TMC surgeons eye Mt. Rainier as the next challenge to conquer

TMC Chief of Staff Michael Probstfeld and four other TMC surgeons hope to unfurl this flag atop Mt. Rainier next week.

They’ve conquered medical school, residencies and fellowships; they’ve operated on thousands of patients, sometimes delving into difficult and intricate cases requiring a steady hand, precision, skill, concentration and talent. Now a covey of TMC surgeons heads to Seattle as they use many of the same traits that make them fine surgeons in an attempt to conquer Mt. Rainier.

“Surgeons are hard-driven, Type A personalities looking for the next challenge,” said TMC Chief of Staff Michael Probstfeld, a general and vascular surgeon who has been climbing for more than 13 years.

He joins surgeons Tom Harmon, Luis Leon, John Pacanowski and Paul Yurkanin as they head out for Washington this weekend where they will spend Monday and Tuesday getting oriented and going to mountaineering school. They will learn and practice snow climbing techniques as well as rescue skills. Glaciers, avalanches, crevasses and blizzards could thwart their aim.

On Wednesday, they’ll trek up half way to Camp Muir and set up their base camp. The next day, they’ll get up very early, sometime between midnight and 1 a.m., for a day that, if conditions permit, includes ascending to the summit of Mt. Rainier.

“There’s this feeling you get being at the summit; it’s like being at the top of the world,” Probstfeld said.

The quintet will then high-tail it back down to Camp Muir, pick up their gear and head back down the mountain to warm beds. “It’s going to be a long day, 12-18 hours,” Probstfeld said.

But one that’s more than worth it to counquer the mountain and look down from the top of the world.

The TMC family wishes the TMC Summit Team, as the surgeons have named themselves, safe travels. We look forward to sharing the photos (and maybe video) as they raise a flag at the summit in honor of their achievement and their hospital.

And TMC boasts another mountaineer. Though not a surgeon, Frank Marini, TMC’s chief information officer, has conquered his share of peaks … and other mountainous challenges.


  1. […] made it to base camp June 20, but injury and illness sidelined two from heading to the top. (Read TMC surgeons eye Mt. Rainier as the next challenge to conquer for trip […]

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