Seventy two hours out from summit day…
This is my sixth climb for the Climb to Fight Cancer in nine years. My first climb was Mt. Rainier in 2007. I climb for my sister-in-law, Verna, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. I had no thought going forward after the Rainier climb, but before it was over I was hooked.
I have been joined by over a dozen friends in this endeavor over the years, but this year was special in that my nephew, Andrew, joined me for his third Fred Hutch climb and my friend Marcus’s son, Skylar Fenton, joined me too. Two twenty-something guys on board trying to make the world a little gentler place.
I was honored to climb with some strong women, Heather and Kate, who are all in with Fred Hutch and have been climbing a mountain every year for cancer research. Also we may have converted two Alpine Ascents clients, Bill and Katherine, to join us moving forward. Our Fred Hutch team was rounded out by Chris, who shared some private and beautiful life moments with me. It seems we all have lost at least one person close to us to cancer. This is why I climb, this is why WE climb for Fred Hutch. Kevin, from Salt Lake City like me, rounded out the client side of the team. Make no mistake, when we strapped on the crampons we were ONE team, climbing to fight.
Many thanks to the awesome guide team that Alpine Ascents International put together – Jangbu Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa and Patrick Chu. I was most excited that we had Pasang Lhamu Sherpa with us, one badass woman climber who just summited K2. I was fortunate that on summit day I was at the end of our rope team and had Pasang right behind me, leading her rope team, singing Nepalese songs as we made our way up Mt. Baker. It was beyond magical.
Mt. Baker is a must do for those of you yet to climb her. It is the real deal: steep, snow, ice and lots of glacier travel. The crevasses and seracs are wonderful…our “sunset summit” was perfect…I can’t wait for 2018 and I hope to be joined by this crew again. What an amazing group of humans…my life was truly enriched.
~ By Michael Heathfield. Michael lives in Salt Lake City with his beautiful wife, Lora, and son, Hunter. Hunter joined Michael on his Mt. Hood Climb to Fight Cancer. Michael is a tremendous ambassador for Fred Hutch and makes the world a brighter place every day. He captains his climbing team every two years, aptly named, Team Namaste. Team Namaste has climbed Mts. Rainier, Hood (twice), Denali, Shasta and Baker for cancer research. Namaste to you, Michael.
Photos courtesy of Kate Roll.
MOUNT SHUKSAN, Wash — Facing treatment for cancer can seem like trying to climb a mountain.
This analogy is one reason people choose to join the Climb to Fight Cancer: to raise money for research, honor those fighting it now, or remember those lost.
KOMO’s Denise Whitaker first joined the Climb to Fight Cancer in 2005 and just made her 11th climb for the Fred Hutchinson Center Research Center and its Climb to Fight Cancer.
The North Cascades can provide some interesting weather and the Shuksan team experienced much of it, with rain, thunder, fog, wind and even sunshine during the course of the three-day climb.
The team of three women, three men and four guides from Alpine Ascents, shared their time together on the mountain, thinking about how cancer’s touched their lives, while raising more than $18,000 for cancer research at the Hutchinson Center. Denise Whitaker’s had a number of women in her family survive breast cancer, together with many friends, among them Lynn Lippert.
Check this out; KOMO 4’s Kelly Koopmans says she’s ready to join the fight and take on this challenge next year!
Right now you can be a part of the cure, by making a donation. ~ story courtesy of KOMO 4 news by Denise Whitaker.
Denise is a journalist, adventure seeker, mountain climber, motorcycle rider and a creative cook.
Said one Mt. Shasta climber who has summited three peaks with the Climb to Fight Cancer: “I’ve been on other trips, but the best people I’ve ever met are on Fred Hutch climbs.”
So true. There’s a natural bond between Fred Hutch team members. We instantly show up wanting each other to have the best possible journey. We want to help, support, laugh, and kick steps in sync. We look out for each other.
Every Fred Hutch climber has a story. Some choose to tell their stories and others store them on their hearts.
Karen climbs for her cousin, her friend, her mom and so many others she’s been touched by in her career as a nurse. She gives back daily, and yet signs up annually to climb a mountain and raise money for Fred Hutch during her vacation time.
Mark carries a photo of his Dad in his chest pocket, close to his heart, on every climb.
His Dad sat on his heart literally as he ascended the 4,000 foot West Face of Mt. Shasta. When he pulled out the photo on the summit, I could feel my eyes well up.
Tiffany considers herself an accidental mountaineer. She met her “Aunt Lynn” just a few short years ago for the first time, and hadn’t considered mountaineering before that time. Aunt Lynn is legendary Climb to Fight Cancer participant Lynn Lippert. Lynn’s passion for the Climb to Fight Cancer is contagious and it is no wonder Tiffany found herself on the side of a mountain after their lives intertwined. Her first climb was roped to Lynn on Mt. Hood, this year she climbed in Lynn’s place.
I’ve written about Lynn many times over the last decade. She is a three-time breast cancer survivor. I’m always reluctant to describe Lynn in that way, because I think her breast cancer is the least interesting thing about her. She’s an avid adventurer, world traveler, accomplished physical therapist, animal lover and book author.
When Lynn found herself unable to climb this year due to her cancer returning, she signed up as a CURE climber and enlisted Tiffany to climb in her place. There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to be a CURE climber. You can sign up as a CURE climber and define your own adventure, pick your own activity or do nothing at all, which is what we sometimes refer to as a “couch fundraising event.” Naturally, given her energizer bunny status, a couch fundraiser was not an option for Lynn, so she enlisted Tiffany to climb 14,179 ft. Mt. Shasta. Lynn fundraised and Tiffany climbed.
Lynn was a part of our Mt. Shasta team in every way. She was at gear check and at the trailhead when we started. She was welcoming us back when we finished. We all wanted to do our best on the mountain knowing that Lynn would be there when we returned. Anyone can be a CURE climber, it’s a wonderful way to be involved with Fred Hutch and the Climb to Fight Cancer if life prohibits you from strapping on crampons.
Mt. Shasta is a magical mountain and the natural waters are thought to have healing powers. People travel from all over the world to visit this special, healing place. Our whole team was welcomed by beautiful sunshine and the experts at Shasta Mountain Guides.
Thank you for supporting our footsteps.
For more information about becoming a CURE climber, please email us today.