2008-01-02 01:39:38.000 – Jason Hill, Summit Volunteer
My second week volunteering at the observatory (first time in the winter) began last Wednesday with only four of us on the summit. We had a couple of relaxing days; the skies were clear and we had little wind, snow or ice. All of that changed on Saturday when an EMS guided climbing group reached the summit while high winds and snow were moving in. My primary task as a volunteer is to keep everyone up here well fed, and the amount of cooking in the observatory kitchen has steadily increased since the weekend.
In addition to the climbers, who stayed overnight, a group of 16 university students from Germany arrived on Sunday. I also prepared a full dinner for a civil union ceremony (12 more people) on New Year’s Day. Somewhere along the line, I’ve made 24 pounds of mashed potatoes, a huge batch of jambalaya, several gallons each of clam chowder and minestrone, enough butternut squash and stuffing to feed 30, I baked brownies and pound cake and devil’s food cake, and I tamed a mammoth turkey that took over 8 hours to roast. It’s all been great fun, but my hands and arms are seriously sore from all the cooking.
I managed to get away from the kitchen several times though. I spent my New Year midnight out on the summit, by myself, crampons dug into the ice, leaning back into the airbed of 70mph wind, staring up at the stars. It was awesome. I also ran into the summit fox several times. He followed me around the summit, always keeping some distance, but always posing like a pro for the camera.
Some memorable photographs from the week:
Rime ice and undercast
Tip Top House in storm
New Year sunrise
Jason Hill, Summit Volunteer