Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Big Expedition for Cancer Research Team Returns From Reconnaissance Flight Over Alaska's Glacier Bay Park

Saturday, March 15, 2008 General News
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SEATTLE, March 14 Members from Fred Hutchinson CancerResearch Center's Big Expedition for Cancer Research got their first aeriallook at the peak they will climb this summer. The group returned today from aphoto flyover to plan a primary route up the unnamed and unclimbed mountain inAlaska's Glacier Bay National Park. The Big Expedition for Cancer Research isa quest sponsored by the Hutchinson Center to raise national awareness ofcancer research.

The 8,300 foot mountain, which had not been seen by a mountaineer in morethan 30 years, had only been viewed from one side, making planning for theexpedition difficult. It is in a remote location and features a precipitouspeak.

This June, a team of four professional climbers from across North Americawill scale the unnamed peak as the kick-off event of this national awarenesscampaign. The climb mirrors the quest to eliminate cancer -- the route isuncharted, there are inevitable unexpected setbacks and exhilarating advances,yet the goal remains paramount.

"The remoteness of the mountain makes this an expedition in the truestsense," said Kevin Mahoney, expedition member from Madison, New Hampshire."It's a classic peak, but one that offers no easy routes. Its location adds tothe challenge. As climbers, we are all excited to climb this peak in the nameof cancer research."

Using Air Excursions flying service out of Juneau, Kevin Mahoney; JimWickwire, an experienced Alaska climber and member of the MountaineeringAdvisory Committee; and Kit Herrod, director of public relations for theHutchinson Center, were on board for the flyover to finalize the mountainchoice and route.

"After more than three decades, it was exciting to see this area of theFairweather Range again," said Jim Wickwire, who first viewed the mountain inthe late 1970s while climbing in the area. "It is truly a stunning peak."

The public will be able to follow the four mountaineers step by stepduring the planning stages and then through the climb itself on the BigExpedition Web site at On a paralleltrack, the Web site will profile four Hutchinson Center scientists, all avidoutdoor enthusiasts, to reflect the similarities between the quest to scale anunclimbed peak and the mission to eliminate cancer.


About the Big Expedition for Cancer Research

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center launched the Big Expedition lastfall to create public awareness around the monumental task of eliminatingcancer. "The scaling of an unclimbed mountain is a good metaphor for cancerresearch because the challenges are unknown until you are in the middle of itand no one wants to turn back," said Nobel laureate Lee Hartwell, Ph.D.,president and director of the Hutchinson Center. "Through the efforts of theseprofessional mountaineers, we hope to build awareness for the critical need tosupport 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; JohnHarlin, a noted climber and editor of American Alpine Journal; Eric Simonson,leader of the historic Mount Everest expedition that found the body of GeorgeLeigh Mallory; John Roskelley, a public servant, conservationist, author andrevered American Himalayan climber; Ed Viesturs, one of America's leadinghigh-altitude mountaineers; and Jim Wickwire, a climbing legend and Alaskamountaineering expert who was the first American to climb K2, thesecond-highest mountain on Earth.

About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, interdisciplinary teams ofworld-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, d

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