My Stay at MWO: A Volunteer’s Perspective

2012-10-23 17:31:49.000 – Brad Chapin,  Summit Volunteer


Finishing my 3rd tour of duty as a volunteer on the summit of Mt. Washington with the Observatory, I’m frequently asked, why? Why tolerate the nasty weather, the many fix-it jobs, and the endless meals? Well, when the weather is nice the views are breath taking, the stars at night are flashlight bright….and I love to cook. Besides, what could be more fun than tackling 100mph winds, -20 degrees, all in a white out? It’s also a matter of giving back.

My brother and I have climbed many peaks and trails in New England, including Mt. Washington dozens of times. At first it was for the fun of it, the beauty of the mountains, and the people on the trails. Later we cranked it up a notch and Mt. Washington became our training ground for bigger and better things. After years of training on the flanks and peaks of the White Mountains we took what we learned to the Colorado Rockies, the summit of Mt. McKinley, and the Peruvian Andes. We survived all of this in no small part due to the folks at the observatory. Before any of our climbs here in the east, be it an easy ice climb on Frankenstein cliffs, or an all-day push up through Huntington Ravine and on to Damnation Gully, we always depended on the forecast given daily over the radios or posted at many huts and at Pinkham Notch. We learned to respect the weather, to understand the dangers of sudden weather changes, and to know when to turn back and save that peak for yet another day. I am proud to say I have all ten toes and all ten fingers, because I’ve listened and heeded the weather warnings from the Mount Washington Observatory. And for that, I thank them and gladly conclude my third week as a volunteer. Hoping the meals I’ve cooked and the repairs I’ve assisted with have in some way helped other fledgling climbers with big climbs in their dreams; learn to respect the forecast and warnings given for free by the folks up here on this big Rock Pile. Climb safe!


Brad Chapin,  Summit Volunteer

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