Seattle biotech journalist reaches summit of Mount Everest in bid to raise money for cancer research


Luke TimmermanLuke Timmerman
Luke Timmerman, in yellow jacket, on the summit of Mount Everest. (Alpine Ascents Photo / Ben Jones)

Seattle biotech journalist Luke Timmerman reached new heights Tuesday in his efforts to raise awareness for cancer research by successfully summiting Mount Everest.

A series of tweets and photographs showed a spectacular blue-sky day on the world’s highest peak as Timmerman and his group, led by Seattle-based Alpine Ascents, reached the top at 29,029 feet. Guide Ben Jones’s images and reports were shared by the company on social media.

Huge congrats to our entire #Everest summit team! 📸: @benmjones ・・・ Our entire team made it to the top of the World today in the best weather, conditions, and least amount of people I’ve seen in my short 8 years here. No wind on the summit, it was clear, and there was only one other team climbing today and they left ahead of us so we never crossed paths until they were on there way down. We had the entire summit to just our group! Incredible day, and we are now all resting safely back in the South Col. This was my 5th summit to the top of Everest and grateful for a successful and safe day for our team! @alpineascents @sjangbu @mountainbull1 @lrsherpa @jibanghimire #everest2018 #everest #jacksonhole #nepal #lhotse

A post shared by Alpine Ascents International (@alpineascents) on May 22, 2018 at 10:53am PDT

The team included eight climbers, three guides and 10 Sherpa, according to Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Timmerman, sponsored in part by donations from Sanofi and 10X Genomics, spent eight weeks on Everest acclimating to the high altitude in addition to months of training at home in the Seattle area.

Timmerman, 42, has been climbing mountains for years, and has summited Mount Rainier in Washington state (14,400 feet), Alaska’s Denali (20,000 feet) and even Argentina’s Aconcagua, the highest peak outside of Asia at 22,800 feet.

He believes cancer treatment is at a tipping point, and the Everest climb was his way of giving science yet another nudge toward a potential breakthrough. He set a goal of raising $375,000 to help Fred Hutch, and as of Tuesday he had raised $337,810.

Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutch, said in a news release that private donations are vital to helping his team perform at its own high level and cure most, if not all, cancers by 2025.

“Climbing Everest is a colossal goal and I am in awe of Luke’s accomplishment,” Gilliland said. “We are honored that he dedicated his expedition to inspire others to support our work. We must aim high and reach new peaks to achieve extraordinary breakthroughs. Private funding we receive from individuals like Luke and his donors, is vital to helping us find cures and save lives.”

Timmerman joined GeekWire in March for a podcast episode to discuss the climb and his hopes for cancer research.

More images and congratulations showed up on Twitter and Instagram:

Everest summit May22 7:27 am Nepali time! The whole team of 8 clients, 3 guides and 8 Sherpa all reached the top between 6:25 and 7:27 am! Beautiful weather and amazing views today from the top of the world. Much nicer than last year! We are all safely back at the South Col resting. #everest2018 #everest #nepal #mountaineering #mountains #climbing @alpineascents @sjangbu @benmjones

A post shared by Eric Murphy (@mountainbull1) on May 22, 2018 at 2:52am PDT

Timmerman is seen in the center of this photograph, standing with the blue jacket and glasses:

Here is our entire Everest/Lhotse climbing team getting ready to head up to Camp 2 early tomorrow morning! We are excited to be heading up looking at a few possible days for the summit depending on the upcoming weather. Our progress will mostly be posted at especially on our summit night. @alpineascents @lrsherpa @mountainbull1 @sjangbu @jibanghimire #everest2018 #everest #jacksonhole #nepal #lhotse2018 #lhotse

A post shared by Ben M Jones (@benmjones) on May 17, 2018 at 4:30am PDT

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