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Amputee hikes White Mountains to raise awareness, money for people with disabilities

Dana Albrycht, aka "Crutchwalker," finished the last mile to the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. Albrycht, who had his right leg removed as a baby, is a two-time record holder for swimming in the Paralympics and the former world record holder for the fastest marathon on crutches.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

PRESIDENTIAL TRAVERSE, N.H. -- When Dana Albrycht began planning for his annual hike, he decided that this year it needed to be big.

He chose the Presidential Traverse, a formidable string of eight summits stretching through the White Mountains of New Hampshire that includes the highest peak in the northeastern United States — Mount Washington. Albrycht, who had his right leg removed when he was 11 months old, hiked 21 miles from just before midnight on Sept. 19 to early evening on Sept. 21 when he finished — the most miles he ever logged in a two-day span.


As he planned the trip with three of his best friends, Albrycht, whose trail name is Crutchwalker, knew that he wanted use this hike to make a difference. The pandemic was having a severe impact on local and regional adaptive programs that serve people with disabilities where he lives in Simsbury, Conn., and he felt he had found an opportunity to create a fund-raiser to give back to the programs that he finds to be so crucial.

Albrycht has raised more than $7,000 through GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/crutchwalker-hiking-to-help-the-disabled ) and plans to distribute the donations among the following organizations and programs that directly serve the disabled community: The Hospital for Special Care Adaptive Sports Program, Children and Teens Living with a Disability Mentorship Program, New England Disabled Sports, and True Adaptive LLC.

"There was never a single moment I regretted taking on this challenge, said Albrycht, after finishing the hike last week. “I live for trying to push my body to its limits and showing others what is possible for someone who is facing some sort of obstacle, and in my case that’s having a disability.”

Dana Albrycht (center) looked out over the White Mountains while hiking the Presidential Traverse with his friends Brett Attmore (left) and Michael Thompson.Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Dana Albrycht navigated boulders as he headed north on the Presidential Traverse after summiting Mount Washington. Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Dana Albrycht (left) hugged his mother, Cherilyn Albrycht, after summiting Mount Washington.Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Dana Albrycht walked through an opening in the trees as he finished the last stretch of the Presidential Traverse. Erin Clark/Globe Staff