Biotech journalist summits Mount Everest to help cure cancer

Seattle man’s dream of standing on top of the world raises $340,000 for Fred Hutch
Luke Timmerman on the summit of Everest Alpine Ascents

SEATTLEMay 29, 2018 — Luke Timmerman, a writer, entrepreneur, and family man, proudly unfurled a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center banner on May 21, while standing on top of the world’s highest peak. The 42-year-old Seattle man successfully scaled Mount Everest, determined to elevate awareness of the rapid advances happening in cancer research.

As the first person to summit Everest with Fred Hutch’s Climb to Fight Cancer, Timmerman has raised nearly $340,000 for the internationally recognized research center, a pioneer in bone marrow transplantation and its offshoot, immunotherapy.

On summit day, Timmerman and a team led by Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International climbed from Everest’s Camp 4 at 26,000 feet to reach the peak at 29,029 feet. This followed a multi-day ascent from Base Camp along the South Col route. The team included eight climbers, three guides, and 10 Sherpa. Timmerman, sponsored in part by generous donations from Sanofi and 10X Genomics, spent eight weeks on Everest acclimating to the high altitude in addition to months of training at home in the Seattle area.

Timmerman, an author and biotech journalist, has covered scientific breakthroughs around the globe for 15 years and believes now is a crucial time in cancer research. “I see a cancer revolution happening,” he said. “Fred Hutch is at the leading edge of cancer cures. Their pioneering research is helping people with many types of cancer live longer and lead better lives. They're also trying to cure cancer! That's a Mount Everest-type goal if you are a scientist."

Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutch, says private donations like this are vital to helping his team reach a different type of summit: to cure most, if not all, cancers by 2025. “Climbing Everest is a colossal goal and I am in awe of Luke’s accomplishment. We are honored that he dedicated his expedition to inspire others to support our work. We must aim high and reach new peaks to achieve extraordinary breakthroughs. Private funding we receive from individuals like Luke and his donors is vital to helping us find cures and save lives.” Gilliland said.

Timmerman is a former Seattle Times reporter who now publishes the Timmerman Report, an online publication covering the biotech industry. He has previously summited Mount Rainier, Aconcagua, and Denali. See photos of his Everest expedition and learn more at Alpine Ascents.

Timmerman hopes his trip will inspire others to consider raising money for Fred Hutch research through Climb to Fight Cancer. Since the event began organizing expeditions to mountain peaks in 1997, about 1,200 climbers from across the United States have raised more than $8.3 million. For information about climbing one of a dozen U.S. peaks this summer with Climb to Fight Cancer, visit


Climb a Mountain. Save a Life

Fred Hutch’s Climb to Fight Cancer takes people to the top of the world’s most breathtaking mountains in honor of loved ones who have battled cancer. Since 1997, climbers have raised more than $8.3 million for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. This summer, join one of our professionally led expeditions, suitable for first-time climbers and experienced mountaineers. Determination is all you need. For more information visit and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Kerri Kazarba Schneider


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