Climb for a Cure

What began with just 12 participants climbing to inspire others facing a figurative mountain and raising $500, has evolved into a flagship fundraising event for Fight Colorectal Cancer, raising over $1 million to date.


Climb for a Cure 2024

Every year, relentless champions join Climb for a Cure to connect with and honor fellow survivors and caregivers and remember the loved ones lost to colorectal cancer. Climb for a Cure pushes our community to new heights together while raising vital funds and awareness toward finding a cure.

For many, colorectal cancer is the biggest mountain they will ever face. Each year, our community of relentless climbers comes together to make an impact. We Climb for a Cure to explore new terrain for life-changing research.

Our Climb for a Cure community carries each other, ensuring no one falls; no one is left behind; no one fights alone.

Be a part of something bigger. Join us on July 20, where we are taking Climb for a Cure to new heights in the Smoky Mountains. With three trails to choose from, no matter the experience level, there’s a trail for everyone.

Trail Details

Little River
5 Miles | 3 Hours | 500 ft. Elevation Gain

The Little River Trail ascends a gentle grade along an old gravel railroad bed that parallels the river with the same name. The river itself is a beautiful cascading stream with large boulders and several small waterfalls. The headwaters for the Little River are located along the northern slopes of Clingmans Dome, just below the Appalachian Trail. From the highest mountain in the Smokies the river flows 60 miles to reach the Tennessee River near Alcoa. The river is now on the list of Outstanding National Resource Waters, which means it has the highest degree of protection. The exceptionally clean water of the Little River supports a wide variety of aquatic life, including the eastern hellbender, a giant salamander that can measure more than two feet in length.

Ramsey Cascade
8 miles | 5 hours | 2190 ft. Elevation Gain

The Ramsey Cascade trail runs alongside cascading streams and becomes progressively more difficult as it goes. As you get close to the end of the trail and the waterfall, the trail becomes more rugged as you scramble over rocks and roots and encounter a small rock staircase. You’ll need to rock hop one more stream and then scramble up some large boulders to get to the base of the waterfall. You may also want to bring a raincoat or poncho as the waterfall can produce a lot of mist if there is enough flow from recent rains. The reward for your efforts is a fabulous waterfall at the end.

Mount Le Conte Loop
14 miles | 7 hours | 5928 ft. Elevation Gain

This beautiful route is sure to be challenging and a crowd pleaser, as it has much to offer. Enjoy the mostly gentle ascent to the summit of Mt. Le Conte, where you’ll have access to beautiful views. Along the way, you’ll cross multiple scenic streams, and pass the unparalleled Grotto Falls, adding to the rugged feel. The way back from Mt. Le Conte is highlighted by the scenic Rainbow Falls.

Travel and Lodging

Hotel: Edgewater Hotel in Gatlinburg, TN

  • Edgewater Hotel, Gatlinburg, TN
  • Rooms are available from July 19-21 for $193/night.
  • To reserve your room, call Edgewater Hotel’s front desk and make a reservation under the Climb for a Cure room block.
  • Reserve your room by June 19 to secure the group rate of $193/night.

Airport: McGhee Tyson (Knoxville)

Located 12 miles south of Knoxville, TN, McGhee Tyson Airport is the closest airport to the Smoky Mountains. Without traffic, the drive from McGhee Tyson to downtown Gatlinburg is about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Although McGhee Tyson is a relatively small airport, it is served by several major airlines, including United, Delta, American, and Allegiant.

Both Uber and Lyft have drivers that frequent the airport. These services are typically more affordable than taxis and usually cost between $50-60.

Other airports within driving distance to Gatlinburg are:

  • Asheville Regional Airport – 2 hours from Gatlinburg
  • Tri-Cities Regional Airport – 2 hours from Gatlinburg
  • Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport – 2 hours, 30 minutes from Gatlinburg
  • Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport – 3 hours from Gatlinburg

Local Attractions

If you’ve never been to Gatlinburg, TN, you’re in for a treat! Between the beautiful scenery and wildlife to the kitschy tourist attractions like mini golf, go cart racing, Dollywood, and more, there’s something for everyone. Known as a kid-friendly vacation destination, Gatlinburg and the neighboring city of Pigeon Forge are the perfect places for a family vacation before or after the Climb.

Chris Ganser Scholarship

The Chris Ganser Climb for a Cure Scholarship offers a distinctive chance for two colorectal cancer survivors and one caregiver to have their registration, travel, and lodging covered for Climb for a Cure. The scholarship serves as a tribute to Chris Ganser, one of the co-founders of the Climb, celebrating his passion for climbing and defeating colorectal cancer.

“It’s easy to feel a sting of defeat from colorectal cancer. Your body takes a bruising that on your worst days, you question if you’ll ever recover. But the human body, just like the human spirit, is resilient. Our group of hikers who took on Longs Peak in Colorado showed us that. This group of survivors, caregivers, and friends scaled mountains to support those in the fight. They inspired us and encouraged us.”

Chris Ganser, stage IV, co-founder of Climb for a Cure

Applications for the 2024-2025 class have now closed.

Climb for a Cure Impact

Colorectal Cancer is the No.1 cancer killer for men under 50, and #2 cancer killer for women under 50.

At Fight CRC, we recognize the urgent need for innovative research and support for those affected by colorectal cancer. With more and more young people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, showing the impact of the disease on new generations, we are committed to funding research that improves treatment options, outcomes, and quality of life for patients.

Over the last eight years, Climb for a Cure participants and supporters have raised over $1 million! One hundred percent of funds raised through Climb for a Cure support cancer research, grants, and convening leaders to support our Path to a Cure initiative.

Funded Research Projects

Early-age Onset Colorectal Cancer Research: $55,000

Fight CRC granted $55,000 to Dr. Molmenti and Heather Hampel, MS, CGC, for early-age onset colorectal cancer research. Their findings underscored the vital risks and the need for prompt screening in high-risk groups.

2022 CGA-IGC Early-Career Award: $30,000

With CGA-IGC, we awarded Dr. Yen $15,000 for familial CRC communication. His pilot increased endoscopist record updates by 30%, enhancing awareness of familial risks.

Early-age Onset Colorectal Cancer Think Tank: $75,000

Our 2023 initiatives were aimed at transforming the landscape of early-age onset colorectal cancer. Through our Early-age Onset Research Think Tank, we didn’t just build on past efforts, but we set ambitious goals to change the future of diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.

International Research Symposium: $50,000

Fight CRC invested $50,000 in convening an international research symposium on early-age onset colorectal cancer.

Path to a Cure Initiative: $75,000

We launched our Path to a Cure report – our plan for the future of colorectal cancer. $75,000 was allocated toward bringing together experts for a Think Tank discussion about treatment gaps.

Tempus Fellowship: $450,000

We’ve endowed $150,000 yearly in a three-year Tempus fellowship, focusing on the use of biomarker testing, AI, and genomics to advance colorectal cancer care and critical cancer research.

2023 CGA-IGC Early-Career Award: $30,000

The 2023 CGA-IGC and Fight CRC Early Career Award was granted to Dr. Alessandro Mannucci of the Beckman Research Institute. Dr. Mannucci’s work is dedicated to gastrointestinal cancer, with a focus on hereditary cancer syndromes and early-age onset cancers.

Fight CRC Clinical Trial Finder: $50,000

We’ve provided $50,000 to enhance our clinical trial finder to feature MSS and MSI-High trials, specifically tailored for those battling metastatic colorectal cancer.


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