In June, I started volunteering with the Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) as a mountain (climbing) steward. There are two types of mountain stewards: climbing and recreation stewards. The climbing stewards assist on guided climbs to the summit and rove the summer and winter climbing route (depending on the season). The recreation stewards rove the trails below 4,800 ft (treeline) and assist on hikes on those trails as well. Being a mountain steward been such an amazing way to get out onto the mountain, learn some new skills and meet new people.here.
|Up, up, up to the summit we go (steward training climb)|
It has been really fun to interact with the climbers this summer. Each day during the peak climbing season (May to September) only 100 permits are issued for each day. Usually, by the beginning of the summer, all of the permits have been sold for the entire climbing season. Each day on the mountain, there may be up to 100 climbers. Many of these climbers have never climbed any mountains... it is such a wonderful experience to ask them about their experience, give them suggestions, and explain the volunteer role. Most people are excited and happy to see volunteers on the mountain, especially if they have never climbed it before.
|View of the Crater Glacier from the edge of the crater|
I look forward to doing some volunteering on the mountain in the winter!