SEATTLE — Jan. 29, 2008 — An unclimbed mountain near Mount Abbe in the northern reaches of Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park will be the focus of the inaugural Big Expedition for Cancer Research, a quest sponsored by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to raise national awareness of cancer research.
A team of four professional climbers from across North America this June will scale the unnamed peak, more than 8,000 feet high as the kick-off event of this national awareness campaign. The climb mirrors the quest to eliminate cancer — the route is uncharted, there are inevitable unexpected setbacks and exhilarating advances, yet the goal remains paramount.
The announcement of the mountain was made today in Seattle after months of discussions with the four mountaineers and members of the Hutchinson Center's Mountaineering Advisory Committee, which includes Jim Wickwire, a renowned mountaineer and experienced Alaska climber.
"I first saw this peak in 1973 on an expedition to the Fairweather Range in the heart of the national park. Though not high in Everest or McKinley terms, it's a stunning peak. This will be a challenging climb for the team," Wickwire said.
Wickwire will accompany team members and representatives from the Hutchinson Center on a route-finding photo flyover of the area in the coming weeks. "This is a truly new adventure for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. We are fortunate to have found such strong allies in our Mountaineering Advisory Committee and experienced, dedicated mountaineers to make up the Big Expedition team," said Linda Gainer, vice president of External Affairs and Communications at the Hutchinson Center.
On hand for the announcement were expedition members Matt Farmer, Seattle; Dawn Glanc, Bellingham; and Bayard Russell, North Conway, N.H. The fourth expedition member, Kevin Mahoney, of Madison, N.H., was unable to attend. Also at the event were Mountaineering Advisory Committee members Wickwire, the first American to scale K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth; and Phil and Susan Ershler, the first couple to climb the world's "Seven Summits."
About the Big Expedition for Cancer Research
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center launched the Big Expedition last fall to create public awareness around the monumental task of eliminating cancer. "The scaling of an unclimbed mountain is a good metaphor for cancer research because the challenges are unknown until you are in the middle of it and no one wants to turn back," said Nobel laureate Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., president and director of the Hutchinson Center. "Through the efforts of these professional mountaineers, we hope to build awareness for the critical need to support cancer research."
About the Big Expedition's Mountaineering Advisory Committee
This group of renowned mountaineers, expedition leaders and adventurers, consists of Phil and Susan Ershler, the first couple to climb the world's "Seven Summits," the highest peaks on each of the seven continents; John Harlin, a noted climber and editor of American Alpine Journal; Eric Simonson, leader of the historic Mount Everest expedition that found the body of George Leigh Mallory; John Roskelley, a public servant, conservationist, author and revered American Himalayan climber; Ed Viesturs, one of America's leading high-altitude mountaineers; and Jim Wickwire, a climbing legend and Alaska mountaineering expert who was the first American to climb K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
DDB Public Relations
# # #