After a 2-year pandemic hiatus, we were thrilled to bring back the Team Survivor Northwest Mountain Climb for 2022! This year our incredible group of 20 climbers tackled the iconic, 8,365-foot summit of Mount St. Helens – Monitor Ridge, and raised more than $45,000 for fellow women who have had a cancer diagnosis along the way!
The 10-mile, roundtrip climb involved a 4,500-foot elevation gain, beautiful forests, sweeping views, boulder fields, glaciers, and a breathtaking crater at the top. Together these inspiring women – ranging in age from 42 to 67, all with various levels of hiking experience and in various stages of treatment – pushed through clouds, wind, and countless obstacles, until every single climber made it to the top.
In preparation for the climb, this dedicated group met together for training hikes each week beginning in May. The training included some of Seattle’s most iconic, challenging, and rugged hikes: Granite Mountain, Bandera Mountain, Mt. Si and Mailbox Peak.
The Mount St. Helens Climb empowered our climbers, but as a fundraiser, it also allowed women who are still taking those first steps, during and after treatment, to find their team and return to their best physical and emotional well-being. Way to go climbers!
A Big Thanks to Those Who Supported Our Climbers!
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Do I need hiking experience to participate?
No. We have many members who are new to hiking with TSNW. We start on easier hikes and build up. We have many different skill levels and when it is helpful, we can divide into groups, so everyone is going at a comfortable pace.
How difficult is it to climb Mount St. Helens? Will there be snow?
In summary, the terrain can be divided into 3 parts: (1) a lovely forested area that is not difficult, (2) a field of huge volcanic boulders which requires gardening gloves and slower footing, and (3) a sand dune of ash, which is not technical, but requires endurance. There will not be snow on our climb in August (although some would prefer it!).
How often are the training hikes? What days of the week? Are they required?
Training hikes are once per week, alternating Saturdays and Sundays. (Some weeks, we may do both days if each day has a volunteer leader.) Training hikes are sequential and designed to prepare you for the rigorous climb. If you are not in good shape, you will not be able to climb Mount St. Helens. We ask that you participate in at least 8 of the training climbs in order to secure your spot. If you would like additional hiking experience, you are welcome to join the TSNW Midweek Hiking group on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays.
What hiking supplies will I need?
Our training hikes, along with the official climb of Mount St Helens, are day hikes, so you do not need any camping or multi-day backpacking supplies. (No heavy backpack!) That makes it very doable. You will need good hiking boots, gardening gloves, clothes that are comfortable and protect you from weather (rain/sun), a day pack for lunch and snacks, first aid and essential items for the day, a supply of water, and extra clothing layers.
Most of our members also use hiking poles. You may be able to borrow items you don’t have from other members or friends, but you will need most of these items for the training hikes as well as the climb. One of the benefits of the training hikes is that you can see what other people are using and get their tips on gear and clothing. You don’t need everything on day one. Good hiking boots are the most important item to get early on so you can break them in and make sure they are working for you.
Suggested Supply List:
Hiking Backpack – day pack 20L-24L w/ reservoir capable
Hiking Socks – blister resistant and comfortable, moisture wicking and fast drying – no cotton
Base Layer Shirt and Mid Layer Shirt/Jacket – moisture wicking, fast drying
Headlamp w/extra batteries
Sunglasses – eye protection in case it is windy or sunny
Gators – There are many options depending on the type of pant/shorts/tights you decide to hike in, find the right ones for you
Hat – sun protection
Buff – to keep your ears warm and protected from the elements
3L hydration Reservoir – 3 Liters (minimum) Hydration pack that fits in backpack (Gatorade or a couple extra water bottles (pro tip: freeze a couple so they can defrost on the way up). Recommend bringing more than you think you need.
Plenty of Food (fuel) – PB&J sandwich, protein bars, nuts, fruit, snacks. Bring more than you think you might need.
Personal First Aid kit with pain reliver, band aids, Neosporin, medical tape
How will I know details about each practice climb?
Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a full schedule of the practice climbs. You will also receive a reminder email with specifics about the next practice climb each week.
Which dates will people be climbing? How many people will climb together?
What if I start but decide to drop out? Is there a deadline for dropping out?
We understand that life happens and you may have to drop out of the climb for unforseen reasons. You will still have benefited from the exercise, friendships built during training, and have a sense of whether you want to try again another year. With the exception of illness or injury, please do not drop out later than three weeks before the climb, otherwise we will lose the money we spent on your climbing pass and will not have time to offer it to someone else.
Also note that we will likely have women who have been training for the climb on our waitlist. If you know that you won’t be able to continue, please let us know as soon as possible so we can give your pass to one of them.
Will we need to stay overnight anywhere?
Everyone will need to stay overnight at Lone Fir Resort the night before and we recommend everyone stay the night after the climb as well. Climbers pay for their motel room and any transportation costs (gas). Scholarships are available upon request.
Are we required to raise funds for our climb and for TSNW?
No. We would never want fundraising to stop someone from joining the climb. However, our climbers have traditionally raised money for TSNW programs, which benefits women cancer survivors who are not at the same point of recovery. See more in the fundraising section. We truly appreciate your support!
is it worth it?
Absolutely! Our climbers walk away from this experience with new friendships, improved health, and the feeling that they can accomplish anything. It is truly life changing.
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Team Survivor Northwest’s mountain climbs have always been a great personal challenge and a rewarding experience for our members while getting back to fitness. They have also been important fundraisers for TSNW.
Cancer treatment is tough, and you got through it. Now you are getting back your life and reaching for the mountain top. We are proud of you, amazed that after all you have gone through, you’re doing this. We want you to celebrate your experience, and we want your friends and family to join you and support you in your celebration.
If you are willing to raise funds and support other programs that will allow more women cancer survivors to get to the point that you are in your journey, THANK YOU!
Set your own goal.
You decide what feels right for you. We recommend starting with a goal in the $1,000 – $2,000 range. Many climbers are surprised how quickly they pass their goal.
Use our new platform.
This year, we are using Kindest to easily request donations, track your progress, receive personal notes from donors and work as a team to achieve something great.
Pair up with a sponsor.
For those who are interested, TSNW will try to pair you up with a sponsor company or organization that will support you with your individual goal to raise money and make it to the top of Mount St. Helens. If you have a relationship with a potential sponsor (employer, friend, business), feel free to reach out on your own!
though appreciated, fundraising is not a requirement.
There are obstacles and challenges in training for a climb, but TSNW does not want money or fundraising to be one of them. If you are hesitating because the fundraising seems too onerous, or because you’ve asked your family and friends before, or for any other reason, please know we would like you to join the climb regardless.