“One of the most satisfying aspects of volunteering as a Climbing Steward is helping people achieve their goal of climbing to the rim of the volcano and taking in the awesome sights. It is like watching a child come into the living room on Christmas morning and take in the sight of the presents under the tree!”
- Frank Barsotti, Mountain Steward
If you enjoy outdoor adventures as well as helping others, consider volunteering as a Mountain Steward. Breathtaking scenery is your new office as you provide visitors with safety advice, Forest Service regulations, conditions reports on climbing routes and trails, and educational information about the extraordinary features of the National Volcanic Monument. Other duties include: checking permit compliance, providing search & rescue and injury assistance, minor trail maintenance and trail condition reporting, trail signage updates and resource monitoring.
Although the Mount St Helens climbing season is year round, we ask that volunteer applicants for the Mountain Stewards position(s) be prepared to commit to a minimum two to four days of service per month during the 4-month peak climbing season (June 1 through September 30). Mountain Steward volunteer positions are physically demanding and may require volunteers to hike 10-15 miles per day on steep and/or challenging terrain. Applicants must have strong communication skills, a desire to work with the public, and excellent outdoor recreational skills.
The Mountain Steward program consists of two components: Climbing Stewards and Recreation Stewards. While the primary duties differ, the time commitment, qualifications and physical expectations are very similar. Volunteers may participate in both capacities if desired. Please see below for role descriptions for each component.
Climbing Steward Role Description
Climbing Stewards typically concentrate all of their efforts on the Mount St. Helens climbing route and areas above 4800 feet in elevation.
- Perform trail and signage maintenance along the Monitor Ridge and winter climbing routes.
- Report conditions and resources to the Climbing Program Rangers at the U.S. Forest Service.
- Provide support for guided climbs to the crater rim.
- Perform facility and campsite maintenance at Climber’s Bivouac as well as other various established sites in the Mt. Margaret Backcountry.
- Provide hikers/climbers on the Monitor Ridge trail with fee compliance, safety, and resource-protection messages along with general information about the volcanic landscape.
- Experienced Climbing Stewards who have completed required training may participate in the mentor program for new Climbing Stewards.
Recreation Steward Role Description
Recreation Stewards assist hikers and rove trails below 4800 in elevation.
- Represent the MSHI and U.S. Forest Service in a positive way while educating the public.
- Participate in trail maintenance and volunteer work parties with MSHI when available.
- Survey, report on and perform trail and signage maintenance within the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (MSHNVM) including the Mt. Margaret Backcountry.
- Perform facility and campsite maintenance at various established sites in the Mt. Margaret Backcountry and report recreational conditions.
- Participate in the identification and reporting of invasive species within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with concentrated efforts on the MSHNVM.
- Provide visitors with fee compliance, safety, and resource-protection messages along with general information about the volcanic landscape.
- Experienced Recreation Stewards that have completed required training may participate in the mentor program for new Recreation Stewards.
FOR BOTH POSITIONS
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- Physically able to hike 10-15 miles a day with pack and equipment. See Physical Demands below for more information.
- Basic to advanced understanding of trail-maintenance concepts.
- Basic First Aid knowledge and training.
- Basic understanding of biological and geological concepts.
- Able to attend a variety of trainings.
- Possess excellent customer-service and communication skills as well as a desire to work with the public; a Mountain Steward may be the public’s only official contact while recreating.
Two to four days per month during peak climbing season- June 1st through September 30th
Both the Climbing Steward and Recreation Steward positions are physically demanding. We ask that all applicants are able to hike steep terrain and comfortable in the backcountry while packing trail-maintenance and safety equipment as well as personal provisions for an average of 10-15 miles per day.
Mountain Stewards must be able to perform a variety of maintenance duties which include but are not limited to: hiking/climbing steep terrain, carrying a pack (average weight 40 lbs.), using a hammer and other hand tools, bending at waist and knees, reaching, twisting at the hips, using long-handled tools for trail and facilities maintenance.
As this volunteer position is during the peak climbing season, both Climbing and Recreation Stewards must be comfortable with physical exertion in hot, exposed areas.
- Volunteer uniforms and some all-weather gear provided.
- Training in basic scientific concepts of the volcanic landscape.
- The opportunity to gain extensive backcountry and recreational site-maintenance experience.
- Invitations to participate in MSHI field seminars at no cost.
- Earn additional climbing permits each year based on hours contributed.
Applications for the 2014 season will be accepted starting January 1, 2014.