2009-11-25 16:38:43.000 – Brian Clark,  Observer and Meteorologist


As many of you already know, as summit staff we essentially work a week-on week-off schedule with Wednesday being the traditional shift change day. Something I noticed very quickly when I started working on the summit as an intern in January 2006 (has it really almost been 4 years?!) is that this schedule makes time fly by. I think it was former observer, ‘Holywood’ Jim Salge, that once said something like ‘the days and weeks don’t go by particularly fast, but the months sure do’. I have certainly found this to be true.

So as I get ready to end another shift on the mountain today, it is almost the end of November. I come up for my next shift on December 2, and when I go down on the 9th I am taking a shift of vacation. This means I won’t be back on the summit again until December 30 and all of sudden it’s 2010! This will be the second year in a row that I have had the opportunity to ring in the New Year on the highest peak in then northeast.

This year, we are actually giving members the opportunity to do the same through an exclusive New Year’s Eve Winter EduTrip. Director of Education Michelle Cruz will lead the trip, accompanied by her fiancé Dave Lottmann, a very experienced mountaineer and climbing guide. The educational focus of the trip will be on the work we do here on the summit and the extreme weather that makes Mount Washington famous. Participants will be transported up the mountain on the first day and down on the second in our new (to us at least) snow tractor and all meals will be provided.

I realize that, so far, this is no different from any of our EduTrips, but I haven’t gotten to the best part yet.

Our volunteers that week are Chef John Bauhs and Ed O’Malley. Both John and Ed started volunteering for us back in October of 2007 and have been back together for several volunteer weeks since. They work great as a team and we ALWAYS eat like kings (and queens as the case may be) when they are here. One of the reasons is that Chef John is, well, a chef. He is classically trained, is the owner of Resident Gourmet Personal Chef Service, and is also a chef instructor. He has cooked for several celebrity clients over the years such as Montel Williams, the rock band Cheap Trick, President Bill Clinton, and President George W. Bush.

Chef John will prepare a 9 course meal for New Year’s Eve dinner on this exclusive EduTrip. Here is the menu:

Course 1: Amuse Bouche; various croustades, appetizers, nibbles and beverages

Course 2: Smoked Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Course 3: Belgian Endive Salad with Spiced Pears and Blue Cheese

Course 4: Maine Lobster with Mango, Avocado, Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Ginger-Sauternes Sauce

Course 5: Duck Breast with Port Wine Shallot Reduction

Course 6: Ragout of Lamb with Olives and Preserved Lemon

Course 7: Chateubriand with Bernaise

Course 8: Assorted Cheeses and Winter Fruit Chutney

Course 9: The ‘Rockpile Trio,’ featuring a Banana Caramel Tart, Mini Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake and Roasted Coconut Ice Cream

That last course is a dessert that has been created by Chef John for this event. I’ve had his flourless dark chocolate cake before and it is incredible, even just by itself.

In addition to all this, each participant will receive an L.L. Bean Wind Challenger Fleece Jacket as well as a framed 8 x 10 photo of the group from the event. Check out the event page for more info and and to order tickets online. This event its limited to a handful of participants, so don’t wait to get your tickets!


Brian Clark,  Observer and Meteorologist

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