2015-04-15 08:21:09.000 – John Donovan, Summit Volunteer


When you step out of the Snow Cat upon arrival at Mount Washington Observatory the experiences start piling up. Driving almost vertically up a 20 foot snow pile to clear the entrance for unloading, we’ve arrived. A well organized fire line of Observers and Volunteers pass along the many backpacks, food and gear that is arriving, then pass along the many backpacks, trash and gear that is departing. Now to unpack, organize the kitchen and plan the night’s first meal. Done! Let’s get in our mountaineering gear and go outside and see what the weather is doing. All righty then. we have rain, freezing rain, freezing fog, ice pellets, snow and LOTS of wind. I experienced a105 mph sustained wind and a 117 mph gust that taught me how to fly. What an experience THAT was! I went hiking to a nearby Crag and enjoyed a lunch in a Snow Cave protected from the wind and listened to melting streams of snow and ice crackling underfoot. I did laps in wet snow on the Summit Cone as continued training for Seek The Peak 2015. When you Volunteer at Mount Washington Observatory, you also get to interact, host, as I call it, with Edu-trip overnight guests. We hosted a very interesting three day visit from an AIARE course, held by Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School. A wonderful, hearty group of outdoor adventurers willing to brave The Home of The World’s Worst Weather to learn about avalanche protocol. We made sure they were well fed so they would have the energy they needed to brave the elements. After dinner, conversations at our community dinner table featured talk about their days’ adventures, personal backgrounds and the world in general. You meet so many interesting people while Volunteering at MWOBS. The groups are now gone and the population goes from 16 to 6. It’s much quieter, except for the 100 mph Winds howling along the outside wall of the Obs Tower, and life slows down. We are here during the 81st anniversary of BIG WIND DAY and we baked a cake to commemorate the occasion and had a chance to bond more with the Obs crew. What a GREAT group of dedicated people! Now the HARD part, time to start thinking about packing up and going home. I’m already thinking about my next chance to Volunteer in the Fall. You know, you can Volunteer also! Go to to check out how to Volunteer. All these experiences and more could be yours!

Sunset on the summit of Mount Washington


John Donovan, Summit Volunteer

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