Climb to Fight Cancer: Everest!

March 27-June 1, 2018

Let’s Take Cancer Research All the Way to the Top

I’ve been writing about advances in cancer research for about 15 years, and I have been climbing mountains almost that long. The science is at a moment of tremendous possibility. We can’t go halfway now. By combining two of my passions, I hope to raise significant money and awareness for a world-class institution — the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in my hometown of Seattle — and to support science itself.

Join me on this quest to the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Donate today to support the Climb to Fight Cancer at Fred Hutch!


Donations go to:

Summit Sponsor:

Base Camp Sponsors:


Personal Trainer:

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Is This Crazy?

Isn’t this risky?  Yes. I also have a lot of experience dating back to 2004. I’ve summitted all the major Cascade peaks, and the highest mountains in North and South America (Denali and Aconcagua). 

Don’t people die on Everest?  Yes. Avalanches, earthquakes, and rockfalls are objective hazards that can happen. The death rate was 1.9% between 2000 and 2015, lowered by improved weather forecasting technology.

Are you scared? Yes. A little. But the physical and mental training I’m doing is building my confidence.

How much of the money raised is going to cancer research?  I secured sponsorship to cover all the climbing fees. I’m also paying for all my personal expenses — the flight to Kathmandu, extra climbing gear, personal training, and journalistic labor for Timmerman Report while I’m away. All the donations collected will go directly toward supporting cancer research at Fred Hutch.

How high is the summit of Everest? 29,029 feet/8,848 meters

What’s the highest you have you been before? 22,841 feet/6,972 meters (Aconcagua)

How long does the expedition take? 10 weeks. Yes, that’s a long time. There are no shortcuts to the top of an 8,000 meter peak. The body needs time to acclimate to the altitude, to start producing more oxygen-carrying red blood cells. 

Which route are you taking?  The South Col Route from Nepal.

Who are you going with? Alpine Ascents International, one of the best guide services in the business. One of the guides, Jangbu Sherpa, was my lead guide on Aconcagua. Expedition leader Ben Jones is a superstar on the mountain, renowned for his judgment and safety record. Take a look at his climbing resume here.

How many people are in the group? There will be 9 clients like me, three guides, and about a half-dozen additional Sherpa support staff.

How are you training?  Running in the morning, bicycling to and from work, and most importantly, carrying a training backpack uphill. Elite Fitness NW has also developed a custom workout plan for me to do twice a week. I’m also carrying my training backpack on Mt. Si, a popular hike east of Seattle, on weekends. My favorite new book is “Training for the New Alpinism” by Steve House and Scott Johnston (Patagonia Books, 2014). 

Are you going to blog or livestream the climb? No. I will take an old-fashioned pen and notebook and write in daily journals. The guides carry satellite phones for emergencies. They will provide brief audio trip reports, uploaded on WiFi at Base Camp, and posted to the Alpine Ascents website. I’ll probably speak on the satellite phone briefly on occasion for family and friends.


VIDEO: Climbing Mount Everest to Support Cancer Research at Fred Hutch

Hi, I’m Luke Timmerman, a biotech journalist.

I’m carrying my 80-pound training backpack, up and down the hills of Seattle, for a reason.

I’m training to climb Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, in 2018.

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Why do this?

Of course, I love the mountains.

But mostly, I’m doing it to support the top-notch research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I’m doing it to support my hometown of Seattle. And I’m doing it to support science itself.

As a biotech journalist for 15 years, I’ve had the privilege to meet scientists around the country doing amazing work. I see a cancer revolution happening. Immunotherapies are emerging that harness the power of the immune system to attack cancer cells much like the viruses and bacteria that we fight off every day. Fast DNA sequencers and other sensitive instruments are making it possible to detect cancer earlier than ever before, when it’s most easily treated.

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. We’re seeing just the beginning of what is possible.

We can’t let up — especially during this time of so much thrilling progress.

So I ask you to please give generously to this important cause at a crucial moment in time.

Let’s take this all the way. Donate to the Climb to Fight Cancer at Fred Hutch, and you’ll help scientists push to the top of the mountain – the cure.

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