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Hutchinson Center announces first unclimbed mountain to be tackled by Big Expedition for Cancer Research


Unnamed peak in Alaska’s Glacier Bay park to be the focus of this inaugural climbing quest

SEATTLE — Jan., 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.”

The public will be able to follow the four mountaineers step by step during the planning stages and then through the climb itself on the Big Expedition Web site at On a parallel track, the Web site will profile four Hutchinson Center scientists, all avid outdoor enthusiasts, to reflect the similarities between the quest to scale an unclimbed peak and the mission to eliminate cancer.


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