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luvNHiker
10-06-2006, 12:03 PM
Hello,
I'm VERY interested in the volunteer program and would like feedback on others who have already experienced a week on the rock pile!!
Thanks,
Becky

nevis_highwire
10-06-2006, 12:20 PM
I've never been a volunteer per se, but I have been treated to many of their excellent meals on the summit.

I think its a great experience if you are up for the challenge. The summer is a great time to test your skills as a chef and to see if you can handle a week on the summit. Its much easier to get down if everything goes wrong. And if you are good they might invite you back for a week in the winter. In the winter be prepared to cook large meals for the edutrippers and overnight hiking trips.

When there aren't overnight trips there is plenty of down time for hiking around the summit or staring out the observatory windows.

luvNHiker
10-06-2006, 12:29 PM
thanks, Bill....i've read that your first time is in the summer and i do enjoy cooking very much! It's sounds like it would be such an awesome experience. There is just something about that mountain that I'm attracted to.

bh04009
10-06-2006, 12:35 PM
I have been a volunteer for 3 years and can vouch for the program. It is a great time. One year Ihad 18 meteorolgy students from Germany. they had such great energy and were always willing to help out. I have been blown across the deck and have had a great time playing ping pong with the staff. A great time to relax, enjoy the weather and experience the world's worst weather.

Mike D
10-07-2006, 03:01 PM
I have volunteered 3 times; once in the summer and twice in winter. I can tell you that you have to be a decent cook. You don't have to be a culinary master, but you do need know how to read a measuring cup. The main crew is very easy; they'll show up at 7 and happily consume any meal you put in front of them. But be prepared to cook for paying visitors, and a lot of them. Feeding 15 people is a lot different than feeding your family, unless you're from a large family.

Steve Hill
10-11-2006, 07:42 AM
Becky,

I have been voluteering since 2001 and have spent 6 full weeks at the OBs and two partial ones. I always have a good time. I have cooked for as few as four and as many as twenty-five. I have skied, hiked, done odd jobs, etc. Most of all I have enjoyed the camraderie provided by the observers, staff and interns. And do not forget the AMC crews at Lakes and or Tuckerman's when you go or they come for a visit.

The views are great. It is a toss up whether or not Cumberland Island National Seashore has better sunrises but I have never seen better sunsets than the ones I have seen from Mount Washington.

Bottom line, I highly recommend it.

Steve

moxieman
10-28-2006, 08:22 AM
Having been a volunteer since the Volunteer program started (a long time ago in a Galaxy far far away...) the Summit is the best place to be in Winter, which as we know runs Spetember until June. How can one describe the joys of jumping into the Yankee snow drift, or taking a stroll on the deck in sustained 100 mph winds in temperatures that will freeze exposed skin in a minute. Don't do this at home kids. Um... should I have written this.... no, I shouldn't have. Drink More Moxie (http://www.drinkmoxie.us) Ayup.

Charlie
10-29-2006, 05:51 PM
what kind of food are you preparing .

i would love to this some day

thanks hawk

Charlie
11-09-2006, 07:53 PM
is there more then one volunteer up there at a time

Bill O
11-09-2006, 08:21 PM
is there more then one volunteer up there at a time

Just one volunteer, but they can usually bring a guest/helper. At least that's the way it used to be.

Mike D
11-09-2006, 09:27 PM
Whether there's one or two, they're all "volunteers" in the sense that they are expected to pitch in.

Charlie
01-06-2007, 05:26 PM
how come they do not have the application on line to e mail it in

Bill O
01-06-2007, 05:36 PM
how come they do not have the application on line to e mail it in

You have to print and mail it in. Not sure why. Probably cuts down on junk submissions and weeds out those who aren't really interested.

Volunteering on the summit is considered quite an honor and there is a long waiting list. Even so, I encourage you to sign up and get on the waiting list. Volunteers occasionally cancel and they need replacements on short notice.

Charlie
01-06-2007, 06:54 PM
thanks i will get i right out

Trekker
01-16-2007, 03:56 PM
I can't imagine that volunteering at the summit would NOT be an incredible experience for anyone. It was a wonderful experience for me!
Everyone who was working there - bar none - WANTED to work there - WANTED to be there - and KNEW the place they were working in was unique. The atmosphere is simply charged with excitement and interest - no matter whether there are other visitors to the summit - hikers, car tourists, cog travelers - or whether you are alone with the summit staff. The place is simply fascinating and fun.
No one is allowed to camp above treeline - because of the fragile environment, but while working at the summit you can wander out at midnight, onto the deck, and see the most incredible display of stars you may ever see. You can sneak out very early in the morning and catch a sunrise that you will NEVER forget - you and the vast surroundings - alone.
Between the meal preparations you are allowed free-time to hike some of the many trails along the Presidential ridge or simply relax in a setting you are unlikely to duplicate anywhere else.
If you are interested in the workings of the observatory, itself, you will have no better chance to witness this in great detail. Hands on learning is encouraged and you are more than welcome to pitch in and help - no matter what the chore.
Yes, you need to know how to cook - and plan meals. And, hopefully, know how to use your leftovers well, to eliminate waste. That's a biggie on the summit where waste, solid AND liquid, is tracked closely. And yes, your other major responsibility is keeping the living quarters clean. A small price to pay for the privilege of being there.
The kitchen is rather small and you can be expected to serve as many as 15-18 people, if you have a group up there (we had one group when I was there). But that group of 15-18 is like sitting down to eat with your family. You feel immediately close to all of them and they to you. We laughed, to the point of tears, at some of the stories shared around the dining room table.
We helped to run some new wires around the summit building - learned how to read the wind charts - met people from Alaska, North Carolina, Japan, and nearby Jackson, New Hampshire - gazed out with visibilities over 100 miles - and experienced wind-blown fog at 60 miles an hour. Where else could you do all of that in one weeks time?
To say that my time there was incredible and unforgettable is a HUGE understatement.
I've been hiking in the White Mountains for 37 years (and hiked Mt. Washington at least 10 times) - and yet this was something NEW - another DIFFERENT perspective of that beautiful mountain. One that can be had no other way.
So, my advice to anyone thinking about volunteering is this: DO IT!! You will NEVER regret your decision.

Charlie
01-16-2007, 08:35 PM
which do you do more winter or summer

and how does it work with what week you go ,can you pick a couple of weeks that i can go .will they help work around it .there are about 3 different weeks over the summer i cant go.

thanks for your help

Trekker
01-17-2007, 04:02 PM
I've only had the pleasure of volunteering in the summer. You are required to work a summer shift before applying for the winter. It's kind of a "shake-down" to make sure you don't go stir-crazy and that the personalities blend - at a time that, if it doesn't work out for some reason, you have options of leaving (in the winter there is only ONE trip up the mountain per week - and no one else goes up or down).
As to the summer, I'm sure it's not the easiest thing to schedule some volunteer in for each and every week of the year, so I'm willing to bet they will do their absolute best to accommodate your specific weeks if at all possible. If your schedule is very tight with no exceptions, it might take a year or two to get in there.
Still, no matter what - or how long it takes - it's MORE THAN WORTH IT!!

Bretton Woods Brat
01-18-2007, 07:03 AM
My application is on its way!! Some of you have wrote in that you have to cook, which is no problem, but did you have help or are you alone? Do you plan the meals, bring your own recipes, or do they plan that for you?

I make Killer cookies! Got milk? ;)

Mike D
01-18-2007, 10:17 AM
My application is on its way!! Some of you have wrote in that you have to cook, which is no problem, but did you have help or are you alone? Do you plan the meals, bring your own recipes, or do they plan that for you?

I make Killer cookies! Got milk? ;)

The core of the volunteer's job is to cook dinner. You are alone unless you bring someone with you; and there are many volunteers who volunteer in pairs. Some bring their spouses (spice?), siblings or friends.

There are two fridges, two freezers, and a pantry full of food, largely frozen meats and vegetables. Flour, sugar, spices, and other basic recipe components are there. However, if you want anything exotic and fresh (such as seafood) you have two choices: request that the volunteer coordinator put it on the shopping list, or bring it yourself.

The crew are accustomed to eating meals ranging from extremely basic (like spaghetti and meatballs) to advanced gourmet (like Hawaiian pizza, kidding), with most meals falling somewhere in between. You don't have to be a culinary whiz, but you have to be able to hold your own. The menu is chosen by consensus between the staff and volunteer(s). Be sure to know about any trips you will be cooking for, as they usually require breakfast, lunch, dinner, and often desserts and snacks. When you cook for the crew only, dinner is all you do.

Brad
01-27-2007, 10:31 AM
From today's comments it sounds like we have 2 volunteers up doing major work on the conference room. What a great contribution! The pictures were nice to see. A picture of a "cold saw" was nice - but we could have had one of a "cold chisel" and given new meaning to the word.

http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/comments/2007/12707b.jpg

KD Talbot
01-27-2007, 12:45 PM
I would like to say that I have often thought that the office adjacent to the conference room was the nicest room in the building. Last time I was there it was being used for storage. The view from this room is better than any of the sleeping quarters and is as good as the weather room and it's adjacent office. I think if you put a bed and a gas stove in there I would pay $500+ for a weekend stay in it. In my opinion it has the best view in the White Mountains. There's a bathroom across the hall and always a decent chef on hand to feed hungry folks. Of course you would have to explain that it's not the ritz to prospective overnighters. It would be similar to an Edu-trip, but without the bunkroom experience. I don't know if it would be legally possible. I know neither the State Park nor the Obs are geared to be Innkeepers, but I think it could generate a lot of income for both cash-strapped organizations. Just my 2 cents worth.
KDT

Walter
02-01-2007, 06:09 PM
I am highly interested in the volunteer program myself, where can I find out more about it?

Bill O
02-01-2007, 06:33 PM
I am highly interested in the volunteer program myself, where can I find out more about it?

Here: Volunteer (http://www.mountwashington.org/about/volunteer/)

And the rest of this thread I guess. Just ask if you have any questions.

Walter
02-01-2007, 06:34 PM
Thank you for the prompt reply, from what I have read it sounds like it is ALOT of cooking LOL...

Steve M
02-05-2007, 07:01 PM
A week on the rock pile would be as great as my month in Alaska as far as I'm concerned. Mt Washington has always fascinated me from the time of my first visit when I was fifteen. I am there as often as I can be for living in Florida. I am not too bad of a cook, so everyone tells me, and I know it would be an experience of a lifetime. My App. will be on it's way this week!:D

Charlie
02-18-2007, 02:12 PM
1 - do they get a volunteer for each shift or are there a lot of time that they
have no one ?
2 - is there a place close to MW that rents some of the things you need for
the winter trip ?
3 - in the summer when you volunteer do you drive your own car to to the
top if you want or do they have to take you up there ?


thanks :)

KD Talbot
02-18-2007, 02:21 PM
1 - do they get a volunteer for each shift or are there a lot of time that they
have no one ?
2 - is there a place close to MW that rents some of the things you need for
the winter trip ?
3 - in the summer when you volunteer do you drive your own car to to the
top if you want or do they have to take you up there ?


thanks :)

1- Yes they have a volunteer for for each shift, I am told there are currently 63 new volunteers, so those of us who want to return may have to wait a while. Get your paperwork in ASAP! and expect up to a years wait.

2- EMI at the Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway will have all you need and more. Most of it can be rented.

3- When I volunteered in September '05 I drove to the top which allowed me to bring more gear than I normally would.

Hope this helps.
KDT

Charlie
02-18-2007, 07:54 PM
thanks that helped a lot

Charlie
02-18-2007, 08:04 PM
1 more question

do they have volunteers that help with general maintenance in the summer .

i read of some helping with some wood work but what about plumbing ,painting and what ever needs done .

and how do you let them know what you can help out with .

thanks again

KD Talbot
02-18-2007, 09:37 PM
When you fill out your application just be sure to list what you can do. Your main job though will be cooking supper for whoever is there and cleaning the obs. Others may be able to give a better answer. Most of the other work is either done by the State Park people or tried and true volunteers. I'm sure you could work your way in, though.
KDT