Just over four minutes is the individual record for the Climb for Cancer.
It took Owen MacDonald just four minutes and 13 seconds to jog up the steep sandy slopes of the Nechako River cutbanks to the top of the trail, while Clowie Adolph, the female record-holder, did it last year in 9:13.
One trip wasn’t enough last year for Devin Flynn. He made that up-and-down journey 20 times.
It’s a tough slog through the sand even once. But if you think that’s difficult, it pales in comparison to the effort needed to fight cancer.
“Some people do it for the physical element but I want to encourage people who are not super physically active, it’s actually for everybody,” said Climb For Cancer committee chair Doug Bell.
“We have 80-plus people who do the climb and even people who maybe haven’t gone for a jog in the last couple years come up and do it as well. There is a rope and there’s also switchbacks that make it quite easy to get up.
“If you’re afraid of the climb, don’t be, just take your time and you’ll make it. But if you don’t want to climb we still encourage you to go to the page and at least place a donation. because the funds go to a very important cause.”
The fifth annual Canadian Cancer Society event to benefit the Kordyban Lodge for cancer patients is going ahead on the next two weekends, starting Saturday morning. Usually hundreds of people show up to take part but this year to get around the crowd size restriction in place due to the pandemic the climb will be spread over four days. Usually held in April, that was during the height of the COVID crisis so far, which prompted the committee to postpone it and come up with an alternate plan.
”Charities have been hit extremely hard this year because the fundraising efforts have been pretty much nullified because of COVID-19 but that doesn’t mean the need is any less, in fact it’s greater,” said Bell. “So it’s important that people encourage their family or friends to support either through a donation or by coming out.”
Teams have been assigned specific times to show up to make the climb and Bell is encouraged the new format hasn’t deterred people from wanting to participate, either as climbers or volunteers.
“We’re tremendously excited about the amount of interest we’ve gotten for it , our sponsors have really come back and stepped up to the plate for it and everyone ready to have a little fun,” said Bell. “It goes over two weekends and we are still accepting teams who want to sign up and people who want to climb.
“With climbers and volunteers we’re probably going to end up with a few hundred, if not more.”
Go to Climb For Cancer website – www.climbforcancerpg.ca - or to the Climb For Cancer pages on Facebook and Instagram to register. Prizes are up for grabs for climbers who post pictures of themselves on the Facebook page as they make their way up the hill. Those who post a link to the donation page can win a dinner for four at Northern Lights Estate Winery, which comes with limousine service to and from the restaurant on the banks of the Nechako River.
All money raised will go to the Kordyban Lodge, which provides cheap food and lodging for patients receiving treatments at the adjacent BC Cancer Centre for the North.
The weather forecast issued by Environment Canada calls for a 60 per cent chance of showers overnight tonight and a 30 per cent risk of rain on Saturday, with a high of 18 C. Sunday will be dry during the day with a predicted high of 19 C.
“It’s looking good for this weekend,” said Bell. “A bit of rain is good for climbing because it helps solidify the hill a little bit. The hotter it is the sandier it is, and the more strenuous the climb is.”
The climb takes place from 10 a.m.-1:30 Saturday and Sunday, with the same time slot for teams on Aug. 15 and 16. As of Friday morning, 25 teams had signed up, some with as many as 12 participants.
“We’re so grateful we’re able to go ahead with climb this year, in a different format, it’s great the committee worked so hard to plan this and pull it together,” sad Aimee Cassie, support engagement manager for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Right now we have just over $7,000 raised and that doesn’t include a lot of the sponsorship that’s come through. Climb typically sees a lot more donations come in the day of (the event), so we’ll finish really well.”