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Cancer quest

For some, supporting cancer research is as quick and easy as writing a check.

For those who desire to scale new heights, there's the challenging Mount Hood Climb to Fight Breast Cancer, an annual fund-raiser in late spring that benefits the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Last week, 24 adventurers divided into three teams and ponied up the required minimum of $2,500 each to participate in the climb.

Collecting money from family and friends, the climbers each raised more than their minimum, said climb spokeswoman Paula Fasano. Altogether, they raised more than $90,000 for the cancer center.

Each of the climbers had personal reasons for wanting to raise money for cancer research.

Thirtyish Pam Burrows of Portland, who works at Oregon Health & Science University, sees cancer patients every day and liked the idea of climbing for a cause. Though she's been to the top of Mount Rainier, this was her first Mount Hood climb.

After a breast cancer scare last April and the recent loss of a friend to the disease, Doris Gauthier of West Linn, 61, made her second Mount Hood climb. She raised $5,615, the fourth-highest sum overall, Fasano said.

On June 4 and 5, a hardy group of six Portland area climbers, including Burrows and Gauthier, were led up the mountain by three guides from Portland Parks & Recreation.

The two-day experience included 'snow school' on the first day at Timberline Lodge, in which the climbers learned to clamp on crampons, to self-arrest with an ice ax, and to rope with other climbers.

At 1 a.m. June 5, the group began the

10-hour trek. Fasano said five of the six made it to the 11,237-foot summit. Only Gauthier turned back.

Others on the team were Greg Anderson

of Lake Oswego, Rachel Belschner of Tigard, Eric Marley of Salem and Greg Robeson of Portland.

Fasano described the event as 'an incredible experience of people coming together and doing something that changed their lives for a moment. And the Hutchinson center is ecstatic at the amount the climbers raised.'

For information about next year's climb, log on to the cancer center's Web site at www.fhcrc.org.

Ñ Mary Bellotti