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Mt. Hood kicks off 20 years of Climb to Fight!

June 30, 2017

IMG_0281You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. ~ Benjamin Mee

The Climb to Fight Cancer has been ascending the world’s most beautiful peaks for 20 seasons. That is 20 seasons of life-saving dollars raised for Fred Hutch, 20 seasons of unique landscapes, 20 seasons of generous donors and 20 seasons of the most kind-hearted, dedicated and resilient people you will meet in any walk of life.

Even in poor weather and challenging conditions, it is easy to feel blessed when surrounded by goodness. The Mount Hood team kicked off the 20th anniversary year of the Climb to Fight Cancer. This team included search and rescue volunteers, a sheriff, a pediatrician, non-profit professionals (representing more than one non-profit) and those on their first mountain adventure. It takes a strong mind to pick climbing Mt. Hood as the second time in your life you are ever seeing snow. Our guides join us in climbing for their loved ones.

The Mt. Hood team arrived at Timberline Lodge (6,000 ft) in a wind tunnel with blowing, sideways snow and several inches of snow falling. The team encountered windburn and pounding sleet during Saturday’s snow school. Following snow school, a snowcat transported everyone to historic Silcox Hut (7,000 ft) for an evening of catered food (thanks Steve!), a roaring fire and exceptional company. Everyone was lights out by 8 pm with a midnight wake up.

All members of the team were climbing by 2 am (two separate teams departing one hour apart). Ascending Mt. Hood in fresh snow was a new experience for even those who had climbed Mt. Hood before. It was windless, star-filled, heart-stopping cold – and yet there is nowhere else anyone would want to be. Everyone worked pretty hard to stay warm with dance moves and brisk steps!

After cresting the Hogsback (10,600 ft), it was apparent to our professional mountain guides that the snow conditions on the upper mountain were avalanche prone. While there is certainly disappointment when a team is unable to safely summit, it was truly the most beautiful sunrise we had ever seen. The clouds and colors were other-worldly. We were content knowing Timberline Mountain guides did everything they could to get us to the summit and that the mountain wasn’t opening her gates that morning. While those afflicted with cancer or suffering from disease have peaks and valleys in their treatments without their futures guaranteed, no mountain summit is ever guaranteed.

We will be back to Mt. Hood next year to climb for our family members, colleagues and those in generations behind us.

Thank you to everyone who donated life-saving dollars, adventurers who never stop pushing forward, Timberline Mountain Guides and all who keep our teams in your hearts.


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