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Inaugural Big Expedition for Cancer Research Encounters Mountain As Challenging As Finding a Cure for Cancer
Date:7/7/2008

SEATTLE, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- When Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center challenged a team of elite climbers to scale an unclimbed mountain, the endeavor was intended to mirror the efforts of researchers to eliminate cancer as a cause of human suffering and death. The team of four professional mountaineers on the Big Expedition for Cancer Research has recently returned from Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve after reaching the 7,800-foot level of an unclimbed, unnamed peak, as part of a national awareness campaign for the importance of cancer research.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080707/AQM089)

This groundbreaking effort was more like cancer research than anyone expected it to be. What the team found as they ascended the 8,300-foot peak, unseen from the ground in 35 years, was a mountain that was not ready to be conquered. Afterward, expedition member Matt Farmer, 33, of Seattle, said of the up-close encounter with the mountain, "The summit pyramid had looked majestic and solid granite from a distance, but in reality, it was like stacks of china teetering in the wind ... just a big pile of rocks. Every step was a balancing act. We were comfortable that (turning around) was the right decision. We had met the challenge and found it to be too daunting for us to return safely if we advanced any further."

Chief Ranger Randy Larson, along with other park officials, met with the team to debrief when they returned to the Glacier Bay Lodge before heading to the Lower 48. "This is an excellent team," he said. "Their judgment was solid and the expedition has given us valuable new information about the conditions and geography in a very remote area of the park that hasn't been seen from the ground in over 30 years. I'm very pleased to have them back safely."

This was a new and refreshing type of expedition. There were no preconcept
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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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