Marysville man climbing for a cause

MARYSVILLE — Travis Kay thought climbing a mountain would be an adventure.

Now that adventure for the outdoors enthusiast and Marysville father of three can also be part of a good cause.

Kay, 30, got his chance to commit to climbing Mount Adams when he signed up in January for the 15th annual Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. Climbs scheduled throughout the spring, summer and fall, raise money for breast cancer research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Kay, a project engineer with Lydig Construction in Bellevue, is now training to climb Mount Adams with the company’s team. The group of 23 people is the largest corporate team of climbers ever to participate in the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.

“When I started doing this I thought, ‘I want to climb that mountain, it will be really fun and it sounds adventurous,’” he said. “The more I think about it, I’m doing fun things all the time in the outdoors with my family and friends. Why not do things for a good cause if I can?”

Mount Adams, east of Mount St. Helens, is the second tallest peak in the state, at 12,276 feet. Kay and his teammates are scheduled to begin their climb on July 27 and reach the summit early on July 29. Professional guides from Portland Parks and Recreation will lead the team.

The Lydig Construction team on Thursday had raised $39,800. Each climber must raise $3,000 by June 1 to make the ascent. Kay has raised $2,580 toward his goal of $6,000.

Kay and his colleagues are training together for the climb of Mount Adams. Their schedule of weekend training treks began Feb. 25 with a hike to Poo Poo Point on the west side of Tiger Mountain in Issaquah and ends with a hike to Blanca Lake on July 14 in Index. The elevation gain increases with each hike, Kay said.

As an additional part of his training, Kay climbed Mount St. Helens for the first time in early February with friend and co-worker Ryan Dahle. Mount St. Helens, a part of the South Cascades, stands at 8,365 feet. It was his first snow climb, Kay said.

“When I was on Mount St. Helens it was an eye-opener for me,” he said. “It was like, this is where I want to be.”

The climb in July will be Kay’s first up Mount Adams. Other Climb to Fight Breast Cancer peaks in the state include Mount Baker, Mount Olympus and Mount Rainier. Climbs up Denali in Alaska, Mount Shasta in California, Mount Hood in Oregon, Mount Elbrus in Russia and Pico de Orizaba and Ixtaccíhuatl in Mexico are also offered. Treks to Mount St. Helens, Mount Everest base camp in Nepal, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, require less technical ability.

Dahle, who lives in Auburn, organized the team of people that works with him at Lydig Construction to participate in the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.

As team captain, Dahle, 29, said he chose Mount Adams because it’s considered a beginner technical climb. He has climbed Mount Adams twice and is helping teammates who have never climbed, or have very limited climbing experience, make sure they have the right gear to make it to the summit. In addition to donating several thousand dollars to the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer, Lydig Construction is also buying a down shirt and pair of glacier goggles for each climber on the team.

His teammates have shared how cancer has affected people in their lives, Dahle said.

“It’s been interesting hearing peoples’ stories about talking to their neighbors and finding out their neighbor had issues with cancer and they didn’t even know,” he said. “You never know how many people it affects.”

Kay said he was surprised to learn recently that an architect he worked with had breast cancer.

“We looked into it as a team at the time and realized how many men it really does affect,” he said. “It doesn’t discriminate. The bottom line is that if we do get caught with it in my immediate family I want there to be enough medical research out there to know what to do about it.”

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491;

Climb to Fight Breast Cancer

A schedule of peaks, climb dates and routes can be found at To donate to Travis Kay go to

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