Volunteers are a key element in the smooth operation of Mount Washington Observatory's famous mountaintop facility. Our summit volunteer program is one of the most popular benefits of Observatory membership, and members from all over the country participate in this rewarding and educational experience.
Each week, two volunteers are on duty at the summit, with the primary responsibility of planning and preparing meals for the Observatory crew and visitors. Typically, volunteers prepare dinner only for the crew, which consists of three observers, one or two interns, and you and your fellow volunteer. In addition to the crew we often have overnight trip participants, for which volunteers prepare three meals a day. The absolute maximum number of people, including staff, volunteers, interns and guests, is seventeen. December through March is the busiest trip season, with overnight guests most nights of the week. For that reason we require volunteers to complete a summer week before a winter week, to familiarize yourself with the job.
Volunteers are also expected to help with light cleaning, and if you have other skills like painting, carpentry, or plumbing, we graciously welcome help with general maintenance tasks as well!
Living on top of a mountain in a real, working weather station is an incredibly unique experience. In addition to learning about our operations and getting to know the crew, volunteers are encouraged to sample all that Mount Washington has to offer. From hiking and skiing, to experiencing hurricane-force winds, white-out fog, breathtaking vistas, and everything in between, spending a week atop the Northeast's tallest peak is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Volunteers work a standard shift week, which is Wednesday through Wednesday. You meet the crew at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road at 8 AM on Wednesday morning, and return to the base at approximately 5 PM the following Wednesday. Round-trip transportation to the summit weather station, bunkroom accommodations, and all grocery items are provided.
The summit volunteer program is a benefit of Observatory membership, so in order to be considered, you must be a current Observatory member. To join or renew, visit our membership page.
Given the station's remote location, our standard summit health and safety requirements apply.
Finally, all volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Sorry, but we are not able to grant any exceptions to this rule.
How to Apply
Ensure current membership
If you are not a member, or if your membership has expired, please visit our membership page to join or renew.
Submit an application
Complete and submit a summit volunteer application. Sorry, but applications from non-members will not be considered.
Submit a health disclosure form
Carefully complete and submit a health disclosure form.
Schedule your shift
Upon receipt of your application and health form, and verification of your membership status, your application will be reviewed. If approved, your name will be placed on our waitlist. As soon as a shift is available, we will contact you.
Please note that the summit volunteer program is very popular, and demand exceeds availability for much of the year. While last-minute cancellations occasionally allow us to schedule you soon after your application is submitted, we are generally booking several months out. Please be patient and rest assured that we will contact you as soon as a shift is available. And remember, all first time volunteers must complete a summer shift (mid-May through mid-October) before being considered for a winter week.
Cyrena Briedé, Director of Summit Operations
(603) 356-2137, ext. 210