North Conway, NH – July 19, 2021 – The non-profit Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) is thrilled with the success of its 21st annual Seek the Peak that took place on Saturday, July 17, raising over $125,000 in pledges alone. A little rain did not dampen the spirits of the participants and vendors who gathered in celebration of the event at the Great Glen Trails field at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
“We can’t thank our participants and sponsors enough for their continued commitment to making this event successful,” said Interim Executive Director Donna Dunn. “We didn’t know what to expect for turn-out both onsite and in the fundraising arena as we are all still feeling the impact of the pandemic, but we are just amazed at the physical turn-out and for the funds raised. We are so thankful for the support and dedication of everyone involved in this event.”
Seek the Peak is a critical fundraiser for MWO with all of the proceeds going toward their work in weather observation, education and climate research atop Mount Washington. There were many familiar names in the top tiers including Chris Nichols as the top fundraiser at $10,630, followed by Lee Eckhart with the iconic $6,288, and Brad Griswold raising $5,000. The fearless felines also proved to be successful with Nimbus the Cat, MWO’s summit cat, raising over $4,000 and Mel Elam and her famous hiking cat Floki raising over $3,000 for the cause.
There was a great team effort as well with the top 10 teams collectively raising nearly $50K, including many that participate annually – The Nichols Clan, Team Dodge, Kilted Hikers, Team Monahan, The Seekers/The Seekers Too, Lily Goats, Peak Potential, Sunny Salisbury, and the Meowtaineers – made of up MWO’s Summit staff including observers and interns.
Building off of 20 successful years as a hike-a-thon, Seek the Peak 2021 took on a new shape incorporating a multi-sport concept including hiking, biking, trail running, rock climbing, kayaking, yoga and fly fishing. Many participants still opted to hike Mount Washington and others took advantage of the many guided options or the 5k trail race that took place at Great Glen Trails.
“Coming off of such a wild year, we are thrilled with the event and the enthusiasm behind the expanded concept incorporating many guided options in a variety of outdoor sports,” said Director of Marketing and Communications Krissy Fraser. “We are so thankful to our participants who tried new activities and for the guides and organizations who are so supportive of helping us take this event to the next level.”
Several guided options were available for participants reaching various fundraising goals. Avid Seek the Peaker and hiking enthusiasts Johanna Vienneau opted to do her hike earlier in the week and took advantage of the ½ day wildlife paddle lead by Great Glen Trails expert paddler Nate Harvey. Harvey will also lead a White-Water rafting trip with first-time participant Mark Bunker. Bunker is new to the event but fundraised this year to honor his dad, Briggs Bunker, who was on the local WMWV morning weather show for 45 years.
Long-time participants, the Nowicki family, fully embraced the multisport concept over their vacation taking advantage of the area attractions with bike rides, hikes and ultimately participating in the STP 5k trail run taking place at the Great Glen Trails. The course was mapped out and the race executed by volunteer Frank Holmes representing the White Mountain Milers along with the support of North Conway’s EMS store manager Tracy Marnich.
Despite a rainy forecast, the culminating event of Seek the Peak — the after-party celebrating its participants — was a tremendous success, with participants meandering through the vendor village and enjoying live music and great food from local food trucks.
Several event sponsors were onsite to showcase goods, services, clinics and friendly expertise. Anchored by Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out Tour, Eastern Mountain Sports, and Oboz Footwear, the exhibitors had lots of amazing gear to give away to participants. Granite Outdoor Alliance (GOA) had a large presence as they launched their Rock City featuring many NH companies such as NEMO, Ragged Mountain Equipment, Burgeon and more. Many nonprofits supporting outdoor recreation were also onsite to share their expertise.
Participants were rewarded for their fundraising efforts with a gear giveaway, thanks to supporting sponsors including Big Agnes, Cotopaxi, Garmin, FarBank Fly Fishing, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, and Smartwool to name a few.
Seek the Peak is made possible with support from additional sponsors including GOA, Garmin, Smartwool, The Mt. Washington Auto Road., Martini Northern, First Light, White Mountain Oil, Eastern Slope Inn, Northway Bank, Melcher Prescott Insurance, Settlers Green, Delta Dental, and WMWV 93.5.
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