Week on the Summit

2012-12-11 22:05:49.000 – Abby Blackburn,  Director of Summit Operations

Sunrise on the Summit

It’s been two years since our last volunteer operation on the Rockpile and it was good to be back. Lots of new faces, interesting people with fascinating lives to share at the dinner table and around breaks for good eats, but first Mike and I would like to thank our four legged friends who made our time here so special.

Slim’s two golden retrievers Zephyr and Jack, (Slim is the Transportation Czar for MWObs,) are both beautiful and friendly (it’s probably overkill to describe golden retrievers as friendly.) Brothers in every sense of the word, their personal duty…taken seriously, is to ENTHUSIASTICALLY WELCOME the incoming crew. Our responsibility as the incoming crew…to hug and pet them the requisite amount of time…until your arm falls off…a duty taken seriously and enthusiastically by us and a great way to begin our shift, thanks fellas!

One of the great things about being up here is the opportunity to help out in any and every way imaginable. There may be close to an entire shift when you are in the fog so we like to keep busy with projects beyond cooking and baking. Take yesterday for example, Marty had been bothered by the refrigerator door not closing properly so he wanted to ask Mike to level the frig. He thoughtfully stuck his head around the door jamb into the pantry where I was prepping for dinner and asked me if I thought Mike would mind checking out the problem?

“Of course not,” I said, “Mike hates downtime, I’m sure he’d be delighted to help you out.” So when approached with the request…Mike said, “I’m on it…provided Marty will supervise…” the men were in business, I’m happy to report the refrigerator is now level.

Marty has his moments of entertaining the volunteers as well. I was working on a project up in the visitor’s rotunda, with my ever present glass of water on the table before me thinking I was alone when out of nowhere this black flash came zipping by and zipping by again, then up in the air, a full pirouette onto the table and came to a dead stop in front of my water glass. See glass, smell glass, touch glass, look slyly at bewildered volunteer, move glass stealthily to the edge of table, turn back to volunteer wink and vaporize into the evening.

Mike and I enjoy having our first cup of coffee for the day upstairs in the public rotunda area. After leaving the dark confines of the downstairs it can be a pretty colorful moment on entering that space or it can be pretty grey, either way the coffee tastes great. The other morning while enjoying coffee, we managed to catch Rebecca as she was heading out to retrieve the precip can which happily had a little bit of snow in it.

Tom Guilmette, photographer, is currently on the mountain with us filming/video recording footage to be shown in the new MWObs Museum with a planned opening of 2014. Presently he’s working on time-lapse recording of the formation of rime ice. When I last saw him he said last night’s footage was great.

The Obs crew works hard in and out of the elements 24/7 yet there is a casual quiet professionalism about them and their workplace. Always busy, always willing to take time to answer questions, clearly enjoying each other and the work they do. Steve Lanciani, Obs intern is finishing up his final shift this week we wish him well and success in all his endeavors. Thank you to all (especially Ryan, Rebecca, Roger and Steve…Slim, Zephyr, Jack and Marty!) who made this such a wonderful opportunity.

Sue Zloger – Summit Volunteer

*Please disregard the signature below.


Abby Blackburn,  Director of Summit Operations

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