A Week of First’s and Q&A

2013-02-13 21:01:13.000 – Susanne Laundry,  Summit Volunteer


Having completed two prior volunteer weeks it was time to try a winter week. With a great deal of excitement and anticipation the week had arrived. Now I have been on the summit for one shift and as I write this the shift change meeting is taking place before we depart. What a spectacular experience this has been with many firsts. First ride in the SnowCat from the base to the summit with the added bonus of riding in the cab. First winter volunteer week at the Observatory. First time living with generator power for a period of 24 hours. First time seeing the ocean from the summit on a day of 130 mile visibility. First time seeing Portland’s city lights. First time hearing blowing rime hit windows. First time seeing the Cranmore ski trail at night with lights. First time baking with yeast at 6200+ elevation. First time for overnight mountain climbing guests with one of our Partner Led-Climbing Trips; what hearty and determined individuals. And lastly, first time with fellow volunteer, Jan. What a wonderful week it has been. A sincere thank you to the staff: Steve, Mike, Brian and intern Mike for a great week. Oh, and must not forget Marty, Lord of Mount Washington.

Often I am asked the following questions by those that have an interest in volunteering: Who provides the food? Food is already stocked. There are two refrigerators, two chest freezers and a well stocked pantry. There are many cookbooks in the kitchen and if you have favorite recipes make sure to bring them along. The basics are here, specialty items you may want to consider bringing. Dairy, fruits and vegetables are brought up weekly on shift change day. Who decides the menu? You do, comfort food is always good. Where do volunteers sleep? Volunteers have their own bunk room. Cellphone reception/computer? Yes, there is a laptop computer for volunteers to use at any time. Cell reception depends upon where you are located in the building. Is there ‘down’ time to hike and enjoy the summit? Absolutely, the Observatory staff is very concerned about volunteer’s safety and will advise when and if weather conditions are unsafe for outdoor activities. Do you have to be a professional cook? No, if you have cooked a Thanksgiving dinner or food for your family you are good to go. All staff and volunteers sit down together for an evening meal. Can I visit the weather room? Absolutely, you will find that you will be there many times during the day and asking lots of questions which the staff answers very willingly. I do not know anyone that wants to volunteer with me, what do I do? Not to worry, this is the third time volunteering for me. Only one time have I been with a friend. You will be paired up with another solo volunteer and with enough time to communicate with that person prior to shift change day. Part of the experience is making new friends.

So, with this brief Q&A why not become a member and summit volunteer, you are always needed and most welcomed by the staff. Should you like to become a volunteer and discover the Observatory click onto About, Jobs and Volunteering on this website.

Looking forward to another volunteer week in September 2013.


Susanne Laundry,  Summit Volunteer

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