I decided that it would be easiest to start a blog about my training for Mount Rainier and other Seattle adventures - though these adventures have continued on to North Carolina recently!

Most recently are photos from cooking some fabulous gluten-free food and my brother's work with Habitat for Humanity at the University of Maine!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dancing in the Kitchen with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

I had the pleasure of cooking up some of the fabulous dishes from the new cookbook “Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes” – how lucky was I! All the recipes that I had the opportunity to make were delicious, fabulous, and enjoyed by all.

The appetizer was seared shrimp with garlic-almond sauce, such wonderful flavors!

The main dish, pasta with anchovies, lemon, and olives brought a Mediterranean feel to the kitchen. What an exciting dish!

I have to be honest and say that dessert was my favorite, but I have a weakness for sweets. These fabulous chocolate peanut butter brownies were complete with some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge – the whole pan disappeared!

I can’t wait to check out the rest of the recipes in “Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes” – what a fabulous gift to the gluten-free community from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef!! Gluten-free food is delicious and making it is such a rewarding experience!
Here is a link to the book on Amazon:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another Lil Bro Video


My little brother made the news a second time for his work with Habitat for Humanity at the University of Maine. He's camping out in sub-zero temperatures to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. He's awesome!! I am so proud of him :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mount Rainier Climb to Fight Breast Cancer

Make a donation to help fund cutting edge breast cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center!! Donations will be accepted for the climb throughout the month of August—please continue to spread the word!! http://getinvolved.fhcrc.org/site/TR?px=1037181&pg=personal&fr_id=1040

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Camp Schurman

So, Kyle and I set off to do some training work at Camp Muir--where I am going to be spending the first night of my Mount Rainier Climb on Aug 3rd. But the road was closed, so we headed over to the other base-camp, Camp Schurman. The approach hike was beautiful, but when we got to the snow, we found that my crampons weren't working out so well (better to find this out before the climb)!! So we did some self-arrest practice on the icy slope and then we climbed the ridge to the right. Only to reach the top at sunset and the the most breathtaking image of my life. The sun setting over the mountains in the distance and the enormous mountain to our left full of open crevasses, glimmering in the last bits of sunshine. It was truly, spectacular!! At close to 8,000 feet it was as if we could touch the summit. We headed back down in the dark wth our headlamps with a field of stars above our heads, Mars in the distance over the mountain, and the shadow of the mountain over us. If all goes well, in less than two weeks I will have successfully completed the journey to the summit with pray flags full of names and thoughts and prayers for families that have been touched by breast cancer. One step closer to finding a cure...

These are a few of my favorite photos from the climb, you can see the rest by clicking on the link on the map at the bottom of the page.

Here is a map of where we were and where I'll be staying the first night of the climb! The red box in the bottom right of the map is where we will be staying the first night and the purple box in the top right of the map is where we were last night.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Climbing for a Cause

Published in the Fairfield Citizen~News, 7/20/07, by Rita Papazian

Hints at the direction Heather Ann Brauer's life would take surfaced early.

In first grade at North Stratfield Elementary School she recalls winning a first-place award for creating "Quick Catch" in the Invent America national contest. Her idea was to string a net across the driveway to prevent balls or other toys from rolling into the street and creating a possible danger.

"I was always into creating and inventing," said the 23-year-old doctorate candidate in molecular and cellular biology in the Paul Lampe lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash.

She was always looking to make something better. Today, this former Fairfield resident who lives and studies in Seattle has her mind set on a loftier goal to make something better.
Brauer is joining more than 100 women and men from across the United States who will strive for the summits of six mountain peaks in the Pacific Northwest, Eastern Europe and Africa this summer as part of the 10th anniversary of the "Climb to Fight Breast Cancer" presented by Safeway. Organized by the Hutchinson center, the fundraiser, in its ninth year, is anticipated to raise at least $500,000. Brauer's personal goal is to raise $5,000.

She has a personal reason for setting off in early August on her hike up the mountain. Her mother, Cindy Brauer of Congress Street, is a cancer survivor and so is her mother's close friend, Judy Connell, who Heather calls her "aunt."

In a letter to prospective donors, Brauer said, "On a beautiful day in Seattle you can see the magnificent backdrop of Mount Rainier, a symbol of beauty, grace and strength. Thus, it is only fitting that I dedicate my climb to two beautiful women who carry themselves with immense grace. They are both incredibly strong breast cancer survivors. My mother has been a constant model of love and perseverance in my life, always giving to others with all of her heart."
Climbing up Mount Rainer with a 50-pound pack on her back is the least this 5-foot-4-inch, 107-pound woman can do to pay tribute to her mother and aunt, who have successfully faced their bouts with cancer.

Brauer described Mount Rainier as a "beautifully sculpted dormant volcano." It is encased in more than 35 square miles of snow and glacial ice. Its peak reaches 14,441 feet into the clouds.
"It's exciting and for a really good cause. And I think about how my mother has fought. It's worth raising money for," said Brauer, whose thesis is focused on finding a biomarker a protein in the human blood that would help in identifying breast cancer and thus lead to early detection and increase the survival rate.

"While my project is far from finding a cure, the finding of these biomarkers could dramatically decrease the mortality rate associated with breast cancer and better the quality of life for breast cancer patients and their families," she said.

To prepare for her trek, Brauer has been doing extensive training, getting up at 5 a.m. to hike up the mountain. Also, she competes in triathlons and recently ran a half marathon.

Brauer always has been an active person. She competed in cross-country events at Fairfield High School before transferring to a private school in Kent. She went on to Kenyon College, where she majored in chemistry and continued her studies at science camps while an undergraduate. During her freshman year of college, she became active with a woman's center and participated in a lot of events raising awareness and funds for breast cancer. Upon graduation, she enrolled at the University of Washington, where she is now doing her post-graduate work, which she describes as "neat" in the way researchers, like herself, can do something to better people's lives and "help a great part of the population.

Brauer's love for hands-on projects harkens back to her studies at Fairfield Woods Middle School, where she recalled in sixth grade creating a quiz board, which was a box with an electric circuit of the Great Barrier Reef. Green and red lights would indicate right and wrong answers.
While she misses her family in Fairfield, which includes her parents, Jeff and Cindy, her aunt and uncle, and her grandmother, she loves living in the Northwest, which gives her opportunities for outdoor adventures such as hiking up Mount Rainier.

Reflecting upon her adventure ahead, Brauer said she is mentally and physically preparing herself. "Climbing is easy. Fundraising is the hard part," said Brauer, who sees firsthand with her work in research what donations can do to help with the breast cancer cause.

"I'd climb anything to get rid of breast cancer," said Brauer, noting how government funding has been cut substantially in recent years. "Getting money is very competitive."

Christi Loso, spokeswoman for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said Brauer is "a young woman with remarkable drive and vision, who is just beginning to fulfill her passions for science and helping others."

Anyone interested in helping Brauer reach her financial goal as she climbs Mount Rainier can send a check, made out to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, to Heather Ann Brauer, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Mailstop M5-C800, Seattle, Wash., 98109.

KOMO 4 Clip 2


KOMO 4 Clip 1


Friday, July 13, 2007

Prayer Flags

Please email me the names of people you would like me to climb in honor or memory of. I will write their names on the prayer flags tha we will carry with us to the summit.

Note on Prayer Flags: You are receiving very special prayer flags this year. Please write the names of your loved ones on them and take them to your summits. They were brought back from Nepal by Committee Chair Karen Kilian--here is what she says, "The prayer flags were blessed by the Lama Geshe in Pangboche. He was told what the flags were for by our Sirdar, Ang Temba. He said prayers, blessed the flags, tossed blessed rice over them. I've attached a photo of him and Ang Temba which I took when we visited him. As you can see from the photos in the background, he blesses a lot of climbers!"


Photo of the group that reached the summit on July 4th...soon that'll be me!!

August 2nd, 4 p.m. – Gear check at Alpine Ascents International office in Seattle, meet your guide, teammates and make sure your packs are filled with all of the right gear.

August 3rd, 6 a.m. – Meet at AAI offices for transport to the trailhead.

August 3rd, Day 1 – Arrive at Paradise area on Mt. Rainier and finish last minute packing before taking off on the 4-5 hour hike up to Camp Muir. This is the best night to watch the sunset to the West over the Olympic Mountain range and the Puget Sound if the sky is clear.

August 4th, Day 2 – In the morning you will practice snow travel skills, rope handling and probably test out your crampons. In the afternoon you hike up to Ingraham Flats – where you will set up your high camp for the night. You will be going to bed after dinner, so you might wish to bring something to cover your eyes if you have a hard time falling asleep with sunlight.

August 5th, Day 3 – Rise and shine – the early mid-night wake up call is a shock to the system, but well worth it. This is summit day and the early start insures that you will summit before the snow softens on the glacier and that you are safely back at camp before the snow becomes difficult to walk on. Climbing while the sun is rising is a beautiful and memorable experience – not to mention the photo opps are amazing! You will break down camp, pack up your packs and descend to Paradise. In the past some of the climbers have made arrangements to have friends or family members meet them at the trailhead. Keep in mind that cell phones do not work in woods, so you can’t call them to let them know when you will arrive, but the guides will be able to give you a window of time when you meet for the gear check.

Mailbox Peak

Kelly and I climbed Mailbox Peak last week. 4000 ft vertical over 2 miles, and we made it to the top in 2 hours. The view 360 and pretty spectacular!! We could see Rainier the whole way up, a constant reminder of what I am training for! It was beautiful...here are some photos :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Climb to Fight Breast Cancer Donation Deadline

I have almost reached my fundraising goal of $5,000 to benefit breast cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center!!! I am working to raise the money by June 1st and I am only a couple hundred short--please spread the word to family and friends. Donations can be made by visiting the following site: http://getinvolved.fhcrc.org/site/TR?px=1037181&pg=personal&fr_id=1040

Or can be mailed to: Heather Ann Brauer; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; 1100 Fairview Ave N; M5-C800; Seattle, WA 98109.
Email me with questions: hbrauer@fhcrc.org

If you scroll down you can read about my inspiration to climb! And my first training climb this weekend on Mount Baker :)

Mount Baker I

Kyle, Leah, Chris, and I headed to Hamilton, Washington on Saturday morning to begin our trek towards the summit of Mount Baker. The road was snowed in to about a mile beyond the trailhead, so we parked, packed up, and started towards the trailhead. Because of the snow and not so clearly marked trails we headed in on the wrong trail--so we climbed up and down a few steep ridges. (see photo to the right of Chris heading up one of these ridges) Using Chris' and Kyle's incredible navigation skills, a compass, and a GPS we finally found ourselves in the valley below the ridge we needed for base camp. Unfortunately, there were a few obstacles...too big double plastic boots, the weather had began to chance (lots of snow and high avalance danger), Kyle wasn't feeling great, and we weren't as far as we had hoped due to the trail issues. So, we set up camp prepared to re-evaluate the situation in a few hours. The snow kept falling as a few hours passed and we decided that it would be best to forego the summit attempt. We slept through the night waking up in a cloud of fog, packed up, and headed back out through the valley and onto the correct trail. The trip was a blast despite the inability to summit--I learned so much about mountaineering and gear in my first trip of such nature. We are going to attempt to summit with better weather and better boots in 3-4 weeks. Here are some photos, a snapshot of what's to come!!! You can see more photos below by clicking on the northern most flag on the map (Hamilton, Washington).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Climb to Fight Breast Cancer

As the summer is rapidly approaching, I am gearing up to climb Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier is a beautifully sculpted dormant volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and glacial ice. Located south of Seattle, Washington, its peak reaches 14,411 feet into the clouds. When I first decided to embark on this adventure, I decided that I wanted a purpose for this strenuous multi-day climb, something to make this challenge worthwhile. When I first heard about the “Climb to Fight Breast Cancer,” I knew that was it.

The “Climb to Fight Breast Cancer” is close to my heart for a few reasons. As many of you know, I am currently working on my thesis for my doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology in Paul Lampe’s lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. My thesis focuses on the discovery of human plasma biomarkers to aid in the early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer. While my project is far from finding a cure, the finding of these biomarkers could dramatically decrease the mortality rate associated with breast cancer and better the quality of life for breast cancer patients and their families.

As I train for the next couple of months and then in July strap on my crampons and grab my ice axe, I will be doing it in honor of my mother, Cindy Brauer, and her best friend, my Aunt Judy Connell. On a beautiful day in Seattle you can see the magnificent backdrop of Mount Rainier: a symbol of beauty, grace, and strength. Thus, it is only fitting that I dedicate my climb to two beautiful women who carry themselves with immense grace. They are both incredibly strong breast cancer survivors. My mother has been a constant model of love and perseverance in my life, always giving to others with all of her heart. So, as I climb towards the heavens, in her honor I will pray for all families that have been affected by cancer.

The “Climb to Fight Breast Cancer” is sponsored by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and is in its ninth year. The program has raised more than $1.75 million for breast cancer research at the Center. As a climber, I will be working to raise $5,000. I’d like to ask for your donation. Every little bit helps. You can donate by visiting the following site:

If you’d like to donate via mail, please send a check made out to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to:
Heather Ann Brauer
1100 Fairview Ave. N.
Mailstop M5-C800
Seattle, WA 98112

In the end, it won’t really matter if we reach the summit of Mount Rainier this July. Either way the trip will be successful because of the money raised for breast cancer research. Together, someday, we will win this fight.

Thank you for your support,
Heather Ann Brauer