FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS SEEK THE PEAK?
It is the annual peer-to-peer fundraiser for the non-profit Mount Washington Observatory, where participants from across the region and beyond get outdoors to hike in support of the "Obs." Hikers solicit contributions to the observatory from friends, family and coworkers beforehand, and on July 15, hike their trail of choice. Then, they gather that evening and celebrate at our after-party, with great food, music, fun and prizes. Participants may also decide to hike on a different date and may choose a trail anywhere in the world! This is a great option too!
DO YOU HAVE TO BE AN OBSERVATORY MEMBER TO PARTICIPATE?
Nope! Anyone interested in supporting MWOBS can participate, and all participants are encouraged to select a hike based on their own ability.
IS IT A GUIDED ACTIVITY?
No, Seek the Peak participants hike on their own in their location of choice on whatever day and time they choose. However, many participants create their own group of friends or family to join them, or register for our "Hike and Make Friends" option. Participants are strongly encouraged to participate within their comfort zone. There is no requirement to summit Mount Washington or do any specific activitiy.
WHAT IS THE "HIKE AND MAKE FRIENDS" PROGRAM?
Hike and Make Friends is a new initiative that gives hikers the option to be paired with up to 3 other participants of similar ability level, in order to complete a hike of their choosing. Participants registering for this option must be able to do their hike on Saturday, July 15 and meet at Pinkham Notch at their designated registration time. Gentle Breeze hikers meet at registration at 7 a.m., Near Gale hikers meet at registration at 7:15 a.m., and Hurricane Force hikers meet at registration at 7:30 a.m. All Hike and Make Friends participants must agree to have their email shared with up to 3 other participants so that they may coordinate hiking routes beforehand. Or, chat with a trail steward, MWOBS volunteer, or AMC staff member to help determine a local hike suited to your ability level.
WHAT HIKE AND MAKE FRIENDS REGISTRATION CATEGORY SHOULD I SIGN UP FOR?
Hike and Make Friends is non-competetive, and you should select the category that most describes your hiking pace and style, keeping in mind that when hiking in a group, the pace should be matched to that of slowest hiker so as to not get separated. The Gentle Breeze category is for hikers who like to take their time and enjoy a slower pace, making numerous stops per hour to rest, snack, or take photographs. The Near Gale category is for hikers who prefer to move steadily, at a moderate pace, with a stop or two per hour to refuel, add or remove layers, or snap a quick photo. The Hurricane Force category is for hikers who like to move quickly and are comfortable doing so on all types of terrain. These hikers stop only to quickly refuel or add/remove layers, as they do not require extended rest times.
FOR HIKERS OF MOUNT WASHINGTON - IS THERE A SHUTTLE DOWN FROM THE SUMMIT?
The Mt. Washington Auto Road (a separate entity from Mount Washington Observatory) offers a hiker shuttle to the general public and will add additional shuttles on Seek the Peak Saturday. The shuttle travels the Auto Road on the east side of the mountain, and will drop hikers at Pinkham Notch or Great Glen Trails (the base of the Auto Road). Shuttle seats are sold on a first come, first seved basis at the Summit Stage Office for $55 per person. You can make arrangements for your friends/family to pick you up on the summit by vehicle, but please understand that they will be subject to fees the Auto Road charges for use of their toll road and opening/closing time constraints. For more information, contact the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
CAN CHILDREN PARTICIPATE?
Yes, we love inspiring young outdoor enthusiasts and encourage you to select a hike geared toward their ability level. We recommend reviewing the Hike Safe page, consulting the Appalachian Mountain Club and educating yourself about the weather conditions using our Higher Summits Forecast. If you think a hike will be too much for your little one, opt for a different activity like a nature walk at Great Glen Trails. Lastly, for participants under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must agree to the waiver on the registration site giving consent to participate.
WHAT IF IT RAINS?
The event is held rain or shine, so be prepared for all conditions! Check our Higher Summits Forecast the night before and morning of your outing to know what to expect.
CAN I BRING A GUEST TO THE AFTER PARTY?
Absolutely! If you meet certain fundraising thresholds, you can win entry for additional guest-entry tickets to our Apre Hike Party. See our Prize Page for details. Apres Hike Party tickets are also available through our registration page. Food, alcohol, and raffle tickets may be purchased inside the event. Hikers who have paid the $50 registration fee receive a food voucher as a part of their registration.
WHAT DO I DO WITH CASH AND CHECKS?
Enter the donations on your QGiv account page and mail or deliver all offline donations (ie., cash or checks) to the Observatory's administrative offices by Friday, July 14, 2023. Please do not send cash through the mail; we recommend depositing cash gifts and writing us a check for the total, with the donor's names written on your pledge form. Our mailing address is:
Mount Washington Observatory
Attn: Seek the Peak
PO Box 2310
North Conway NH 03860
WHO SHOULD THE CHECKS BE MADE OUT TO?
Please make checks payable to Mount Washington Observatory.
CAN MY PARTNER AND I SIGN UP UNDER A SINGLE REGISTRATION?
You can, but we don't recommend it. One registration = one goodie bag, one t-shirt, one set of fundraising incentives, one ticket to the after party, one food voucher etc. Each hiker, as an individual, must raise the $300 fundraising minimum in order to receive their own STP backpack.
HOW DO I GET ONE OF THOSE GREAT HIKER GOODIE BAGS?
Seek the Peak backpacks are guaranteed for the first 500 hikers that raise the $300 fundraising minimum. To make sure you're among the first 500 people, register now and start fundraising ASAP! If you collect offline donations (ie., cash or checks), mail them in as you receive them. Offline donations do not count towards your official fundraising total until they are received by us.
CAN I JUST TURN IN ALL OF MY DONATIONS ON SEEK THE PEAK SATURDAY?
You can, but we don't recommend it. There might not be any goodie bags left by Saturday, and prize raffle eligibility is determined on Friday, so donations turned in on Saturday will not be counted towards your prize raffle eligibility. The safest bet is to mail in your donations well in advance of the Friday, July 14, 2023 deadline.
IF I WANT TO HIKE - WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO THE SUMMIT? WHAT'S THE BEST TRAIL FOR A BEGINNER?
There are many trails ascending Mount Washington, each offering a slightly different experience. If you are new to the area, we recommend purchasing a quality guidebook like the Appalachian Mountain Club's White Mountain Guide, and using its maps and trail descriptions to devise a route that fits your group's abilities and ambitions. Total novices may also find it helpful to call the Appalachian Mountain Club directly at their Pinkham Notch Visitor Center (located at major trailheads on the east side of Mount Washington) or their Highland Center (located at major trailheads on the west side of Mount Washington) to ask for their expert advice.
Remember: While there is no "easy" way up Mount Washington, there are many trail options in the area for those who are not ready to summit. If you are unsure of your ability to make it to the top, choose a shorter route or simply go halfway. Seek the Peak isn't a race – it's all about enjoying this place we call home, and making it down in time for the after party!
WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE SUMMIT?
Shhh. We won't tell! Kidding aside, always hike within your own limits and abilities. Hiking Mount Washington is a formidable challenge, even for seasoned hikers. However, with the right trail selection and the proper gear, it can be a great day for everyone. If you aren't able to do the summit hike, an AMC staff member at registration can help you select another great hike.
WHEN CAN I START COLLECTING PLEDGE MONEY?
Ready... set... go! You can start collecting donations right now!
WHAT ARE SOME ALTERNATIVE HIKES IF I DON'T WANT TO HIKE MOUNT WASHINGTON?
Mount Willard: This 2,864-foot summit in Crawford Notch is a relatively short hike for an incredible vantage point. The easy-to-moderate 3-mile round-trip along an old carriage road starts on US Rte. 302 near AMC’s Highland Center.
Lonesome Lake: This well traveled loop begins at Lafayette Place Campground off Rte. I-93 South in Franconia Notch. At 3-miles round trip, the trail is rated as moderate, with one section of steeper switchbacks. Highlights include views of Franconia Ridge and Lonesome Lake, where you can visit the AMC hut. Bring money for a snack and say hello to the AMC caretakers!
Mount Chocura: Enjoy 360-degree views from this rugged summit. Moderate-level paths to the top include Piper Trail (4.2 miles each way from Route 16) and Champney Falls Trail (7.6 miles from the Kancamagus Highway).
Mount Kearsarge North: Reaching this 3,268-foot peak includes a 6.2-mile moderately difficult round trip from Hurricane Mountain Road. The Popular Pequawket Fire Tower offers a grand 360-degree view.
Baldface Loop: Near vertical rock faces offer a rewarding ridge walk and stunning views from the 3,570-foot South Baldface and 3,610-foot North Baldface peaks. The 10-mile loop begins on Route 113 in North Chatham.
Great Glen Trails: 45K of trails open for running and walking, no trail pass required!
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO IF I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?
We're here to help. Call Mount Washington Observatory at (603) 356-2137 x235 or email email@example.com.