15:55 Fri Dec 07, 2018
Keeping in Shape while Working on the Summit
Working up here on the summit can lead to a sedentary lifestyle easily if you let it, especially in the winter time. In the summer months, it is easier to stay in shape with long daylight hours and more tranquil weather. Winter has challenges that are very physical so sometimes you can be forced into getting in shape just by having to be up here. Through the years that I have been here, I have struggled to try and set up a consistent routine and to be able to set aside time for working out.
During the summer months, I will try and get outside for a few hours each day when the weather is nice. Most of the time, I will go for a small hike after I finish my shift, or if the weather is bad, a run down the Auto road after it is closed for the day. There are a few rocks around the summit cone that are a perfect height to do some box drills as well. If the weather is really bad or if there is rain, I usually will stay inside and do some basic exercises that you can do in a room or take a rest day.
Winter becomes much more complicated with not being able to go outside too often so hikes become limited to only a few times per month and usually not that far. Many of the workouts need to be inside. Living up here in the winter is also much more physical as well. During the summer months, we do not need to de-ice the instrumentation so we do not really need to go up the tower often. In the winter, we need to go up the tower almost every hour whenever we are seeing rime ice. Rime ice will be occurring almost 60% of the time in the winter. The stairs up the tower is about 50 feet from the weather room up several ladders. After 12 hours of going up and down sometimes multiple times an hour, it can get exhausting. Not to mention once you are outside, you are battling the winds and using a crowbar to get the ice off of the instruments.
The next big thing is shoveling. We have 4 doors that we need to keep as snow free as possible so if there is a big snowstorm occurring, we could spend 2-3 hours shoveling in a single day. Tuesday before shift change is the most laborious since we make sure that even the precipitation can is dug out with enough space around it so that drifting snow and blowing snow will affect our snowfall accumulations less. Sometimes the wind helps us out and blows all the snow away, and other times it will compact the snow so dense that you have to break it up with an ice chipper before you can shovel it. There is a snow blower but it can only work at one of the entrances, the other 3 need to be hand shoveled.
Our shoveled out deck entrance to the Observatory. All the snow we have been shoveling is piled high on each sides of the door. We also shovel out around our Thermoshack in order to prevent deep snow near the thermometers to influence the temperature
Though in winter, it does not snow every day and we do not need to deice every hour on the hour so there are long stretches of doing nothing physical. Luckily we do have an exercise bike up here along with a few weights. When the building is closed, I will go for runs around the building and the public area since there are less tables and chairs. Running in the building gets boring fast so an audio book or good music is necessary to stave of the boredom. If you get into a good rhythm, 30-45 minutes of running is possible. The exercise bike is fun to use in the evenings after dinner. My co-workers and I will usually play some video games in the evening after dinner and take turns playing. Whoever is not playing will usually be on the bike.
Most of the tables and chairs get removed from the State Parks Sherman Adams building. This allows for some space to run along the outside of the public area.
It is good to do these exercises on a daily basis up here. It makes the physical parts of the job much easier and sometimes I will look forward to shoveling snow if it is a nice day with no wind.
Adam Gill, Weather Observer/IT Specialist