Big Expedition for Cancer Research announces first unclimbed peak

Big Expedition for Cancer Research announces first unclimbed peak

What: A news conference to announce the unclimbed mountain in Alaska that will be tackled this summer by a team of professional mountaineers in the inaugural Big Expedition for Cancer Research, a biennial endeavor sponsored by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to raise awareness of cancer research. The expedition team members will go on a tour of the Hutchinson Center labs after the news conference and the media is welcome to join them.Who: Expedition members Matt Farmer, Seattle; Dawn Glanc, Bellingham; Kevin Mahoney, Madison, N.H.; Bayard Russell, North Conway, N.H., along with Mountaineering Advisory Committee members Jim Wickwire, the first American to summit K2; and Phil and Susan Ershler, the first couple to climb the world’s “Seven Summits.”When: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008Where: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 1100 Fairview Ave. N. Robert M. Arnold Building, Room M1-A307 Seattle, Wash.Why: The challenge of an unclimbed mountain mirrors the quest to eliminate cancer — the route is uncharted, there are inevitable unexpected setbacks and exhilarating advances, yet the goal remains paramount. 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.

BACKGROUNDAbout the Big ExpeditionFred 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.”

The Big Expedition Mountaineering Advisory Committee, a 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 CenterThe Hutchinson Center’s interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The Center’s 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