Nearly 500 participants venture to the Mount Washington Valley to participate in Seek the Peak
North Conway, NH – July 25, 2019 – Mount Washington Observatory’s Seek the Peak (STP) drew nearly 500 participants to the White Mountains of N.H. despite oppressive heat last Saturday. Presented by Eastern Mountain Sports, Oboz Footwear and Mt. Washington Auto Road. The event continues to be the largest annual fundraiser for the non-profit Mount Washington Observatory.
“Our hikers, partners and vendors always make this such a special weekend,” says Observatory Executive Director Sharon Schilling. “We were concerned about the heat and many participants opted for alternative hikes or to postpone their hike to a different day but it did not dampen the spirits at the kick-off party or vendor expo and award ceremony.”
The summit reached a high of 67 degrees that day while at many trailheads temperatures were into the 80s and 90s.
The two-day event, held Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20, kicked off Friday night with free food and drinks from Flatbread Company and Tuckerman Brewing Company at the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center. The Appalachian Mountain Club was on hand to provide trail advice for hikers and Oboz with footwear advice. On Saturday participants headed out on the trail with many summiting Mount Washington where they were welcomed at the Mt. Washington Sherman Adams State Park building for a tour of the observatory weather station put on by weather observers and trustees. The event culminated Saturday afternoon with a vendor expo and awards ceremony at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, featuring 20 vendor booths, music from local WMWV DJs, food and hundreds of prizes and emcee’d by Randy Propster from Backpacker Magazines “Get Out More Tour”.
All hikers who met the event’s $200 fundraising minimum were given a STP T-shirt and an Eastern Mountain Sports Day Pack loaded with freebies including Good Vibes Coffee, Adventure Medical Kit, Nikwax samples and other items.
This year there was a special scenario where the top individual fundraiser also captained the top fundraising team and additionally was awarded the Brad Bradstreet Award. Chris Nichols of Westford, MA, an eleven-year veteran of Seek the Peak, personally raised over $11,000 and his team, The Nichols Clan, raised over $14,000 earning "The Keys to the Castle" a special winter trip to the summit. This year’s Seek the Peak was bittersweet for the Nichols family who lost Chris’ brother Geoff Nichols of Bartlett, N.H. last September at the young age of 56. Geoff was looking forward to participating in this year’s hike as he had in years past. It was with a heavy heart but many special memories that the family gathered on the summit for sunrise to celebrate Geoff’s life.
In factoring only a team of 8, per the rules of the event, the Kilted Hiker team placed second collectively raising $8,960. The longtime loyal participants also personally donated an Observatory Distance Learning Program to the Mason & Mason Insurance kids raffle for hikers age 12 and under.
Not an official award but The Seekers team, captained by Leslie Schomaker of Jackson N.H., were highlighted as the most enthusiastic team having 21 participants and raising over $9,000.
Along with team prizes participants were entered into a raffle offering up thousands of dollars of prizes including tents, sleeping pads and bags, hammocks, coolers, camp chairs, an airplane ride and more.
“No other event rewards its participants like Seek the Peak,” says event manager Krissy Fraser. “We are incredibly thankful for our sponsors, who make these great prizes and incentives possible.”
The 20th annual Seek the Peak event is slated for July 17-18, 2020, with registration opening on December 1, 2019. To learn more about becoming an event participant, sponsor, or volunteer, visit SeekthePeak.org or call (603) 356-2137x 231.