2012 – 2013 2,841 ft. Closer to a Cure!

Sponsored by:

Expedition Inspiration

Project Champion:

Krista Detwiler

What are the appropriate grade levels:

K to 12

Is there a limit to the number of participants:

Anyone old enough to hike or climb uphill

Is there an opportunity for community service:


Is this a new or existing project:

This is a new project.

Estimated project cost:




Laura Evans founded Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research in 1995 in the spirit of the parallel between climbing a mountain and overcoming breast cancer. An avid mountaineer, Laura believed in promoting health and the can-do attitude that came with mountain climbing. After recovering from breast cancer treatment, Laura set out to climb Argentina’s Mt. Aconcagua. At 22,841 feet, Mt. Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. In February 1995, Laura and Peter Whittaker led a team of 17 breast cancer survivors to Aconcagua’s summit. They raised awareness, research funds and hope for the breast cancer cause.

“Climbing is a reconfirmation of one’s own strength and capacity to survive,” said Evans. “To climb mountains, in itself, enriches our lives. It opens doors, expands our awareness, and exposes us to new and enlightening experiences.”

Outside of being a challenging, rewarding experience, mountain climbing is certainly a great form of exercise. Regular exercise lowers the risk of breast cancer coming back, as well as reducing the risk of ever being diagnosed with breast cancer. Exercise also can lower your risk of cancers of the colon, lung and uterus. There are also several non-cancer related benefits to exercise.

We would like Blaine County classrooms to learn about the health benefits of exercise (especially in relation to cancer) either in a pre-existing school program or in one we would bring to the classroom.

Next, we would like Blaine County classrooms to take on “The Aconcagua Challenge” for breast cancer awareness and prevention. The challenge is for each student in the classroom to gain a cumulative 22,841 vertical ft. through various levels of hikes and climbs throughout the year.

At the summit of each climb or hike, we ask each group of students to take a photo of themselves at the summit with one of EI?s tribute flags. Each participating student would be given at least one tribute flag that they can fill with the name of a loved one.

The tribute flags say: “I am only one, but together we will find courage, strength and hope, in honor and remembrance of those we love.”

Tribute Flags play an important role in mountaineering. For decades, it has been a tradition for climbers to carry flags with them on expeditions not only to spread good will to all who pass but also to bring climbers home safely. Prayer flags have been an important part of the culture of Tibet for centuries. No major expedition would be complete without the protective flags, and EI has adopted this spiritual custom.

Each Expedition Inspiration tribute flag is a tribute to a loved one who has or has had breast cancer, another kind of cancer, or any lost loved one. By carrying their name to a summit, they are remembered, honored, and set free into the mountain air.

We will also encourage participants to “pay it forward” by recruiting a hiking buddy outside of the classroom whether it’s a parent, sibling or friend. We hope heir healthy, active attitudes are infectious and will inspire many healthy generations.

One of our mottos is “until there’s a cure, there’s a climb.” We want to bring awareness to this saying through inspiring healthy attitudes and encouraging our county?s youth to get outside and enjoy the mountains

Project Images

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