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Premier Hiking Event on Mount Washington to Take Place This Weekend

North Conway, NH – July 23, 2009 – Even the struggling economy and dismal weather can’t keep Mount Washington Observatory’s passionate fans from making their annual pilgrimage to the northeast’s tallest peak. This Saturday, a record crowd of more than 400 hikers are expected to scale Mount Washington in support of the Observatory during the ninth annual Seek the Peak hike-a-thon fundraiser.

Participants this year hail from places as far flung as Kentucky and British Columbia, ranging in age from 7 to 70. They come from all walks of life, with varying degrees of hiking experience. Most have never met, and some have never even been to the summit before. The one thing they all share in common is their love for Mount Washington, and their desire to help support the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory.

“The Observatory is not like other nonprofits,” says Observatory member Brad Bradstreet. “You get to really be a part of what the organization is doing, with access to the weather station, the observers, and up-to-the-minute weather data on the website.”

A three-time Seek the Peak participant, Bradstreet is traveling from his home in Durham, North Carolina for the event. “Seek The Peak is my chance to give back to an organization that gives me so much.”

Bradstreet’s sentiment seems to be a popular one, as more Observatory fans than ever have registered to hike in this year’s event. Their combined efforts have already raised almost $100,000 for the nonprofit Observatory.

“Fundraising in the current economy is challenging,” states Observatory Executive Director Scot Henley. “The fact that this year’s Seek the Peak is shaping up to be the largest, most successful fundraising event we’ve ever had, speaks to the dedication of our members and fans.”

Started in 2001, Seek the Peak has raised over $380,000 for the nonprofit Observatory over the past eight years. Hikers register for free, and then solicit donations from friends and family. $100 or more earns participants an event t-shirt, goodie bag, and entry into the highly anticipated awards bash following the hike. Prizes this year include gift cards from L.L.Bean, a $500 shopping spree at Settler’s Green Outlet Village, a guided fly fishing trip with Clearwater Fly Shop, a winter 2010 overnight on the summit of Mount Washington on an Observatory EduTrip, a one-year lease on a brand new 2010 Subaru Outback, two L.L.Bean Manatee Deluxe Kayak packages, and much, much more.

“The Subaru is mine this year!” jokes Bradstreet. As one of twelve Seek the Peak participants to have raised more than $1,000 to date—the minimum to be entered into the drawing for the car—he stands a good chance.

“Our hikers work hard for the Observatory, and we work hard to compile a great list of prizes,” Henley explains. “There’s nothing better than seeing that tent full of very excited, passionate people. The awards bash is a great way to end an amazing day on the mountain we all love.”

With more than 400 hikers registered to hike, that’s a whole lotta love.

“Mount Washington is at the heart of everything we do, everything we are, and everything we stand for,” says Henley. “Seek the Peak is a chance for our fans to share in that passion, while helping to support our work in this incredible place.”

Seek the Peak 9 is presented once again by Subaru and L.L.Bean. For more information about the event, visit SeekthePeak.org or call (603) 356-2137, extension 230.

Mount Washington Observatory is a private, non-profit, member-supported organization with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements in one of the most extreme locations on Earth, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For information, call (800) 706-0432 or visit MountWashington.org.

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