A look at mile-high life

2009-12-08 23:43:58.000 – Marty Basch and Jan Duprey,  Summit Volunteers


We are volunteer rockpile rookies, on the tail end of a whirlwind week on thesummit. From circumnavigating the observation deck seven times in 84 mile per hourwinds to organizing and taking inventory of the freezers, we are having a first-handlook at mile-high life.

It’s not too shabby.

We are a couple, a team, which basically boils down to this: Jan cooks, Martyfetches. That would be Marty the person, not Marty the cat. It really isn’t all thatconfusing. Neither Brian Clark, Mike Finnegan or Will Tourtellot really want toscratch Marty (the person) behind the ears or rub his belly.Jan has been filling bellies. Over the course of the week, she has preparedshepherd’s pie, chicken cacciatore, turkey with a lovely swirl of potatoes and yamsand other tasty meals. She’s baked too, making the necessary ingredient adjustmentsfor high altitude baking for treats like pumpkin pie, blueberry squares andwhirl-a-gig cookies.

Marty (the person) brings Jan the ingredients, tells her what a wonderful person sheis, and then washes the pans or puts things away in the dish washer which he willthen empty too. He’s also in charge of the salads and even made a palatable peasoup. Marty also enjoys harvesting rime ice for the social hour which precedesdinner. Rime ice martinis, shaken not stirred, with a few olives are a summit treat.We make it a point to get outside every day to explore the summit, peering into theTip-Top House, walking past the Yankee building, trekking on the Auto Road andwatching the incredible ice and snow formations.

The wind is a powerful presence, howling in from the west and ripping off hoods fromunder goggles. We have seen a pulsating moon, sun dogs in the sky, learned to read aHays chart, watched horizontal snow streak across a lit tower at night, experiencedwind chills of more than 20 below, watched the hues at sunset, seen at least twodifferent red foxes and gotten a wondrous glimpse into the lives of many dedicated,enthusiastic and hard-working people.

Not too shabby indeed.

Observer Note: In addition to now being one of our summit volunteers, Marty Basch is the editor of Windswept, our quarterly publication for members.


Marty Basch and Jan Duprey,  Summit Volunteers

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