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July 9, 2018


By Michael Heathfield, Team Namaste

I’ve been home for two months from my Everest Base Camp Trek, my seventh and final fundraising climb for the Climb to Fight Cancer, benefiting Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

This Spring, Team Namaste, the team I created with my first Climb to Fight Cancer, included Jeff Fryer. I have known Jeff since the 1980s; he was my first “technical” climbing partner. img_2026


The entire trip was almost a month long.

We started the trek in Lukla, Nepal, hiking through the extraordinary Khumbu Valley to Everest Base Camp (17,600 ft) and back; a total of 77 miles round trip.  We conservatively gained and lost over 40,000 ft of elevation. Jeff and I summited a peak along the trek, Kala Pattar (18,300 ft). Five of our twelve team members made the early morning climb. It was Jeff’s altitude record and our last big adventure together.img_1890

Partway into this trek, I realized that once I set foot in the Khumbu Valley, I was not merely trekking. This was truly a pilgrimage. It was total immersion in Buddhism, big mountains, and the beautiful home of the kindhearted Sherpa people. I cannot fully explain the experience that I had. I encourage each of you to go yourself and fill in the blanks…The experience is life-enhancing.

Thank you all for your humbling generosity and your support of these fundraising climbs. As a single climber (Rainier, Hood, Denali) and with my Team Namaste (Shasta, Hood, Baker and Everest Base Camp Trek), together we have raised over $150,000 for breakthrough, life-saving cancer research at Fred Hutch.img_1976

Think about that $150,000 accomplishment for a minute or two.

Your donations really make a difference. Scientists at Fred Hutch count on private support to fund their pioneering, innovative research. You have saved lives.

I thank every climber I have had the privilege to participate with on these climbs; it has been such a pleasure getting to know them.

Also, I cannot thank Lisa Carlson and her staff at the Climb to Fight Cancer enough. She’s been guiding me since 2006 when I signed up for my first fundraiser, Mt. Rainier, in honor of my sister-in-law and friend, Verna.

For everyone who has, or has had, friends and family battling cancer, my heart is still with you in this fight.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to Lora and Hunter (Heathfield) for all the support, not only of these fundraising climbs, but also for allowing me to pursue the climbing life.

Namaste…live, life, peace and love.

Michael Heathfield


Editors Note: Dear Michael, “Guiding” you has been a highlight of my role at the Climb to Fight Cancer. I am forever thankful that our paths crossed and to have been given the gift of working together toward funding a cure for cancer these past twelve years. Meeting Lora, Hunter and your many friends has been an honor. I am better for knowing you. Thank you for your dedication to cancer research and the special brand of peace you’ve shared with every climbing team. Your presence is a reminder of why we are all here. Namaste, friend. LJC

Photos courtesy of Michael Heathfield.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Hunter Tuesday-Heathfield permalink
    July 11, 2018 1:05 pm

    So proud of everything that you’ve accomplished for the Hutch, cancer research, and your climbing career… it has been both exciting and inspirational to grow up to. I’m excited to see what the future holds and I couldn’t be prouder! Love you lots Dad

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