The life of a Mount Washington Observatory Summer Summit Intern

2019-06-16 10:01:13.000 – John King, Summit Intern


Insert a modified quote from “Good Morning Vietnam” here: “Gooooood morning Mount Washington!”  As exciting the weather is up on the highest peak in the northeast, the life of an intern can be just as exciting. Interns are delegated several responsibilities that make their lives an exciting and amazing experience. From de-icing in the summer to writing the evening 48-hour higher summit forecast, and a summer long research project, the life of an intern is like none other and you as a reader are going to experience what it is like to be one of us during the summer at the “home of the world’s worst weather”.

The phrase “early to bed, early to rise” is the lifestyle here at the observatory with a 9pm bedtime and the starting gates for an intern may kick open with a 6:15am alarm (though some wake up even earlier). For some, an alarm that early may be miserable but when you are living life at 6,288ft above sea level, every moment is eye opening, rain, snow, fog, or in the clouds when we can’t see a thing. After arising from your bunk and grabbing your morning cup of delight prepared by our amazing volunteers, you head up to the weather room by 6:45am to receive a quick weather briefing and say goodnight to the night observer as the day crew falls in.

Throughout the day you will be completing several daily tasks. Many of these tasks are rather important as they communicate the weather conditions to the public so recreation enthusiasts know what they could be encountering on Mount Washington or on the higher summits. These conditions are expressed in the 48 hour forecast that gets recorded at 4am by the night observer and at 4pm by you the intern.

A big part of an intern’s daily life is their research project that spans the duration of their internship or, in some cases, past that. This project is incisive and relevant as it not only benefits the Observatory, but benefits you. These projects are rather in depth and can help advance our understanding of how things in the world work as far as the weather goes, and improve the way we are gathering information. Everything we do is hope of progression and better precision.

At the end of the day after your work is done it becomes clear that being a part of the observatory is being a part of a family. Every night at 7pm the day observers, interns, night observer, and museum attendant all sit down at a family-style dinner that is prepared by the devoted volunteers, share delicious food, and enjoy conversation with each other. Through stories, laughs we all become a family for the 8 days we spend with each other at a time. We work together, and we live together, life in extreme weather doesn’t mean life in an extreme environment. This is truly a phenomenal experience as you wake up, throw on your “Obs” logoed gear and represent 87 years of weather research and data collection.


John King, Summit Intern

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