Climbing to fight breast cancer: Redmond residents seek donations for charity mountain climbs

Redmond native Carol Roll triumphantly summited Mt. Rainier and raised more than $8

There “ain’t no mountain high enough” to keep some Redmond residents and workers away from “Climb to Fight Breast Cancer” events this spring and summer.

Here are some who are now training for their outdoor adventures and seeking donations for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle:

• Carol Roll attended Horace Mann Elementary, Redmond Junior High and Redmond High School. In 2007, she reached the summit of Mt. Rainier in memory of her aunt, Dr. Carol Folger, who died of breast cancer in 2001. That climb raised more than $8,000 for the cause. Roll’s next goal is to climb Mt. Shasta in California.

Roll, who is an event coordinator for the Woodland Park Zoo, said she’d always enjoyed hiking but didn’t think about higher alpine climbing until the summer after she graduated from Western Washington University.

After doing the Woodland Trail, a 100-mile loop hike around the base of Rainier, and “spending two weeks straight looking right up at it, I decided someday I wanted to climb it,” said Roll.

She warmed up for the Rainier climb with a trek to the top of Mt. Adams and since the Rainier journey, she has climbed Mt. Hood and attempted Mt. Baker.

“The hardest part of training is just getting out there,” Roll explained. “It takes a lot of time to train properly for a high altitude climb. …The hardest part of the climb itself is waking up at 11 p.m. on summit day. It is much safer to climb when the snow is frozen, so to get up and back down the mountain early is very important. It is very difficult to get out of your warm sleeping bag after only a couple of hours of sleep, put on all your gear and start climbing up the in the darkness.”

However, said Roll, “The best part, other than reaching the summit, is when the sun rises on the mountain and you get renewed energy to keep climbing up.”

Because she’s an outdoorsy person, climbing mountains seemed like a natural way to honor her aunt and help others fight cancer, she noted.

Yet, “Not everyone has to climb a mountain to be able to support The Hutch and the important research they are a part of,” she said.

“The Hutch offers many opportunities for others to get involved in their mission. Be part of a research study, organize your own fundraising event, make a donation, or participate in one of Fred Hutch’s other events — golf tournaments, wine tastings, auctions and much more.”

To view Roll’s climb page, visit:

• Redmond resident Donita “Dabby” Phipps and her friend Rebecca “Beck” Lashley, a consultant for Microsoft in Redmond, have formed the BC4B (Babes Climbing 4 Boobies) team. They are challenging themselves to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the world’s tallest free standing mountain at 19,340 feet, while raising at least $20,000 for breast cancer research.

Lashley said she’s using hot hatha and power yoga, cardio/weight training at the gym and weekend hikes to train.

“Finding the time to train during the week can be a challenge. However, knowing the climb will be that much harder if I don’t train consistently keeps me motivated,” Lashley commented.

Phipps is doing weekday walks and runs around Redmond, strength training, yoga and longer hikes on weekends, with more elevation gain and a backpack. “Since Kilimanjaro is really a long trek, not a technical climb, the key fitness component is a good cardio base for long days of walking,” Phipps said. “Good core strength helps a lot, too.”

Like most climbers for The Hutch, Lashley and Phipps have personal ties to loved ones who’ve been touched by breast cancer.

“All of these women … have inspired me to continue being a part of the cause. It’s truly hard to believe that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime — staggering,” said Lashley, who also climbed Mt. Rainier for the cause in 2007.

Phipps said her 40th birthday provided motivation for the climb, as well as the increasing odds that she could someday face cancer.

“In addition to friends who have battled this disease, I have a very dear cousin who underwent a double mastectomy and continues to fight the good fight every day,” Phipps said.

Whether or not you’re athletically inclined, there are many ways you can get involved in this fight, Lashley said.

“Make a donation to a specific climber or as a general donation (at),” she suggested. “You’re supporting a fantastic, local organization that is leading cutting-edge cancer research efforts right here in our backyard. The site is secure and you get a tax-deductible reciept for your donation.”

Said Phipps, “Eighty-five cents of every dollar goes directly to Fred Hutch to support their efforts in breast cancer research, prevention and education, so every dollar truly counts.”

You can follow Phipps and Lashley on their blog. and over the next few months, they said they’ll likely have some fundraising events such as garage sales or bake sales.

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