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10th Annual Seek the Peak Hike-a-Thon Raises $197,000 for Mount Washington Observatory

MOUNT WASHINGTON, NHMount Washington Observatory's 10th annual Seek the Peak hike-a-thon fundraiser was a blockbuster event by all regards. Drawing over 500 hikers and their families to Mount Washington Valley last Friday and Saturday, Seek the Peak 10 raised $197,000 for the nonprofit research and educational organization. The record-breaking total is a combination of ticket sales to the Assembly of Dust benefit concert and individual hiker pledges. Surpassing the 2009 total by a whopping $80,000, funds raised at this year's event bring the ten-year Seek the Peak fundraising total to nearly $700,000.

"We are absolutely thrilled with the success of this year's event," says Executive Director Scot Henley. "The dedication of our hikers is always humbling, and this year they really raised the bar. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a passionate group of supporters."

Presented this year by Stonyfield Farm, Subaru and L.L.Bean, Seek the Peak is the Observatory's largest annual fundraiser. Hikers register for free on SeekthePeak.org, then solicit pledges from friends and family. A record 479 people met or exceeded the event's $100 fundraising minimum, 24 of whom raised $1,000 or more. The top fundraiser, Observatory member and volunteer Ed O'Malley of Mantoloking, New Jersey, single-handedly raised $7,551. All proceeds help to support the Observatory's work in weather observation, research and education on Mount Washington.

"Seek the Peak 10 was by far the most successful event in the 78-year history of the Observatory," says Membership & Events Coordinator Karen Hemeon. "The addition of co-presenting sponsor Stonyfield Farm and the new Friday night concert, combined with a record number of registrants, took the event to a whole new level."

Observatory Marketing & Communications Coordinator Cara Rudio agrees, adding that the event's great freebies help motivate hikers to raise more money. "We roll out the red carpet for our participants. In return for the hard work they do raising money for us, we throw them a great kick-off party and a huge after party, with awesome food, live music, and amazing prizes."

More than $50,000 in prizes were given to Seek the Peak hikers this year, including a $500 shopping spree at Settler's Green Outlet Village Plus, a winter Mount Washington Observatory overnight EduTrip for two, a one-year lease on a Subaru Outback, an L.L.Bean family canoe package, and "Keys to the Castle," a winter summit adventure for the winner and five friends. Additionally, all those who raised $1,000 or more received a specially-embroidered Seek the Peak fleece jacket from L.L.Bean.

"Our sponsors and prize donors make this event possible," notes Hemeon. "We sincerely thank every sponsor, hiker, and donor for their generous support."

"Seek the Peak truly has emerged as New England's premier hiking event," says Henley. "I can only imagine where Seek the Peak 11 will take us!"

To learn more about Seek the Peak, visit SeekthePeak.org or call (603) 356-2137, 230. Registration for Seek the Peak 11 is scheduled to open December 1, 2010.

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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