Seeking recent volunteer and crew tales for book
Hi everyone. I worked on the summit and as Windswept editor in the '90s and early 2000s. I've been collecting anecdotes from ex-observers and volunteers for a revised and updated edition of this book, to be published by Hobblebush Books next year.
I'd love to give the book a more contemporary feel. Life at the Top was first published in 1997, went out of print a couple years ago, and obviously a lot has changed on the summit since then. There's the fire, new cat, new weather records, even a new windchill chart. I'd love to include some funny or informative tales from the past couple years. In particular, I'm looking for stories or quotes about the new cat, Marty, any strange animals you might have seen on the summit, funny questions or behavior from tourists, and the usual "goofing around in weather" anecdotes, such as trying to join the century club or sledding.
Part of the book is a cookbook, so I'd also enjoy hearing about any kitchen mishaps or culinary trimuphs at EduTrip dinners. Stories like this: Pizza on the summit but more recent. If the current crew has a new favorite recipe, I'd be glad to include that, too.
If you'd like to be "interviewed" via email or phone, it would be great to hear from you. I'll include as many interesting anecdotes or quotes as I can. Feel free to post here, or I believe you can email me or private message via the forum software. There's also the contact page on my website. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope you enjoy the new, improved book when it hits the shelves (and the Obs store) next fall. There are a couple new chapters, including "Life at the Bottom," talking with some of the summit crew who have gone from the Obs to Antarctica, exploring the similarities and differences between the two places.
Thank you to those who emailed recipes or anecdotes. And thanks to the crew and volunteers for describing the summit so well in the observer comments.
Mount Washington appears to be getting snowier and very slightly warmer in recent decades. At least, that's the trend I've noticed so far going through the 11-year-old book, updating numbers. Every few pages there's a reference to a specific daily high, or a mean monthly snowfall total, or peak gust, etc., and it's often surprising which numbers need updating. The latest Normals, Means and Extremes use data from 1971-2000 and put mean annual snowfall at 314.8 inches. Back in 1996-7 when the book was first put together, with data from earlier decades, that number was 255.3 inches. Mean December snowfall has jumped from 43 to 55, if I remember right.
Interesting. Makes me wonder how much the precip can's location and the position of the various summit buildings might affect snowfall and windspeed measurements over time. The pitot's pretty high up, but with the TV-8 building no longer "in the way," will windspeeds from big SE storms (the world record wind was from the SE) be slightly different now? Did moving the pitot from one side of the summit cone to the other cause any significant statistic changes, especially on W or NW winds? Probably not much, if any. But it would be interesting to try to find a correlation.
Speaking of things that need to be updated, I just found this sentence in the "fall" section of Life at the Top: "Down in Boston, the Red Sox are still wearing short-sleeve shirts as they dash their fans' hopes in yet another doomed-from-the-start pennant race."
How times change. This is kind of fun, but it's making me feel really old. There are a lot of painfully obsolete references in the first edition to the TV-8 crew, Marty Engstrom, and poor old Jasper, too. Nin gets a couple paragraphs as the "new" cat. Even the back cover shows a scene that no longer exists. Amazing how much has changed on the summit in only ten years. But that's what second editions are for.
If anyone else would like to contribute a recipe or favorite summit memory to Life at the Top, feel free to send me an email or private message any time in the next couple weeks. The manuscript zooms off to the publisher at the end of November. And then, hopefully, it will be back to publicizing the Obs in bookstores and gift shops across New England, and selling in the museum shop, by autumn 2009.