp, rested and relaxed, ate dinner and went easily to sleep. With the morning came a new sound … quiet. The wind had finally died down, but it was our day to return back to reality. So, we packed up camp and quickly descended to the trailhead. We ate a huge, delicious meal at the local bistro and parted ways with the team. We had some time to kill, so we decided it was only appropriate to take our truck to Lake Shastina for a quick dip since we were kind of smelly. We emerged looking like climbing swamp beasts and meandered our way back to Medford for milkshakes and a flight home. 
 
So, back to Mt. Shasta – I must go for round three as this mountain and I have unfinished business. In the meantime, I’m fortunate for my friendships with fellow climbers, the laughs and adventures we share and the knowledge that our work raised over $30,000 for cancer research at Fred Hutch and that is ultimately why we do what we do – the summit is just the cherry on top. Climb a Mountain. Save a Life.
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~ by Kris Rietmann.  See more of Kris’s story here.  Kris works as a communications professional helping people every day.  She has also climbed Mts Hood, Baker and Adams to benefit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. 
~ All images by Michelle Miller.