You Live On The Summit?!

2020-09-07 15:16:31.000 – Nicole Tallman, Weather Observer/Education Specialist


After a busy weekend on the summit, I have realized there are many people that are unfamiliar with how the Obs staff operates on the summit. I had many questions asking about how long we are up here and many shocked faces when they learned that we live on the summit for a week at a time!

 Figure 1: Living room in our living quarters

Summit staff is split into 2 shifts with 3 observers per shift. We have shift change every Wednesday and swap out the 3 observers. This means that when you are up-bound you are then on the summit for the next week! We live in our living quarters, which is one flight of stairs below our office space (not a bad commute to work if you ask me). There is a set of 2 daytime observers that work 12 hours during the day and one night observer who works the opposite 12 hours. We keep this schedule every shift!

 Figure 2: Kitchen in the Obs living quarters.

Along with the daily tasks of weather observers, recently we have also picked up the duties of cooking and cleaning. In a typical year, we have 2 volunteers who will join a shift and help out with cooking and cleaning. However, recently it has just been the bare bone staff meaning that we have all gained experience cooking for the shift! The rotating dinner duty has been a new and fun experience of being back on staff at the Obs. When I was an intern in 2017, I was spoiled with the hospitality of Summit Volunteers.

 Figure 3: Dining area in the living quarters.

After our 12-hour shift on duty observing the weather, we eat dinner family style and typically will relax together as a shift. Recently, my shift has been watching a TV series together and occasionally will even play a card game. Living with your coworkers is just another aspect of this job that makes it so unique. You truly do get to know the people you work with much faster and better than in any other setting. I left my internship feeling as if I gained a summit family and lifelong friends, and I feel that will happen this time around as an observer as well!


Nicole Tallman, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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