Hundreds turned out on Thursday to ring in the New Year by taking the Polar Plunge challenge by running into the chilly waters of Pontiac Bay, on the shores of Lake Washington.
Participants braved the cold, 47-degree waters up to at least their necks to earn the coveted badge of courage. For many the event is an annual ritual—a number of bathrobes and hats were adorned with badges from years past.
The event, which began in 2003, is on its 15th year. Initially attracting only a few hundred, it has quickly grown to become one of the larger polar plunge events in the city. Similar events were held on Alki Beach, Magnuson Park, and elsewhere.