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13th Annual Seek the Peak Hike-a-thon Raises $240,000 for Nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory

MOUNT WASHINGTON, NH—July 23, 2013—Despite an ominous forecast predicting hurricane-force winds, severe thunderstorms and hail, an estimated 400 hikers and their families came out for Mount Washington Observatory’s 13th annual Seek the Peak hike-a-thon July 19-21. To avoid the dangerous conditions, participants were directed to hike on Sunday instead of the usual Saturday ascent, and were rewarded for their efforts with more than $30,000 in prizes and incentives, as well as a huge after party with live music and an all-you-can-eat feast. The event was presented by Eastern Mountain Sports, Subaru and Vasque, with support from Fairpoint Communications and Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Hampshire.

“Our ‘lucky’ number thirteen event threw us a major curveball with the weather, but our hikers adjusted their plans accordingly and I’m happy to report that everyone enjoyed the weekend without incident,” says Mount Washington Observatory Executive Director Scot Henley.

The usual two-day event began with free food and drinks from Flatbread Company and Tuckerman Brewing Company on Friday, July 19, followed by the famous after party on Saturday, July 20. Due to Saturday’s severe weather, the hike was moved to Sunday, July 21, when hikers enjoyed a complimentary tour of  Mount Washington Observatory’s mountaintop weather station.

All hikers who met the event’s $200 fundraising minimum were given an Eastern Mountain Sports Techwick t-shirt and an EMS day pack loaded with freebies. Those who exceeded the $200 minimum were awarded incentives based on their fundraising total, including headlamps, multi-tools, jackets, tents, kayaks and more.

The top fundraiser was Chris Choma of Reading, MA, who single-handedly raised $19,025. He was rewarded for his efforts with a “Keys to the Castle” ultimate Mount Washington adventure featuring private snow cat transportation and overnight accommodations for six at the Observatory’s mountaintop weather station. Choma’s team, Team Chawkanaw, clenched first place in the team division with $20,000 raised, and were each awarded $100 gift cards to Eastern Mountain Sports. The second place team, The Kilted Hikers, raised $8,662.20 and received $50 gift cards. 36 hikers raised $1,000 or more, each receiving an Eastern Mountain Sports soft shell jacket embroidered with the Mount Washington Observatory and Seek the Peak logos.

Other prizes included a one-year lease on a 2014 Subaru Outback, a $500 shopping spree at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village, an all-inclusive Mount Washington Observatory winter day trip for two, a $250 Eastern Mountain Sports gift card, and outdoor gear and gadgets ranging from boots, to backpacks, to GPS units.

“Prizes provide a powerful incentive for our participants,” says Events and Marketing Manager Krissy Fraser, “and our sponsors make that possible. We are incredibly thankful for their support.”

Seek the Peak has raised more than $1.3 million over its thirteen year history, supporting the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory’s work in weather observation, research and education. This success has been possible not only through the efforts of dedicated hikers, their donors, and corporate sponsors, but also a small army of volunteers.

“54 volunteers donated their time and talents this year,” says Fraser. “It’s an understatement to say that this event would not be possible without them.”

The 14th annual event will be held July 18-19, 2014, and registration is scheduled to open December 2, 2013. To learn more about becoming an event participant, sponsor, or volunteer, visit SeekthePeak.org or call (603) 356-2137, 231.

About Mount Washington Observatory
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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